Other people’s mistakes
IN THE AFTERMATH of July’s terrible accident on the Droitwich Canal (when a man died on his sinking narrowboat) it got me thinking about what can be done to prevent such incidents in the future.
Yes, I guess it’s a salutary reminder that we all have to be vigilant when on or about the waterways. But for all the reminders there are occasions when we will all miss something or maybe be caught unawares, or forget what happened to some other unfortunate person.
One of the joys of boating is that it is relatively free from rules and regulations and is relatively safe most of the time. If this activity is to retain its freedoms, how can the occasional incidents be avoided?
Well, there probably isn’t any absolute way but it does occur to me that there are, sadly, the occasional deaths and the occasional sinking which we are aware of because we read magazines like Canal Boat. But where can we find information in one place to understand the hazards?
Would it be useful if the Canal & River Trust published a summary page of incidents and their causes on a safety page of their website with particular emphasis on causes? This would create useful briefing or refresher material for hire companies and other waterway users to understand what can go wrong, be it getting caught up on a cill or not having a fire properly serviced.
It is okay saying “be vigilant” but there is nothing like quoting real incidents to make people take notice.
ANDREW COPE, West Midlands
The Canal & River Trust says: “It’s devastating when accidents like this happen. While they are, thankfully, rare we want to make sure that all boaters are up-to-date with the latest safety advice. We send all boaters a link to our online Boater’s Handbook with their licence (and can send hard copies on request), and hire boat companies use it in their handovers. This book is refreshed periodically and any new learnings, from feedback or new best practise advice, is included. “The Boat Safety Scheme, which is a joint initiative between the Trust and the Environment Agency, puts out regular advice and safety messages, including reports of accidents.
“We’d urge any boater to take a look at our resources so they can be aware of the dangers and how to deal with them.”