Yachting Boating World: The Canal & River Trust has announced that a survey amongst boaters has shown demand for pre-bookable moorings on London’s waterways.
It is now trialling pre-bookable, short-stay mooring spots at Rembrandt Gardens, where the Regent’s Canal meets the Paddington Arm.
The trust carried out a survey over the summer as part of work towards its mooring strategy for the capital.
It found that perceived pressure on mooring space was putting some boaters off visiting London.
Of the 27% of respondents who hadn’t visited the capital by boat, 85% said it was because they weren’t certain they’d find a place to moor.
Those who took part in the survey also wanted an increased range of mooring options, with 59% of all respondents saying they’d consider paying for a reserved mooring.
Of the 1,400 boaters surveyed, 73% had visited London by boat, of which 45% had visited in 2016 and 18% in 2015. 10% had visited before 2010.
Most visiting boaters moored on general towpath moorings (64%) or visitor moorings (63%), with 14% stopping on paid private moorings.
59% of respondents said they would consider paying for a reserved mooring, with most boaters saying they’d pay £10 a night.
One of the most important aspects of cruising into central London was security.Having a safe and secure place to moor was important to 92% of respondents, while having a guaranteed place to moor was important to 74%. 63% wanted to moor close to local services, attractions or transport links, while 50% thought it was important to moor close to boat facilities.
The boating strategy & engagement manager at the trust, Matthew Symonds, said he was pleased that boaters got in touch to share their views, both positive and negative, of boating in London.
“Our job is to manage the finite space on the canals so that all boaters have a fair chance of finding somewhere to moor up, and in popular places like parts of London this becomes even more important,” he explained.
“It looks like being able to guarantee a mooring spot will give many boaters peace of mind and encourage them to visit. Taking this into account we’re planning to trial pre-bookable short-stay mooring spots at Rembrandt Gardens which will begin later in the year. We will be announcing more details soon,” he continued.
Symonds said the trust had also received a lot of feedback on how to improve boating in London.
“It’s no surprise to see that boaters want to see more facilities, and we’re doing what we can to find suitable places to put them. Boaters also want to see more mooring spaces and rings and we’ve worked hard to get funding to install around 3, 500 metres of rings over the past two years, creating or improving around 195 mooring spots,” he explained.
“We will continue looking for opportunities like this. Also high on the list were requests to reduce overstaying and better enforcement of the rules. We’re going through the comments carefully and they will prove really useful in the development of our wider London mooring strategy, which seeks to meet the needs of boaters and others who enjoy these historic, popular waterways,” concluded Symonds.
The survey ran from 30 June to 26 August, 2016.
The Canal and River Trust will also be carrying out further engagement work including surveys of boaters and other stakeholders in London over the coming months to help inform the wider London mooring strategy.
Yachting Boating World: Boaters are being encouraged to check if the waterway they want to cruise over winter is open as the Canal & River Trust publishes its winter maintenance schedule.
It has just published its maintenance list for the season, to ensure boaters have plenty of time to plan their cruises during the colder months.
Some of the work may require the closure of waterways or towpaths.
As this involves boaters and other towpath users, the trust says it has consulted with these two groups.
It adds that the final list, which lists 229 towpath and navigation closures and navigation restrictions, takes into account two rounds of feedback.
The head of boating at the Canal & River Trust, Mike Grimes, said: “The work we carry out every winter lies at the heart of our maintenance programme and ensures that the waterways are kept as shipshape as possible.”
“We know that closures can affect boaters’ plans and so we’ve listened and incorporated boaters’ comments into our final list,” he continued.
“If you are a boater and you’re thinking of taking advantage of cruising over the traditionally quieter – and often stunning – winter season, do take a look at the programme to make sure your chosen route will be open,” advised Grimes.
Every year, the Canal & River Trust spends millions of pounds on essential work to repair the wear and tear on the waterways it runs.