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What are your top crewing tips?


Salopgal
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I've been on a 2 day helming course (wonderful / hard / enlightening etc). Now I've got the forthcoming move of our boat from Swanley to Ellesmere this week. My cousin and I will be crewing with a seasoned skipper at the helm, so 3 of us in total.

What might your top crew tips for a briefing before we set off be? I'm looking on the internet and not seeing much but putting something together from what I learned on the course at the beginning of the week.

Thanks once again for all input!!

 

K

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OK - here's what I've come up with so far - or am I being fussy?!? I haven't proof read this yet, so there may be typos....

 

 

Crewing safely - NB: Be considerate around other canal users

 

  • Have a good look at the route map before you go and discuss the route - how many locks are there? What type? Which way is the current?
  • What are the skipper’s concerns about this route / weather / other?
  • Make sure you are very clear about the skipper’s / helmsman’s rules for crew in all situations – sort this out before you set off!
  • Horn blasts and what they mean – e.g. one long 3-4 secs is a warning, 3 short blasts means “I’ve got my engines in reverse".
  • Be clear about what hand signals you will use between the 3 of you (as shouting is pointless) e.g. thumbs up for safety for the skipper to proceed with a manouvre or to signal you want to go into the cabin etc.
  • What ropes are you each going to be using when mooring up before/after a lock, or for lunch. Don’t let ropes trail in water – beware dog poo & Weill’s Disease!
  • Use of the pole and where it is situated.
  • If you are going to be going through any locks then you will need a windlass each, as well as waterway authority key to use some locks depending on the area.
  • Turn Stern Gland before setting off and when you arrive at destination.
  • Make sure you have cast off all ropes, wires: electrical connections, phone connections, TV aerial connections. Take off the fenders before you enter locks.
  • In still water, crew to untie the stern rope first (stern = back) then the bow rope (bow = front). The reason you cast off the bow rope last is that with the stern untied, you can still control it with the tiller and engine.
  • If there is a current, untie the downstream end first (the current will keep the boat safely against the bank, until the other end is untied).
  • A narrowboat cannot be stopped at once (even by the powerful engine at the back). Above all, do not get any part of your body between a narrowboat and something else - it will NOT stop the boat from hitting something.

Lock’s: Don’t stress, don’t panic, take it easy and think things through

  • Locks can be very dangerous. Keep the bow doors closed so water doesn’t get into the boat’s saloon.
  • When arriving at a lock, if the lock is set against you, check for boats coming in the opposite direction.
  • At a lock keep a special eye on children and pets, whether on or off the boat. Don’t speak to ‘gongoozlers’ (folk who hang around locks, asking stupid questions) while working the lock – being distracted is dangerous. Always remove the windlass from the lock mechanism
  • Only open paddles very slowly at first, watching the effect they have on the boat, especially when going up hill. Stay by the paddle gear all the time, watching the boat: be prepared to close paddles quickly if the force of the water starts causing problems to an ascending boat, or if a descending boat gets caught on something. NEVER EVER tie a rope from a boat going down a lock (and if holding one, check all the time that it isn't caught on something).
  • Be very careful when closing the paddle gear, wind the paddle up a half turn to release the safety catch then lift the safety catch up and wind the paddle down slowly. Keep a tight grip on the windlass. Do not let the paddle gear drop on its own accord.
  • There is a white line painted on the side of the lock called the cil marker. All you have to do is make sure that your boat is past the white line, well forward. Easy.
  • White markers show where the cill is. Make sure the button fender at front doesn’t get caught on the gate – Crew should be at bow end of boat to watch out for this. That’s their job – to look out for the safety of the boat.

Golden rules

Everything behind the boat – closed!

*When you open a gate, close a paddle*

Don’t forget to close top paddles on tow and non-tow path sides

After leaving, close all gates and all paddles (unless a boat is coming)

 

Tying Up: Tie up around rings or bollards - in a perfect world about 45° in front and behind the boat. If possible tie the knot on the boat rather than on the towpath. If you need to use mooring pins; hammer in 45° in front and behind of the boat, there is no need to hit the pins very hard lots of little hits are safer than a few hard hits. It is considerate to mark the mooring pins with something bright like a carrier bag.

