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Jennifer McM

Hire Boats!

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No this isn't a thread on moaning about hire boaters - probably just the opposite ?

 

Looks like we've fallen into a sort of game as we cruise along, where hire boaters are loosely being scored on how well they're doing - sorry can't help it. 

 

There are happy boaters who look to be having a fabulous time, and there are other boaters who are scared stiff of doing something wrong, they don't seem to be enjoying their experience too much.

 

So far, it looks like the Ashby Boat Co, Roses, Napton and Black Prince holiday makers are having the 'better' time. Which leads us to think, is it the training they are given? Do their customers receive a good MP3 video (or something) on how to approach different tasks? It looks like they are being prepared better, ie slowing down while passing moored boats, not leaving paddles up on locks, etc - all which stops them being moaned at.

 

An example, we were approaching a bridge, but just before we came to the bridge there's a winding hole. A hire boat came through bridge towards us, and decided to turn their boat in the winding hole. There were no hand signals, but that didn't matter much to us, we were far enough away not to cause a mishap. Problem was the boater stuck his stern into the winding hole, digging his rudder into the mud (in his instructions did he miss the bit about winding a boat?). He was stuck, except for 'shuffling a few feet back and forwards. We couldn't get off to help (shallow bank), and there was no point in shouting instructions to them, so we just had to sit it out in sympathy. Luckily 3 men came over the bridge, they watched for a while, before descending onto the towpath, grabbing the bow rope, and hauling the boat round. 

 

We followed them through the bridge, and followed them for a while, until they got stuck in the mud on the bank when moving out of the way for a boat passing in the opposite direction. They were struggling again, so a shout from us for them to stay put, while we passed and pulled them out. As we passed, the three men looked terrified. Until they were reminded they should be enjoying themselves.?

 

If any first time narrowboat hirers are reading this, absorb as much advice before your holiday as you can, you'll have a much better time. Plus don't forget to enjoy yourselves! It's great and it really is a relaxing holiday!

 

Sunday sermon over ? (Hope it's clear this isn't a moan)

 

 

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If you ever spot me Jennifer McM I am the one grinning from ear to ear 24/7 as I am having my canal "fix"!

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I personally wouldn't make any distinction between hire boaters and the rest, not in terms of overall competence.  Actually, on balance I think I would rather cruise in the company of the average hire boater than the average boat owner.

 

As for telling people "they should be enjoying themselves", I'm sure it's well meant but I'd keep that advice to myself if I were you...

 

  

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1 minute ago, Neil2 said:

I personally wouldn't make any distinction between hire boaters and the rest, not in terms of overall competence.  Actually, on balance I think I would rather cruise in the company of the average hire boater than the average boat owner.

 

As for telling people "they should be enjoying themselves", I'm sure it's well meant but I'd keep that advice to myself if I were you...

 

  

Yes of course it's well meant, but I'm not quite catching your meaning about keeping that advice to myself? 

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Anderson Narrowboats in Middlewich do very good hire boat training wit two instructors per boat so more than one member of the crew knows what should be happening in locks etc.

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Steve Haywood has written an interesting article in July 2019 Canal Boat, page 25, about the treatment of hire boaters on the cut.

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I have lost track of how many companies I have hired from since I first went on a hire boat in 1972..... the best briefing / training I have had was without a doubt Caley cruisers.    But then they do have to cover things like drogue anchors and navigation buoys.

 

The other extreme was " your boat's over there on the other side, go and get it and go when your ready" 

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23 minutes ago, NickF said:

 

 

The other extreme was " your boat's over there on the other side, go and get it and go when your ready" 

That was similar to my first experience of Narrowboating, explained engine checks, toilet etc. but nothing on boat handling. First lock I took every windlass I could find on the boat as I didn't know which one would fit. Made my day as I took the boat in and a chap said "I can see you have done that before" it was the first lock.

 

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One observation of hire boaters skill, and apparent fear, was that it was heavily dependant on the day of the week. Late in the day of changeover day, fearful hireboaters were making interesting manouevres, often accompanied by frantic, and sometimes angry shouting, on their own boat, and sometimes with other boats. Six days later, the hire boats were generally being handled competently, and their crews enjoying themselves. Sometimes these were the same boats and crews that had been observed making a fraught journey earlier the same week.

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6 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

Anderson Narrowboats in Middlewich do very good hire boat training wit two instructors per boat so more than one member of the crew knows what should be happening in locks etc.

Yes that was our experience ( a good few years ago) one on boat and one with lock

wheeler. 

 

Also excellent handover from pennine at skipton

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Many hire boaters do have far more cruising experience over many more years than a lot of the “experts” on this site.

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11 hours ago, haza said:

most hire boaters have been doing this for years, and most are more able then we live aboards . 

This is true. Many boat owners polish the Brass and go out for our five weekends and a couple of weeks at best each year. There are also some who dont even visit their boat each year, others of course do use them more often. In my not limited experience, without any shadow of a doubt there are far more private boat owners who tear on past my mooring than hire boaters do.

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I took the dog for a walk from Napton bottom lock to The Engine Arm and back on Saturday morning. On the way I met a family, husband, wife and young teenage son on one of the UCC Barney boats. It was their first ever cruise and they had already been shouted at for speeding past a moored boat when they were on tick over. I passed on the age old advice to them, just shout "it's half past two." I had a quite a good chat with them whilst I helped with a couple of locks. 

