Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
rivershine

How Often Do People Fall In?

Featured Posts

This is slightly tongue in cheek, but also...not really.

I can't swim, so can imagine wearing one of those less bulky life vests with the gas canister most of the time. I know, right "can't swim and contemplating a boating life"? I hear you. Trouble is, it's more than just learning the physical act, it's claustrophobia of immersion.

Anyway, to that question...how often DO people fall in? No matter how careful you are? I'm talking about liveaboards. Would you say it was a case of "when" rather than "if'? In other words, even if you are really careful, the day will come when you slip on a wet surface, stumble on the roof, lose your balance while dealing with the boat in a lock, etc?

Or are there those among you here who can say, hand on heart, the likes of "I cruised the canals for six years and never fell in once"?

Is it like they say for motorcycles? You're not a real boater until you fall in (off)?

Canal water is not something I would want to fall into in general, let alone for the drowning aspect.

Edited by rivershine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I slipped walking along the gunwale once whilst the boat was moving.I managed to grab hold of the roof and ended up with wet legs,but not a complete dunking. 19 years live on board.

Edited by rusty69

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, rivershine said:

Is it like they say for motorcycles? You're not a real boater until you fall in (off)?

If it is, it's the same idiots saying it! If you fall off a motorbike it has more chance of making you an ex-biker than a real one and it's potentially the same for boaters, particularly as you don't swim. You should be prepared for it  to happen to you, for example by wearing appropriate safety kit, and then do everything you can to make sure it doesn't.

Incidentally, I've been in once and so has my wife - both when walking along the gunnels. 

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lived aboard for umpteen years with the missus. She has been in once I have yet to fall in. You will be told your not a proper boater until you have fallen in which is cows droppings. Its not to be sniffed at several people die in the uk through drowning yearly.

5 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

If it is, it's the same idiots saying it! If you fall off a motorbike it has more chance of making you an ex-biker than a real one and it's potentially the same for boaters, particularly as you don't swim. You should be prepared for it  to happen to you, for example by wearing appropriate safety kit, and then do everything you can to make sure it doesn't.

Incidentally, I've been in once and so has my wife - both when walking along the gunnels. 

You just beat me to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am moderately reassured. Maybe I will live after all!

Yes, I would wear some kind of life protection gear. Probably not one of these though:

 

 

lifejacket2.jpg

To those of you who did fall in, or your significant other took the plunge, how deep was the canal where you fell?

Also, locks would probably concern me the most.

Edited by rivershine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The canal was about up to my chest, and it was summer and actually quite pleasant (Cannock Extension at Pelsall)

What I couldn't do was get out  - I had to be helped out

On rivers we wear self inflating lifejackets

Don't forget the crotch strap

Locks are easy. Take your time, don't go faster than your experience and you will be fine

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a liveaboard but fell in a couple of times as a kid when I used to wash hire boats. Since then gone in once to the knees slipping off the gunnels boating in the rain but had hold of the handrail so saved myself.

Each time I've gone right in I've walked to the bank, worse time was going in between breasted up boats which moved back together so I couldn't surface. Didn't seem to bother me at the time though, I just swam to the stern of the boats and got out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once in 11 years but it was spectacular. I slipped on the wet duck boards pulling the boat back a few yards with hubby. Landed on my backside on the edge but couldn't quite save myself, backflipped in , full immersion, in November. It was cold dark and disorientating, I didn't know which way was up at first. Came up to the surface with one arm extended and hubby dragged me out. He laughed when I did. I am a good swimmer but it caught me off guard so you can never be too careful. Hubby has only been in up to his knees!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fill in only once, was last year of around nine years of boating.  Happend when tieing the ropes when mooring up and I was stepped on the lack of banking when leaning over at the bow.   

Always follow the rule of 3 points of contact when stepping off/on the boat.   

Edited by Robbo
  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the majority fall in by slipping off the gunnels, most catch themselves with the handrails and end up with banged knees and wet ankles / feet.

fewer make the classic mistake of pushing the boat out and forgetting to let go or step on board before the boat goes too far out (belly flop between boat and towpath)

I was taught (if you can call it that) to swim very early in life by being thrown / dropped in the canal from a boat, apparently I worked out pretty quickly how to keep afloat and get out even when fully clothed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Falling in is a very small risk, especially if you minimise risks.  Some heroes leap across locks or jump from a closed gate to the other gate that is open.  Some people walk along their roof or gunwales when it's not really necessary.  You'll be fine if you are sensible and never rush things.  I fell in once after I fainted but alcohol was a contributory factor.  In many canals, you can just stand up.  but it can be difficult to get out.  So make a plan and have a rope ladder or some means of climbing out and brief your crew.  I see some very dodgy gang planks twixt boat and towpath.  These need to be anchored so they can't tip over or slide off boat or towpath.  Of course, if boat is close to towpath you don't need a gang plank.  It's also good to carry a torch when staggering home from the pub!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL.

 

Yeah, about those lock gates, now that it's come up. Some of those walkways look precariously narrow. Is there always a guide rail? I'm sure I've seen pictures of locks with no rail (but a crossing bridge may have existed outside of the frame, I don't know)

Edited by rivershine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On average, 400 people drown each year in the UK.  Most of these are probably not in canals.  So the number is tiny compared to the number who enjoy our coasts, rivers, ponds, lakes and canals.  Many will be people who chose to enter the water.  This means the number who fall in and drown is very small.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, rivershine said:

LOL.

 

Yeah, about those lock gates, now that it's come up. Some of those walkways look precariously narrow. Is there always a guide rail? I'm sure I've seen pictures of locks with no rail (but a crossing bridge may have existed outside of the frame, I don't know)

Time to get yourself some canal experience methinks. A day on a boat will answer a lot of these worries

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, RLWP said:

Time to get yourself some canal experience methinks. A day on a boat will answer a lot of these worries

Richard

Oh...I would even consider renting for several months before taking the plunge (no, not THAT plunge)...but prices I have seen for long term rentals were about 3 times the cost of renting a one bedroom flat for the same period...and that's not including deposit.

And yeah, I would hire for a short while anyway, sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Jess-- said:

I was taught (if you can call it that) to swim very early in life by being thrown / dropped in the canal from a boat, apparently I worked out pretty quickly how to keep afloat and get out even when fully clothed

At least they didn't chuck you in naked:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Jess-- said:

the majority fall in by slipping off the gunnels, most catch themselves with the handrails and end up with banged knees and wet ankles / feet.

fewer make the classic mistake of pushing the boat out and forgetting to let go or step on board before the boat goes too far out (belly flop between boat and towpath)

I was taught (if you can call it that) to swim very early in life by being thrown / dropped in the canal from a boat, apparently I worked out pretty quickly how to keep afloat and get out even when fully clothed

Exactly what I did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Meanderingviking said:

Hubby has only been in up to his knees!

He's doing well (or you're an exceptional trainer). Most Hubbies seem to be in it up to their necks! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lived aboard 2 1/2 years and been in twice. Not a good ratio compared to others on here but fortunately am still here to tell the tale. As others have said, falling in is the easy part, getting out now that's a different matter.

Share this post


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.

×

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.