Sunday, 12 August 2012

Making the Most of Moorings

I'm thinking of starting a MMM campaign for landowners and Parish Councils to Make The Most of your Mooring places.  Why? Because I've recently noticed in the Middle Levels and The Nene that moorings are too few, and in several places they exist but are not signposted. This seems odd to me.
Naturally, as a boater, I'm keen to see more moorings, but I don't understand why, where there is a clear stretch of waterfront, the owner doesn't either bang in a few stakes and invite a contribution or offer the stretch to a boater for a longer term in exchange for a fee and a commitment to keep the grass down and not leave a mess.
There are several possible reasons for this, I imagine. For a longer term arrangement there's the risk that, once the boat is in place, it's impossible to get it to move on. This seems to have happened at Isleham where a liveaboard took over a GOBA mooring and simply refused to leave. In the end GOBA withdrew and the incident soured relationships and lost everyone a mooring.
On the other hand, between the signs saying Private, No Mooring, there are several lengths of bank where a simple sign says ...
This one is at Fotheringhay on the Nene, where I assume the beautiful view of the church entices boats into overnight mooring and they feel it is worth the small fee. Fine if there are also free moorings not too far away.
In these cases there is a cost, of keeping the grass down, and a risk I suppose that someone could damage their boat or themselves then blame the land owner. But I'd hope that more boaters mooring would translate into more business for nearby pubs and that the small print on the sign could absolve them of any responsibility. At Reach there is a fierce sign by the Parish Council, who could have left space for several more boats and worked in cooperation with the excellent local pub.
At Thorpe Meadow there is a fantastic mooring but no sign to it, even though the mooring is directly opposite the popular pub, The Boathouse.
So, all praise to The Great Ouse Boating Association (GOBA) who have worked tirelessly to track down and maintain suitable moorings on the Ouse. For a tiny annual subscription you too can enjoy these 48 hour moorings. So, who will do the same for the River Nene? I can't fathom what The Association of Nene River Clubs actually does in the way of moorings. Perhaps readers can help me?

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