Authorised personnel

Inland paddling
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Paulus
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Authorised personnel

Post by Paulus » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:39 pm

Hi

New to the forum and fairly new to kayaking.

I have a question that no-one I have spoken to seems able to answer. I have emailed the BCU and they haven't replied.

On the back of the BCU Waterways Licence card it states that I have to show authorised personnel on request that I have the Waterways Licence. All well and good, but who exactly is authorised? I have been given vague answers of EA officers, Canals and River Trust folk, police, etc. I have no idea who etc. refers to.

Secondly, what proof of authorisation do any of these people have that they can show me i.e. documentation? A uniformed police officer is obvious, but the others aren't. If anyone does demand to see my licence then I will first ask for their proof of authorisation. If they refuse then I will just smile politely and carry on paddling. In my experience, there are a lot of jobsworths out there who think they have some authority (experience in other areas, not kayaking I hasten to add).

Don't want to cause any aggravation which could reflect on other paddlers, just to know where I stand.

Thanks in advance.

Paul

Chris Bolton
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:06 pm

The people who you would show it to are those in control of the waterway you're using. If you look on the BC Licencing page, the waterways are listed under headings like Canal & River Trust, Broads Authority, etc - so whichever is relevant. I can't see that Police would be relevant; not having the correct licence would be trespass, which is a civil wrong not a criminal offence.

On any waterway which isn't on the BC list, the licence is irrelevant. For example, on natural rivers (as opposed to artificially built or enhanced waterways) most paddlers believe we have right of navigation, and most anglers and some riparian owners think we don't (see riveraccessforall.co.uk). On some lakes, such as Windermere, there's a statutory right of navigation, but others, such as Bassenthwaite, are private and you need a specific licence.

Mal Grey
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Mal Grey » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:46 pm

As Chris says, its likely to be folk who work for C&RT or EA.

The real situation is that in thousands of days paddling, the only people who've asked to see my licence have been Thames Lock Keepers, and even then, only on a few rare occasions. In that situation, its obvious they have a right to ask. Anybody else asking, you have the right to question their authority, just do it in a friendly "sorry to seem dumb but who are you" type of way.

Chris Bolton
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:19 pm

That's a good point, Mal. In 37 years, I have once been asked, by a British Waterways (now C&RT) employee. I told him I was a BC member and offered to show him my membership card - he didn't want to see it, him asking and me saying it was all he needed.

O2b
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by O2b » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:15 pm

I have used this site as a watching brief, to see what it might be like as a community, when I can afford to begin sea kayaking. I was impatient to start training and I still am. However, the delay has given me the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from some articles in the archives.
Especially one in particular. Check out one with the title ''A special kind of freedom.''
It gave me the best insight that I could have wished for.
I hope you agree Paul.

Jim

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Jim
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Jim » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:14 pm

If anyone asks to see your license, politely insist that they show you their official ID first. Obviously you won't know what such a thing actually looks like, but if they are genuine they will have an ID and should see that it is a sensible security precaution for them to identify themselves first, if they are just some chancer, they won't have an ID and will probably be argumentative.

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Strad
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Strad » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:26 am

Years ago had someone in EA clothing ask me for my licence telling me I should have my licence on my boat on the Medway (I'm thinking 1987 or so), I told them that was completely impractical as I had multiple boats, not been asked once since then.
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
Graham Stradling

Paulus
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Paulus » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:35 am

Thanks everyone. More information in your replies than from anyone else.

I notice from other posts that the "anglers vs paddlers" argument has been going on for some time and I suspect that some anglers may be the ones who may do the asking for a licence if, as has been mentioned, anyone does.

I will take the advice to ask, in a dumb sort of way, "who are you?" if asked. If no ID is forthcoming and the other person gets argumentative then I will just smile and paddle away. Unless they resort to throwing stuff at me or jumping into the water to try and catch me (good luck with that) then what can they do?

02b - best way to start is to join a club. I live inland and have joined two local kayak clubs. Excellent instruction, taster sessions to see if you like it, don't need your own kayak as they have ones you can use at a minimal (£3-5 depending on whether a member or not) and it's relatively cheap to join. I don't really know but maybe there are sea-based equivalents but at least one of the local clubs has sea kayaks and go off for coastal trips. Also, I can recommend Plas Menai centre for training. Not exactly cheap but my wife and I went on a two-day sea kayak training course for seniors and it was excellent. Hope you get onto the water soon.

Paulus
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Re: Authorised personnel

Post by Paulus » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:38 am

Mal

Looked at your link at the bottom of your post. Superb! Just what my wife and I needed. Thanks for all the hard work in putting that together.

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