IT WAS announced this morning, Monday 20th August, that the Canal & River Trust has appointed 'a group of experienced boaters to provide advice on boating and navigation matters'.
We are told that experts covering a wide range of boating interests have been appointed to sit on a Navigation Advisory Group that will give practical advice on issues relating to navigation, waterway operations boat licensing and moorings.
The group will operate with two sub-groups, one focused on navigation and operational issues and the other on licencing and mooring.
The navigation and operational sub-group will give advice on matters such as safety standards, waterway operation, maintenance and customer service standards. The licensing and moorings sub-group will give practical guidance on the way in which boat licensing and moorings policies are implemented.
Trust will decide
The first meeting will be held on the 21st September, but it is the Trust management that will decide what will be discussed with each sub-group and the strategic issues to be considered over the course of the next year.
Of the group, Chief Executive Robin Evans stated;
"Maintaining and encouraging use of the waterways by boats is at the heart of the Trust's work and we're delighted with the support and enthusiasm that the members of the advisory group have shown.
"The group's great strength is the wide variety of backgrounds and expertise that the individual members bring and it will be really exciting to see how it develops.
"The group will be tasked with escaping the more day-to-day issues covered by the existing user group meetings and instead focus their efforts on helping to shape wider strategic decisions and I'm confident that their expertise will greatly benefit everyone that enjoys our waterways and towpaths."
How they were chosen
Invitations to apply for the group were initially sent to candidates in the most recent Trust Council elections and to the Chairmen of APCO, AWCC, IWA, NABO, and RBOA. The chairmen of each body then consulted with their national executive committees and proposed suitable candidates. Each candidate was required to complete a simple written application form and a telephone interview. Members have been selected based on their individual expertise and experience and not as a representative of any particular boating interest group.
The groups will be joined by such as Sally Ash, Head of Boating, plus Head of Health & Safety and a Senior Waterway Manager, with operations director Vince Moran overseeing the group as a whole.
The members chosen
Sue Cawson—Historic narrowboat owner and champion of navigation issues for the Historic Narrowboat Club.
John Baylis—Extensive experience of national boating issues amassed through 45 years of boating. Ex-Chairman of the IWA Navigation Committee, a post held for 12 years.
David Fletcher—Engineering Consultant in the oil industry, boat owner and Chairman of the National Association of Boat Owners.
Ian Harrison—A chartered Civil Engineer specialising in ground engineering. Ian has experience of working in local government with a particular focus on regeneration and external funding.
Mike Carter—Committee member of the Commercial Boat Operators Association (CBOA), owner of a mooring basin and more latterly owner and proprietor of a repair yard/dry dock.
Malcolm Blundell—A lifelong boating enthusiast, boat owner and builder. A recently retired information and analysis professional.
Kevin East—Kevin has a professional background in the telecoms industry on the civil and mechanical engineering side. He is a Waterway and Environment Manager at Canoe England.
Paul Le Blique—A professional Engineer and narrowboater of many years. Paul is the current National Chairman of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (AWCC).
Tim Parker—Currently Chairman of Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO). Tim recently retired from Black Prince Holidays Ltd.
Beryl McDowall—Has lived on boats since the late 1960s and has worked on commercial craft for many years, particularly on the Grand Union south and River Soar. Beryl has been an Officer of the Residential Boat Owners' Association (RBOA) since 1999.
Mark Walton—A Residential boater without a home mooring who has been active in progressing discussion on Mooring Strategy. Currently a member of Defra's Civil Society Advisory Board.
Mike Annan—A narrowboat owner and honorary secretary of the Dutch Barge Association. Mike has over 30 years' experience working in the voluntary sector.
No independent boaters
This bring to over 160 the number of people now concerned with the running of the Canal & River Trust. And once again it seems membership was not open to independent boaters, but only those involved with established associations.