Friday, 21 September 2012

A narrowboat licensing nightmare! ;o(

We were about to pay Canals and Rivers Trust, for our canals and rivers license, we were relieved that, as our butty is over 50 foot, it qualified for a half price license :-

Freyja 55 foot motor    £769.21 p.a.
Christina 53 foot butty £369 p.a.
              Total               £1138.21

We were sure we'd seen that this covered the river Nen(e), while looking for an abloy key ( to operate EA locks) we realised that we needed an EA license for our river Nen(e) marina moorings. Should we get a gold license? A gold license would be £1004 per boat (no butty discount) so would cost a whopping £2008 and would expire in December! So could we get a temporary CaRT license to get us down through the canal system to the Nen(e) and then get an EA license for a year?

Having rung CaRT, I have found three options :-

30 day rover (We'd need a current EA license and the 30 days can be used anytime over a year) :-

Freyja 55 foot motor £168.67
Christina 53 foot butty £162.90 (butty discount not applicable)
Total £331.57

One month temporary pass (We'd need a current EA license and it lasts one calendar month)

Freyja £125.41
Christina £121.07 (butty discount not applicable)
Total £246.48

3 month long term (Needed if we didn't have a current EA license)

Freyja £369.23
Christina £177.38 (butty discount applies)
Total £546.61
Plus keys £11.00

So that's our three options to get us down to the river Nen(e), for which we need an EA license, back to the phone, watch this space..........

Phew, I phoned the Environment Agency and found that the costs were as follows :-

For Freyja £788.97 p.a. but as the EA licence runs April - March and 6 months have gone, there's a 50% discount so :-
£394.49 for the remainder of the season

Christina caused much scratching of heads, no-one knew how much it should be, as she doesn't fall into any of their categories.
Eventually, Stuart Gingell, a licensing expert was consulted and he said that she qualified for a 50% discount for an un-powered butty so :-
£394.49 but as 6 months have past a further 50% discount
£197.25 until March 2013
Total to EA £591.74
Plus CaRT £146.48
Plus CaRt keys £11
Plus EA key £10

Grand Total £759.22  to get our pair down through the canal system and license them both  for Environment Agency waters until the end of March 2013

We have been told that as an unpowered craft we could pay category 12 for the butty, a mere £32 p.a.! But EA say that they are aware that people have been allowed to do this in the past, 'due to a mistake' but that they have been telling people that they have to pay 50% of the normal fee.

So we are are paying as a tender, bear in mind, that the EA definition of a tender is a powered craft carried on, or towed behind the registered vessel. So not the definition of our butty. Quote :-

A 50% discount is available for a tender, when registered at
the same time as the ‘parent’ vessel. Tenders are subject to the
appropriate navigation charges, but the registration number
issued will be the same as the ‘parent’ vessel. We define a
tender as a small powered boat or dinghy, towed or carried by
another vessel.

There is also a cheaper category for a a boat over 5m long, powered by an engine of no more than 4hp, this is category 31 and costs £130.54 p.a.
We have an outboard in our butty, and next year we will use this category to bring our costs down a bit.