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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    248

    Default Why do we bother

    Just home after a run up to Wallingford and back to Windsor. Saw one EA boat out on patrol in ten days, and cruised passed the usual plethora of unkempt unlicensed and unsafe vessels.
    Three patrol craft tied up at Caversham, a mere stones throw from the mess at Tescos.
    Followed a heap of a narrow boat into Caversham lock and asked the keeper if the boat had a valid license or BSS cert. 'I doubt it' was the reply 'but I can' t stop him'.
    So who is supposed to enforce the EA rules?
    Surely there must be an individual somewhere in the Ivory Tower at Reading with responsibility for safety and licensing.
    But nothing ever seems to be followed to a satisfactory conclusion. The problem is merely shifted along.
    Why aren't the patrol boats out patrolling and issuing letters of non compliance or whatever.
    We boaters now contribute a big slice of the Thames income, but I feel we are being ignored.

    Are the EA just bone idle?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    Well as somebody once said to me “you can’t take nothing off the man that rides a pushbike” . In other words if you’re riding/driving and OWN something half decent and worth a few quid or a registered homeowner!
    As regards the EA boats patrolling, guaranteed mid March doing drive byes as close as you like checking registrations on permanent/ registered moorings

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,122

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    EA needs to employ the people who prosecute motorists, real zealots who rake in millions for councils! Massive infrastructure with employees glued to monitors 24/7.
    EA to install
    Cameras on Locks and Cranes at key water layby to lift and scrap the miscreants floating illegal hovels!

    Would that work?:confused.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    20,006

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    A wonderful suggestion but all that tech and infra structure costs money.
    It might well make a few folks who feel offended by a few scruffy heaps feel a lot better but not create a single farthing towards the funding of the river.
    The Thames still appears to be in state of self denial.There is no more public money sloshing around to fund your private playground.Those days are gone.
    Somehow you have got to create a funding stream.
    The only time anything will change is when Thames users devote their energies to bothering the only people who can change things..your polititions, rather than hand wringing on forums.
    One or two folks have been trying to explain this fact for ages....and have been largely ignored.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    Quote Originally Posted by Portland Billy View Post
    Just home after a run up to Wallingford and back to Windsor. Saw one EA boat out on patrol in ten days, and cruised passed the usual plethora of unkempt unlicensed and unsafe vessels.
    Three patrol craft tied up at Caversham, a mere stones throw from the mess at Tescos.
    Followed a heap of a narrow boat into Caversham lock and asked the keeper if the boat had a valid license or BSS cert. 'I doubt it' was the reply 'but I can' t stop him'.
    So who is supposed to enforce the EA rules?
    Surely there must be an individual somewhere in the Ivory Tower at Reading with responsibility for safety and licensing.
    But nothing ever seems to be followed to a satisfactory conclusion. The problem is merely shifted along.
    Why aren't the patrol boats out patrolling and issuing letters of non compliance or whatever.
    We boaters now contribute a big slice of the Thames income, but I feel we are being ignored.

    Are the EA just bone idle?
    At the risk of repeating myself : the EA is the navigation authority and its Waterways Department carries the responsibility of the enforcement of the various Thames Conservancy Acts and byelaws. There exists an ancient public right of navigation across all parts of the river that the EA must protect and it may not prevent any boater from navigating on the non-tidal river even if he/she is failing to comply with the rules.

    That said, boaters are required to comply with the rules and the miscreants should be tackled. There is a compliance team based along the river, headed up by a Compliance Manager (formerly the enforcement manager), Nick Mckie-Smith who reports to Barry Russell, Waterways Manager. The EA does visit marinas annually for a spot of shooting fish in a barrel but rarely sweeps the main river where many unregistered boats may be found (last big sweep was 2012).

    Given the reduction in public funding and without the lawful ability to raise money in other ways, the EA has reduced its river enforcement capability. If an unlicensed boat passes through a lock, the duty lock keeper can book it as unregistered if he/she is present at the time. Volunteer lock assistants have no authority to do this. Most boaters pay up once caught but there is a hardcore who don't and care little for the criminal proceedings that follow, assuming the EA decides that it is in the public interest to pursue them. Often there is no point to an expensive prosecution where it's unlikely to result in the EA getting the licence fee despite the court order never mind the treasury getting the fine levied. That of course, assumes that the EA legal department can cope with the volume of cases (in 2013, the enforcement team was instructed to stop work as the legal team couldn't cope with the number of cases prepared).

    The safety aspect is managed by a self-declaration on the license application form and the EA never checks the BSSC status of any boat on the river. There are many scruffy boats on the river even moored up in marinas and there will be scruffy houses in your street but that's just part of life.

    Tokoloshi's point about CCTV driven enforcement will never happen given the lack of funds for additional infrastructure, there's more chance of automating the weirs! As for delegating its responsibilities to a third party, that would be a disaster given the procurement process - look at the mess created with farming out the management of EA moorings to a car park management company.

