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Horning Ferry Service Ceases

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It is with regret that I have chosen to cease the Horning Ferry service.

This has been a difficult decision, but with new licensing being introduced by the BA coupled with rising (and frankly cripling) tolls costs, the financial viability of the foot ferry service was just not there.

We are in discussion with other interested parties to try and get something running again, but as of this moment, there's no ferry.

I'll let you know if this changes. Many thanks to all those who have used and supported the service.

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The last time I was in Horning, the vehical ferry was taken out of service!!!

I caught the bus to Woodbastwick (I think)and not to Horning....

Was it this one ? :naughty:

post-669-136713898147_thumb.jpg

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Guest DAYTONA-BILL

Very cleverly done that one Strow, but it does look very similar to the ferry that runs across the Dart just above Kingswear and Dartmouth.

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but with new licensing being introduced by the BA coupled with rising (and frankly cripling) tolls costs, the financial viability of the foot ferry service was just not there.

Unfortunately, its all part of the much bigger overall picture :(

I think that ever inceasing Tolls, Marina Charges, and Fuel costs, with sadly push many boaters to their finacial limit, forcing them to give up boating.

Its a lose-lose situation for all concerned. The boater being priced out of the enjoyment of boat ownership, and the BA and Marina owners losing income.

Dave

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I think that ever increasing Tolls, Marina Charges, and Fuel costs, with sadly push many boaters to their finacial limit, causing them to give up boating.

Its a lose-lose situation for all concerned. The boater being priced out of the enjoyment of boat ownership, and the BA and Marina owners losing income.

Dave

That's a theory that has been voiced on the Norfolk Broads Forums many times, but unfortunately, it's not certain to be the outcome, the BA and businesses may still prosper.

Mooring space on the Broads is pretty much a finite resource, so what is more likely to happen is that the area, (and boating here) will move upmarket, and become more the province of the well-heeled punter, as it has done at many Coastal Marinas. The cost of keeping a boat somewhere like Chichester is three times that of the Broads, and that's with free tidal water to use it on.

In my own Marina, every new moorer seems to be in a much higher league than before with their boat and car. £100k+ vessels are now in abundance.

I fear that a lot of us will just get pushed out, rather than marine businesses finding themselves without customers.

Yachting magazines reveal the trend as well. Long gone are useful cheapo DIY tips in Practical Boat Owner, and Light Craft, to be replaced by articles like "where to moor on the Med" and "radar for less than £2000" and such.... :(

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A really interesting post Stowie and not one I totally disagree with, however, whilst I agree that smaller boats are getting replaced by larger, it is also the case that many people, who started on much smaller vessels have invested, borrowed, extended their mortgages and just generally traded themselves into larger craft. I would say that although many of the people i know have between 27 and 45 foot cruisers, I would definitely say that on the whole none are particularly wealthy and rich, but are, totally dedicated to boating as a hobby and spend alot of time working on their boats when not out on them. Sadly from time to time a few of those friends have overstretched themselves a little and have had to take on either second jobs or more work where they can, but apart from the odd one or two, I would totally dispell the myth that they are wealthy.

I think you are 100% right in that mooring is a finite resource. With companies such as NYA carrying on their trade as successfully as they do, many many new people are being introduced to private boat ownership - alot of those have hired previously and just decided they would like to own a boat.

With what looks to be a 'bumper season' for Broads hire companies, I would also like to think that boat sales companies will also enjoy the enthusiasm that often spills over from those holidays, the likes of NYA certainly will as they certainly never seem to prejudge anyone who walks through their door (unlike some companies) and often show customers how they can afford to own their own boat.

The face of business on the Broads may change over time, vessels may get larger - good news for BA as the tolls will increase (gross) providing a larger pot for the future, and also with people upgrading, sales companies will thrive hopefully.

On the other side of the coin, if an owner has a smaller or different size craft and currently has a mooring, then why fear anything? As most marinas have free spaces and value their smaller customers as much as larger - in fact many marinas can make more money from two smaller vessels as opposed to one twice the size!

Broads business seems to be on the up - that can only be a good thing for all concerned, but as has been mentioned in the post above, the face of that business may change and evolve in time. I am sure they were having the same conversation in the 50s as motor cruisers started flourishing, then again in the 60s, 70s and 80s as the hire fleets grew....

