Continuous Cruiser (CCer) is a class of licence fees on the inland waterways of the United Kingdom. It also refers to the boats and owners who have such a licence, but some people restrict this usage to boaters who "genuinely" cruise continuously (see below).
Definition of Continuous Cruising
The licence gets its name because it applies only to boats which are "continuously cruising" on the waterway network. The reason such a classification is important (and contested) is that a boat claiming CC status need not obtain a (paid-for) home mooring. Officially-recognised moorings attract both a mooring fee and a licence fee element: a boater who is exploring the network full-time and therefore has no need of a permanent base, is not required to have a permanent mooring. With no permanent mooring to declare, they must make a binding declaration to abide by the rules for continuous cruisers.
"Real" and other Continuous Cruisers
The Canal and River Trust (CRT) defines a continuous cruiser as a boat which is always on the move (subject to a maximum stay of 14 days in any one location) and making "reasonable progress" (limited backtracking and reasonable journey lengths) between successive moorings. Anyone genuinely touring the network has little difficulty meeting these criteria, except when travelling conditions are poor or when canals are "stopped" (and exceptions are allowed for these circumstances). Controversially, the Trust recommends that a boater who keeps a log of their trip is less likely to have problems justifying their CC credentials.
However, there are people who do not wish to move their boat far (either to avoid the cost of fuel, or to keep their boat within an area from which they can travel to work) - and yet cannot get (or do not wish to pay for) an official mooring in their area. Some of these people will risk not getting a licence altogether (and risk having their boat removed). If, however, they wish to legitimise their boat with a licence, they must claim CC status. Because of their need to make journeys long enough to justify the terms of their licence (or at least to avoid coming to the attention of local officials), but short enough to keep them near their desired location, people based in one area but with a CC licence are often referred to as "bridge-hoppers" or "continuous moorers".
Prior to 1995, all boats on the canal system were required to have a permanent base for their boat, known as a home mooring. Some boaters used the system 'continuously', living on their boat as they travelled around the country, stopping in any one place for only a limited time and thus not wanting a permanent mooring. Such boaters resented having to declare a mooring, because they had to then pay a marina owner for services they had no intention of using, and therefore subsidise boaters who actually moored there. British Waterways recognised this argument in 1995 when they first allowed genuine "continuous cruisers" to apply for a licence without declaring a home mooring.
The licence fee paid depends only on boat size. For example a 57 ft narrowboat pays £855 whether the boater declares a home mooring or not. However, someone paying for a licence but not declaring a home mooring has to sign a declaration that they will abide by the guidelines for CCing.
The Continuous Cruising Guidelines give 14 days as a maximum period for any boat to stay in any one place; the British Waterways Act 1995 section 17(3)(c)(ii) states "without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances." Examples of "reasonable circumstances" for remaining in one place for more than 14 days could include the closure of a section of canal, the canal being iced over completely, illness, bereavement or, under certain circumstances, mechanical difficulties with the boat in question.
On 23 July 2013 The Court of Appeal granted permission to Nick Brown for a Judicial Review of the Canal & River Trust’s 2011 Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring. Lord Justice Jackson said in his judgement that the issue of whether the 2011 Guidance accurately sets out the powers of CRT and the restrictions on licence holders arising from Section 17 (3) (c) (ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 merits pursuit in Judicial Review.
- History of the British canal system
- Inland Waterways Association
- National Association of Boat Owners (NABO)
- Working Narrow Boat Hadar A continual cruising working narrow boat
- "British Waterways Act 1995".
- "BW continuous cruising guidelines". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- "Judicial review of mooring guidance to go ahead".