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Alan de Enfield

Boating On Rivers - Reminder of the Dangers

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Rivers Can Be dangerous Places.

 

I am surprised that this has not been reported previously but the details are now starting to emerge.

 

A ‘few times’ hirer of NBs decided to buy one for themselves, a mooring was secured in a Marina.,

After a short time it was decided that the Marina was like a ‘Council estate’ and not what was wanted. So they booked into a Marina on the River Trent.

 

8th Feb 2016

 

Leaving the canals via ‘Meadow Lane Lock’ they joined the Trent – a fair bit of ‘flow’ was noticed but it seemed manageable, they went through the first lock at Holme Pierrepont without issue but as they approached Stoke Bardolph lock the flow ‘increased’ to the point they thought they would not be able to negotiate the lock and turned to get onto the visitors mooring, as they turned, the current ‘got them’ and tok them sideways towards the weir and the ‘dolphins’ – no amount of engine or steering would turn them or allow them to retake control of the boat and they ended up broadside onto the dolphins.

 

After a couple of minutes the boat started to ‘roll under’ the dolphins, the steerers wife was thrown overboard as the boat went on its side, the steerer managed to grab her hand and keep her against the boat, realising that if she slipped she would be caught in the prop ( still in gear and under full power) he decided to let her go and stop the engine.

 

They were then swept under the dolphins, the ‘top-box’, the morse controls and rear railings were ripped off, water was taken aboard (but not a huge amount) as the boat went over the weir, ‘fortunately’ being in flood, the weir did not have a big drop and the boat survived intact and righted itself,

 

The boat then drifted into the trees below the windows where more damage occurred as tree branches broke windows.

 

Fire Brigade and C&RT attended and everyone safely recovered.

 

Boat recovered and dried out, repairs made and C&RT provided a ‘steerer’ to continue the journey to its new marina (arriving yesterday, 18th Feb)

 

When asked why he left when the river was “in flood” the answer was “no one told me not to”.

 

When planning to boat on rivers :

 

Look at the conditions

Can your boat handle the flow ( power) ?

Have you experience to handle conditions ? – ask others

Anchoring system on board ?

Lifejackets for everyone on board ( NOT buoyancy aids)

VHF radio ?

 

If in any doubt DON’T go

 

Stay safe – stay alive.

  • Greenie 1

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we are the ssyn so are on the river half the time. our locks dont work if the river is in flood, a design protection that can save your life or endanger it if you are on the wrong side of safety, as i have been in a flash flood. good warning alan it always pays to look at the level indicators and make sure they are in the green

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When asked why he left when the river was “in flood” the answer was “no one told me not to”.

 

You can't help the stupid sometimes.

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You can't help the stupid sometimes.

It is not as simple as that.

You can be on a river and if you don't know it, may not realise that it has gone into flood, or that the next section may be affected by additional watercourses or sluice gates being open end.

Of course some of us know the relevant sites to visit and know what the normal river should look like, some people aren't as well informed.

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You can't help the stupid sometimes.

 

Yes - one should take responsibility for your own actions (sadly lacking in todays society) but maybe an acknowledgement of inexperience and an acceptance of 'asking for advice' could save many problems

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It's frightening how 'stupid' - people can be nowadays. Perhaps we've been boating for so long that we think we know what we're doing. Perhaps it's because I've been brought up on the tidal Thames with sailing dinghies and rowing boats that I know that rivers - umm - flow; quite a lot sometimes.

 

I think it's with the increasing urbanisation of folk that many don't realise away from the safety of roads and pavements, how fierce nature can be.

 

Many threads on here say that rivers are not a problem, having a low powered engine is OK, you'll get there in the end.

Well, in the summer season - that may be a reasonable statement, but definitely not when there are moderate to high flows.

Working with flowing water is 'easy' once you understand how powerful even normal river flows can be.

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From the Middle Level Navigation notes.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF RESPONSIBILITY

 

When navigating on a river, people must accept they are dealing with flowing water.

 

Navigators must be self-reliant and responsible for their own safety.

 

The decision to navigate must be taken by the designated boat skipper.

 

It is the responsibility of the boat skipper to be properly equipped for the type of boating undertaken.

 

When there are strong currents, higher water levels or cold weather conditions, the risk associated with any river activity

increases.

 

Be courteous and always navigate with care and avoid speeding.

 

Do not take risks and never underestimate the power of the water.

Couldn't have put it better myself. The most important word is the last one in the title.

 

MP

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I seen to recall that on the SSYN the powered locks are set up so that you cannot enter a lock from the canalised section when the river is in flood. However if you are on a river section in 'flood' you can still get into the lock for safe haven. Never tried this but some years ago the harbourmaster asured me this was the case.

 

RESPONSIBILITY

Responsibility is a unique concept: it can only reside and inhere in a single individual.

