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CM81

Vacation: Kid's Safety Question

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21 hours ago, CM81 said:

When docking the boat, do you allow your kids to walk along the side of the boat? We’ve seen pics of people doing it when docking, but it looks kind of dangerous and not something I would be comfortable with her doing.  Do you have to be on the sides to dock the boat properly? We don’t want to exclude her from being involved, but even with a life jacket on, I am worried that walking on the sides of the boat could be pretty unsafe.

 

Thanks so much. C.

 

Quite rightly so, in my opinion, but there should be no need for anyone to do it.

 

A hire boat is quite likely to have a cruiser stern. but in any event, make it a rule to get on and off at the back. It's actually quite simple to get a narrowboat to touch the edge "arse first" instead of guessing exactly where the pointy bit is.

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And if you and/or yourchildren are going to be using automatic inflation type lifejackets have a watch of this video.

 

 

 

Edited by pete.i

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5 hours ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

Quite rightly so, in my opinion, but there should be no need for anyone to do it.

 

A hire boat is quite likely to have a cruiser stern. but in any event, make it a rule to get on and off at the back. It's actually quite simple to get a narrowboat to touch the edge "arse first" instead of guessing exactly where the pointy bit is.

Agreed. I never let anybody get on or off the bow unless we are moored up. If somebody fell off the bow while we approached a mooring, I wouldn't know until after they'd been squashed. 

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Thanks so much.

 

We know where we want to see and go, and pretty much whereabouts we will be picking up the boat, but aren't completely up to speed on the names of the whole canal/river network yet (our eldest is a whizz with technology so we will have the routes on our Google maps).

 

We will definitely not allow her to walk down the sides of the boat, and we will also make it a rule for her to stay off the bow at all times. I am worried about when we dock the boat, but so long as she can still be involved when at the back, then that will probably work well. I know we will learn by doing it when we are there, but can anyone please share some ideas for what she can help with when we are docking? We will definitely make sure she only steps off the boat once the docking is complete, so are there some good practices for docking we could put her in charge of? Getting things ready, being on the lookout, checking things, that sort of thing? We want her absolutely safe, but don't want her excluded either.

 

I was thinking more about when we are walking at the sides of the water and operating the locks. Except for when we leave the canal area entirely (like, for example, going to the Shakespeare sites, the Warwick Castle, the grocery store) she will be wearing her life jacket at all times, but how important are shoes/boots? Are the sides always very muddy or only after heavy rain? She's completely ok on her feet, but I am worried about her possibly slipping when we are walking at the sides or near the locks. I know it will depend a lot on the weather, but are sneakers normally ok? Should we insist she has hiking or rain boots?

 

Thanks so much again. C.

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1 hour ago, CM81 said:

We will definitely not allow her to walk down the sides of the boat, and we will also make it a rule for her to stay off the bow at all times. I am worried about when we dock the boat, but so long as she can still be involved when at the back, then that will probably work well. I know we will learn by doing it when we are there, but can anyone please share some ideas for what she can help with when we are docking? We will definitely make sure she only steps off the boat once the docking is complete, so are there some good practices for docking we could put her in charge of? Getting things ready, being on the lookout, checking things, that sort of thing? We want her absolutely safe, but don't want her excluded either.

This para frankly makes it sound like you are treating your 12 yo as if she was 6. No reason to keep her off the bow at all times, just (maybe) not to get off from the bow until the boat is alongside. No reason not to get off from the stern as long as it is reasonably close to the side. As a matter of fact, on our trad sterns, we always drop the crew from the bow. In 14 years there’s been a couple of accidents when the person tripped and fell onto the towpath, no serious injuries. Absolute safety does not exist, you have to let your kids take risks else how are they to learn?

 

As regards footwear, it depends on the weather and the state of the towpath, but boots or decent walking shoes with tread on the sole are more often appropriate rather than sneakers/trainers.

 

Re-reading this makes me realise I’m sounding censorious, sorry about that, but I do worry how you’re going to cope with an adolescent girl if you want to keep her bundled in cotton wool at this late stage in her development. Try to worry less about this trip, I’m sure it will be just fine.

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3 hours ago, CM81 said:

We will definitely not allow her to walk down the sides of the boat, and we will also make it a rule for her to stay off the bow at all times. I

Hang on - never mind 'her' walking down the gunwhales - I'd suggest no-one does. Hire boats are usually pretty square sided making this difficult. I can't see a reason to do this underway, never do it in locks, you can access both ends of the boat through the cabin, so there's no reason for anyone to go that way

 

And if by the 'bow' you mean the raised bit at the front, I'd advise the same - there's usually no reason for anyone to be walking there of any age

 

I'm not seeing anything in your rules for your daughter that shouldn't apply to everyone else in the crew

 

Richard

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5 hours ago, CM81 said:

Thanks so much.

 

We know where we want to see and go, and pretty much whereabouts we will be picking up the boat, but aren't completely up to speed on the names of the whole canal/river network yet (our eldest is a whizz with technology so we will have the routes on our Google maps).

