CRT's recent revision of terms and conditions for boat licences makes a fun read. There's an awful lot of loophole filling regarding the shenanigans of 'continuous cruisers' who don't continuously cruise and overstayers on 14 day moorings.
So now we know what a 'place' or a 'neighbourhood' is. They even quote the Oxford English dictionary definitions of a place and of navigation so as to clearly state what they mean by navigating from place to place. Of course they've had to go to these rather ridiculous lengths to deal with the Smarty Alec barrack room lawyers who try to get around the obvious intent of the terms and conditions.
And it's no good saying you can't move because you need to be near work etc.
Unacceptable reasons for staying longer than 14 days in a neighbourhood or locality include a need to stay within commuting distance of a place of work or of study (e.g. a school or college).
Here are a couple more titbits
Importantly, short trips within the same neighbourhood, and shuttling backwards and forwards along a small part of the network do NOT meet the legal requirement for navigation throughout the period of the licence.
What the law requires is that, if 14 days ago the boat was in neighbourhood A, by day 15 it must be in neighbourhood B or further afield. Thereafter, the next movement must be at least to neighbourhood C, and not back to neighbourhood A.
And there's an interesting bit about boats trying to avoid detection by not displaying it's name or licence number.
If, at any time, the Boat name, index number or Licence are not visible as per condition 10.1 We may place a sticker on the Boat or on any cover on the Boat showing the number, which must not be removed unless the number is displayed in another way.
There are also bits about CRT's legal entitlement to cross one boat to get to another moored alongside or to cross private land to access a boat.
Widebeams, now proliferating as floating homes, although not specifically identified are warned that they must not use parts of the system unsuitable for their navigation, or must not moor where they constitute an obstruction.
Interestingly CRT is obliged to admit in the text that
This Guidance does not have the force of law but seeks to interpret the law as set out in s.17 of the British Waterways Act 1995 .
However it quotes legal precedent showing what a court is likely to think
The Guidelines issued in 2008 were considered by the court in the case of British Waterways v Davies in the County Court at Bristol. The Judge expressly found that Mr Davies’ movement of his vessel every 14 days (whilst remaining on the same approximate 10 mile stretch of canal between Bath and Bradford on Avon) was not bona fide use of the vessel for navigation. These Guidelines have been updated and refined in the light of that Judgment.
Of course all this comes a bit late. I can't really see CRT breaking up the hundreds (or is it thousands?) of continuous moorers in London and other cities in the short or even medium term. Having these rules is all very well but it would take a tremendous amount of effort and pain to enforce them rigorously in places like London. The boaters there are well organised and vociferous in defence of their right to a floating home. Of course my reply would be yes, you have a right to your home (boat), but not to any particular bit of public canal bank which other people may need to use.
I well recall an employee of CRT in London who had daily problems dealing with what he called 'the triangle of pain' around east London saying to me "well we can't be too hard on these people because we're a charity." All I said was that the National Trust is a charity but can you ever imagine people being allowed to live in their car parks?
It's a really tough one because accommodation in London is so expensive. Many (not all) of these boaters would prefer a proper home rather than a leaky crumbling old boat. If anyone has the answer to the problems. I'd like to hear it.