This policy statement sets out The Inland Waterways Association’s views on 'continuous cruising'.
Some boaters do not have a home mooring but are designated as continuous cruisers, with many of them travelling widely across the network in a progressive journey. For many years there were no significant issues associated with this but in recent years there has been an increase in the numbers of people living on boats without a home mooring, and sometimes staying within a small geographic area. When coupled with the general increase in boating and a historic lack of enforcement of mooring rules this has caused difficulties at designated visitor moorings in some areas.
IWA supports the rights of boaters to cruise the system without being required to have a home mooring, and indeed supported and promoted the 'continuous cruising' concept when it was introduced. IWA recognises the benefits that continuous cruising can bring to the inland waterways, for instance by encouraging boaters to cruise to lesser used waterways and to cruise out of the main holiday season.
IWA recognises the difficulties created when large numbers of boaters wish, for whatever reason, to stay within a small area, putting pressure on services generally provided for occasional navigating boaters. In such cases it is necessary to limit the length of stays within such areas.
The solution requires a clear definition of the rules and strong enforcement action. IWA believes that difficulties in some areas have been exacerbated by a lack of enforcement by navigation authorities and that those who have enjoyed this way of life without interference need to be treated sensibly and considerately in any tightening and enforcement of the rules.
IWA is concerned that in areas where there is not yet a problem, monitoring should be carried out and enforcement instigated in advance of congestion occurring. IWA supports a proactive approach by navigation authorities to provide a range of affordable moorings for those who would prefer to take this option up.
Mooring rules are usually covered in the licence conditions and associated guidance notes set out by each navigation authority. Enforcement of these rules has to be carried out by the navigation authority and/or relevant landowner. IWA welcomes the progress that Canal & River Trust has made to restate and enforce their licencing rules in a sensible and sensitive way for the benefit of all waterways users. IWA will continue to support this policy and encourage it to be progressively extended.