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Rebotco

Thames licence fees

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Can anyone advise if the EA class a narrowboat as a "houseboat" or a "launch" for the river Thames west of Oxford?

Their distinction is ambiguous, but their rates are not!

Edited by Rebotco

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Thank you all.

That's about the first unanimous opinion I've ever seen on here!!😃

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I agree too but here's a bit more detail...

Not just west of Oxford, EA "registration" rules apply on all their water i.e. from the PLA boundary just below Teddington, all the way up to Lechlade, plus the last little bit of the Kennet at Reading including Blakes Lock. You pay at the first EA lock you come to where someone's on duty.

I think any powered leisure boat counts as a launch, and charges vary according to whether you buy a "day", week, month or year. Within that you pay by area in square metres, defined as length x beam, and the charge gets bigger according to what bracket your "area" falls into. You get two window stickers showing the expiry date, one for each side of your boat. No extra charge for air draught, but taller boats, or anyone who hasn't taken their chimney down,  will have a real problem at Osney bridge in Oxford. Get that wrong and you'll feel "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year"!

If you are a commercial vessel carrying cargo (e.g. the NBT), very different rules apply (toll tickets based on weight of cargo and miles), and many of the lockkeepers don't fully understand how to issue them because there is not a lot of cargo carrying on the non tidal river. I have no idea what happens for the commercial passenger vessels, e.g. the big trip boats which operate at Windsor, but no doubt they have their own separate scale of charges.

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12 hours ago, Rebotco said:

Can anyone advise if the EA class a narrowboat as a "houseboat" or a "launch" for the river Thames west of Oxford?

Their distinction is ambiguous, but their rates are not!

Why the doubt?

 

"Definition - ‘Launches’ includes any mechanically propelled vessel not being used solely as a tug or for the carriage of goods."

 

"Definition - ‘Houseboat’ includes any pleasure boat which is not a launch and which is decked or otherwise structurally covered in and which is or is capable of being used as a place of habitation (whether by day and night or the one or the other) or as a place for accommodating or receiving persons for purposes of shelter, recreation, entertainment or refreshment or of witnessing regattas or other events or as club premises or as offices or as a kitchen pantry or store place."

 

From https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-thames-boat-registration-charges/river-thames-boat-registration-charges-1-january-2020-to-31-december-2020

 

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3 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Why the doubt?

 

"Definition - ‘Launches’ includes any mechanically propelled vessel not being used solely as a tug or for the carriage of goods."

 

"Definition - ‘Houseboat’ includes any pleasure boat which is not a launch and which is decked or otherwise structurally covered in and which is or is capable of being used as a place of habitation (whether by day and night or the one or the other) or as a place for accommodating or receiving persons for purposes of shelter, recreation, entertainment or refreshment or of witnessing regattas or other events or as club premises or as offices or as a kitchen pantry or store place."

 

From https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-thames-boat-registration-charges/river-thames-boat-registration-charges-1-january-2020-to-31-december-2020

 

 

I can see the confusion.

 

Other definitions of 'houseboat' include such things as :

Permanently connected services

Permanently connected to land

Not capable of proplulsion

 

But a narrowboat would seem to fit the EA definition of a 'houseboat'

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52 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

But a narrowboat would seem to fit the EA definition of a 'houseboat'

Apart from where it says "not a launch" - perhaps it would be better if they changed this wording to "not mechanically propelled" as I think that's what they actually mean here?

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1 minute ago, phantom_iv said:

Apart from where it says "not a launch" - perhaps it would be better if they changed this wording to "not mechanically propelled" as I think that's what they actually mean here?

Agreed it currently reads as any 'powered' vessel (including houseboats) except a tug etc....... is a 'launch'.

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4 minutes ago, phantom_iv said:

Apart from where it says "not a launch" - perhaps it would be better if they changed this wording to "not mechanically propelled" as I think that's what they actually mean here?

