... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Dog bites man... BW buggers up licence

So, not news I know, but naturally I have to share my tale of licensing woe. Although actually it's not a tale of woe, because although there have been cock-ups and chaos, everyone I have spoken to at BW has been ever so nice and helpful, and this time, they promise, they really will sort it out...

It started when I went to Fradley to fill in - and pay for - a licence application form. Apparently, in the commodious setting of the visitor centre/ice cream emporium I wrote my bank card number down wrong. Six weeks later, I got a phone call to tell me this, and to take the number down again. That's fine, said the nice young man, the post's just about to go, I'll print off your licence and pop it in the post right now.

A couple of days ago, a long, heavy envelope arrived from BW. Uh-oh, I thought. That feels like new plates... Just what I didn't want. Chertsey already has an index number - 70453 - one of the first to be issued when they were first introduced in the early eighties. 519333 might be a perfectly nice number, but I don't want it, thank you very much. The trouble is, Chertsey was last licensed in 1983, so there's no record of it on BW's computer - although I've talked to other people in similar situations, and they have been successful in getting their old number reissued, so I was hopeful. This isn't the cock-up, by the way; no, this is all quite understandable, if disappointing.

It was when I looked at the licence 'discs' they had sent that I realised something wasn't quite right - they had no craft name on them, no index number, and stated 'no permanent mooring'. If they hadn't been just about as dear as a licence could be, I might have made a tidy profit with them. So I got on the phone straight away (fortunately I had a direct number for the nice young man who'd phoned me up previously) and although he wasn't there, his nice young colleague has promised to sort everything out, and to arrange to reissue the old index number as well. So... watch this space.


  1. For reasons to comples to repeat Fulbourne got issued with a new index number, but we never changed the plates. So for a couple of years we had one number on the index plates and another on the licence. Eventually it all got sorted, and we reverted to the old index number.

    Or so we thought, until a BW patrol man logged the boat by name, checked his records and found that the boat with the new number had not had its licence renewed. When we pointed out that Fulbourne was indeed licenced and that they were using the wrong index number, they asked us if there was another 71ft 6in long boat, built by Harland & Wolff, with a home mooring at Aylesbury Basin, also called Fulbourne....

  2. The irony is that even your 'old' number is higher than that on Tortoise, a mere 30 years old... ;-)

  3. Yes, apparently when they first introduced them (in 1981? 82?) they didn't issue the numbers sequentially, they just had sent a big box of plates to each region so it's pretty random. But Tortoise would have had its number from new, I guess, rather than pre-existing it, so that's pretty special.