 

I advised them to put the incident behind them and have a good holiday.

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13 hours ago, Billw said:

Many hire boaters do have far more cruising experience over many more years than a lot of the “experts” on this site.

Too right! I hired several times a year for many years when i was in the forces and at one point or another did the majority of cruising rings, yet still found the us and them stigma with some private boat owners ... A few years ago when i was fitting out my current boat I hired a boat for a week on the Ashby just to take a break from the work and again it was still very much the same, passing boats that looked like they hadnt moved for years and having morons shouting "slow down" when i was on tickover , I actually challenged more than one and explained i owned my own boat and had been boating for 30+ years and saw the total change of attitude, the excuse being " sorry i thought you were another one of them hirers! "

Rick

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13 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

without any shadow of a doubt there are far more private boat owners who tear on past my mooring than hire boaters do.

 

That will be because they read all your stuff on here and decide you know perfectly well how to tie up properly....

 

:giggles:

 

 

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22 minutes ago, dccruiser said:

passing boats that looked like they hadnt moved for years and having morons shouting "slow down" when i was on tickover

 

I get this too, even in my own boats. Once in a while never mind the "half past two" response, I bang the boat into full astern and reverse back up to them intending say "Sorry. what was that you were calling? Couldn't hear you over my engine noise". But oddly, they tend to have disappeared back inside before I get there. 

 

 

I also like the Alan Fincher response "Fast? You think this is fast? This is tickover! I'll show you what fast is" whilst winding on some revs... 

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12 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

 

 

I also like the Alan Fincher response "Fast? You think this is fast? This is tickover! I'll show you what fast is" whilst winding on some revs... 

Something of which I have occasionally dreamed, but which I have never actually done.

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On 26/05/2019 at 18:39, Ray T said:

Steve Haywood has written an interesting article in July 2019 Canal Boat, page 25, about the treatment of hire boaters on the cut.

Yes - I read that. How depressing that this bad attitude towards hirers still prevails. Many of these hirers (like myself) are planning to be owners before too long!

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2 hours ago, zimzim said:

Yes - I read that. How depressing that this bad attitude towards hirers still prevails.

 

I'm sure it always will, as lots of owners feel mildly superior as they have bought their own boats. 

 

I once took a hire boat from Rugby down to Reading and was totally staggered by the condescending attitude to me from perhaps 10% of privateers. One ghastly woman kept trying to instruct me how to do a lock while she was waiting to come up while I descended. I eventually stopped being polite and had to tell her to butt out and stop interfering, it was my lock. Bliss that she took offence!

 

 

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On 28/05/2019 at 00:00, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I get this too, even in my own boats. Once in a while never mind the "half past two" response, I bang the boat into full astern and reverse back up to them intending say "Sorry. what was that you were calling? Couldn't hear you over my engine noise". But oddly, they tend to have disappeared back inside before I get there. 

 

 

I also like the Alan Fincher response "Fast? You think this is fast? This is tickover! I'll show you what fast is" whilst winding on some revs... 

I'm with you Mike.

 

Full emergency revs in reverse on my boat half the time will slew it into their boat with a crash (the other half they are on the wrong side so they only get a quick burst then a correction!)

 

Then I smile and say "Is that slow enough for you?" and wave as I put it back into tickover and continue on.

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7 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I'm sure it always will, as lots of owners feel mildly superior as they have bought their own boats. 

 

I once took a hire boat from Rugby down to Reading and was totally staggered by the condescending attitude to me from perhaps 10% of privateers. One ghastly woman kept trying to instruct me how to do a lock while she was waiting to come up while I descended. I eventually stopped being polite and had to tell her to butt out and stop interfering, it was my lock. Bliss that she took offence!

 

 

Paralells the relationship between people who rent or own their own home. This is a particularly UK thing as renting is much more common elsewhere. Wonder if continental canals have the same problem.

 

I'd like to put it down to Thatcher but I seem to recall the tension existed long before she turned it into an art form.

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7 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I'm sure it always will, as lots of owners feel mildly superior as they have bought their own boats. 

 

I once took a hire boat from Rugby down to Reading and was totally staggered by the condescending attitude to me from perhaps 10% of privateers. One ghastly woman kept trying to instruct me how to do a lock while she was waiting to come up while I descended. I eventually stopped being polite and had to tell her to butt out and stop interfering, it was my lock. Bliss that she took offence!

 

 

We find it quite interesting to see how people react differently to us when we are on a gore boat compared to our own boat.

 

One example was a chap who we got on with quite well on the Norfolk Broads on his large flybridge cruiser when we took Naughty-Cal but who suddenly became very harsh with us when we were on the hire boat barking instructions on how we should moor up. It was his wife who recognised us and apologised on his behalf later on in the pub :rolleyes:

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9 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

I'd like to put it down to Thatcher but I seem to recall the tension existed long before she turned it into an art form.

Both my wife and I grew up in  rented accommodation and don't remember any such tension.  Prior to Thatcher many had no aspiration to own their home.  I think Thatcher was trying to increase the numbers with capitalist attitudes, which has encouraged the idea a house is an investment rather than somewhere to live.

 

All reflected in house prices.  Round the start of Thatcher I bought a house for £6K and it sold 5 years later for £16K

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