Boaters' Update 6 Sep 2019

Welcome to the latest edition. There's a fair bit to get through from your mooring advice through to tunnel safety and winter moorings! Have a read and, if you have the time, get in touch with your thoughts!

Shad from the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port Shad from the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port

Now that the children have returned to school and the lazy summer days quickly fade from our memories it’s time to talk about winter! Ok, to be precise, winter moorings and what’ll be on offer from the Trust this year.

Elsewhere you can read what mooring advice you’d give to other boaters along with a description of fluid dynamics which underlines the importance of our recent discussion on cruising past moored boats. You’ll also find a video on safely navigating tunnels as well as the regular roundup of news, upcoming events, and the latest stoppages.

If there’s an article you’d like to read in a future edition then please drop me a line.

Happy boating,

Damian

In this edition:

News round-up and upcoming events      

Over the last few weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:

Below I’ve picked out some events that you might be interested in over the next month. There are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities if none of the below take your fancy. Just visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.

  • 8 & 29 Sep – Dawn Rose, the only Chesterfield Canal boat in existence, will be running horse boating displays on two Sundays in Worksop.
  • 7 & 8 Sep – The Village at War returns to the Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne with the 1940s re-enactment weekend featuring live music and entertainment, air raid experiences, battles, black market, tea dances, memorabilia exhibition, fashion show, parades, boat trips, free entry to Canal Museum, vintage & military vehicles, and much more.
  • 7 & 8 Sep – Enjoy some retail therapy in Birmingham with the eclectic range of traders that’ll be moored up at the floating market.
  • 7 & 8 Sep – Head along to the Slough Canal Festival for displays from ferrets, dogs and birds. Of course, there’s lots more for the whole family to do including getting out on the water with a boat trip!

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Your mooring advice

You may recall, in the last edition, that I asked for the advice you would give other boaters when they’re mooring up. Boy did you deliver! Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in.

There were some common themes and you can read all responses here. But, as you’ll guess, some were more strongly supported than others. It’s worth noting that while several points were regularly mentioned, the first in the list below was by far the most frequent:

  1. Mooring closeWhen mooring at popular visitor moorings don’t leave gaps, as in the photo on the right, between your boat and the next one. If there’s no space, ask if you can breast up.
  2. Don’t moor on blind bends, near bridge holes, or anywhere the canal narrows.
  3. Don’t moor, or leave your boat unattended, on service points, winding holes or lock landings unless you’re using the associated facility.
  4. Make sure you tie up securely and use spring lines.
  5. In rural areas, when a boat is moored in isolation, moor away from them as they’re likely to have picked that spot for its tranquility.

Is the list above complete or is there something else that should join it? Please do let me know if there is. One of our volunteers shares this handy infographic with those who want more guidance on the mechanics of mooring.

One of the other subjects that I asked for your help with was an explanation of fluid dynamics. This was because, over the last few editions, we’ve been discussing cruising past moored boats and, as mentioned in some of your responses, fluid dynamics play a key role in understanding why moored boats move at all when others chug past. Thanks to everyone who educated me – you’ll find all of their explanations here.

If you don’t have the time to read them all then, hopefully, the following five paragraphs below will give a brief outline of what’s happening when you’re cruising along and why your speed and the type of canal will have an effect on the amount of disturbance to the water.

Cruising past moored boats Leicester Line Grand UnionIf your boat weighs 15 tonnes it will displace 15 tonnes of water. As you progress along the cut 15 tonnes of water needs to move from in front of your boat to behind it. The same happens with air – the volume that your superstructure displaces needs to move past your boat as well.

Here’s where it gets a a little more complex. There’s a concept in science known as Bernoulli’s principle which states that as the speed of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases.

Both water and air have to move from in front of the boat to behind, but because the channel width is smaller for water, it has to move faster, so the water pressure is reduced more. This can readily be seen by watching the water-level on a vertical bank; several inches of wet bank can be seen at the mid-point of the boat, showing that the water-level has dropped because the air pressure is now greater than the water pressure.

So, the faster you cruise along, the bigger the pressure difference will be between water and air, making the water more turbulent and, potentially, causing more disturbance to moored boats.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that 3mph on a narrow and shallow canal will create more disturbance than on a wide and deep river or canal. This is because, with a smaller channel, the water has to move faster to get to the rear of the boat thereby, under Bernoulli’s principle, causing a bigger drop in pressure.

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Tunnel safety

Even if you’re yet to navigate one, it’s likely that at some point in your boating career you’ll want to go through a tunnel. It can be daunting but if you watch the video below you’ll hopefully find it less of a challenge and be able to safely explore all the wonderful network of canals and rivers has to offer.

Before you break out the popcorn, it’s worth touching on the positioning of your boat’s lamps. Forward pointing lamps should be positioned so as to aid safe navigation but be mindful that they are not blinding oncoming boats. One boater, who says it can be similar to an oncoming car having its headlights on full beam, suggests that ‘a tunnel lamp is approximately 45 degrees elevated and approximately 30 degrees to starboard, thus reflecting an arc of light round the fore end of the boat giving ample illumination to navigate.’

