NABO against mooring proposals

Published: Friday, 08 February 2013

THE National Association of Boat Owners realises that the Canal & River Trust mooring consultation  document may disadvantage boat owners (Boaters petition against mooring proposals—7/2/2013), and believes there are many questions unanswered.

The NABO Press Release has clarified its position on the whole question of mooring regulations on the waterways managed by CaRT and its plans for the South Eastern part of the Waterways, but states many of the proposals have enraged the boat owning community in general, with NABO Chairman David Fletcher responding:

"The Trust is admirably trying to provide a position where visitor moorings are available for all boaters and are not blocked by boats that overstay and abuse the rules. However the proposals, many believe, are impractical and discriminatory, and the approach is not consistent."

Lacks supporting evidence

The association realises that there are boat owners who abuse the rules, and does not condone them, however it does believe that the stated problem lacks supporting evidence and that better enforcement of existing rules will go a long way to solve the problems. Boaters should also expect consistency across the country.

David has pointed out that there is an article on the association's website which states its policy on the issue and 'raises questions we would like addressed'. That we publish below.

The NABO website statement

NABO is aware of concern being expressed by boaters at the recent consultation document issued by the CaRT,  and so has issued a Press Release [above] to clarify its views and its ongoing dialogue with CaRT on this and other issues.

NABO has raised the following generic questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • Does the evidence support the definition of the problem?
  • How will the proposed solution solve it?
  • Is the implementation of the solution practical?
  • Is the solution fair and reasonable, and who might be disadvantaged?
  • Has the solution been discussed with representative groups?
  • Is the solution consistent with other areas/regions?
  • What is the legal basis for the proposed solution?
  • What is the penalty for not conforming to the rules?

Specific issues raised

There has been little detailed information on defining the extent of the mooring problems. NABO do not deny there are problems: we agree there are hot spots, but we do not wish to see widespread rules that are not required.

We already hear evidence of enforcement officials picking on soft targets, rather than tackling the worst cases. This practice will cause enormous resentment and lack of support. We would like to see rigorous enforcement of existing regulations in the hot spots.

There should be a range of mooring durations in towns and popular areas. CaRT picking one blanket time period in a place because it is economical to manage is not a sound justification. There should always be some moorings which are (free) for 48 hours and some of longer duration, seven or 14 days.

NABO would like to see general enforcement of the visitor mooring durations and the 14 days rule in hot spots. We will get nowhere until boaters can expect to be asked to conform with this basic requirement; at the moment to a significant extent, they know they will not.

No return rules

We do not agree with community mooring/roving mooring permits, and do not think they will work. We have said so consistently for many years.

CaRT want to have 'no return' rules and we do not agree. There is no specific power for this known to NABO and we know that British Waterways were refused these powers in the build-up to the 1995 Act. NABO has not seen a satisfactory explanation of the need for this. CaRT can expect to be challenged. Share boaters, and those who cruise locally from their home mooring, will be disadvantaged by no return rules. However boaters who return to the same moorings with the intent of avoiding a home mooring are in NABO's view not 'bona fide navigating', and CaRT should use this as evidence in a prosecution.

Hire boats

Are hire boats to get preference? Why is this fair? There is the suspicion that hire trade is exerting influence.

NABO understands that CaRT is empowered to charge for services and facilities and this could include visitor mooring. The overstay charge is suggested be in some areas at £10 per day, but South East £25 per day. Are we to have different solutions in different regions? This is confusing and inconsistent. £10 per day may well be perceived by a court as 'reasonable' to stay on a visitor mooring for an extra day. £25 however is at the moment shown as a 'penalty' on the old British Waterway notice boards on the Kennet & Avon Canal. NABO have pressed CaRT to sort this out in the Courts and get a ruling.

We believe that as in all contracts and rules, the consequences of not conforming need to be spelt out and demonstrated to be within legal powers. NABO questions whether CaRT has the powers to remove a licence for non payment for services such as mooring.


Our Allan Richards comments:

"'Based on NABO's list of generic questions it is difficult to see any merit whatsoever in CaRT's third attempt at providing a solution to perceived local mooring problems. Whilst CaRT defines the problem as difficulty in finding space to moor it is either unwilling or unable to present any evidence to quantify it.

"Perhaps little wonder that CaRT now prefers to talk to 'independents' rather than organisations such as NABO who have the expertise to put any proposal under the microscope. However, it seems that talking to 'independents' rather than to organisations that represent them has spectacularly backfired as more sign a petition that calls for the proposals to be scrapped."

The consultation document can be found at:
and the feedback form at:

The petition can be found at: