Boaters' Update 18 May 2018

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)!

Crick Boat Show 17

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.

Happy boating,


In this edition:

News round-up and the fortnight ahead

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

  • 2 May – We are delighted to announce that we have been granted planning permission for 16 new residential moorings in Millwall Outer Dock, providing new homes for those seeking life on the water.
  • 10 May – We have received planning permission to transform Finsley Gate Wharf in Burnley into a leisure, education and community attraction.
  • 10 May – Hundreds of people gathered in Droitwich last bank holiday weekend to witness the culmination of a historic canal boat journey by artist Katy Beinart.
  • 11 May – We appointed six new regional directors to drive the next phase of our development, as we take forward our transformation to become a charity for waterways and wellbeing, enriching the lives of millions of local people with waterways on their doorstep.

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!

  • 19 & 20 May – Go along to the Rickmansworth Festival to celebrate the canals, the community and the environment. While you’re there, have a go at fishing with our free taster sessions too!
  • 19 May – Further north, there’ll be plenty of fun for all the family at the Five Rise Locks where you’ll find the Bingley Canal Festival alive with activities for all ages, heritage boats, food, games and music.
  • 20 May – Take a step back in time on the Pocklington Canal Heritage Open Day: historical walks led by characters from the past, boat trips and coracle sailing are among the highlights of this free drop-in event.
  • 26 May to 28 May – It’s not long until the canal world’s biggest marketplace – Crick Boat Show – descends on Crick Marina, showcasing the inland waterways industry with 300 exhibitors. It’s a fantastic day out for all the family with dozens of boats to look round, free boat trips, live music, children’s activities, a real ale marquee, and a large variety of food and drink stalls – more on this below
  • 1 to 3 Jun – There’s lots to do for all the family for the whole weekend at the Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show... have a go at canoeing for children and adults, SUP boards, archery, hover crafting, lake rides; and see the famous Newfoundland dogs, vintage cycle bikes and cooking by the lake with Kipperman.


Boating bonanza at Crick

Cats and catnip, strawberries and cream, Morecombe and Wise – some things are just naturally better together. I’d like to add another Boats at Cricksuggestion 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:

  • Lots of boats. There are over 50 boats on display – more than any previous year – so if you’re thinking of buying your first, upgrading your second or even buying a share in one then you’re likely to find it at Crick. You may even want to check out the Electric Boat Association’s stand and all-electric set-up on Ampère – a 57’6” electric BCN Tug-style narrowboat.
  • Boating accessories. With close to 300 exhibitors, Crick really does justify the ‘one-stop shop’ tag. You’ll find everything from wireless security systems and LED lighting through to bow thrusters and decking.
  • Inside the Food & Craft marquee you’ll can indulge in sausages, vodka and cheese (to name a few). There’s also a wide range of hot food stalls around the show ground selling pizza, curry, burgers, chips… The list goes on!
  • Skill up. You’ll find plenty of old salts at Crick demonstrating that you can always learn more. Some might take in a boating seminar or two while others might be brushing up their boat handling skills.
  • Free boat trips. Need your cruising fix? Then take a free trip out onto the water to experience the Grand Union Canal on one of the trip boats. Trip boats run every 10 minutes from 10.10am each day of the show and each trip lasts 30 minutes. All trips are run by LNBP Community Boating who will be collecting small donations. This is understandably a popular attraction, so make sure you book your free trip at the Trip Boats Marquee on the Quayside soon after you arrive at the show.
  • Get closer to nature. It’s not only the magnificent setting that’ll bring you closer to nature at Crick. Visit our marquee to try your hand (well, ear!) at identifying some wildlife sounds and get up close to some common canal fish such as roach, perch, bream and tench in a large tank.
  • When you stop by our marquee you can also learn about 19th century canal life with the help of costumed characters, and meet a costumed interpreter of John Nash, the English architect responsible for the Regent’s Canal. You’ll even have the opportunity to see the heritage team demonstrating their masonry skills live as they build a stone wall with an arch. Head down to the marina to see several historic boats that have made the journey to be part of Crick Boat Show.
  • Dance. Crick wouldn’t be Crick without some great entertainment. 2018 is no different. Headlining on Saturday are Tribute band Dizzy Lizzy who will be performing the ’70s and ’80s rock classics of Thin Lizzy. Sing along and stomp your feet to The Boys are Back in Town, Whiskey in the Jar, Black Rose and more. If yours is more of a pop vibe then don’t miss Sunday’s headliners - the UK's top ABBA tribute band, ABBA Revival- who’ll take the stage to deliver a high-energy stage show that includes faithful choreography, authentic costumes and, of course, rousing renditions of the Swedish group's numerous hits.
  • Drink. Local Crick pub, The Wheatsheaf, will once again provide the Crick Boat Show with a beer festival in the bar marquee. For 2018 there is an even larger selection from independent suppliers from around Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire with over 60 carefully selected real ales and more than 10 ciders on offer.
  • Be merry – you won’t be able to help yourself!

Crick Boat ShowWhile 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.


Mindfulness of Boating

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:

Boating into Chirk Tunnel“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.

Boating through Foxton Locks staircase“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.


Draining sedimentors and agglomerators (keeping water out of your fuel)

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 Cav filteronce 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 auBolttomotive 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 Pinch screwdo 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).


Other Varieties

Fuel guard“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“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“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.”




More ways for you to get involved

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:

  • Do you have any tips on great environmentally-friendly products for boaters (including those that reduce plastic waste)? If so, then let us know and we’ll start compiling a list to share on our website.
  • While I spend a fair few column inches talking of the glorious time you’ll have on the late May Bank Holiday weekend at Crick Boat Show, we’d love for you to spare a moment thinking about winter. In particular our plans for the 2018/19 winter stoppage programme. Simply search for stoppages you want to comment on and then click through to the individual stoppage and leave your comments at the bottom of the page. Thanks! 
  • River Canal Rescue is calling for volunteers to help test a new monitoring system which picks up and alerts engineers to any abnormalities with a boat’s engine or electrics and warns if the vessel is taking on water. To help test a boat monitoring system, email with ‘test volunteer’ in the subject line or call 01785 785680.


Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

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.


Bits and bobs

  • In the last edition I ran a feature on Carbon Monoxide (CO) safety. Thanks to all of you who got in touch about it, especially the boater who said “…gas heaters and (although there won’t be that many left on boats as their use is restricted now) gas fridges also create CO. Recently came upon a crew that was complaining of headaches. Something had landed on their gas heater outlet partially blocking it.” If you’re looking for a new CO alarm then please note that the Boat Safety Scheme has recently updated the list of CO alarms as recommended by the makers for use in boats, and as provided by the alarm makers trade

Last date edited: 18 May 2018

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The boaters' update

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