Yes, if it is mechanically propelled it can't be a houseboat.  I guess this definition of hosueboat is mainly to distinguish between an unpowered boat (eg rowing boat, kayak, dinghy) that moves, and one that is static.  I would have hoped "witnessing a regatta" would count as "entertainment", but maybe for some it is more of a tedious obligation,

Edited by Scholar Gypsy

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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I can see the confusion.

 

Other definitions of 'houseboat' include such things as :

Permanently connected services

Permanently connected to land

Not capable of proplulsion

 

But those other things don't matter.

By definition a houseboat 'is not a launch'. So if the boat meets the definition of a launch, it cannot be a houseboat.

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11 hours ago, Peter X said:

I agree too but here's a bit more detail...

Not just west of Oxford, EA "registration" rules apply on all their water i.e. from the PLA boundary just below Teddington, all the way up to Lechlade, plus the last little bit of the Kennet at Reading including Blakes Lock. You pay at the first EA lock you come to where someone's on duty.

I think any powered leisure boat counts as a launch, and charges vary according to whether you buy a "day", week, month or year. Within that you pay by area in square metres, defined as length x beam, and the charge gets bigger according to what bracket your "area" falls into. You get two window stickers showing the expiry date, one for each side of your boat. No extra charge for air draught, but taller boats, or anyone who hasn't taken their chimney down,  will have a real problem at Osney bridge in Oxford. Get that wrong and you'll feel "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year"!

If you are a commercial vessel carrying cargo (e.g. the NBT), very different rules apply (toll tickets based on weight of cargo and miles), and many of the lockkeepers don't fully understand how to issue them because there is not a lot of cargo carrying on the non tidal river. I have no idea what happens for the commercial passenger vessels, e.g. the big trip boats which operate at Windsor, but no doubt they have their own separate scale of charges.

Normally true but on our short excursion earlier in the year between lockdown 1 and lockdown 2 the lock keepers were not taking payments and suggesting phoning. Alas the telephone service did not work at weekends whilst we were there! No-one seemed terribly worried!

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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

Why the doubt?

 

"Definition - ‘Launches’ includes any mechanically propelled vessel not being used solely as a tug or for the carriage of goods."

 

"Definition - ‘Houseboat’ includes any pleasure boat which is not a launch and which is decked or otherwise structurally covered in and which is or is capable of being used as a place of habitation (whether by day and night or the one or the other) or as a place for accommodating or receiving persons for purposes of shelter, recreation, entertainment or refreshment or of witnessing regattas or other events or as club premises or as offices or as a kitchen pantry or store place."

 

From https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/river-thames-boat-registration-charges/river-thames-boat-registration-charges-1-january-2020-to-31-december-2020

 

It does only say that Launches INCLUDES any mech......... In other words there might be other things which re not mechanically propelled but which could fall within their definition of being a launch. It's the sort of definition where they don't want to tie themselves down too tightly.

Edited by Tam & Di

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43 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

Normally true but on our short excursion earlier in the year between lockdown 1 and lockdown 2 the lock keepers were not taking payments and suggesting phoning. Alas the telephone service did not work at weekends whilst we were there! No-one seemed terribly worried!

They seemed to have got on top of that by the time we were on the Thames in September.  The entry point locks sermed to be issuing visitor licences.

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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

But those other things don't matter.

By definition a houseboat 'is not a launch'. So if the boat meets the definition of a launch, it cannot be a houseboat.

By the quoted definition, a narrowboat could equally be a houseboat.

So how do we know which of the two has priority?

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6 minutes ago, Rebotco said:

By the quoted definition, a narrowboat could equally be a houseboat.

So how do we know which of the two has priority?

That was my thoughts and hence post #8

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4 minutes ago, Rebotco said:

By the quoted definition, a narrowboat could equally be a houseboat.

So how do we know which of the two has priority?

No it can't.

 

In order to be a 'houseboat' it has to be a 'pleasure boat' and meet two further criteria: it has to be 'not a launch' and 'decked or otherwise structurally covered...'.

 

You narrowboat meets the 'pleasure boat' requirement, but does not meet the 'not a launch' test, so the fact that it might comply with the 'decked or...' test is irrelevant.

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1 minute ago, David Mack said:

No it can't.

