Putting safety first

Canal Boat - - Letters -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle in this month’s Canal Boat ( July 17), I couldn’t help but make the fol­low­ing ob­ser­va­tions:

Page 43 - photo of a boat tied to a bol­lard with the cap­tion ‘Never tie off moor­ing lines in locks’. Good ad­vice, un­der most cir­cum­stances.

Page 42 - photo of the boat Peggy – proudly stat­ing Helms­man Train­ing – with the cen­tre­line tied to the ad­ja­cent bol­lard, ob­vi­ously go­ing up­hill and start­ing to list sig­nif­i­cantly, due to the line not be­ing slack­ened off and no one in the vicin­ity. More im­por­tantly, the ‘steerer in charge’ is look­ing the other way, not even look­ing at what’s hap­pen­ing to the boat! Amus­ingly, the text says ‘the helms­man will nor­mally be the first to spot that the boat isn’t sit­ting cor­rectly’. Clearly not in this case.

It’s also not a great idea to have the cabin doors open when go­ing up­hill in locks. The flow from gate pad­dles has been known to flood the front well deck. With the doors shut, the deck should just drain. With the doors open, you can eas­ily flood the boat. Most of the ad­vice given in this ar­ti­cle is good, but sin­gle-handed boat­ing is brushed off and then goes on to say that there is no real need to use lines in nar­row locks. Go­ing down­hill, that may be true. But go­ing up­hill, you can save a lot of china and glass­ware by se­cur­ing a 15m cen­tre­line to the strap­ping post.

This line pre­vents the boat mov­ing back­wards and con­se­quently, the in­evitable surge for­wards. I even turn my en­gine off when go­ing up­hill in locks.

By do­ing this, on a re­cent trip, I reckon to have saved over four hours’ en­gine run­ning time, not to men­tion all the revving, fumes and wear on the gear­box and drive plate. The few mo­ments it takes to se­cure the line is gained back, be­cause the pad­dles can be opened more quickly with­out risk­ing dam­age to the boat.

If you are go­ing to de­liver best prac­tice ad­vice, you should make sure the con­tent is be­ing de­liv­ered cor­rectly.

PAUL STRUTT, via email

Ed says: Thanks for your good ob­ser­va­tions and sug­ges­tions, Paul. The pho­to­graphs were de­signed to il­lus­trate var­i­ous points.

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