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How We Do Things


Aims and objectives:

To own and use the boat co-operatively for members to have non-sexist, non-racist, non-ageist, non-etc.,
enjoyable holidays on the canals.

This page covers the following items, and is a summary of decisions taken at meetings over the years:


There are 12 shares, each costing £1,650 per share (a one-off payment). Shares may be revalued in accordance with valuations of the boat, less the value of any debts owed by the cooperative.

1 vote per share
2 named people per share maximum

Applicants are nominated by at least two existing members. They have to accept responsibilities, agree with the spirit of the rules and collective ownership and take an active part in all aspects of running the co-operative. New members are encouraged to attend a co-op meeting as soon as possible after being admitted to membership.

Members wishing to sell their shares form a queue, as do potential purchasers. The treasurer is keeper of the queues. The place in the queue is determined by the date the treasurer was informed that the person wanted to sell or buy. The seller receives what we get from the buyer less any debts owed by the seller.

New members and approved users must undergo an induction and/or training session, taking into account their boating experience, before being in charge of the boat.

Each owner of a full share against which only one owner's name appears may nominate one 'approved user'. Approved users are able to book the boat, making private arrangements with the member about payment, and are welcome at meetings. The nominating member is responsible for the actions of the approved user and for instructing them in the use of the boat.

As of 2017 there are also two shares that are each owned by two people independently - 'shared shares'. The co-operative is committed to reducing the number of shared shares and not creating any new ones. Ideally when a shared share becomes available it will be bought by an existing shared share. If this is not possible then it will be held as vacant until a further shared share becomes available for sale.

Members can be expelled by a vote of 2/3 of the members

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Bookings for the year can be made from the spring meeting onwards but only once the member has paid the year's fixed charge plus any debts from the previous year. Provisional bookings may be made from 1 January but have to be confirmed at the spring meeting.

Each member has the combination for the boat padlock.

The boat must be in the charge of a member or approved user at all times. 'Sub-letting' is not allowed, even if the boat is not moved. Each share is entitled to at least 2 weeks' use during the year plus (at short notice) any time the boat is free, subject to other members having their entitlement met. During the busy summer months members are only entitled to book one week initially, but may book a second if there is an available slot. If two members want the same week then they will have to negotiate between themselves to resolve the clash. If they are unable to do so then the bookings person will decide by whatever means they think fit.

Week long bookings take priority over part week bookings. Members unable to use a booking should notify the bookings person as soon as possible.

The bookings person will notify the treasurer of weeks booked before each meeting, to facilitate charging.

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Using the Boat

Jemima's handbook has more detailed advice on mooring, mechanics and maintenance.

The co-operative has no power to dictate the boat's route. It is, however, a co operative and members are urged to be reasonable and co-operate with each other as far as possible. Particular consideration should be given to the following boater's experience and the more challenging sections of the canal system. Additionally, the boat needs to return each year to its winter mooring in good time and to avoid being trapped by winter stoppages. To this end, the bookings person should consult with and advise those members who have bookings towards the end of the summer. Members should also make themselves aware of any stoppages in order to plan their route accordingly.

The log: JD's story and diary, should be filled in, daily if possible. The log should include who is on board and daily engine oil levels. Engine running hours, gearbox oil levels and battery voltages should be recorded at the end of each trip. Any mechanical problems and maintenance done should also be recorded.

While using the boat members can spend up to £50 on the boat without reference back. Over this amount, they must check with the treasurer or maintenance person, currently Sue and Richard respectively. Mooring fees up to £25 per week can be paid without reference back where there are doubts about the boat's security. Otherwise the boat should be left in a safe place: near other boats and moored securely, taking into account how long the boat will have to stay there and needs of the next user.

Environmentally friendly products (washing-up liquid, etc) should be used.

Users should replace things if they are used up (e.g. bottled gas), lost (e.g. windlasses) or broken (e.g. crockery).

Members should endeavour at all times to leave the boat as they would wish to find it. Please clean up, remove perishable goods, replace lost or broken items, report any faults to the maintenance person, make sure there's enough diesel/gas/coal/... etc. The cardinal sin of the co-op is to leave the toilet unemptied if it has any significant contents. A sufficiently dreadful punishment for this omission has yet to be decided but it will be memorable!

