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MAJOR INCIDENTS REQUIRING boats to be rescued from sinking or grounding have almost doubled in the last year, in what inland waterways recovery specialists River Canal Rescue have described as “unprecedented” figures.
The number of ‘major’ rescues (meaning submerged, partially sunken or grounded and needing a full RCR salvage team), has risen to 119 in the year ending 1 November, 2016 from 65 in 2014-15; ‘minor’ rescues are up from 16 to 31.
Incidents handled include:
A weed hatch fault causing a narrowboat to sink rapidly in Fobney Lock on the Kennet & Avon. A sinking resulting from a boat’s bow wedging on lock gates at Stonebridge on the Lee. Four cruisers raised after a major fire at Barton Turns Marina on the Trent & Mersey.
RCR, which has taken on extra staff to cope, lists the major causes as being: boats caught on lock cills; failure to secure wide hatches; navigator error; and failure to keep drain holes clear.
Managing Director Stephanie Horton felt that increased use of the waterways resulting from milder weather (and recent TV coverage of the canals) was “putting additional pressure on us to keep the waterways clear”.