Friday, 2 April 2010

The BW reply

I got frustrated with BW a few weeks ago after they phoned and asked me to move my boat again so another boat could squeeze into the Hunts moorings.

I was doubly frustrated when I said I wanted to think about the request and then my boat was moved. It transpired that the reason why the other boat was put onto my mooring was due to a mess up with the BW mooring system.

I raised a FOI request for information on mooring reduction policy by BW as at Hunts despite the largest marina in the country being less than 15 miles away we were still getting boats squeezed in.

The reply is below - make of it what you will. I have blanked out the ladies name of the boat who came to be my neighbour. I have no problem with this lady - she is very nice and after all is a boater who has not been treated very well by BW.

My thinking is that BW do not care too much for boaters. In fact I'm sure they would rather the canals all be like the Cromford canal - can fish, can walk, can cycle - all minimum costs to maintain but those dam boaters that mean BW have to maintain the workings of the canal - we are the problem.

I do however respect BW for their procedures and the fact they followed up the complaint - top marks to them for that.

I do not agree I said I would move my boat. I phoned Sandie and left her a message on her voice mail to the effect I wanted more time to consider the request.

The reply....

Dear Mr Wells

Further to our telephone conversation last week, I have now received the information I needed from Sandie to formally respond to your complaint. I appreciate and thank you for your understanding on the phone.

I think you have two concerns: (1) that your boat was moved without your consent within the site at Fradley and (2) that you have questions about the implementation of our online mooring reduction policy.

(1) The boat move: here is Sandie’s account of what happened:

“Back in November, before the reorganisational changes were in full effect, our previous local officer advertised a vacancy for auction at the Fradley linear site. The details uploaded on the website were a straight copy from a previous one at the site. This was an error because the berth available was at a completely different part of the site and none of the wording in the advertisement applied. Unaware of this, the successful bidder completed the paperwork, paid for the berth and when I met her at the site for the Meet and Greet was extremely unhappy.

I therefore spent much time and effort trying to sort a suitable alternative. We agreed that the craft would moor temporarily on the visitor moorings at the site. The first option offered sadly was too shallow and the craft could not get on to the mooring. The second option was acceptable but three craft at the alternative site would have to close up slightly (approximately 6 feet) for ******** boat to get in.

Becky contacted all the moorers to explain. Mr Wells was not happy at having to move the 6 feet required so I phoned him myself to explain to situation. He was still not happy but agreed to move his craft that very weekend.

I explained to ***** what was happening and then I went on annual leave.

When ****** returned to the site after a week being in Dry Dock, only one craft had moved. Mr Wells craft and another had remained in their original positions.

******* by this time (3 months on) moved the 2 craft herself. I have since spoken to ****** and told her she shouldn’t have moved them but understood she was extremely frustrated at the time. Mr Wells then made the complaint that his craft had been moved.”

The relevant clause in your mooring agreement is as follows:

This Agreement allows you to moor the Boat at the Mooring
Site. It does not give you the right to a particular Mooring or
berth. Where a berth or particular Mooring is specified, you
nevertheless agree we may ask you to move the Boat or give
us authority to move it a reasonable distance to ensure best
use of the water space available at the Mooring Site.

Technically, it appears we were at fault in not closing the final details of the move of you boat by the small distance to make space for ******** boat so that ********** took matters into her own hands. I apologise for this oversight on our part.

2. Implementation of our online mooring policy: I hope this response will also answer your FOI request.

Details of the online policy are published at and our latest half yearly report is listed for download at I believe however that you might already be aware of this material.

I think you are raising more practical questions of how we actually make the decisions on which berths to close, so I’m pasting below the decision criteria that we ask our local manager to use to reach their conclusions. Applying the scoring is obviously a balance of judgment, and whilst I believe in general that we’re getting it about right, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement. I’ve recently developed a computer based model to help our local managers which is just about to go into testing phase.

I hope that this response is helpful and satisfactory, but if you would like the matter to be investigated further under our formal complaints procedure (see please register this request with Sarina (her address below).

With kind regards

Sally Ash
Head of Boating
01923 201229 / 07710 175448
64 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1DA
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1 comment:

Chris said...

Hi there,

I propose that you have now formally clarified matters regarding the movement of your boat. The T/C’s are such that BW is entitled to move your boat for you. Be sure that they will eventually do this. I say eventually because I believe that BW (be it tacit or otherwise) has a policy whereby they will, unless they perceive a dire emergency, contact you and ask you to move it first. I propose that this approach is not driven by any desire on BW’s part to be ‘polite’ – moreover, it lessens the risk to BW and any apportioning of blame on BW should there be any damage incurred to your boat, or they cause an incident with another boater, etc. whilst effecting the move. In this instance, matters have worked out in their favour. I can understand your frustration and that of ******.

I trust that you are going to pursue the woefully incomplete response from Sally Ash regarding the closure of on-line moorings, including how BW accounts for the figures they are claiming? I wonder if her “computer based model” will be based upon the criteria in this table simply presented in the form of an MSExcel spreadsheet with an embedded macro that has been set up to assist the ‘mathematically challenged’. I for one would like to see some auditable evidence that showed exactly how the criteria in this table have actually been applied to the Hunts Lock mooring.

Cheers, Chris.