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Winter moorings

While it was only a couple of weeks ago that we were melting in the hottest August Bank Holiday on record, we’ve had our thoughts on the short and cold days of winter. In particular, the list of sites that we’ll be offering for winter moorings in 2019-20.

Matthew Symonds, national boating manager, said: “Cruising in winter is a wonderful experience – on many stretches it can feel like you’ve got the waterways almost to yourself.  However every year around 10% of continuous cruisers decide that they want to moor their boats in one place for the winter months and choose to take a winter mooring from us, while others may choose to overwinter with the many other mooring providers.

“We’ve had a rationalisation of our winter moorings offer and have removed sites where no winter moorings were sold last year. This year we’ll be offering winter moorings between November and the end of February at around 100 sites compared to 135 in 2018.

“We are also announcing that we’ll be reviewing the future provision of winter moorings by the Trust.  We recognise that winter moorings are appreciated by some cruising boaters, but we know that for others the ability to moor for the maximum 14 days, free of charge, on the towpath all year round is also important. Also, with so many other winter mooring providers who may be better placed to offer this service to boaters, we will be working with our navigation advisory group to consider the longer term options for winter mooring.” 

Our winter moorings will be available from 1 November 2019 to 29 February 2020.  A final list of the sites and prices can be found on a dedicated webpage.

Shropshire Union, winter 2017, courtesy of Imogen NailorWinter moorings are divided into seven price bands reflecting each site’s relative attractiveness, for example location and facilities, the level of demand from boaters, and to ensure the Trust stays in line with the pricing of both private mooring operators and its own long-term mooring sites.  All winter mooring permits will be charged at a ‘per metre, per month’ rate, and boaters will be able to book the spots in increments of one month.  

All price bands have had a 3% inflation increase applied for 2019/20. 36 sites have moved into lower price bands and 25 have moved into higher price bands, the rest stay the same.  Two new price bands have been added this year.

The 2019/20 price bands are as follows:

  • Band 0:  £20 – new band
  • Band 1:  £18.50
  • Band 2: £16.50
  • Band 3:  £14.30
  • Band 4:  £10.60
  • Band 5:  £8.50 – new band
  • Band 6:  £6.90

Bookings for our winter moorings will open at 6am on Tuesday 1 October and will be made through the Trust’s boat licensing site on a first-come, first-served basis.

You’ll be able to look at sites on the online booking system from Monday 9 September. 

If you have any questions about our winter moorings please call customer services on 0303 040 4040 or email wintermoorings@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

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Get Involved

Many boaters go the extra mile in helping to keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteeringdonating, or just picking up the odd piece of discarded plastic. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful, and life better by water, I thought you’d like to know about other ways you can get involved:

  • Don’t forget that there’s not a lot of time left to respond to the Government’s consultation on how it intends to implement the European Commission judgment that requires private pleasure craft to use white diesel for propulsion. You need to respond before 9 September. Before responding to the consultation, you might like to read more information about it in a previous edition of Boaters’ Update.

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Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

As someone who’s out on, 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 of anything that’s happening that may affect you if you’re planning on a cruise this weekend.

Below you’ll find, by canal or river, those that may affect your plans this weekend:

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. The tech savvy among you may already know that you can set up your smartphone to notify you if a notice is issued for a canal or river that you’re interested in. For those that didn’t know, check out this guide to setting it up.

If you have any questions about a specific closure then just get in touch.

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Bits & bobs

  • Hoppers on LeeSince May we’ve cleared over 560 tonnes of aquatic weed from the River Lee (equivalent to the weight of 260 African elephants). We’ve really ramped up this season in response to the late July heat wave which has seen record amounts of aquatic weed growth – five colleagues have been working 12 hour days and some weekends in an attempt to keep navigation operational. This resulted in 70 hoppers being emptied at our yards to keep the weed operation efficient. Thanks go to boaters in the area who’ve supported us this year with their words of encouragement. For clarity, the hoppers we transport the weeds in are not for general waste (see photo right) as this puts colleagues behind their programme and allows the weed to build up whist we arrange for hoppers to be cleared again. Thanks!
  • An understandably frustrated boater got in touch to ask that I remind boaters to adhere to ‘No self pump out’ signs at Elsan points. At Gayton recently the sign was ignored and the overflowing result was, well, as smelly and rotten as you might imagine.
  • On a (much) lighter note, another boater dropped me a line to share their wonderful habit: ‘We always use a fishing net to collect any floating rubbish we spot in the water. This time, in Birmingham, over two to three days we filled three dustbin bags with rubbish. It would be a good idea if other boat owners could also do this, it would certainly help to keep the canals clean and tidy! On a totally different topic, we’ve just added a washing machine to our narrowboat, and worried about putting dirty soap water and any chemical in it back into the canal, did some research and found a washing ball, we tried one and it works wonderfully.’

Happy boating,

Damian

Last date edited: 6 September 2019

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The boaters' update

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