Speedy dam­age

Canal Boat - - Letters - ROB PEAR­SON, via email

THIS IS A timely re­minder about the dangers of speed­ing past moored boats – and es­pe­cially boats that are in the process of moor­ing.

In June, we were moor­ing up at the end of the vis­i­tor moor­ings above Fradley Locks on the Trent & Mersey. A boat was just ex­it­ing the top lock, but he had the lock land­ing and five moored boats to pass be­fore he got to us. I was along the gun­wale with the cen­tre line about to step off, but the boat that had come out of the lock had ab­so­lutely gunned it and came past us at very high speed.

Our boat’s stern was sucked out into the cut, our tiller swung out to star­board and caught on his roof rails – he made ab­so­lutely no at­tempt to slow, merely swore pro­fusely, and barged past us off up the canal.

The re­sult was that our tiller arm and swan-neck were very badly twisted and bent, and our stern had con­tin­ued to be sucked over to the off­side in his wake, and was firmly aground.

The boat was a very dis­tinc­tive style and, thanks to friends on social me­dia, we tracked its course and a friend took photographs – in­clud­ing the li­cence disc, which had ex­pired in May.

A friend also over­heard the steerer, who was ap­par­ently de­liv­er­ing the boat for some­one, ad­mit to his cus­tomer that he had hit a nar­row­boat and bent its tiller, but did not stop be­cause “I didn’t want to get in­volved with in­sur­ance”!

Thanks to the staff at Streethay Wharf, we man­aged to get the swan neck more-or-less straight­ened, but the rud­der bot­tom bear­ing is ob­vi­ously dam­aged and our boat will have to be taken out of wa­ter for re­pair.

We con­tacted Canal & River Trust’s cus­tomer ser­vices and asked that he was re­ported to en­force­ment of­fi­cers. They said they could trace the owner from the li­cence doc­u­ment num­ber in the pho­to­graph and pass that in­for­ma­tion on to our in­sur­ers, so we have a faint hope that we will re­gain our ex­cess and no claims bonus. 5.30am. Qual­ity morn­ing time spent by the canal #price­less

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