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Handing Over

Handover day is Saturday, but this may be varied by negotiation between the two people concerned. Handover should be in person if possible, mainly so that the departing boater can be helped to get back to their car/station by the arriving boater. The departing user should phone the next user (and the bookings person if possible) to say where the boat is and arrange when and where the changeover will be. Members should remember to check for up to date contact details before embarking on their voyage. Members should ensure that their up-to-date contact details are on the website at all times, by notifying the webmaster when their details change, and update the list on the boat as soon as they can.

There is also a 'handover sheet' on the boat that the departing user should fill in. This gives the new user information about the boat's condition, for example when the water, gas and diesel were last replenished. It also enables the departing user to record any work that needs to be done.

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Finance and Administration

The licence is in the name of Jemima D Narrowboat Co-operative. The address is that of the treasurer. Insurance is the responsibility of the treasurer. The co-op has an account with NatWest. The treasurer is the current signatory. All financial transactions are done through the treasurer. Cheques are payable to Jemima D Narrowboat Co-operative.

There is an annual fixed charge, currently £540 per share. This is intended to cover the fixed running costs of the boat. In order to pay for any maintenance over the winter months this is usually paid in two instalments, half at the autumn meeting, or at the latest by 1st January, and the remainder by the spring meeting, or at the latest by 1st April. Once a share has been put up for sale if the member does not wish to use the boat in the meantime the annual charge is reduced by a half or, if not paid before the share is sold, by a third.

Members who have not paid their annual charge by the end of the year will need to give their reasons to the treasurer. If the debt equals two years' annual subs then they will be considered to have left the co-operative.

There is also a charge for using the boat, currently £50 a week, £30 per weekend, £30 for midweek, or £10 per day midweek.

Members are responsible for informing the treasurer of any expenditure prior to the next meeting. Significant expenditure (over £10) should be accompanied by receipts. These costs are added up by the treasurer and, taking into account any charges for using the boat, the resulting debits and credits for the members are carried forward to the next year or paid to/reclaimed from the treasurer.

Travel expenses to meetings and food costs at meetings are not normally reimbursed. People who travel specifically to do agreed work on the boat may be reimbursed their travel costs if appropriate.

Expenditure arising from a member's negligence is to be borne by the member.

All members should inform the co-op as soon as possible of any change in their contact details. They should continue to do this after they have notified the co-op of their intention to leave, up to the time when their share has been refunded.

The treasurer makes a financial report to each meeting.

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There is a website, which has public and private areas. The private areas are restricted to co-op members who will be given a password to allow access. There is also an e-mail mailing list which enables conversations amongst members about the boat or other matters.

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All tasks in connection with owning the boat are shared equally as far as possible. There are two meetings a year, one before the main 'season' starts (March/April) and one after it finishes (October/November). The meetings take place at a member's home or the boat, and the host member is responsible for sending out documents in advance: agenda, directions for how to get to the venue and any other papers that may be needed. There are five 'officers' - treasurer, bookings person, maintenance person, engine person and webmaster - who are appointed each year at the spring meeting.

Voting is by a majority of shares present, except in cases of expulsion or changes to these rules when 2/3 of full membership is required.

The quorum is the number of people who turn up for a meeting but major decisions cannot be made without advance notice and decisions involving large amounts of expenditure or disposing of the boat require a quorum of half the membership plus one.

All documents will be circulated by email.

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Routine and running maintenance is done by users and co-ordinated by the maintenance person. There is an annual engine overhaul during the winter. The autumn meeting decides the extent of this work and who will do it. Winter maintenance is done so as to ensure that Jemima-D starts each season in the best possible condition to minimise the possibility of members losing their holiday time because of faults.

Any maintenance, repairs, work by third parties, decoration, improvements etc. at any time must be confirmed in advance with the maintenance person. Anything likely to affect the next users (eg fresh paint) also should be checked with them before going ahead.

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Updated: Oct 22