In this latest edition you'll find out the what, why, and how of various boating topics. Specifically: what are the biggest reasons why you should go to Crick Boat Show, why your boating experience could be boosted with a bit of mindfulness, and how to drain your sedimentors/agglomerators (and stop water getting into your engine)!
In this latest edition I cover the what, why, and how of various boating topics. Specifically: what are the biggest reasons why you should go to Crick Boat Show, why your boating experience could be boosted with a bit of mindfulness, and how to drain your sedimentors/agglomerators (and stop water getting into your engine)!
Oh, and if you want to keep receiving these boating updates please (if you haven’t already had an email) keep an eye out for an email from me on Monday 21 May. There’ll be a big ‘Yes’ button midway down that you need to click. Thanks!
As ever, there’s a round-up of the latest news, events and stoppages. If there’s a particular topic you’d like to see in a future edition then please just drop me a line.
In this edition:
Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:
Below I’ve picked out some highlights to see and do over the next fortnight. Of course, there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network: visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you. Or you may just want to escape out on your boat, in which case these cruising ring guides might be handy!
Cats and catnip, strawberries and cream, Morecombe and Wise – some things are just naturally better together. I’d like to add another suggestion to the list: boaters and Crick Boat Show! (26 to 28 May)
It’s more than just a few boats on display. It’s more like 27,000 people, over the course of three days, turning up in a huge field next to a canal to celebrate boating. Of course, it’s far from an empty field. Here are just some of the other things you’ll find:
While the list above highlights some of the key things at Crick, you’ll only feel the real sense of community and boating passion as you walk through the gates on the late May Bank Holiday weekend. Buy your advance tickets before 20 May to get a 15% discount on the entry price. Children aged 16 years and under receive free entry on all three days of the show. Weekend tickets, camping pitches and moorings are also available to book.
With such a literal title this article doesn’t need much introduction. Boater Bob Chase, an experienced meditation teacher with over 25 years of personal practice, explains why boaters can benefit from mindfulness:
“Live the dream! Join the jolly boaters on the Cut. The promise that owning a boat will free you from life’s worries is a potent one. It’s a message that suits boaters, boating businesses and organisations alike. We are all invested in this message to different degrees.
“Suggestions that it might, sometimes, be less than wonderful don’t get much air time and can be uncomfortable.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate the boating life; after all, I have lived on three boats spanning thirty years. My own experience is that, whilst it has its compensating joys, many cares followed me onto the boat and were added to by new ones.
“The phrase that came to resonate with me was “Wherever you go – there you are”. It neatly summed up for me the dilemma of seeking solutions outside of ourselves for internal issues. It comes from a book of the same name by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Jon is a scientist, a meditator and one of the founders of the Mindfulness movement.
“Stepping aboard a boat is often wonderful but even on an idyllic day can’t prevent a less than idyllic frame of mind popping up. There is so much rubbish! And why didn’t that boat close the gates behind them? GRRR! At a deeper level our anxieties, troubles and worries can also follow us, refusing to stay on shore.
“Boat living is also a compromise solution for many people. After separating from my partner my return to boating life was driven by finances as much as a love of the Cut. It has been tough at times and I know I am not the only one to experience this.
“Mindfulness has become a way of looking after myself, during both good and difficult times on the Cut. I learned meditation years ago and now teach Mindfulness on my boat. Mindfulness of this and that appears almost everywhere these days. I would say look beyond the hype and talk to someone who practises Mindfulness. Find out what they think.
“Acknowledging this gap between how we want the world to be and reality is central to Mindfulness. Focussing on the present moment can help us notice this gap and our reactions to it. The teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says “When you drink tea - just drink tea”. That is, to intentionally focus on what you are doing and your present moment experience without judging it. Easy, huh?
“So for us boaters we can start by: just steering the boat when we steer; just lifting the paddle, when we lift a paddle and Oh! when someone takes your mooring space, smile at them and see how it feels.”
Find out more
The Mental Health Foundation is a good independent source of information on Mindfulness and Mental Health. They have a clear explanation, a list of teachers and an online course that may be of interest to cruising boaters.
Bob offers Mindfulness events on his boat Fiodra specifically for boaters. You can find out more on his website.
The third in a series of maintenance topics suggested by readers (previous ones were prop-shaft couplings and keel tank maintenance), this one is about keeping water out of your fuel by draining sedimentors and agglomerators. By now, it won’t surprise you to learn that I’ve turned to the experts at River Canal Rescue for their help:
“When storing fuels in any environment, a water build-up is highly likely; particularly in the leisure marine industry where a low fuel turnover rate coupled with the realities of cruising almost guarantees this occurring. The only question is how much water is in there!
“Luckily, most vessels have installed a ‘last line of defence’- this ensures water does not reach vital components and warns of the issue before any damage is caused. These ‘last line of defence’ components have multiple names such as sedimentor, agglomerator, cav-filter and pre-filter, however the one common denominator is that they all remove water from the fuel before it reaches the engine.
“Due to the nature of their role, they require regular maintenance in the form of draining and checking the water content. NB - if water is present every time they are checked, it is a sure sign the tank requires maintenance.
“Check your water ‘filters’ by unscrewing the drain plug and seeing what escapes. All water separating filters have a drain plug on the bottom which is detailed in the following images.
“Draining water from the filter will not affect the engine and once you’ve done this, you do not need to ‘bleed’ the fuel system. You will need a container such as an old margarine tub or small plastic tray to catch the drained fluid, simply place it underneath the filter and loosen the drain plug. Do not remove it completely as things will get messy.
“Allow fuel to flow/drip into the tray until there is a small puddle in the tray. At this point you should close/tighten the drain plug and inspect the liquid. If it is clean red diesel (blue or green if from an automotive source) the check is complete. If there’s water, slime or debris, loosen the plug again and wait until clean fuel flows into the tray. If water/debris is present, re-check in three to seven days.
“The image above top right is of a CAV filter - the most common filter used on leisure marine diesel systems. It has been adapted multiple times so may have different ‘bowls’ on the bottom, ranging from a very shallow aluminum cup to a large glass adapter or even a complete glass lower section like the one above. Some do not include a filter as shown in this photo. The drain plug will have the following, simple, bolt (middle right) or a pinch screw (bottom right).
“Fuel Guard (right) - also common, but a newer filter design, works very well in multiple circumstances. Some are fitted with a sensor that warns if any water is present, greatly reducing the amount of maintenance required.
“Wasp (right) - this filter is a sedimentor and has a steel mesh, cleanable filter element. Fairly common on the waterways, it is often a forgotten element of a service. Nb - if the filter ‘bowl’ is removed, the O-ring is damaged, so ensure you order one prior to any planned removal.
“Agglomerator (right) - again fairly common but with no filter element. The only maintenance requirements are the periodical draining of water/debris which has built up. This filter is designed to deal with water only and does not remove other contaminants.”
Many boaters go the extra mile in helping to keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteering or donating. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful I thought you’d like to know about other ways you can get involved:
As someone who’s out, or by, the water more often than most you’ll know that there are times when we need to fix things that unexpectedly break. So, below, you’ll find a list, by region, of anything that’s happening that may affect you if you’re planning on an early summer cruise.
Just click on the one where you’ll be and a webpage will open listing any stoppages for that region (if your region isn’t listed then, yay, there aren’t any navigation closures there!). If you’re not quite sure which region your planned cruise falls in to please take a look at this map.
When any restrictions to navigation happen, we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to have a scan before you set off for a cruise. If you have any questions about a specific closure then you’ll find the email addresses for our regional offices on our contacts page.