Just as a point OT - I am sorry to hear that the service has had to cease, however a business has to remain cost effective regardless..

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All fair comments MLB.

Reading my own post again with hindsight, I did perhaps give the impression of resenting the "well healed".

This was quite wrong, I merely envy some of them, (intensely :naughty: ). No, seriously, as you say for many it is their dedicated interest, as with others like me on a much tighter budget.

The frequent accusation that the BA & Broads based boating businesses will "price themselves out of the market" though, will never happen, IMHO.

The market will insidiously inflate at whatever pace new, and richer punters fill the gaps left by the ones that are priced out, (unfortunately) :( .

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some larger marina's are charging more and targeting a different clientel, but thankfully there are are plenty of cheaper places to keep a boat, just sacrifices such as on site shower blocks and somtimes shore hook ups have to be given up. also many broads residents rent part of their moorings to people with smaller craft.

Its quite a recent thing that alot of boaters want shore power at their moorings, go back a few years and most managed without it. Do you remember when leaving the boat for a long piriod leaving one battery for the bilge pump and taking the other(s) to charge at home, or asking a localengineer/yard to do it for you.

With good batteries and a bottle of gas a boat should be self sufficient.

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In the hope of bringing the thread back on topic, I should say how sorry we are to hear this Andy.

It doesn't surprise me, now that the BA have brought in their new regulatory framework for small passenger boats. This was entirely unnecessary IMO and has, as predicted, resulted in the loss of a perfectly good service.

And plus the tolls are ludicrous when you consider the possible revenue that the service can generate.

Unfortunately the Authority appear to feel the need to regulate anything which isn't already regulated, simply on principle - regardless of whether there is any objective need to regulate it.

I think this is a very sad day. As you know I am a great fan of ferries.

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Thanks, Eddie.

Yes, the tolls are a joke. We would have to carry approaching 400 passengers to just cover the cost of the tolls on what is essentially a public service promoting sustainable tourism which is one of the things that the BA is charged with doing itself. Therefore, to allow (or even cause) the loss of this service seems to be at odds with what the BA should be doing. Also, the boat rarely ever sees any water other than Woods Dyke and the Bure at the Ferry Inn.

The BA was asked to assist with the ferry, primarility with a relaxation of the tolls. I pointed out that the tolls would be lost whether they agreed or not as I wouldn't run the service on the existing rising cost base coupled with the regulation. So, it was a case of losing the service and the tolls or just losing the tolls.

Unfortunately, the BA were unable to help, so it's lost £500 ish in revenue from the tolls and there's no longer a ferry.

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There is a lot of BA 'bashing' elsewhere much unjustified but in this case they clearly have got it wrong.

This should surly be a case where an exception should be granted as it is providing a valuable service, the 'rules' have meant a total loss of toll so I can't figure the rationale.

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I am not sure many of these regulations are new - I thought the Inland Waterways Small Passenger Boat Code always existed and that the BA legislation merely brought it all under one heading rather than it being scattered around in different places.

Tolls are a different issue but they exist everywhere and to be honest, I think BA tolls are no worse than elsewhere - I seem to remember reading on another thread that the Gt Ouse was pretty expensive.

Nonetheless it is a shame that the ferry service has to shut - I suspect that like a lot else around here it is a case of use it or lose it.

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I remember reading on one of the NB Fora about the commercial "workboat" toll on a very large lighter being very cheap, around £20 a year maybe (though my brain and memory cells are rapidly diminishing). It was in connection with the houseboat conversions at Thorpe Island.

Am I remembering that correctly ? It gave me the impression that commercial usage, (rather than hire), did have favorable rates.

I would have thought ferry boat services should be equally favoured, especially when the viability of the Public service is jeopardised.

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There is this one.

Motor Work Boat Toll £78.08

The Motor Work Boat Toll is payable by any vessel, including floating plant, which is:

- used exclusively for the maintenance or dredging of the waterways,

- or is used by bona fide boatyards for the towing or servicing of other vessels,

- or is used by commercial fishermen for servicing or operating nets.

Non-powered workboats/pontoons pay the toll for rowing craft.

