Boating trade condemns appeal

Published: Tuesday, 18 February 2014

THE boating trade—particularly hire companies—have condemned the emergency appeal by Canal & River Trust in asking friends and supporters for donations.

As readers of narrowboatworld are aware the appeal is for the 'extensive damage' caused by the flooding that is 'causing major challenges right across its 2,000 miles of waterways'.


The hire boat industry is particularly concerned at the panic this is causing, for some of the waterways that have been mentioned, such as the Oxford which is prone to flooding by the Cherwell and the Severn, also prone to flooding, will have suffered little effect, whilst the huge bulk of the canals are completed unaffected.

The hire boat  industry is very concerned at the effect of the tone of the Press statement and the alarm it will cause to hirers, believing that the system is near breaking point, and that will have an effect on bookings, that are now improving after the sharp downturn.

Adverse effect

The Chairman of the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators, Tim Parker, told Boating Business:

"At this time—when the public have already booked or are considering booking waterway holidays—the boat industry is concerned that the tone of the CaRT press release and appeal could have an adverse effect on this.

"The vast majority of CaRT's canal network is unaffected, and apart from engineering stoppages, is operating as normal. Boats are moving freely across much of the system."

Gloom-loaded appeal

The hire companies cannot understand why the Trust did not wait until it could assess any damage to the system before rushing in with such a gloom-loaded appeal, and so be able to see the true scale of any damage.

Vince Moran's statement that 'The full extent of the damage cannot yet be assessed. However, when waters recede we expect to see major damage to towpaths, locks and other canal heritage structures and features, which will affect millions of people and cost millions to repair', will have done little to encourage hirers, and he would have been well to 'hold fire' until an accurate assessment could have been made.