A cad and a bounder

As some of you may know I have been sailing the duck punt on the Aylesbury arm of the canal system.

I then thought that I would take it for a dip in the Thames which runs fairly close to my house

I had assumed that I would have to pay for a license to anyone who accosted me at the chosen launch place - but the chances are, this being January I would be unlikely to see anyone from the Environment agency outside of the comfort of a portacabin.

After the briefest of exchanges about where to launch the boat on the Thames Forum I realised that I would have to buy a license for the duck punt or be regarded as a waterborne tresspasser and all round bad egg.


So I decided that I would have to find a portacabin and give a man from EA £7.00 for a six day license.

In the end, the thought of spending the first half hour of my alloted sailing time finding an EA man I gave my credit card details to an organisation called Canoe England who have charged me £37 for a year''s license to almost everywhere in in the UK canal and River system.

I have just printed oout my membership details. That is the beginning and end of my relationship with Canoe England.

The £37 is great value - as long as I spend a lot of days this year on the inland system - in a sailing canoe

Tomorrow I will sail for about two hours. I have no idea if I will sail the duck punt again this year on inland water.

Am I cad for taking an unlicensed sail on the Aylesbury Canal in the first place and would I have been a complete bounder for taking the punt for an unlicensed saiil across Port Meadow or along the reaches at Kelsmcott.

Needless to say I always license and third party insure the slug -

it is a big ugly boat with an engine

but it does seem to me that a canoe should be small enough to sllip under the bureaucratic wire. It is the moost minimalist of water craft. What about a wave ski or an inflatable canoe - some of which are excellent. I have seen lots of them being used on the canals and rivers. Do they have to be licensed? Does a lilo need a license?

What does happen to the £37 tomorrows sail is going to cost me

Be gentle with me chaps. I am in a moral dilemma - I ponied up because of peer group pressure. Does this make me a bad and/or weak man




Last edited by dylanwinter; Today at 21:53.

This is about Duck Punt films, Dylan Winter's Blog. Tags: , , ,

8 Responses to “A cad and a bounder”

  1. 30 January, 2012 at 11:20 amTrevor says:

    I trust that no bridges were harmed in the making of this film???
    I don’t think paying the the exorbitant fee makes you any worse than the rest of us who have been induced to kow-tow to grasping officialdom – after all think what it will be like in the summer, picknicking in the sunshine on the canalside. That’s what we’re really paying for!
    Sail on!

  2. 30 January, 2012 at 10:01 pmApplescruffs says:

    It only goes to show…..if you want to get anywhere in a hurry ( 2:34) get a pair of Nike’s (or run the film at x4)….at least it was a jogger that passed you and not an old man walking his dog ! :¬)

    And don’t diss the ‘maggot’ …it looks like you have made more than a decent job of putting it together…respect !


  3. 3 February, 2012 at 12:11 amJulian says:

    When I finished my first sailing dinghy I approached two waterways chaps fixing a fence by a lock. “What is the score with a sailing dinghy on the river, and the license needed” I asked them. they replied that at the weekend the rivers are not patrolled by staff, and in the week no body would pay any heed to such a small craft, it would be assumed it was part of a larger boat. “our work is too much cut out with repairs and maintenance and catching up with big none payers. Now I wouldn’t be happy using my boat without paying the fee but it does go to show how little importance is put on craft such as these. It was an interesting conversation though.

  4. 4 February, 2012 at 10:53 pm[email protected] says:

    This whole thing seems very strange to me, a Yank. I can’t think of a single instance of a license being needed here in Michigan unless it’s to use a private establishment. In that case there would be costs involved in maintaining the place.
    Maybe that’s the case with you guys; all your canals are maintained and that costs money. Over here that doesn’t seem to happen though I’ve heard of other States where almost all land is private and they charge to hunt on it.

  5. 4 February, 2012 at 11:11 pmDylan Winter says:

    most of the rivers I have been sailing on need some maintenance

    generally tidal estuaries in the UK do not require a license – although yo may be asked for harbour dues if you pick up a mooring – some places aks for money for anchoring.

    I think that a canoe should really fall below the size limit. We have a massive youth unemployment problem in the UK. Canoes are the cheapest boats ever. I think that for young people they should not be expected to pay to get afloat

    soak old farts like me by all means…but let the young people get afloat for free


  6. 14 February, 2012 at 6:19 amRay in Keyport: [email protected] says:

    Buying a license to sail a little punt or paddle a canoe or kayak is absurd. You’re paying for permission to be on the water in your own country? Sounds really weird to an American. Do you English have to buy a license to breathe too? You are all born in the UK for crissakes! Who owns the dang canals and rivers and lakes there then, the bureaucrats? Can’t anything be enjoyed for free anymore? A license fee’s a tax! Can’t old John Bull give you guys a break for once!

  7. 19 December, 2016 at 7:41 pmduncan says:

    maybe you worry too much… how about just going ahead and using the water, but be pleasant to anyone who can prove they are kosher , and pay-up if a fee is demanded. Though I did think that would most likely be a scam!

  8. 19 December, 2016 at 9:32 pmdylan winter says:

    That is the way to go – I understand almost no-one asks canoeists for a tag – so I will do just as you say

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