I have to disagree with Adrian Stott on the subject of 'Leaving the gates open'. First off what the old boaters used to do is irrelevant. Yes it worked for them but boating today is not the same.
Old commercial boaters were on a tight schedule, time was literally money. Saving time is not important now. The whole boating experience today is about relaxing and doing the system and enjoying the ride. It is hard enough to teach people the 'tidy' system. If we now change people will be confused about what is right.
The maintenance argument is also invalid. It doesn’t matter how many lock gates you leave open the maintenance system will not change. If anything it will get worse. There is no money!
The idea that leaving the paddles up will force people to ensure they are down before they open the others is absolute piffle. Earlier this year I took a boat to Oxford, and the boat in front was sitting in the lock with all paddles up, wondering why they were not going down in the lock.
I took time to explain to the two people on the boat that they needed to drop the top paddles before they open the bottom paddles. The gentleman said he knew that, he owned two boats and was having a bad day. Imagine my surprise when at the next lock the same scenario was being played out by the same man. Whilst this is the first time I have seen this problem at two consecutive locks, the incident of having all paddles up in not uncommon, though usually with the less experienced hire boaters. Leaving paddles up is not going to force people to put them down, they will just waste water.
There are so many things that the old boaters used to do that are not appropriate today. It is a different way of boating today, the Mr Stotts of this world need to understand that.
[We have made the exception not to include the full name as Maffi is known to us and many in the boating world.]