 

Whaddaya reckon?cheers.gif

  • Greenie 1
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Golden rule - Never give the crew an estimate of how long it'll be till you get to (place of choosing) or that we'll stop for the night when we get to (place of choosing). You'll be wrong and experience the grumbling and sulking for the rest of the day and most of the next.

 

Also add to your list

Make sure crew know how to stop the engine safely in an emergency.

We've painted out windlasses florescent pink to ensure that when the children leave them behind we can find them easily.

Also adopt the count them out and count them back in. Avoids problems of loosing items (such as windlasses, mooring pins, children etc)

If cruising with children mark route map with swimming pools, ice cream shops etc.

Edited by Chalky
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Don't place anything (e.g. Windlass) on top of a rope (i.e. when on top of the boat) - that will always be the rope you grab in a hurry!

 

And be careful about putting things on the ground (at locks) - that's how they get left behind :)

 

It's your boat - you are the boss.

 

and most importantly - enjoy the trip.

 

Sure you'll be fine,

 

take care,

 

Martin

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[haddaya reckon?:cheers:

Hells teeth, you are over thinking it and the trip is likely to be spoilt by being a bit obsessive.

 

It's good to take things seriously to a point but you are trying condense months/years of experience into a short trip.

 

 

You did ask.....

Edited by The Dog House
  • Greenie 1
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relax and enjoy it..the staircase at Grindley Brook should be 'manned' at this time of year, so shouldn't be a problem, the rest are easy. The by- washes are a bit fierce on the locks so watch out for them.

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I'd add, if you are inexperienced you could make mistakes - it can happen to experienced boaters too. Take things slowly, think about what you are doing, check with others if you are not sure, don't let anyone rush you.

 

When I arrive at a lock I try to remember to do a quick visual check at both ends to make sure that the last crew through did actually put all the paddles down properly. If your lock isn't filling go and check the bottom gates - has someone left a paddle up an inch or two? Is there something stuck in the gates so that they are not sealing properly?

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all good points.allways remember do not rush and dont let other people try to pressure you in to rushing.dont panic.check your fuel,oil and belts before setting off.it might allso be a good idea to get your self a pair of walkie talkies.we find them very helpfull.especially when her self is faffing around inside and i need a fresh beer it saves shouting.

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It may seem like overplanning when it's written down like that, but it's all good advice and no more than most of us do all the time without even thinking about it...

 

I'd also echo Richard's advice...keep everyone off the beer until you're safely through the last lock of the day...we love a drink, but NEVER whilst cruising...it's just not worth the risk. Much better to anticipate that longed for G&T or Guinness when we moor up for the night.

 

There is usually just the two of us boating, generally with one of us working a few locks ahead - it's imperative to have a good system of signals that you both know and recognise whilst working through locks. I think our only real "rule" is that whoever is working the locks doesn't do a thing until they've had the go-ahead from the person steering...a simple thumbs up is all it takes.

 

Whatever....just go out and enjoy it!

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OK - here's what I've come up with so far - or am I being fussy?!? I haven't proof read this yet, so there may be typos....

 

 

Crewing safely - NB: Be considerate around other canal users

 

  • Have a good look at the route map before you go and discuss the route - how many locks are there? What type? Which way is the current?
  • What are the skipper’s concerns about this route / weather / other?
  • Make sure you are very clear about the skipper’s / helmsman’s rules for crew in all situations – sort this out before you set off!
  • Horn blasts and what they mean – e.g. one long 3-4 secs is a warning, 3 short blasts means “I’ve got my engines in reverse".
  • Be clear about what hand signals you will use between the 3 of you (as shouting is pointless) e.g. thumbs up for safety for the skipper to proceed with a manouvre or to signal you want to go into the cabin etc.
  • What ropes are you each going to be using when mooring up before/after a lock, or for lunch. Don’t let ropes trail in water – beware dog poo & Weill’s Disease!
  • Use of the pole and where it is situated.
  • If you are going to be going through any locks then you will need a windlass each, as well as waterway authority key to use some locks depending on the area.
  • Turn Stern Gland before setting off and when you arrive at destination.
  • Make sure you have cast off all ropes, wires: electrical connections, phone connections, TV aerial connections. Take off the fenders before you enter locks.
  • In still water, crew to untie the stern rope first (stern = back) then the bow rope (bow = front). The reason you cast off the bow rope last is that with the stern untied, you can still control it with the tiller and engine.
  • If there is a current, untie the downstream end first (the current will keep the boat safely against the bank, until the other end is untied).
  • A narrowboat cannot be stopped at once (even by the powerful engine at the back). Above all, do not get any part of your body between a narrowboat and something else - it will NOT stop the boat from hitting something.

