The shape of things to come?
LYING ABED ONE Sunday morning, my partner and I were discussing this year’s cruising plans. We let our minds wander around the general subject of boating and realised that our plans were greatly influenced by the likely number of boats on some areas of canals. There are sometimes quite a lot.
You recently included a Boat-builders Annual which listed 20 companies – which represents, I suppose, around half of the available builders. If they averaged over a year three 50-footers each then that adds up to over a mile of boats – each year. Are canals being re-opened or created at that rate?
From there our minds wandered towards the future, and how locks could possibly be operated by your licence smart card which would be valid for x many miles of cruising, determined by when you took out the licence. ( That sort of technology already exists in Ireland, attested to by Timothy West & Prunella Scales in GreatCanalJourneys). With a system like that the Canal & River Trust would be able to tell who had left the paddles open and other details. CRT could also operate an affiliated credit card which could offer ‘canal miles’ instead of cashback or bonus points as rewards (or, of course, any or all of them). The power to operate the locks could come from turbines located in the bywash, perhaps, as well as the national grid.
All of this, if implemented, would entail huge investment so will probably never happen. But... just a few ideas to set some hares running.
nb PeaPod No.1