 

In order to be a 'houseboat' it has to be a 'pleasure boat' and meet two further criteria: it has to be 'not a launch' and 'decked or otherwise structurally covered...'.

 

You narrowboat meets the 'pleasure boat' requirement, but does not meet the 'not a launch' test, so the fact that it might comply with the 'decked or...' test is irrelevant.

I think I'm 'getting there' So, a houseboat with an engine is a launch ?

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10 minutes ago, Rebotco said:

By the quoted definition, a narrowboat could equally be a houseboat.

So how do we know which of the two has priority?

 

The definition of a houseboat excludes launches, so the definition of a launch must have priority. 

 

A narrowboat that isn't mechanically propelled (doesn't have an engine/motor) might be considered a houseboat under some circumstances, but it's not guaranteed. 

 

CRT consider a butty to be a powered craft as it's usually towed by a powered boat, but I don't know if the EA do the same.

 

 

7 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I think I'm 'getting there' So, a houseboat with an engine is a launch ?

Yes.

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On 22/11/2020 at 22:57, Peter X said:

I agree too but here's a bit more detail...

Not just west of Oxford, EA "registration" rules apply on all their water i.e. from the PLA boundary just below Teddington, all the way up to Lechlade, plus the last little bit of the Kennet at Reading including Blakes Lock. You pay at the first EA lock you come to where someone's on duty.

I think any powered leisure boat counts as a launch, and charges vary according to whether you buy a "day", week, month or year. Within that you pay by area in square metres, defined as length x beam, and the charge gets bigger according to what bracket your "area" falls into. You get two window stickers showing the expiry date, one for each side of your boat. No extra charge for air draught, but taller boats, or anyone who hasn't taken their chimney down,  will have a real problem at Osney bridge in Oxford. Get that wrong and you'll feel "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year"!

If you are a commercial vessel carrying cargo (e.g. the NBT), very different rules apply (toll tickets based on weight of cargo and miles), and many of the lockkeepers don't fully understand how to issue them because there is not a lot of cargo carrying on the non tidal river. I have no idea what happens for the commercial passenger vessels, e.g. the big trip boats which operate at Windsor, but no doubt they have their own separate scale of charges.

When we were on the Thames in September last year you only got one window sticker and were asked to place it so it was visable from the front. Apparently this was because some people had taken to giving one of their stickers to their mates so their mates didn't have to buy a licence. As a by the by on the River Wey we only got one sticker too.

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8 hours ago, Alway Swilby said:

When we were on the Thames in September last year you only got one window sticker and were asked to place it so it was visable from the front. Apparently this was because some people had taken to giving one of their stickers to their mates so their mates didn't have to buy a licence. As a by the by on the River Wey we only got one sticker too.

We had that two years ago as well, with the same explanation.  This year we did not need one as have a Gold licence.

 

The Warwickshire Avon you only get one visitor licence as well, but they say just put it in one side.  I reality the only checking there is probably as you go on and come off.

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5 hours ago, john6767 said:

The Warwickshire Avon you only get one visitor licence as well, but they say just put it in one side.  I reality the only checking there is probably as you go on and come off.

 

We got checked more than that last July John.  They were checking for valid licences as well as boat names when mooring us up at the festival sites, and some of the patrol boats were ambling over to view the displayed sticker.

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12 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

We got checked more than that last July John.  They were checking for valid licences as well as boat names when mooring us up at the festival sites, and some of the patrol boats were ambling over to view the displayed sticker.

At the festivals, true. The festival licence is specific to the festivals that you have booked and is a different colour to the normal visitor licence.  But never seen any ANT staff or volunteers about on the river, other than cutting grass at locks. 

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Just now, john6767 said:

At the festivals, true. The festival licence is specific to the festivals that you have booked and is a different colour to the normal visitor licence.  But never seen any ANT staff or volunteers about on the river, other than cutting grass at locks. 

 

Ah, OK.  It's the only time we've been on ANT water, so I wouldn't know.

 

The patrol boats were mooching around at Evesham and Tewkesbury on weekdays when I spotted them.

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