Boat sinkings on the increase

Published: Friday, 19 January 2018

TODAY'S report by River Canal Rescue shows that boat sinkings are on the increase.

The company reports that there was a new high in major incidents of 137 boats last year up 8% on the previous year, major being defined as the boat being submerged, partially sunken or grounded, plus salvage work. Minor incidents are situations which on attendance, can be resolved without the need for a full rescue team, with Managing director, Stephanie Horton explaining:

bath rescue   stabilising2Lapse of concentration

“The main causes of major rescues are; cilling or catching the rudder in the lock. Usually due to a momentary lapse of concentration and something that can happen to experienced and inexperienced boaters.

“An insecure weed hatch—this typically occurs once the vessel is on the move, causing big problems for the engine as it’s still running when the water gets in, resulting in internal damage. Owners tend to be unaware until it’s too late.

“Taking on water or listing—caused by weed hatch or stern gland leaks or heavy rain. Once the engine room floods it makes the boat sit lower in the water.

withamr“Hull issues, bilge pump failure (due to battery running low) and poor weather—particularly common for vessels that sink on their moorings.

“Misadventure. Groundings, drifting and being wedged on weirs and bridges etc are usually due to wind/river conditions, navigation errors or poor judgment.

“Fires—usually electrically related and linked to the 12v system—a burn-out tends to set off a chain reaction."

Other issues

Other rescue requests for River Canal Rescue included call-outs caused by electrical, fuel and engine issues, flat batteries, over-heating and gear box failures, and totalled 4691, up 115 from 4576 the previous year.

tm june15Usually, the split between cruiser and narrowboat call-outs has been 50/50, however this figure is governed by weather conditions as floods increase cruiser incidents, but in 2017 however 72% of call-outs were from narrowboats.

Stephanie believes that there are a number of owners who fail to service and maintain their boats that are key contributors to these spiralling numbers. In many cases, the call-out could have been avoided with a little know-how, by giving the boat a ‘once-over’ or simply carrying spares.

Monthly courses

RCR runs monthly boat and engine maintenance and electrics courses covering; diesel engines, transmissions, boat plumbing, boat electrics, lay-up and refit procedures. Boat & engine maintenance course dates are: 24-25 February, 24-25 March, 7-8 and 21-22 April, 9-10 June, 8-9 September, 6-7 October, 3-4 November and 1-2 December. Electrics course dates are: 17-18 March, 12-13 May, 22-23 September and 17-18 November.

In addition, RCR runs one-to-one follow-up sessions for customers attending courses and trainers can present to groups anywhere in the country.