Lock’s: Don’t stress, don’t panic, take it easy and think things through

  • Locks can be very dangerous. Keep the bow doors closed so water doesn’t get into the boat’s saloon.
  • When arriving at a lock, if the lock is set against you, check for boats coming in the opposite direction.
  • At a lock keep a special eye on children and pets, whether on or off the boat. Don’t speak to ‘gongoozlers’ (folk who hang around locks, asking stupid questions) while working the lock – being distracted is dangerous. Always remove the windlass from the lock mechanism
  • Only open paddles very slowly at first, watching the effect they have on the boat, especially when going up hill. Stay by the paddle gear all the time, watching the boat: be prepared to close paddles quickly if the force of the water starts causing problems to an ascending boat, or if a descending boat gets caught on something. NEVER EVER tie a rope from a boat going down a lock (and if holding one, check all the time that it isn't caught on something).
  • Be very careful when closing the paddle gear, wind the paddle up a half turn to release the safety catch then lift the safety catch up and wind the paddle down slowly. Keep a tight grip on the windlass. Do not let the paddle gear drop on its own accord.
  • There is a white line painted on the side of the lock called the cil marker. All you have to do is make sure that your boat is past the white line, well forward. Easy.
  • White markers show where the cill is. Make sure the button fender at front doesn’t get caught on the gate – Crew should be at bow end of boat to watch out for this. That’s their job – to look out for the safety of the boat.

Golden rules

Everything behind the boat – closed!

*When you open a gate, close a paddle*

Don’t forget to close top paddles on tow and non-tow path sides

After leaving, close all gates and all paddles (unless a boat is coming)

 

Tying Up: Tie up around rings or bollards - in a perfect world about 45° in front and behind the boat. If possible tie the knot on the boat rather than on the towpath. If you need to use mooring pins; hammer in 45° in front and behind of the boat, there is no need to hit the pins very hard lots of little hits are safer than a few hard hits. It is considerate to mark the mooring pins with something bright like a carrier bag.

 

Whaddaya reckon?cheers.gif

the above is all good advice and you would do well to take heed of it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or you could do it my way and buy a boat never having stood on one or if i'm honest never even been all that aware of the canals existence. Then on the big day stand on the back wide eyed wondering WTF Ive done, not knowing how to steer, stop, moor how much fuel and water i had, in fact not even knowing where the fuel and water went.

 

i prefer my way, it was a fun 2 weeks that first trip but not everyones cup of tea blush.png

Edited by tree monkey
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Keep your hands inside the boat at all times, don't put your foot or hand out to fend off in locks or other boats - this is 15 tons of steel we're talking about, squashed fingers and crushed feet don't make for a happy holiday.

 

And always step off a boat, no jumping or leaping, wait until the boat is alongside the bank.

Edited by Matthew Dowson
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You've missed a 'general rule':

 

If any of the crew, (other than the Captain or Master of course) makes an error, then the Captain or Master (delete whichever you don't prefer) reserves the right to:

1/ Fine them an unlimited sum

2/ Put them ashore

3/ Indulge in carnal past-times with them/their partner

4/ They pay for the evening's beer

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You've made me think now. What 'rules' would I recommend?

 

  • Take your time in everything you do
  • Be considerate to other people
  • Watch and think about what you are doing
  • Remember to look outside the boat from time to time - it's a beautiful world
  • Don't forget you are doing this for your enjoyment

Richard

  • Greenie 1
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