    The Inland Waterways Order 2010 does give the EA the powers to removed unlicensed boats of all kinds, including those without a name displayed, after 28 days notice, and then to dispose of the boats and reclaim costs from the sale. There was a plan to do this and a few deserted boats were removed. However, the EA is wary of removing the so-called scruffy live aboard boats as they are often the homes of the owners who will quote Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, in that they have a right to life on their boat. Making them homeless generates negative publicity that the EA is sensitive to and places the responsibility and costs of re-homing on local councils and tax payers.

    The EA lost the will to manage the river effectively years ago, has no clear direction from the top other than to manage the status quo and in many cases, employs staff with very poor management skills who hide in the office completing internal reports and never ending forms. The frontline staff (lock keepers) share our frustrations. It is suffering from years of inertia during the debate about a transfer to CRT control, and is constipated by its own operating instructions. I believe the EA enjoys the opportunity to do nothing as it's an easier option.

    As OG points out and I have said often, it's a waste of your time sounding off on the forum, you have to write to those managing the river and your MP but do expect a disappointing reply, eventually.

    I've stopped being bothered by the state of the river now, I just go boating and enjoy it for what it is.
    Last edited by Old Crusty; 07-08-19 at 07:46.
    When I was in the Navy ...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    20,006

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    ..................and most sitting back waiting for somebody else to "do" something while a minority actually spend their time sniping at the organisations and people trying to warn of the problems which are not going to go away.
    As for bringing in outside private contractors...Yea right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lurking in the Thames Valley
    Posts
    277

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    The EA lost the will to manage the river effectively years ago, has no clear direction from the top other than to manage the status quo and in many cases, employs staff with very poor management skills who hide in the office completing internal reports and never ending forms. The frontline staff (lock keepers) share our frustrations. It is suffering from years of inertia during the debate about a transfer to CRT control, and is constipated by its own operating instructions. I believe the EA enjoys the opportunity to do nothing as it's an easier option.

    One of the best paragraphs I have ever read on this forum.

    The EA claim only to be responsible for "the centre third of the fairway" as the bank edges become more shallow, and the trees continue to over-grow the navigation (have you seen the upstream cut of Old Windsor recently?) the centre fairway gets thinner and thinner, therefore lessening the EA's area of responsibility, as they see it.

    I agree that the problem is the EA larger bureaucracy, rather than the bods on the locks and launches. The sooner EA give up navigation as a tiny branch of what they do and we get back river/navigation specialists the better. Less of the boat owners funding will then be lost in desks in over-size offices.

    One used to be able to go to Reading and sort your licence/registration over the counter in about ten minutes. Centralisation has made the process almost interminable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    So it seems the entire system and those meant to follow it are unfit for purpose, and we will just have to bear it and wait until the river and moorings are all taken by live a boards who won't pay their way.

    Is there not a way to provide a marina for such miscreants, say in Penton Lakes or somewhere similar where they can live in peace. The EA can then remove the eyesores away from tourists and free up mooring spaces.
    Provided, of course, they have the will and interest to do so.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    20,006

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    Quote Originally Posted by Portland Billy View Post
    So it seems the entire system and those meant to follow it are unfit for purpose, and we will just have to bear it and wait until the river and moorings are all taken by live a boards who won't pay their way.

    Is there not a way to provide a marina for such miscreants, say in Penton Lakes or somewhere similar where they can live in peace. The EA can then remove the eyesores away from tourists and free up mooring spaces.
    Provided, of course, they have the will and interest to do so.
    With out wishing to be acerbic , try getting your area to accept.
    a motorway
    an airport
    a railway line
    a reservior
    a prison
    a lorry park
    new housing
    a sewage treatment plant
    a windmill or power station.
    Basically any NO new development whatsoever near us matey, "We will lie down in front of the bulldozers" etc etc.
    Remember the fuss when somebody wanted to put some probably expensive new moorings for houseboats on the Thames to replace some old caravans.....all hell broke loose.
    As for finding any spot for a few colourful livaboards .....good luck with that one.
    Might one suggest the fields a tCookham would be ideal
    The Nimby clip boards will be out in seconds.
    Last edited by oldgit; 07-08-19 at 15:43.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Henley on Thames
    Posts
    2,451

    Default Re: Why do we bother

    Have to say, been away for just short of three weeks, Hurley to Sandford and back, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stayed at quite a few new (to us) moorings, had the usual calamities (4 No. 110 amp hr leisure batteries had to be changed, split hose of the water pressurised system) but on an old boat you expect some such. Enjoyed being at the Trad Rally at Henley for three days, swimming with the dogs most days etc. Sad to see yet more "No Mooring" signs, but we coped. I'm not sure it was reported on here, but Caversham broke down on Sunday, hence empty moorings at Pangbourne mid morning on Monday & huge queues going up river at Caversham at lunchtime (on Monday). The Wallingford town moorings were 50% empty both ways midday ish so my wife got a good walk around the town which she wanted. Tempted to go again!

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