Other here http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/boat ... tolls.html

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There's always a lot of BA bashing. For sure, the authoirty has a lot of things that it has to deal with and it seems to want to take on more and more with less and less revenue. I understand much of the rationale but don't agree with much of it either.

The workboat toll is about £70 per year.

The MCA code states that "In CATEGORY A and B WATERS, the skipper should either hold an appropriate qualification or be able to demonstrate to the operator that he/she is competent for the appropriate area."

The BA regulations make it a requirement to hold a certificate.

This really is the thin edge of the wedge as far as I can see. I can let an uncertificated person take a boat out on holiday (with up to 12 passengers on the boat) and they can cruise off for a week without any experience whatsoever. I can also allow an uncertificated member of staff "show out "the boat. BUT, if I let an uncertificated person carry 11 passengers over the river for a fayre, I'm committing an offense.

Now, perhaps I'm blind to some point that eludes me, but where's the logic in this? I am certainly not arguing that everything is brought into line with these regulations, but the balance of probability and, therefore risk, is that out of the 1000 or so hire boats on the Broads, the greater danger is not in that handfull of craft that are skippered vessels but the 1000 novices, some of whom are navigating 8 tonnes of cruiser with little more than 20 minutes professional guidance.

At what point will we have to ensure that all our hand-over staff hold RYA certificates or similar and then the next logical progression is to force the hirers (and private owners) to take courses too.

What other possible future can there be given this silly imbalance of requirements vs experience?

Andy Banner

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Then some of us must think differently - I see nothing wrong at all in expecting professionals to have a qualification. Powerboat Level 2 I believe would suffice and thats fairly easy to achieve.

I can actually see the difference in the circumstances you quote. If you are in charge of a boat and taking fare paying passengers then I don't think it at all silly - if the worst happened and there was an accident, how kindly would a Court look upon any business allowing an unqualified person to be in charge? Whilst an analagous situation may be hiring a minibus, I would certainly expect a driver ,if hired with the vehicle, to be qualified. Its no use saying that that is how its been forever - equally now you raise it, perhaps anyone giving tuition should be qualified too. And perhaps it should be for a minimum time as well. It will never stop people being idiots but it might absolve any yard from being responsible if the handover was incomplete. That has not arisen yet but given society as a whole, it cannot be too far away - sadly!!

I really am sorry that the ferry service has ceased, primarily I guess because of the lack of cost effectiveness, but as a potential passenger ,I would like to think the skipper had some experience and knew what he was doing and could prove he had had training. Yes even on the Broads!!

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Guest DAYTONA-BILL

Although i`ve never used this ferry, i do think it`s sad that the BA have inadvertantly "forced" its withdrawal. What i DO think is a problem is that these days, officialdom seems to value "qualifications" higher than "experience". It`s just a shame the BA can`t quite get a grip on reality, and realise this service has been running for several years (please feel free Andy to correct me) now, with, i believe, a completely unblemished record. And you can`t achieve that without experience. I read somewhere about a couple of yacht delivery skippers who were both killed while trying to deliver customers yachts abroad. The weather turned bad and the two skippers rig the boats for severe weather. They both had the highest qualifications available, but did NOT have one vital thing, and that was EXPERIENCE.

If the BA were to rise above their arrogance and start listening to the public, they may actually learn to make the right decisions.

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If the skippers had the highest qualificatios available, then they must have also had vast experience Niel, you are clearly unaware of the high number of logged hours at sea, passages made, night hours logged, navigational knowlege and the testing required to get those kind of qualification, (indeed just one requirement is a passage of at least 96 continual hours) you seem to hold in such low regard. Paradoxicaly experience is exactly what training and qualifications give you, the experience of your instructor, his of his instructors going back many, many years and is far more than any one person can gain by experience alone. It is almost impossible to gain experience of the kind of situation that results in the loss of a vessel and loss of life for obvious reasons.

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Unfortunately the "skippered passages" may not actually give a measure of the experience, six skippered passages of over 70 miles (I am afraid I only know of the rag and stick side of the qualification chase) can take place in quiet seas and don't really get you ready for a force 8 on a black night in the English Channel.