 

You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished.

 

You may delegate it, but it is still with you.

 

Even if you do not recognise it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it.

 

If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance, or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else.

 

Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you never had anyone really responsible.

 

 

Admiral Hyram Rickover USN

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As I've said before, the Trent is but a miserable little ditch with a paltry trickle of water running down it compared to our mighty Severn :-)

 

But are there no "traffic light" level warning boards like we have on the Severn and Avon?

 

I thought these we pretty much standard on river navigations nowadays.

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As I've said before, the Trent is but a miserable little ditch with a paltry trickle of water running down it compared to our mighty Severn :-)

 

But are there no "traffic light" level warning boards like we have on the Severn and Avon?

 

I thought these we pretty much standard on river navigations nowadays.

 

Yes - but if you don't know what they are for they don't mean anything to you.

 

Should there therefore be a requirement to 'pass a theory &/or practical test' before buying a boat ? (not a flippant question and I'm sure the majority will say NO - infringements of liberties etc etc)

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Yes - but if you don't know what they are for they don't mean anything to you.

 

Should there therefore be a requirement to 'pass a theory &/or practical test' before buying a boat ? (not a flippant question and I'm sure the majority will say NO - infringements of liberties etc etc)

I think the ones around here are pretty specific:

 

if you can't understand this you stand no chance of passing a theory test. :-)

navigation-warning-notice-river-avon-eve

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I'm not sure how a waterways code can legislate unless you want a nanny state.

 

There's lots of shades of lacking in knowledge between stupidity and sanity. Very few of us know how much power we have available to us and how that translates into usable thrust. It's bad news when you find out you aren't well enough equipped but I'm sure they thought they were otherwise they wouldn't have set off.

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The first time I went down the Nene we knew there was a risk of flooding, and I was regularly checking by phone with the EA flood warning service (no internet access on board then). The recorded information advised a potential risk of flooding in the next few days, but nothing immediate.

 

When we came off the Northampton arm onto the river it was like a millpond, so we a carried on.

 

A couple of days later the river seemed to be flowing faster, but the level didn't seem to be up very much, and the EA were still not indicating any immediate issues so we continued. A bit further on, and I was getting a bit concerned, so on a suitable straight wide stretch of the river I tried to go full astern. I couldn't. Even with the engine at full revs we were going quite fast backwards against the water, but still slowly forwards against the land! So as we approached the next lock I hugged the bank and crept into the lock cut, where we stayed for a couple of days until the water went down a bit.

 

It was only then that I found there were two ways of navigating through the EA phone menu system, and that the route I had been using was still indicating things were OK, whereas the other route led to a different recorded message warning of Strong Stream, with some locks further downstream reversed.

 

 

 

 

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Rivers Can Be dangerous Places.

 

I am surprised that this has not been reported previously but the details are now starting to emerge.

 

A ‘few times’ hirer of NBs decided to buy one for themselves, a mooring was secured in a Marina.,

After a short time it was decided that the Marina was like a ‘Council estate’ and not what was wanted. So they booked into a Marina on the River Trent.

 

8th Feb 2016

 

Leaving the canals via ‘Meadow Lane Lock’ they joined the Trent – a fair bit of ‘flow’ was noticed but it seemed manageable, they went through the first lock at Holme Pierrepont without issue but as they approached Stoke Bardolph lock the flow ‘increased’ to the point they thought they would not be able to negotiate the lock and turned to get onto the visitors mooring, as they turned, the current ‘got them’ and tok them sideways towards the weir and the ‘dolphins’ – no amount of engine or steering would turn them or allow them to retake control of the boat and they ended up broadside onto the dolphins.

 

After a couple of minutes the boat started to ‘roll under’ the dolphins, the steerers wife was thrown overboard as the boat went on its side, the steerer managed to grab her hand and keep her against the boat, realising that if she slipped she would be caught in the prop ( still in gear and under full power) he decided to let her go and stop the engine.

 

They were then swept under the dolphins, the ‘top-box’, the morse controls and rear railings were ripped off, water was taken aboard (but not a huge amount) as the boat went over the weir, ‘fortunately’ being in flood, the weir did not have a big drop and the boat survived intact and righted itself, . . . . . . .

 

 

This incident and the way this boat, as many others have done, rolled under the boom floats again raises the question of whether or not these so-called 'safety booms' are just another example of how something that may, on the face of it, seem like a good idea but in reality can actually turn what would have simply been a frightening incident into a thoroughly dangerous one.

I've either heard of or seen many boats do just what this one did after ending up on a weir boom with a lot of fresh in the river, and none of those incidents ended as well as this one apparently did.

It has been suggested that square or oblong floats instead of cylindrical would prevent boats from rolling underneath them, but an incident with a motor cruiser at Colwick Sluices many years ago proved that not to be so.

