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News article created on 22 September 2017

Boaters' Update 22 September 2017

Welcome to the latest edition where you'll find more of your views on the top things you'd like to see all boaters doing. There’s also a review of the things we had to unexpectedly fix in August, the usual news round-up, this weekend’s stoppages, and ways in which you can get involved.

Skipton, Leeds & Liverpool Canal Skipton, Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Once again, I want to start with some thanks. Many of you got back in touch in response to the piece on ‘Your boating guidelines’. It’s cheering to see such enthusiasm for this subject and, below, you can read a refined list of the things you’d like to see all boaters doing (or not as the case may be!).

There’s also a review of the things we had to unexpectedly fix in August, the usual news round-up, this weekend’s stoppages, and ways in which you can get involved. If there is something else you’d like to see in a future edition, then do get in touch.

In this edition:

Happy boating,

Damian

News round-up and the fortnight ahead

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

  • 12 Sep – Historic Hawkesbury Junction receives top award from the Transport Trust.
  • 19 Sep – A new bee hive project organised by a Syrian refugee (who also happens to be a world renowned bee-keeping expert and former professor of agriculture at Damascus University) and Sanctuary Kirklees is set to get visitors buzzing at our Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre, near Marsden, West Yorkshire.
  • 19 Sep – Alongside Calderdale Council we worked to rebuild, and now reopen, Crowther bridge after the 19th century original was completely destroyed by the floods in December 2015.
  • 19 Sep – Important repairs begin on historic Lock 44 (Yew Tree Lock) on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

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.

  • 23 & 24 Sep – Don’t bother hunting around shops for that unique gift or treat, just head along to this weekend’s Floating Market in Birmingham.
  • 23 & 24 Sep – There’ll be street food, boat trips, live music, an art exhibition and fishing tasters (to name just a few) at the Sheffield Waterfront Festival.
  • 30 Sep – Claverton Pumping Station, a waterwheel powered beam engine built in 1813 to raise water from the River Avon to the Kennet & Avon Canal, opens its doors to give you the chance to see cutting-edge Georgian technology brought back to life.
  • 1 Oct – Go and see the launch of the Montgomery Canal photographic exhibition. It’s a unique chance to see the canal through the eyes of all the generations. It will also be an opportunity to vote on your favourite photos. The first ten will be used on merchandise which will be sold to raise funds for the wider restoration effort.

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Your boating guidelines 

Boating through Stoke BruerneAs regular readers will know, in the last edition, I shared the long list of things you told me you’d like to see all boaters doing. I asked if you could have a read and let me know which ones you felt were most important – thanks to all those that did.

We originally started with over 70 individual guidelines and now, with your help, we’ve got a list of 10 (these are listed in order of importance, where it was indicated):

  • Be neighbourly and considerate, don’t run generators before 8am or after 8pm
  • Don’t leave big gaps at busy mooring spots
  • Share locks to save water and don't steal locks set against you if you can see another boat coming
  • Don't moor opposite winding holes, on bends, or near to bridge holes
  • Ensure all paddles and gates are closed and never leave your windlass unattended
  • Go slow, don't create a breaking wash, and allow others to overtake if necessary
  • Slow to tickover before, and while, passing moored boats
  • Clear up after your dog
  • Even if you can’t find a nearby refuse point, don’t leave your rubbish on the towpath or at water points
  • Only stay on a water point while filling up and only use lock landings when preparing to go through a lock

The above list is still a bit wordy so, below, I’ve abbreviated it into something that may be easier to communicate and remember:

  • Go slow past moored boats and don’t create a breaking wash
  • Observe others and, if your actions affect them, stop
  • On mooring up at busy spots check you haven’t left a big gap
  • Don't moor opposite winding holes, on bends, or near to bridge holes
  • Bag it and bin it (including your dog’s) – never fly tip on the towpath
  • Only stay on a water point or a lock landing when you’re filling up or locking through
  • Ask to share locks (and the work) and don’t steal those set against you
  • Take time to check all paddles and gates are shut after you’ve used a lock  

Some of the detail from the top 10 has dropped off in this second, condensed, list. Do let me know if you think it still captures the most important things you’d like to see all boaters doing.

With similar aims, the Residential Boat Owners Association has created a Code of Good Practice (which we support) and, if you like it, you can register your support via it’s website.

