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Thread: Rights to navigate inland river in the rest of the world

  1. #1
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    Default Rights to navigate inland river in the rest of the world

    In the UK outside Scotland, there is disgreement over the existence of a legal right for the public to navigate on inland rivers, and calls from some quarters for strict control on any access that is allowed.

    The purpose of this thread is to document and compare what the position is in other countries around the world, so if you are living in a country and know what their position is, please contribute. Please also say if there are restrictions on that right, and why.

    A comparison can then be made.

    Brevan
    Brevan,
    The truth (about Rights of Navigation) is out there
    Romsey, Hampshire
    Twitter: BrevanM
    Follow my blog at http://riveraccessrights.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
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    Default

    We can paddle anywhere we want to on "Navigable Waters", which means anything you can float a boat on. Obviously, shoreline property owners can prohibit you from accessing the water by going over their land, but once you're on the water, you're good-to-go. The only issue that I know of that has arisen is where there is an obstruction, e.g. a dam, and the courts have held that you don't have a 'right' to portage around it on private land if the owner objects. That only happens where the obstruction is private tho',( which almost never is the case) coz if it's public, then the land at either end is usually public too. At least, enuf to be able to walk around the obstruction.

    Oh yeah, I'm in Ontario, Canada.

  3. #3
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    Default France

    Just googled France river access and found French-property.com.

    Basically ownership of the river bank/bed is the same as in England however the water is not owned and to quote the above site " all water is public property, in the sense that it belongs to no one and everyone!

    This implies that anyone is permitted to navigate down a stretch of river, whether public or private, but they are not entitled to make use of the riverbank itself."

  4. #4
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    Come on!!
    Calling all you overseas paddlers.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  5. #5
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    Default French rivers

    Quote Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
    Just googled France river access and found French-property.com.

    Basically ownership of the river bank/bed is the same as in England however the water is not owned and to quote the above site " all water is public property, in the sense that it belongs to no one and everyone!

    This implies that anyone is permitted to navigate down a stretch of river, whether public or private, but they are not entitled to make use of the riverbank itself."
    That's my understanding, in principle. According to several local people, though, owners of riverside properties must supply public access along the bank (footpath) of min. one metre wide, unless there is less than a metre between a building and the river.

    I don't know if it's true, or whether it only applies in towns/villages. If true (and it seems to be in our village) public right of access along a river would seem to be guaranteed in law.

    dave

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Perry View Post
    Come on!!
    Calling all you overseas paddlers.
    Too many threads asking a similar question of late! Here's what I posted in another thread (don't think I've had to quote myself before) just yesterday: "A lot of the rivers banks are public reserve here in Oz and most farmers are pretty obliging. But I've noticed a couple of popular put-ins in Southern Tasmania have been fenced off recently. I'd like to give the landowners the benefit of the doubt and say they're getting worried about public liability. But the fact that an increasing number of other landowners are formalising public river access with tracks, stiles, and signage of late indicates that they're just being "

    My crude understanding is that the situation in Australia is pretty the same as what Sk8r describes above for Canada.

  7. #7
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    In the Netherlands you seem to able to paddle on the big rivers ie navigations without problems. Some of the smaller, interesting rivers require you to have permits and are also regulated about which period of the year you can paddle them. For the smaller rivers (eg Dinkel, Dommel, Zwalm, Niers) you have to get a permit from the appropriate authority (water authority or council) - not one simple system!
    And of course it goes without saying that you get in and out at places with public right of access.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paddler.nl View Post
    Some of the smaller, interesting rivers require you to have permits and are also regulated about which period of the year you can paddle them. For the smaller rivers (eg Dinkel, Dommel, Zwalm, Niers) you have to get a permit from the appropriate authority (water authority or council) - not one simple system!
    I presume the regulation is for environmental/ecological/conservation reasons?
    Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!

  9. #9
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    I presume the regulation is for environmental/ecological/conservation reasons?
    Yep, that's right which is fine. In Belgium there are also lots of restrictions but they have been introduced mainly because the angling / fishing community is a very strong lobby group. Also, especially in Belgium since the introduction of plastic boats, the number of rental companies increased over the years which put pressure on the use of the rivers and hence introduction of restrictions.

  10. #10
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    Default more from the netherlands

    Quote Originally Posted by paddler.nl View Post
    In the Netherlands you seem to able to paddle on the big rivers ie navigations without problems.
    i think this part is important: "you seem to able to paddle". in fact, apart from (often seasonal) bans for environmental reasons you encounter almost no difficulties here when paddling. therefore, i haven't even found it necessary to look up exact regulations. seems like its the same for other paddlers over here.

    in fact, i'm aware of some restrictions that apply for commercially used waterways:
    you're not allowed use unpowered craft in the commercial ports (ijmuiden and amsterdam, presumably also rotterdam and others). you are not allowed to paddel along some of the larger, commercial canals (e.g. amsterdam-rhine canal). you are allowed to cross them, however.
    in practice, these rules are handled very lightly, though. i think they are just used by the police to pull people off the water if they don't seem to know what they are doing. as long as you seem in control and respect the general traffic rules they don't bother you. i have experienced this as i paddle these 'forbidden zones' to reach my usual paddling spots, often in plain sight of the police and occasionally even chatting with them.

    private landownership only applies to the land and has no direct effect on navigability. unless the water is enclosed by the land in which case you can't access it without crossing private land which you would need permission for which is kind of evident.

    in 5 years i have not experienced any animosity here from people on the bank, be it anglers, farmers, or people sitting in their garden.

  11. #11
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    Bacon sarnie anyone ?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilf_williams View Post
    As Simon has been saying we need a map like that for England and Wales... 4% blue and 96% red... someone must have tame techie or son or daughter with the computer smarts to do that...
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


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  14. #14
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    Default On the back page of Midi Libre today

    There is often a little item on the back page of our local newspaper which deals with French Law and day to day life.

    Today, just above the vox-pop "Will you be watching the wedding of Kate and William?" (17% Yes, 80% No, 3% Not Sure) it's about river footpaths:

    Q: Can a landowner prevent people from passing along the bank of a river which crosses his land? In other words, is there a public right to walk along a river?

    A: There are two kinds of river: "domainiaux" water courses, which belong to the State; and private rivers, the beds of which belong to the riparian owners.

    When a private river crosses private ground and the bed belongs to the owner of the land, there is usually no obligation to maintain a path along the bank. There is nothing to stop the proprietor from closing access with a gate. However, the owner may not obstruct the passage of boats, or forbid bathing (my italics) but swimmers cannot use the banks without permission.

    If the water course which crosses the land is "domanial", the riparian owner is obliged to maintain, on each bank, a path 3.25 metres wide, called "servitude de marchpied" (right of way?), designated for the use of pedestrians.

    Good, eh?

    dave
    Last edited by Aero; 29th-April-2011 at 10:19 AM.

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