At that time the boom at Colwick consisted of oblong steel pontoons with vertical sides, but that didn't stop this cruiser from being pushed underneath them by the strength of the current.

In my opinion the weirs on the Trent would present less of a potential hazard to pleasure craft if all these booms were got rid of.

By the time the river has risen sufficiently for the majority of boats to clear the weir cill and be carried over it, the current is strong enough to push a pleasure boat under the boom, and unlike the one in this particular incident, they don't usually right themselves before taking on enough water to sink.

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Assume that the engine will fail at any time and navigate accordingly.

 

If the river is in flood, or there is a 'good' tide running then an underpowered, or under ruddered boat can easily get out of control.

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If the river is in flood, or there is a 'good' tide running then an underpowered, or under ruddered boat can easily get out of control.

In that case navigating accordingly means don't cast off.

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Assume that the engine will fail at any time and navigate accordingly.

Excellent advice that. Unexpected things happen. Best be prepared for it with an anchor, life jackets and a reliable means of emergency communication.

 

Having been caught out in floods on the Trent and Soar I can say things happen very quickly especially during and after recent heavy rain (i.e check the weather!).

 

Rivers are great fun when navigated safely.

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We were at Torksey lock yesterday and watched a boat go out onto the Trent.

 

No sign of an anchor, definitely no life jackets being worn by either crew member.

 

As the level went down they unwound the line from the bollard and promptly dropped it in the water. The lockie and I had to alert him to the danger of it getting it around his prop as he was totally oblivious.

 

He then set off to the far end of the lock gathering speed and despite us calling for him to reverse he went faster and rammed the gates quite hard. This was despite the lockie telling him to wait as he was fine waiting were he was.

 

The lockie opened the gates which promptly swept him across the lock as his bow was still against the gate. He managed to get straight and leave the lock.

 

They were clearly very inexperienced and unprepared but presumably they made it to where they were headed and didn't ground or sink on the way.

 

It's realy no wonder some get into difficulties.

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Never had a problem on a river or tidal waters. But that's only because nothing has actually gone wrong. Plenty of times I have had to hope that the manoeuvre I am about to do will actually work as there is no plan 'B' , I usually have a plan B when unsure of something or doing something with extra risk but the wind can blow the bow off, a vital split pin can fall out, a dead badger can wrap itself around your prop, even the experienced (me) can make a wrong decision and wish I was anywhere else but on the wrong side of the river having missed the tiny canal that should have taken me off the mighty river whilst a push tow of several thousand tons of coal is bearing down on me. Stuff happens, its easy to criticise.

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Only yesterday evening a scull pair got into difficulty coming out of Osney lock heading upstream - so if anyone knows immediately on coming out the lock you have the weir on the left - now what they were thinking of is beyond me. They were heading up to a private school and received instruction form their coach to do it. Now we are on Red boards here and the weir dragged them in. As you know it is narrow there and they got caught and the only thing that saved them going over was their outriggers...

 

Now these we hope are intelligent people but sadly bloody stupid too and lucky to have got away with it.

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Only yesterday evening a scull pair got into difficulty coming out of Osney lock heading upstream - so if anyone knows immediately on coming out the lock you have the weir on the left - now what they were thinking of is beyond me. They were heading up to a private school and received instruction form their coach to do it. Now we are on Red boards here and the weir dragged them in. As you know it is narrow there and they got caught and the only thing that saved them going over was their outriggers...

 

Now these we hope are intelligent people but sadly bloody stupid too and lucky to have got away with it.

 

That's a very narrow channel at the best of times - even before the number of boats now moored there...

In normal times there's little flow over that particular weir as most of the normal flow goes down to Osney lock's house weir, but then we don't venture up to Oxenford out of season.

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As this subject has been started, can I ask about the Trent Junction when coming down the T&M Canal and going up the Soar towards Leicester? What's that area like - too scary for a 10hp engine and 40-foot boat (ours)?

I have seen a photo of the junction and it doesn't look too bad, and thought to go there by car (and then on foot) to check it out before we tackle it in 2017. The Soar/Leicester branch of the Grand Union looks like a pleasant canal and we thought we'd go that way down to smelly old London.

Edited by Emerald Fox

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When planning to boat on rivers :

 

Look at the conditions

Can your boat handle the flow ( power) ?

Have you experience to handle conditions ? ask others

Anchoring system on board ?

Lifejackets for everyone on board ( NOT buoyancy aids)

VHF radio ?

 

If in any doubt DONT go

 

Stay safe stay alive.

That's all good advice Alan but unfortunately the people that this message needs to get to are unlikely to be the people that frequent this forum.

 

Forumites are by their nature interested in boating, browsing topics and asking questions. It's those who aren't really that interested who need to be better informed about the dangers of rivers.

Edited by blackrose

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