Jump to content

Boating On Rivers - Reminder of the Dangers


Featured Posts

Just had a quick read of this thread so sorry if repeating.

I totally am not surprised that the poor boater got into trouble. many people buy a boat and have little idea what they are doing on the canals let alone on powerful rivers.

In this specific case, there are no lights or notices at Cranfleet, Beeston, Meadow Lane or Holme lock. There are coloured marker boards at the first 3 but only a depth gauge at Holme lock. There is no indication on the depth gauge to indicate navigation shouldn't take place.

To me, the Trent looks terrifying when there is a fast flow but to a novice it's maybe not obvious.

 

edit to add, though there are coloured marker boards at the 3 locks you would have to look for them, they are by no means obvious.

In addition, the lockie at Beeston has said to me that the river is open even when the board is red, he says the board isn't right.

 

 

There IS a board (Red, Amber & Green) at Meadow Lane lock as you exit the canal onto the 'mighty' River Trent.

The 'problem' is that unless you know what it means, have experience yourself, have had (and accepted) guidance from others then its just a 'nicely painted board'

 

Post #74 is a fair summary,

Edited by Alan de Enfield
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

and I would add to that that the experience of the steerer is a major factor too. More important than the length of time you've owned your boat will be how you use it - if your boating is to drift around at 2 miles an hour for 4 or 5 hours a day when the sun shines you will not really be equipped to tackle a river with a bit of fresh running, not only with your ability but also with your understanding of what your boat is actually capable of.

 

Tam

 

Yes, I totally agree with that, Tam.

The impression I get of many people whose boating has been limited to pottering about on canals is that they're a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by the size and scale of big rivers as well as the current or tide, and this tends to make them a bit inclined to begin and end any and every kind of manoeuvre with far too much way on in a bit of a panic to get it over and done with as soon as possible.

This is especially noticeable with many boats getting off the Trent and the Ouse into the side locks at Stockwith, Keadby and Selby. Instead of rounding up, dropping down to a virtual standstill almost in the lock tail, weighing up the situation as to how the current and the slack is affecting the boat, and then entering the lock at a nice steady pace from out of the slack, they'll charge at the lock from much too far out in a kind of 'aim and hope' desperation.

Edited by Tony Dunkley
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

There IS a board (Red, Amber & Green) at Meadow Lane lock as you exit the canal onto the 'mighty' River Trent.

The 'problem' is that unless you know what it means, have experience yourself, have had (and accepted) guidance from others then its just a 'nicely painted board'

 

Post #74 is a fair summary,

 

That board in the tail of Meadow Lane lock really is of no use whatsoever.

Until flooding begins to reach really serious proportions the level of that stretch of the Trent through Nottingham doesn't rise more than a few inches because the automatic controls at Colwick Sluices are set to maintain it at as constant a level as possible, but with a much increased flow and current speed.

There can be as much as 4-5 feet on at Stoke [lowside] before there's any significant rise in level at Meadow Lane.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Both historical and present day usage, previously by carrying boats and nowadays by pleasure craft says otherwise.

It's true that many of today's 'narrowboats' do suffer from engine overheating when running hard for long spells on rivers, but that's down to crumby engine installations, and nothing to do with them being only 7' wide.

Perhaps I should've said "not all are always accessible", as you can go pretty much anywhere in the right conditions. I really enjoyed a narrowboat convoy to Gravesend, but wouldn't want to have done it in poor conditions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be better all round if some people realised that narrowboats have their place and that isn't on rivers.

They were designed for a specific purpose. That wasn't wide open, flowing water.

Until people are willing to accept responsibility for their own actions then they should be banned from making choices that include taking their vessel into Waters it isn't designed to navigate.

Breaking your new years resolution to come out with that rubbish.

See you next year.

  • Greenie 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I should've said "not all are always accessible", as you can go pretty much anywhere in the right conditions. I really enjoyed a narrowboat convoy to Gravesend, but wouldn't want to have done it in poor conditions.

 

The majority of pleasure boaters, whatever waters they're on, will usually base their assessment of what conditions are suitable, or safe, for their boats on what they themselves feel comfortable with. Perfectly understandable, and sensible too, because, apart from getting caught out in unforseen and extreme conditions, then ultimately it's the skipper's experience and ability that keeps any vessel, anywhere, safe and out of trouble.

It is a simple, but no doubt, to some pleasure boaters, probably unpalatable truth that whatever their boat is, from a low powered and slow canalboat to the most expensive and well equipped of seaworthy pleasure craft, that their boat will be far more capable of coping with strong currents and tides, and lumpy water, than they are.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You really have to ask why in God's name did the lock keeper let that boat out onto the river. In the days when Cromwell, Torksey, Stockwith, Selby and Naburn were manned by lock keepers who were usually ex-boatmen, but invariably experiencedd rivermen, any boat or skipper that, in their estimation, wasn't up to the job was refused passage.

