Now that navigation on most parts of the network is possible, many boaters have been able to enjoy a cruise on their boat. However, for others, this hasn’t been realistic because overnight stays on boats (if it’s not your primary residence) are not currently allowed.
We continue to speak with Government about this point and a letter from our chief executive, Richard Parry, to the waterway minister earlier this week set out why we want the waterways to return to normal as soon as possible. This includes the ability to stay overnight on your boat even if it’s not your primary residence. Specifically, we wrote that:
Being aboard a boat for a continuous period is integral to allowing navigation on the inland waterways,
Boaters are typically self-sufficient, spending their time largely in the open air (where the risk of transmitting the virus is known to be much lower) or in their private on-board space with their own facilities,
Using a boat for navigation presents a very low risk to virus transmission, Social distancing requires little additional effort when operating a boat on inland waterways and daily distances travelled are modest.
We also pointed out that it’s not just private leisure boaters who are affected by the current rules. Many waterway-based hire-boat businesses, who are currently unable to trade, and unable to access Government assistance schemes, face precarious futures if they cannot operate (and generate the income vital for their survival) this summer.
You could also highlight this issue, and reiterate the points above, to your own MP. In the meantime you might want to read the answers we’ve given to a whole host of other questions about how coronavirus is affecting the waterways and boating.
Please stay safe and stay alert at all times.
Boating communications manager,
Canal & River Trust