Canal and River Trust (CRT) do sometimes get people’s sighting data wrong. The first thing you should do is get all the sighting data that CRT have of your boat. To do this email the following email address to request your sighting data: Aileen.O’Connor@canalrivertrust.org.uk. Here is a template letter Request sighting data. To understand what CRT sightings mean, use this link:
If CRT has got your sighting of overstay wrong, then email them saying they have got it wrong and show them the evidience that they are wrong. Here is a template letter Sighting data is wrong.Evidence can include the following but are not necessary exclusive to:
Log book of where your boat was
Dated pictures of your boat in an area
GPS of your boat
Receipts from local shops
Tube/train tickets from the local area
CRT might have your overstay right but you might have been reasonably overstaying. The British Waterways Act 1995 states that a boat without a home mooring must not stay longer than 14 days unless reasonable. Therefore, you could have overstayed and it might have been reasonable. What is reasonable is up for argument. However, there are some reasons that are considered reasonable, here is some the NBTA know about:
illness/disable/pregnancy that effects you moving your boat
boat is broken down
adverse weather conditions
you would have disturb a bird’s nest if you moved
canal or river works that prevent you moving
First establish the time period CRT is saying you overstayed. Ask CRT for your sighting data, email email@example.com as above.
Secondly have a look at the reasons above and see if they fit into your overstay. If so, you can argue that you were reasonably overstaying. However, if you have overstayed more than 14 days in one place and you are unable to prove your overstay is reasonable then you don’t have a good case to stop CRT restricting your licence or refusing you a licence. This is because the law clearly states you must not stay in one place longer than 14 days.
Thirdly, if you believe your overstay is reasonable, then you need to find evidence to prove your overstay was reasonable. Evidence can be different depending on the type of reason of overstaying.
For illness/disable/pregnancy that effects you moving your boat, get a letter from your doctor saying how your illness/disability/pregnancy that effects you moving your boat and that it was unsafe to move at the time of the overstay. Write description of how your illness/disability/pregnancy makes it more difficult for you to comply with the 14days rule. Then send a copy to enforcement (list of email addresses are on the NBTA London website) and welfare officer firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information click here https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/full-advice-sheet-for-disabled-elderly-and-pregnant-boaters/.
If the overstay was because your boat was broken down, write down when it first broke down, for how long and what was wrong with it. Evidence can include; receipts of work done or/and parts, also pictures of the work being done, email communication between you and work person or shops you bought the parts from. If the work is slowed down due to lack of funds, show CRT a copy of your bank account and how much the parts or labour cost. This might show that you were not able to get the work done sooner.
Adverse weather conditions can be proved by using the Met Office weather reports but pictures of your boat in the flood, wind, ice etc. can also help.
It is a criminal offence to intentionally damage a bird’s nest and anyone doing so could be fined or even jailed under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. Therefore, if you know that moving your boat will damage a bird’s nest before you move and you still move your boat and damage the nest, you are breaking the law. This means it is reasonable reason not move if it would damage the nest. You must wait until the nest is no longer in use. If your overstay is because of that, then having a dated picture of the bird on its nest is evidence. Send the picture with an email explaining the situation to CRT.
If the reasonable reason is the canal or river works prevent you from moving then send them the proof. CRT sometimes puts details of its works on its website, https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/ . Have a look on there and send information to the enforcement officer you’re dealing with. Also, you can contact the email@example.com if they had works on at the point you believe they had works on. Forward the email they send back to you to the enforcement officer you’re dealing with.
CRT might take it more seriously if you make a formal complaint. Also if your complaint goes far enough in the complaints procedure then it will go to the ‘independent’ Waterways Ombudsman. Click here for a template complaint letter Level 1 Complaint_Restricted licence. And here is CRT’s complaint procedure https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/making-a-complaint
And here is a help sheet for writing complains.
If you would like any help with any of this, you can contact a caseworker by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07974298958.