Thames tideway narrowboat safety concerns
THE PORT OF London Authority is becoming concerned about the number of safety incidents on the Thames tideway through London – a significant proportion of which involve narrowboats and were the result of human error or craft in an unsuitable condition.
A PLA report analysing causes of incidents over a six-month period including summer 2016 blamed human error in 80 percent of cases – subdivided into failure to follow regulations or advice; inappropriate speed; inattention, and misjudgement. Of these incidents, 20 percent involved narrowboats – including two worrying cases of journeys undertaken in unsuitable craft needing to be pumped out by the fire brigade: In rough conditions, a boat took on large amounts of water over the bows. A boat took on water owing to its weedhatch seal not being watertight. As a result, the 2017 Recreational Users Guide to the tidal Thames will include guidance on vessels’ suitability, freeboard and watertight integrity.