Other peo­ple’s mis­takes

Canal Boat - - Letters -

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.”

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