Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Sharing the cost of the waterways

 Well CRT's latest survey of boaters attitudes to sharing future increased licence costs is interesting.  Currently, boat licences contribute only 11% of the cost of running the waterways which is probably a much smaller proportion than most boaters think.  CRT makes a reasonable case for needing the increase licence fees above inflation over the next few years but what is the fairest way to do it?  That's what the survey asks.

Basically there are three approaches with some minor variations within each.

1. Bigger, wider boats pay a greater increase, presumably because they take up more space

2. Those without a home mooring (mainly so called continuous cruisers) pay a higher rate , because they put more strain on the network and don't currently have to bear costs of mooring

3. Everybody shares an equal rise in costs.

I can just imagine all the continuous cruisers being up in arms at option 2, especially those who opt for it as a cheap way of living in an urban area..  A lot of these boaters don't have a lot of cash and many of them (the majority) live aboard because it's cheaper than living on land.  On the other hand they do put a significant extra burden on CRT especially in places like London.  My past experience as a London CRT volunteer made that very clear.  

There are really two types of "continuous cruisers".  Those who  travel round the system all year, and those who don't want to so only moving short distances back and forth to comply with CRT rules.  Should they be lumped together?  If not, how could you recognise the difference in licence fees.  The survey makes no such distinction. I've said it before, often to CRT that boaters resident in an urban area and not moving much ought to have different licences, reflecting their added burden and also banning them from true 'visitor moorings'.  The way urban towpaths have become clogged with boats effectively limits access to genuine visitors from outside.

Nobody likes paying more and whilst I have some sympathy with folk who are hard up and need somewhere cheap to live, I still think that those who cost CRT significantly more in support and wear and tear on infrastructure and facilities and take up continuous bank space should pay more.  People who moor on line in proper CRT paid moorings have to bear the cost and we who moor in marinas do too.

What do you think?  If you are a boat licence payer, make sure you do the survey.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Strip light conversion installed


Ta daah!  Installed and working, the strip light I converted from fluorescent tubes to LEDs (see my post from November 21st).  So far so good, only a long term test will prove its worth, but I'm hopeful the LEDs will not burn out as I've built in a 12v regulator.  The light is not so diffused as from tubes but as it's overhead, you don't often look directly at it.  I'll probably begin converting the other 6 of these lights once I am confident of this one.  It hasn't proved particularly hard or expensive to do.

We're aboard Herbie for the weekend, mainly to check that she has survived all the hard frosts we've been having.  The plumbing seems OK at any rate. I'll look at the engine and start her up in the morning.

We're just burning the first of our coffee logs in the stove and that looks ok and burning at a steady pace.

Back home tomorrow.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

On bilge pumps

 Happy New Year folks.  As Confucius might have said, let's hope 2023 will be a bit less "interesting" than last year.

Now, bilge pumps.  This year I want to sort out ours. Is it just me or are they not as good as they ought to be?  We get the odd bit of rainwater in the engine bay (not the oily bit under the engine which is self contained) and sometimes water from the stern gland.  The floor where it sits has an area which I estimate to be roughly a square metre or so, so even 10 litres of water ( about 2 gallons in old money) only sits a centimetre deep and whilst this is an annoyance, our bilge pump does nothing about it.  I reckon it needs to be at least  twice that before the float switch activates and then it will only pump out anything above that depth.  So that's 20 litres swishing about that the bilge pump ignores. (I hope my maths is right, I'm a bit tired after last night's revels).  

My question is, have we just got a crappy bilge pump /float switch or are they all like that?  Are there pumps which get closer to the floor?  

Now, looking on ebay I can find a £10 12v self priming water pump which I might be able to rig up with the inlet pipe just clear of the floor and manually switch on when needed.  I might risk a tenner on that.  But really there ought to be a proper automatic  bilge pump to get that close to the floor.  

Any pointers would be most welcome.