I noticed in the latest edition of Canal Boat magazine (May 2012) that there are two letters to the Editor bemoaning the Continuous Cruiser (Ccer).
In the first letter, David R Lawson claims that the 'majority of boaters' resent Ccer's because they get off lightly financially by not having to pay for a mooring on top of the licence. He suggests that C&RT should slap a 50% nominal mooring charge on top of the standard licence fee for Ccers and then abandon winter mooring provisions/charges altogether. Mr Lawson also claims that the current winter mooring sites are often used by boaters without the requisite permit.
In the second letter on the subject of Ccer's, A. Haines states that 'resentment is inevitable' because boaters who pay for a mooring and a licence feel that they are subsidising Ccers and calls for C&RT to scrap mooring permits and increase all licence fees. Apparently, we would all unite then and rid the network of dishonest boaters that pay nothing!
So just a couple of thoughts and I will start with the last point made by A. Haines.
BW have been less than effective at policing and enforcing the current regulations why would any of us think that C&RT will be any better? I recently met a group of what we affectionately term 'bridge-hoppers' whose number had been added to this winter by someone who had paid for winter moorings last year and then watched other boaters pitch camp on the opposite bank for the winter and pay nowt. This year they joined the ranks of the 'bridge-hoppers'... If BW had dealt with the breach of licence of the initial group they would have retained the income from this disaffected boater and in all likelihood gained income from the miscreants. Apparently this enforcement malarkey is easier said than achieved though... and there lies the nub. If no action was taken against people who failed to buy road fund licences for their vehicles how long would it be before the majority went unlicensed? If enforcement is really not feasible, affordable or possible then someone needs to take a long hard look at the fee/revenue generation of C&RT Nee BW.
As an early retiree and Ccer myself I fully admit that I am a lucky bugger To be able to live on my boat and cruise around the network at leisure is a real privilege, no two ways about it. I play fair by the rules, pay my licence promptly and treat my environment with respect. If I still had to work and could afford a narrowboat I would place it in a secure marina and pay the going rate. If I have to store something, be it household goods, caravan, car or boat I would expect to have to pay for the service. If you are an occasional boater through choice, or circumstance, why would you feel entitled to resent others who can spend more time boating . If you join a golf club and can only play once a week and others can play everyday you don't get a rebate...
If you tax a car and only do a couple of thousand miles on the road you still pay the same as someone who does 100k miles....?
Do feel free to resent people who take the pee, don't play the game and don't pay for moorings when they should under the current rules. But please leave your envy at home when it comes to genuine continuous cruisers.
You are not subsidising us you are paying for a service (mooring/storage) that YOU need and we don't.
Ask yourself if the boot was on the other foot and YOU could cruise like us,... would you?