Boat that had been lived in by a homeless man is lifted out of the river at March
PUBLISHED: 11:45 18 July 2018
A boat that has been lived on by a homeless man in March has been hoisted out of the River Nene and put into storage along with his possessions.
Middle Level Commissioners lifted the boat, named Heidi, out of the water this morning (July 18) after hearing the man has moved south leaving his goods behind in the Fens.
Lorna McShane, solicitor and assistant clerk at Middle Level, said: “It was reported to us that all of his personal belongings had been spread on the river bank so we went down to investigate.
“We have been told that he has gone down south so we decided to take the boat out of the water and store it for three months along with his things.
“This was his home, it is not just a pleasure boat, so it is important we take care of it and hold it for a reasonable period.
“We tried to move it but the keel was down and stuck in the mud which is why we had to carry this out at the bridge.
“It is our busiest time of the year for cutting grass and for tourist boat traffic. The boat was causing an obstruction.”
The area where the boat had been tied up was not an official mooring, Ms McShane added, as those are on the other side of the river at the foot of the Ship Public Inn and opposite the Acre.
Fenland District Council allow tourists to stay on those town centre moorings for 36 hours for free, soon to change to 48 hours.
After that a fixed penalty notice will be served.
Middle Level is the fourth largest waterways authority in Britain and is watching as their bill, to modernise laws on our local waterways, works its way through Parliament.
The laws in place at the moment are outdated and hark back to a time when people used boats in the Fens for transporting goods.
“We need to get the waterways laws into the modern age,” Ms McShane said.
The updates will include having to register with Middle Level Commissioners before you can take your boat onto the water so that your boat can be checked for safety and insurance certificate.
“The new legislation will bring us up to date with the rest of the country,” MsMcShane said.