For over forty years the Club has campaigned for the interests of boaters in general, and historic boats in particular. Additionally it has acted to preserve aspects of waterways heritage which were specific to the needs of historic craft in their working context.
In the early 1970's British Waterways (BW) introduced a scheme of registration plates for boats. These were to be permanently fixed either side of the bow. After representations from the HNBOC, alternative fixing sites were agreed in a more traditional place on the rear cabin sides.
The HNBOC supplied evidence for, and made representations to, the Fraenkel Committee set up to investigate BWs funding and maintenance backlog. These particularly related to navigable dimensions for craft on different waterways at the time of the 1968 Transport Act and to which BW are now bound to adhere or improve upon.
Early representations were made concerning paddle gear and spindle sizes as after implementation, new problems were found. BW have admitted there is still a safety problem and are slowly taking corrective action to ensure that only the correct sized windlass can be used.
A satisfactory solution to questions raised concerning steam powered craft in tunnels has been found and a code of practice produced in conjunction with the Steam Boat Association.
A 10% licence discount has been agreed with BW for historic craft. This has yet to be properly implemented and further concessions on moorings and additional formats for licences are being sought.
The Club has long campaigned for recognition of a need for available moorings, of typically 14 days, for craft which are weekended round the system. This has now been accepted and BW are additionally obliged to have a mix of mooring types where more stringent measures are in place.
Boat Safety Scheme The present Boat Safety Scheme was borne out the former Certificate of Compliance scheme which was applied, by British Waterways, to hire craft in the late 1970's - always with the proviso that a similar scheme would eventually be implemented for all craft. At that time the HNBOC made certain representations - some of which were included as exemptions in the first drafts (ca 1990) of the present scheme. The HNBOC has supported throughout the principle of such a scheme, although has frequently disagreed with BW on the necessity for and content of much of the present detail. Since 1992 frequent consultations have taken place and an increasing number of issues resolved.
The Club persuaded the Port of London Authority to relax their requirement that craft over 20m long should have VHF radio from the passage from Brentford to Teddington.
On the Leicester Section of the GU, pressure from the Club resulted in gate paddles being fitted to all new top gates.
The Club initiated a campaign which resulted in BW’s then chairman, George Greener, agreeing to work towards the modification of all lock structures so that they would be capable of passing a 7’ wide boat.
The Club was the first to donate to the David Suchet Appeal to overcome obstacles caused by the construction of the M6 Toll road, and has continued to support the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration.
Unfortunately, the 1930s coal chutes at Smethwick were not saved, but English Heritage had already advised that they were beyond repair. Nevertheless BW undertook to employ a specialist architectural recorder to photograph the site before demolition and to collate documents about the chutes.