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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Making a complaint about boat services

Britain's waterways are managed by British Waterways, the Broads Authority, the Environment Agency, local councils and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Find out who to complain to about a waterway or a service.

Complaining about boat services

Each company will have its own complaints procedure. However, as a general rule, if your complaint cannot be dealt with immediately, you should write to the company concerned as soon as possible.

British Waterways

British Waterways is responsible for over half of Britain's inland waterways. It licenses the craft that use the waterways and looks after services and facilities, including towpaths, reservoirs and buildings.

It is often possible to resolve a complaint by contacting one of the British Waterways staff directly. However, if your complaint is serious or you feel you have not been dealt with satisfactorily, British Waterways has a two-step complaints procedure.

First you should write to the general manager of the waterway concerned. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can write to the central external relations team. They will ensure your complaint is dealt with by someone who does not have direct line management responsibility for the waterway in question.

The Broads Authority

The Broads Authority has responsibility for conservation, planning, recreation and waterways in the Norfolk Broads.

If your complaint concerns a waterway or proposed development managed by the Broads Authority, you should call or write to the Broads Authority.

If you are not satisfied, you can start a formal complaints procedure. When this happens, a director reviews your complaint and decides whether it should be upheld.

If you still feel your complaint has not been properly addressed, you can take it to the Chief Executive. They will review it impartially, possibly with help from the Monitoring Officer or a relevant committee. The Chief Executive's decision to uphold or not uphold a complaint is final.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency

For complaints about maritime safety or the marine environment in UK waters, you should call or write to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

If you're not satisfied with the response, you can write to the customer care manager at the appropriate regional office or the headquarters in Southampton. If this still does not produce a satisfactory answer, you can write to the MCA's Chief Executive.

Other waterways

If a waterway is not run by the organisations above, you should write to the general manager of the authority that manages your waterway. If you are unsure who this is, contact your local council for more information.

Taking the matter further

If, after following all the relevant procedures, you are still dissatisfied, you can contact the Waterways Ombudsman for complaints about British Waterways.

For complaints about the Broads Authority and other waterways, contact the Local Government Ombudsman. They can investigate any complaints of maladministration by the authority involved. The Ombudsman will tell you whether it can investigate your complaint and may contact you for further information. Once the report is finished you will receive a copy of the findings.

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