Today I completed the final stage of my training as a volunteer mooring warden on the Lancaster Canal for CRT.
I met the enforcement officer at the Lancaster moorings who then took me to the other sites on my patch at Hest Bank, Carnforth and Tewitfield. At each site I was shown the area covered by the mooring restrictions and also given some interesting background information as to why things are as they are, why changes have been made and what other changes are planned.
It's not part of the job, but I was also shown how to interpret some of the numbers that appear on licence discs and which allow patrol staff to determine a boat's home mooring and whether it's a "continuous cruiser ". This was interesting as it appears that CC status has been granted to some boats so small and ill-equipped that you wouldn't want to spend a week on them, let alone forever.
It was also clear that the enforcement team know their patch very well and were already aware of the over-staying boats we encountered.
The hardest part of the exercise came later at home, when I tried to get to grips with the software to input my sightings to CRT's database. The instructions I'd been given didn't match what was happening on the screen, but I got there in the end and I reckon that eventually I should be able to input as I go along via my smartphone as long as I have an Internet connection.
Still, I seem to have passed the test, and can start monitoring next week. I have to agree days in advance with the enforcement team to avoid duplication, although because I live so close to the Lancaster site I can have that to myself and come and go as I please.