Perhaps they have been too impacted by all those boaters who claim to be able to do whatever they please on a river and turn nasty when they are illegally detained.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That board in the tail of Meadow Lane lock really is of no use whatsoever.

Until flooding begins to reach really serious proportions the level of that stretch of the Trent through Nottingham doesn't rise more than a few inches because the automatic controls at Colwick Sluices are set to maintain it at as constant a level as possible, but with a much increased flow and current speed.

There can be as much as 4-5 feet on at Stoke [lowside] before there's any significant rise in level at Meadow Lane.

Pretty much the same on any river. The boards only tell you about the conditions at that point and off er guide about whether itvius sensible to leave for the next loick, where the situation needs to be assesses afresh. Listening to lockies is a 'necessary but not sufficient' condition for making a decision. Delay may be a nuisance but remember that you can only do it tomorrow if you survive until tomorrow.
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

I think the ones around here are pretty specific:

 

navigation-warning-notice-river-avon-eve

Ignorance is not a crime, nor stupid. Although wilful ignorance is, and not educating yourself enough can be stupid.

Chilling reminder of the power of water and nature however! Glad they where ok, and the boat recoverable!

 

 

Daniel

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been shaken by this report - not by the fact that rivers in flood are extremely powerful but by the news (to me) that boats may 'roll under' the protective barrages across weirs.

 

I had one unpleasant experience at Alrewas many years ago which, whilst I got away with it, taught me a lesson. If I had lost control of the boat, though, I would have expected to end up stuck against the orange and white plastic until the conditions improved - embarrassing but not serious. I'm sure that I'm not alone in this view.

 

If they don't stop boats, what are they for?

I think they would stop a boat in reasonable conditions, and also be much better placed for stopping more boat-shaped boats. Narrowboats are however narrow and slab sided, and in flood, they do not stop boots!
Link to post
Share on other sites

Having spent 30 years on hireboats cruising mainly canals, after buying our own boat a couple of years ago we began to explore the rivers, and have since been on the Trent to Keadby, the Yorkshire Ouse, the Severn, the Avon, the Soar, and the Weaver.

 

It's given us invaluable experience but every time even though we've managed to go on them when they've been calm and fairly sedate it's made me very aware of how different to canals they are and how one has to give them so much respect.

 

I've always prepared well such as keeping the engine serviced, fuel polished, buying the charts, the correct anchor and ropes/chains, navigation lights, lifejackets etc, and I have my VHF and licence for advice and in case of emergency.

 

But despite this preparation and having had some experience on rivers now, I still worry about high river levels with fast flowing 'fresh' and because I'm now retired I can take the easy way out because I have the time to sit it out and wait for calmer waters, but by bottling it in this way I'm not going to gain any experience of faster flowing waters.

 

So with this in mind I've read this thread with great interest, but I'm not sure if it's made me more confident to venture onto them or whether it's made me more paranoid than I already am sad.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

but by bottling it in this way I'm not going to gain any experience of faster flowing waters.

 

So with this in mind I've read this thread with great interest, but I'm not sure if it's made me more confident to venture onto them or whether it's made me more paranoid than I already am sad.png

One man's bottling it is another's sensible decision. I suspect that, all else being equal, your approach will help ensure you live to a ripe old age.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they would stop a boat in reasonable conditions, and also be much better placed for stopping more boat-shaped boats. Narrowboats are however narrow and slab sided, and in flood, they do not stop boots!

 

That's a fair point, but in 'normal' conditions the water level is low and even a NB would be stopped by the weir cill, the cill would 'hold' the bottom of the boat, the dolphins would hold the top of the boat and everything would be OK pending rescue.

 

As the water level rises a NB would no longer hit the cill, the dolphins are still a the same relative height ( they float on the water surface) so there is now a 'big gap' that can allow the NB to roll under and over the weir.

 

Basically the dolphins / booms are of no practical use as a safety measure for NBs - in 'normal conditions' they are not needed, in anything more than a few inches of 'flood' they are a hazard.

 

Sorry to 'harp-on' but irrespective of how clean your fuel is, how regularly serviced your engine is, how professional or skilled you are, things can break or you can get a rope around your prop (if you only have one engine / prop, then you are dead in the water) Carry a suitable anchoring system and deploy it immediately there is a problem.

 

The waters have dropped over 2 feet (at Newark) in the last week, but is still about 3 feet above normal - the weir at Nether Lock is virtually 'flat' (same level both sides) and when you stand on a bridge & watch the water rushing past you realise that it is not a good time to be out on a NB.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Yes but it's just that we have to do a few yards on the Trent to get to the Soar. Narrowboats don't really have any business off their canals in my opinion.

Thanks Tony, I get the idea - hug the right bank, let the back end turn round until the pointy end is pointing up the Soar and then FULL POWER!!!

We might go and look on foot anyway first. I am an over-cautious type, but being over-cautious has saved my skin many a time.

 

Emerald Fox

 

Trent lock is a doddle if you take note of the warning boards and trafficlights which are licated at the tail of Sawley locks and Redhill flood locks. Before the invention of the new fangle diesel engine there was regular horse boat traffic around the junction with horses being ferried across the river on a ferry, your 10Hp should manage just fine!

