What if I don’t feel safe to resume moving every 14 days on CRT waterways?

As of 23rd May 2020, Canal & River Trust (CRT) resumed enforcement of the 14 day limit for most boaters without a home mooring. CRT has stated that it expects boaters without a home mooring to have moved by 6th June 2020, and that its summer time limits now apply at Visitor Moorings. This does not apply to Bargee Travellers who have ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act 2010 or if it is reasonable to stay longer than 14 days in the same place. If you are shielding or self-isolating, are in a ‘high risk’ category or you have other needs, it is clearly reasonable to stay where you are and we would advise you to tell CRT if you have not done so already. If you do not feel that it is safe to move your boat because of the risk of contracting Covid-19 or of unknowingly spreading the virus, we believe that this is also ‘reasonable in the circumstances’ under Section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995.

CRT is going beyond the Government’s guidance in re-imposing the 14-day limit now, as overnight stays in other places are not yet permitted even under the reduced lockdown, and yet if they comply, each Bargee Traveller household will be staying overnight in many different places from now on.

While some welcome a gradual return to normality on the waterways, many Bargee Travellers feel that CRT is ending the suspension of the 14-day limit too soon and that navigation, especially in areas where the towpath is crowded, is too risky and puts them in danger of either contracting Covid-19 or unknowingly spreading the virus. Many liveaboard boaters have had their lives turned upside down by the Corinavirus crisis. CRT’s resumption of enforcement will add to the stress that the Bargee Traveller community is experiencing.

We recommend that if you do not feel it is safe to move your boat that you firstly inform CRT in writing by letter or email as soon as possible. You do not need CRT’s permission to stay longer than 14 days provided your longer stay is reasonable, however we recommend that you do tell CRT your reason for staying longer. If enforcement action is taken against you for not moving due to the risk of either contracting Covid-19 or unknowingly spreading the virus we recommend making a formal complaint and quoting the current Government guidance that overnight stays are not permitted and indeed this is still not permitted for leisure boaters. The intention of the prohibition on overnight stays is to minimise the spread of infection between different areas and different households.

If you need support in dealing with any CRT enforcement action against you please contact the NBTA.

If you make a complaint to CRT we recommend sending it to customer.feedback@canalrivertrust.org.uk and to the local Enforcement/ Licence Support Officer in the first instance. See also the NBTA leaflet How to use CRT complaints procedure and CRT’s information on its own complaints procedure here

If you need to contact an individual CRT Enforcement / Licence Support Officer, see https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/refresh/media/thumbnail/8515-licence-support-officer-map-and-contact-details.pdf. You can also contact CRT on 0303 040 4040 or see https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/ways-to-contact-us