British Waterways is calling on all course anglers to help make the waterways network safer. Launched in October 2004 British Waterways' Visitor Incident Report Form has become essential in helping members of the public to report any incident, accident or â€˜near miss', including anti-social behaviour on its network. This information allows British Waterways to address areas of concern and present data to third parties to encourage assistance in tackling problems, particularly where anti-social behaviour plays a part.
To date boating customers have accounted for the majority of returned forms but now British Waterways is appealing to individual anglers and angling club members to contribute any reports of incidents, accidents and near misses on its property.
Anglers accounted for almost five million of the 300-million annual waterway visits in 2005 and Peter Wade, British Waterways' Visitor Safety Advisor, believes their eyes and ears can provide a valuable mechanism for making waterways even safer places for anglers to visit and enjoy.
â€œEach year the vast majority of people have a safe and enjoyable experience on our waterways. Should an incident or accident occur, it is paramount that we quickly find out as much as possible in order for the issue to be investigated and any necessary actions taken. Information submitted to us is investigated to establish the cause of the problem and, where appropriate, minimise the risk of it happening again by taking actionâ€.
British Waterways, in close partnership with some police forces, local authorities and voluntary organisations has undertaken improvement schemes following user feed-back. They include lighting installation, increased patrolling by police in â€˜hot spots', CCTV cameras, street wardens and the fencing-off and elimination of areas where anti-social behaviour has been reported.
The Freepost forms are available from British Waterways' offices or online at www.britishwaterways.co.uk/incidents where the form can be instantly submitted electronically.
For those without internet access or constantly on the move, forms can be obtained by making a quick call to British Waterways' Customer Service Centre on 01923 201120.