I can only remember back to, on one trip, being asked by Gary, my normal yacht crew, "Why is it when when we are on watch the skipper is always asleep, but when the other two are on watch he is always with them?"

"Because he trusts us more than them!"

"But they have their own boat!"

This after taking over at 3am in the Irish Sea with the a force 6 blowing and being told to "Forget Penzance, head for Milford Haven the weather ahead is S**T"

The skipper recorded me as "mate" in my RYA log book for that trip...

Gary's show three passages of over 70 miles, including one of 235 miles (Milford Haven to Brixham), and 12 night hours on watch for the trip (Inverness to Gosport). He did pass his "competent crew" course!

If, God forbid, they did go for formal qualifications being required to take a Broads cruiser out, then the Broads hire industry would collapse as there would be no newbies to replace the retirees and I would reckon that 95% of the regular hirers have no qualifications. (But then how many Broads boat OWNERS have any!)

However I do think that expecting a "working" helmsman to have a qualification is not really too much to expect.

My Yacht-master (Coastal) ticket would have to be "commercially endorsed" if I was to want to take paying customers on a yacht in UK waters.

Equally I wouldn't find it too restrictive is they expected that someone instructing newbies in boat handling had some minimal formal qualification.

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What you say is quite correct in theory Martin, however it is difficult to actually get six "quiet" trips, especially of that length, in 40+ years at sea I reckon my "quiet" trips probably amount to around 15% including leisure and commercial bridge. I still consider the qualifications important despite those years of experience ranging from ditch crawling to the open oceans, one thing I conceed is that experience helps interpret and reinforce the training and qualifications. I recall a number of occasions thinking "Ah I see what they mean" when encountering a particular situation. Another is probably "reading the sea" in shoal conditions.

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Some valid points being raised here.

My own view is one of over regulation where, essentially, it is unnecessary IMHO.

All this is due, IMHO, to the litigious society that we have created. In the 1980s, we were looking forward to the paperless office and we now produce more paper than ever in an attempt to cover our backsides should something go wrong. There's another way of saying this; try to prove that it was somebody else's fault.

Competency and experience count for everything. I know schollars with more letters after their name than in it who are as thick as pig muck.

Sure, I can see the arguement for offical training and certification, but I don't have to agree with it. It has it's place and in Category C & D waters, I'd agree that it's essential. In Category A & B waters (such as the Broads) I feel the MCA regs are fine and these say "recommended".

It's not just the introduction of these points that have caused this decison. For the record, we did have ferrymen with RYA certificates, but fewer now due to staff changes.

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Hang on guys - you are all going over the top.

I would suggest that an appropriate qualification such as the RYA Powerboat Level 2 is more than ample and the BA would I suggest accept this as being adequate. Anyone with a pretty basic knowledge of boat handling should be able to manage that and perhaps you should talk to a local RYA examiner to see in the circumstances, what might be involved.

And these are not the BA's new regulations but merely those within the Inland Waterways Small passenger Boat Code which I believe has been in existence for a long time but which have now been adopted by the BA and which will be enforced by them rather than being under the remit of the MCA.

What you might be saying is that the MCA never bothered much!!!! So it is not so much a question of the BA bringing in new regulations, but just taking over the policing and enforcement of conditions for all passenger boats on the Broads - not hire cruisers which are covered elsewhere. Is anyone suggesting they be unregulated?

Not entirely stupid as some would suggest then perhaps?

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RYA level 2 powerboat is acceptable.

Not the point though. I'm running a business that needs to make money in order to pay its staff, bills and so on. I'd have to pay money to get people trained for the RYA certificate and at, say, £150 each, we'd need 3 people trained and that's £450. That's another 200 or so people we need to carry to cover those costs.

When you look at the regulation and the costs of complying, the costs of tolls, insurance, diesel, labour and maintenance, this public service is just not viable.

The regulations are not the only factor in the decision, but they are the straw that broke the camel's back.

I'm still talking with people about possible ways of continuing the service, but finding a solution is proving difficult and I'm getting to the point of viewing the discussions as being a waste of my valuable time that needs to be spent on running and improving my own business. Ultimately, I have to pay wages, bills and put food on my own table and the ferry service is fast slipping down my list of priorities, sadly.

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