5,000 less boats on the waterways?

Published: Wednesday, 13 May 2015

FROM a high of a recorded 35,241 12 months licenced boats just a few years ago, Canal & River Trust report that there were only 32,018 licenced boats on the 31st March last year, writes Allan Richards.

It was last year that narrowboatworld exposed the decline in the number of boats on Canal & River Trust ((CaRT) waterways. From the number of 35,241 boats with a 12 month licence just a few years ago, the figure has dropped by 9%. According to CaRT's last annual report it had just 32,018 boats with a 12 month licence as at 31 March 2014.

Alarming drop

It would have been best for CaRT to come clean about the alarming drop in boat numbers and perhaps provide an explanation in their annual report. Instead it claimed that boat numbers were up by 0.4%!

In an attempt to prevent the Trust from fudging the figures again this year a request was made for the number of boats with a 12 month licence at 31st March 2015.

Quick reply

In what must be something of a record, the Trust replied within hours. Unfortunately, the figure provided, 26,917, was not what was asked for. It only relates to private boats and does not include business boats.

The Trust has been asked to provide the correct figure.

Less than 30,000?

When there were 35,241 craft on CaRT's waterways, the vast majority of them were private. Only 2,374 had business licences.

As such, it looks like CaRT now has less than 30,000 boats, down from the all time high of 35,000 and down 2,000 or more on last year's figure.

Hopefully, we will be able to report that CaRT has provided the correct information as quickly as it provided incorrect information.

Lack of boats

[Two narrowboatworld columnists reported there were less moving boats this year, with many other contributors remarking on the lack of boats on the waterways.  Yesterday we had the entire Sawley Cut to ourselves (the boats in the distance are residents) though usually we have difficulty in mooring on the Cut after April, it confirming an alarming decrease in cruising boats.]