The time to worry

Published: Thursday, 14 December 2017

FOR the 100 or so residents moored at Sawley Marina on the Trent, with flood alerts for the three nearby rivers it is indeed the time to worry.

Owing to the melting snow the lower Soar, the Derwent and the Trent are all on Environment Agency flood alerts with the warning that 'flooding is possible, be prepared'.

EvacuateDanger period

And the marina is situated on the Trent and below the Derwent, with the latter draining the Derbyshire Pennines where there as been a deal of snow that is of course melting.  It takes 24 hours to reach Sawley, which means the danger period is here.

Just a few years ago British Waterways Marinas Ltd issued the edict that should the jetties become flooded then there would to be immediate evacuation of all the boats, meaning 100 families would be temporarily homeless.

During this time, the marina posted notices of evacuation should the jetties be covered, and at the same time installed an escape gate leading directly to the road at the marina’s highest point.

Jetties coveredJetties covered four times

In the period we have been at Sawley Marina we have experienced the jetties being covered five times, in 2003, 2007, 2088 and more lately in 2014. The picture shows the residents jetties completely covered that year, but the evacuation order was not then on force so all the residents stayed put. Now of course all the residents would have to vacate.

In those days there were no 'official' residents, and they decided themselves if they would stay or not.  However in the flood of 2000 when the Derwent Reservoir bank was under pressure and the water released the jetties were four feet under water, but such were the number of the then British Waterways staff making sure the boats did not become wedged when the flood receded that no boats were lost.

flood cottFour boats sinking

Derby Motorboat Club was not so lucky, with four boats sinking.  Such was the height of the flood water that three narrowboats were sunk in the marina above Derwent Mouth Lock!  At the time the residents' boats on Sawley Cut drifted over the towpath, but then having a resident lock keeper, he made sure they were all off the towpath when the flood receded.  The picture shows Sawley Locks well under water at the time and the lock house flooded.

If this should happen again with the great reduction in staff and many more boats, it is extremely likely that there would be casualties.  As marina moorers ourselves, we fervently hope it will not!

Here are a few pictures of the lesser floods:

Below Sawley Flood Lock just could not cope

800 Flood lock

Below a pier under water and rising


Below the flood nearly reached the chandlery


Below the water stretched from river to Sawley Cut


 Below shows one of us attempting to get to our boat


Below shows the road outside the main gate