John Coxon tells it like it is!

Published: Wednesday, 04 May 2022

THIRTY closures in the first month of the boating season?

This is not just inconvenient but an utter disaster inaugurated by a totally incompetent organisation, tells John Coxon.

119y rotten beamHow on earth do CaRT expect boaters to travel along the system when just about every waterway has a closure on it?

Exasperated by continued stoppages

We continuous cruisers are becoming exasperated by the continual stoppages we come up against only to be told by CaRT we are not moving enough every 14 days! Well, I've news for them—because they won't keep it open we can't move enough! We should now be called continuous stoppers!

We need to plan when and where we move so we can get access to shops and the ever dwindling boaters services etc! Being stuck behind a broken lock or collapsed culvert etc. with no idea of a finish date when you have no access to food, fuel or water, a full toilet tank and numerous smelly rubbish bags is no joke besides being very unhealthy!

Damaged loc24KASaying that British Waterways did it better is not the answer either as the bumbling management crowd we have now are for the most part the same civil service genre. What we have are people in charge who appear to have no business sense at all. They appear to know how to waste money on daft, poorly thought out schemes but no idea how to generate funds other than bringing out the begging bowl.

Stretching-out every job

Money management seems to be an anathema to them as well! What organisation would just continue to engage and pay contractors who it seems are obviously stretching out each and every job just to extract more and more money from them to the detriment of their paying customers?

Broken lock beamAs has already been said on here by Victor, it appears that a small job will take at least a week and a medium job a month to fix. Anything larger seems to be stretched out until the cash runs out?

Even when the job has been 'finished' doesn't always mean that's the end of it. Time after time the 'repair' quickly fails and the contractors have to have another go at it or they find more work that needs doing but instead of doing it at the same time they leave it to generate another job and another stoppage and more profit!

Tell them the truth

NABO are asking us to support CaRT in their application for an extension to their government grant by writing to our MPs etc? I say yes, write to your MPs but tell them the truth. Tell them we need a change of management. We need a management that has some business acumen? Not people who were once, and in effect still are, civil servants but people who have been in business all their lives! CaRT isn't a charity, it's a business!

kegworth deep plates SIf we carry on like we are at present, by the end of May every waterway will be closed? During April we averaged one closure a day and there is no indication that this trend is about to change in the near future!

Boaters and business people on the waterways are already saying it's quiet this year! I was talking to a hire company manager the other day and he said that bookings are not only down but cancellations are up because of the stoppages! His normal uptake for Easter was 30% down on average and his summer bookings are 25% down already.

People want to relax for their holidays they don't want the stress of trying to get a boat back to a hire base when they've been held up by an unplanned stoppage that could, and should, have been fixed in the winter!

WatfordCollapse2Can all be spotted before they fail

Broken collars, broken paddles, broken balance beams can all be spotted well before they actually fail? Most, if not all then require a short stoppage to fix not, what appears to be the new norm, a week or more? A hire boat held up for a day or more will never make up the time before the end of the week.

Who wants to spend a week or more stuck behind a lock? Well it looks as if we might as well get used to it. The way things are going we will all be stuck in a month or two if things don't change drastically and there's no indication that they will so far? In fact the trend is for it to get worse and worse!

One thing you can guarantee though, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how restricted you become, CaRT will still chase you for your licence fee etc! [The images show the state that lock gates are now allowed to get into before any work/maintenance is attempted—Editor.]