Link to post
Share on other sites

To Emerald Fox

 

Its not often I can give any insight or experience as I'm usually the one asking. Though you need to have you head screwed on, like at any point when boating as you know, have confidence in yourself and trust your boat when doing the junction.

 

My very first hour of ever piloting a narrowboat was going from the Trent Junction on to the Soar when the boards where on yellow. I had been given the same advice as you to not take the turn early. But don't go too slowly as you need that bit of power to overcome any flow if its still high/fast. Also don't turn too close to the inside bank as I'm told its quite shallow. As soon as your facing the Soar you can be confident you managed it.

I struggled most going in the other direction when aiming to Sawley as it forks off to the Erewash, there can be quite a wind pushing you towards Nottingham and last November I was almost going sideways against the flow on my way to Nottingham rather than Sawley. I didn't panic and knew I was actually going forward just the speed of the flow and the wind made it feel otherwise.

 

Always have the anchor out tied to your bow when on the rivers (as its been said) and have someone on the bow ready to drop it if things aren't in your favour. Have your safety ring out and ready to throw and if you have them life jackets on. My last piece of advice would be to not be at maximum power because you can overheat if motoring for too long at those revs. plus if you need that little bit extra to overcome a gust of wind, you know you can power up if need be.

 

I hope I've made sense. I don't know the technical terms but I have some experience of that junction (at least 8 times in either direction) in both bad and lovely conditions. Have faith in yourself and if waning wait until someone is going in the same direction as you and ask to go together as a team.

 

The Soar is lovely. Bit of a temperamental if there has been any rain, very changeable. I like to think the Soar is definitely a woman - nice as pie, to a raging beast, to calm and serene over the course of a day or two. Yep definitely female lol.

 

Have fun

  • Greenie 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Emerald Fox

 

Trent lock is a doddle if you take note of the warning boards and trafficlights which are licated at the tail of Sawley locks and Redhill flood locks. Before the invention of the new fangle diesel engine there was regular horse boat traffic around the junction with horses being ferried across the river on a ferry, your 10Hp should manage just fine!

I would point out however, that if you leave the canal at Beeston with the river falling and the board on amber then turn into the soar there is no indication of the state of the soar though normally we would expect that to fall before the trent. on this occasion we saw a boat approaching the soar from, as we thought Sawley, we both then found ourselves the wrong side of Redhill flood lock with a red light on. It transpired that the boat in front of us had come off the erewash, which also has no indication to suggest the state of the soar but crt staff there had informed them the soar was out of flood. We decided against the risky procedure of winding in the fast flowing river and returning to trent junction opting to aim for ,what we hoped would be the safety of a pontoon after Ratcliffe lock. However, the owner of the pontoon refused our appeal to tie up telling us we shouldn't be boating. I agreed and asked him how we could have known this coming from the trent. fortunately the boats at Kegworth shallow shuffled up for us so we could get our bow tied to a bollard and our stern to a fence but of course we couldn't leave the boat as we had to adjust the ropes.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I struggled most going in the other direction when aiming to Sawley as it forks off to the Erewash, there can be quite a wind pushing you towards Nottingham

 

I'd second this. Turning into the Erewash, coming downstream on the Trent, with a wind blowing counts as one of my least favourite boating experiences. I'd be tempted to continue into the Cranfleet Cut, find somewhere to turn round and approach it that way if doing it again.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

There IS a board (Red, Amber & Green) at Meadow Lane lock as you exit the canal onto the 'mighty' River Trent.

The 'problem' is that unless you know what it means, have experience yourself, have had (and accepted) guidance from others then its just a 'nicely painted board'

 

Post #74 is a fair summary,

and it also depends on how many sluices are open at colwick

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty much the same on any river. The boards only tell you about the conditions at that point and off er guide about whether itvius sensible to leave for the next loick, where the situation needs to be assesses afresh. Listening to lockies is a 'necessary but not sufficient' condition for making a decision. Delay may be a nuisance but remember that you can only do it tomorrow if you survive until tomorrow.

 

No, it's the exact opposite of what normally happens below any canal lock joining a river, or any lock on a river.

If the board has been fixed in place at the correct height, then it will indicate when the river is in flood by showing that the water levels are well above normal.

The point I'm making [and so is denboy] about Meadow Lane is that there can be many times more water baling down the Trent than normal, with greatly increased levels elsewhere, but because Colwick Sluices are regulated to maintain the river level through Nottingham at close to normal, but with a much increased volume of water passing downriver, the board at Meadow lane can show [indicate] a negligible rise in river level when in fact it may be 4' to 5' feet above normal below the next two locks downriver, Holme and Stoke.

Relying on the gauge in the lock tail at Meadow Lane can lead someone coming off the Nottingham canal to believe that the Trent is at normal levels when in fact it's several feet above normal.

Edited by Tony Dunkley
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.