Mike Pritchard

From the Tiller

Mike Pritchard

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a comparatively dry and warm time. Although at the time of writing this I haven’t heard of any of our members being caught up in the floods – and hope that no news is good news – realistically, just as I personally know of people who have been affected, that must also be the case for some of you. I can speak for all of us who haven’t been directly involved, I am sure. Our thoughts are with you and we hope that not only does the weather improve, but that all of you are able to get back to normal as soon as possible.

With the holidays intervening we have had a little less business than usual. We have had – as you will see in other reports – some good news about some residential planning issues. Unsurprisingly, the Environment Agency have announced that they are appealing the last decision against them on those in marinas directly leading onto EA navigations being liable for EA charges. That appeal is likely to happen in January, and the result of that will be published on the website as soon as we know the outcome.

We are working towards the website becoming more useful on an everyday basis, by putting on information quickly, so that wherever you are you can check up on things like stoppages easily and by giving you links which will let you get through the electronic systems to where you wish to be, easily and quickly. If you think that a particular link could be useful to fellow boaters, and it is not already there, please let us know.

I am very pleased to be able to say that your new Committee seems to be settling in efficiently. We actually had a query sent to us very late on Christmas day, and it was sorted out within 24 hours. That’s volunteers for you. Even amidst the mince pies and decorations, three people did their bit. Thanks to all of you. As the Chair, one cannot ask more of Committee members.

With most of 2016 ahead of us, it is now time to think about what we are going to do this year. The shipping order is – as usual – rather longer than one would wish, but most of it is achievable, especially with the help of you, our members, getting stuck in in all the different ways that you do. We are continuing to work on the problems being experienced by our members in relation to licensing; legal position of residential status; and rights regarding contracts, developers trying to ride roughshod over individuals and even whole groups, etc.
Some of you are really good at telling us what is going on, others really good at sorting something out when it happens, others take great photos which our Editor really appreciates. All of you actually have something to offer, and it would be really nice if you found the bit that you are good at and did it for the RBOA at least once this year. Being a totally voluntary organisation, we all are the movers and shakers. With things like extreme weather and legal pressure on residential boaters increasing, we need to work together. So your New Years
Resolution could be “I will do at least one thing this year for my fellow RBOA members.” Mine is to do at least one more thing than I had intended to do.

With the days lengthening, we can soon start to think seriously about where we will be going in our boats this year. Some of you may already have planned that out fully. Whatever you intend to do – have a safe journey and have fun.

Mike Pritchard