 

We will definitely not allow her to walk down the sides of the boat, and we will also make it a rule for her to stay off the bow at all times. I am worried about when we dock the boat, but so long as she can still be involved when at the back, then that will probably work well. I know we will learn by doing it when we are there, but can anyone please share some ideas for what she can help with when we are docking? We will definitely make sure she only steps off the boat once the docking is complete, so are there some good practices for docking we could put her in charge of? Getting things ready, being on the lookout, checking things, that sort of thing? We want her absolutely safe, but don't want her excluded either.

 

I was thinking more about when we are walking at the sides of the water and operating the locks. Except for when we leave the canal area entirely (like, for example, going to the Shakespeare sites, the Warwick Castle, the grocery store) she will be wearing her life jacket at all times, but how important are shoes/boots? Are the sides always very muddy or only after heavy rain? She's completely ok on her feet, but I am worried about her possibly slipping when we are walking at the sides or near the locks. I know it will depend a lot on the weather, but are sneakers normally ok? Should we insist she has hiking or rain boots?

 

Thanks so much again. C.

 

During the school holidays you'll see lots of other families on boats and you will probably see some realyl dangerous things going on, like kids running up and down the roof while the boat is moving, and even while in locks.  Lifejackets never worn.  Be prepared for your daughter to question why she is so restricted when others aren't.  It's worth getting her to wear a lifejacket all the time, on rivers and canals.  You should too, then she'll not mind.

 

Trainers/sneakers usually make good boating shoes as the soles are very rubbery and grippy.  Hiking boots often make poor boating shoes as their soles are hard but with deep tread, for dealing with mud and uneven surfaces.  They don't grip well on smooth, wet surfaces at all. 

 

I don't see why you'd keep her off the bow all the time.  That's quite a safe spot to sit while travelling.

 

 

Edited by doratheexplorer

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If you make too many rules and restrictions your daughter will not enjoy herself.  You sound like sensible people so it's likely your daughter is sensible too! - a lifejacket is a given, but let her use her common sense to decide for herself what is safe and what isn't, and let her help with anything she wants - most kids work out very quickly what needs doing and the best way to do it.  She will be proud of her achievements and you will be proud of her, too.

 

I understand the attraction of a Ring, but be aware that unless you have a burning desire to boat the Avon/Severn, you can see the Shakespeare properties, Stratford and Warwick and plenty else besides without leaving the canal system.  In fact you could do both a ring and a trip to Stratford (Warwickshire Ring with a side trip down the South Stratford from Lapworth) easily in 3 weeks.  Recommend Canalplan for checking out this and other possibilities.

 

Enjoy your trip!

  • Greenie 1

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9 hours ago, BruceinSanity said:

As a matter of fact, on our trad sterns, we always drop the crew from the bow. In 14 years there’s been a couple of accidents when the person tripped and fell onto the towpath, no serious injuries.

 

We always drop crew from the (cruiser) stern.  In 11 years there have been no mishaps and no injuries at all. 

Neither your nor my experience is statistically significant, but the point was worth making.

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Thanks so much for the help.

 

I'm sorry if I am being very anxious and confusing. I just want to be as prepared as possible. We are super excited for the trip, and I don't want to restrict her at all, but I do want her to be safe. I know we will learn a lot by actually being there, but I don't want to turn up unprepared. Everybody here is being really helpful and I appreciate your advice.

 

I'm sorry if I used the wrong terminology (I am learning so much!). By keeping her off the bow, I meant we will make sure she only gets on and off at the back of the boat. E.g. that if we are docking and she is sitting in the front, she comes through the boat to get off. And none of us will be going along the sides (the gunwales/gunnels). I hope that makes sense!

 

Thanks for the note about possibly seeing others being more laid back about safety. Some of her friends parents are more laid back than us regarding safety concerns, so it's pretty normal for her to see others doing what we'd consider unsafe. We will explain to her why she has to have her life jacket on at all times, but I don't think she'll be too bothered by seeing other kids jumping around without one on, or climbing all over the boat, and so on.

 

It sounds like sneakers will be good for the boat, but we will make sure she takes her rain boots too in case the sides are muddy or really wet.

 

We are really interested in the Avon ring not just because of the Shakespeare sites and the Warwick Castle, but because we might plan to hire a car for a few days to do the Cotswolds Area and we think Tewkesbury would be a good place to do that. But we will look at the other routes and the CanalPlan website, so thanks for the info.

 

Thanks so much again. C.

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I know you have already said that you are proposing starting from Rugby, but I want to check again that you get that Rugby and Warwick are not on the Avon ring.  Even though on a map you will see that the river Avon does go through Rugby and Warwick it is not navigable there.  You will be using the North Oxford canal from Rugby to Braunston and then the Grand Union canal to Kingswood junction, there you will join the Stratford canal which forms part of the Avon ring.

 

The Avon ring its self is 131 locks and your trip from Rugby to Kingswood will be 49 locks each way.  So your trip will be a total of 229 locks.

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