Boating through ChesterIf you, dear readers, generally agree with the condensed list then the next steps are to start getting the message out there! I can create a few different postcards for you to give feedback on in the next edition. After this the preferred design can be made available for download. Another thing mentioned in the last edition was a video explaining the guidelines in a bit more detail. Seeing as these are guidelines generated by boaters, for boaters, it’d great to have boaters explaining them – let me know if you’d like to be involved.

Finally, and as a slight aside, one of the rules mentioned in last edition’s long list was about the use of spring lines. A few people have got in touch to ask for more of an explanation (a patient boater has championed this idea previously). So, the question is, is there a reader out there with either graphic design skills, or is handy with a pencil, who could create something to demonstrate spring lines? If this sound like you then please get in touch. I’m not keen on sharing my crayon-based scribbles…

Once again thanks to all who have been in touch – keep it coming!

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What went wrong in August

In this regular feature we look back at the things that we had to unexpectedly fix to keep the canals and rivers open for you to enjoy. Our planned proactive maintenance regime meant that it was another good month – despite most canals being 200 odd years-old most of you wouldn’t have experienced any unforeseen hold-ups.

In fact, across the entire 2,000 miles of rivers and canals that we look after, there were only 10 occasions that a navigation was closed for Looking up Foxton Locksmore than four hours and only one where it was closed for more than 48 hours.

Of the 10, seven were due to damage or faults at locks. One other was because a set of ground paddles was left open (see list in previous article!), another for an inspection, and the final one refers to overnight closures, on the Leeds & Liverpool, to conserve water in the Appley Bridge area.

If you’ve signed up to receive stoppages you’ll notice that we categorise them in to general reasons, such as repair, inspection or vegetation.

Of course, when we’re dealing with such old structures, it’s not always as straightforward as ‘repair’ so we offer more detail in the body of the stoppage notice. But, in case you were wondering, here’s a handy guide to what we classify as a repair, maintenance, inspection and so on.

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Winter moorings

Hopefully the fond memories of your summer afloat are still fresh as a daisy in your minds’ eye. As they fade your thoughts might start turning towards your plans for winter. We can help with that if you’re looking to moor up somewhere for an extended period - we’ve published the list of sites on offer for winter moorings over the 2017-18 winter.

There are a selection of sites near facilities, as well as quieter spots if you want a bit more peace and quiet. Winter moorings will be available from 1 November 2017 to 16 March 2018, finishing ahead of the Easter holidays and the start of the summer cruising season.

All permits will be charged at a ‘per metre, per month’ rate, and you’ll be able to book the spots in increments of one month, or two weeks in March 2018.

Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “While many people enjoy winter cruising, every year hundreds of boaters decide they want to moor up in one place as the weather turns harsher or because it’s harder to get around because of stoppages. We offer winter moorings as an additional service to make things as easy as possible for boaters to make the choices that work best for them.

“There are a wide range of options and we hope that every boater who wants a winter mooring will find something to suit them. Your views are always helpful so do get in touch with any feedback.”

Winter on the Llangollen CanalThe moorings are divided into four price bands reflecting each site’s relative attractiveness, for example location and facilities, and to ensure we stay in line with the pricing of both private mooring operators and our own long-term mooring sites.

This year most mooring prices will be held at 2016/17 levels. Some, though, have changed in response to the high (or low) levels of demand last winter, with popular sites increasing in price and less popular sites seeing a price cut.

The highest price band has seen a small increase of 50p per metre per month to £15.50 (a 3.5% rise). At a couple of sites facilities have been improved and this has been reflected in the pricing. It doesn’t matter if you already have a home mooring or are a continuous cruiser – you’ll be able to take up a winter mooring.

However, as with last year, boaters who are not meeting their licence requirements may not be eligible. Bookings for the winter moorings will open at 6am on Monday 2 October and will be made through the Trust’s boat licensing site.

If you have any questions about winter moorings please call customer services on 0303 040 4040 or drop us a line.

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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:

  • As mentioned in the last edition we’re close (even closer now!) to starting the third and final stage of the licensing consultation. We’ll be emailing all licence holders as soon as it begins so if you haven’t registered your email address with us then please do it now! Where necessary we’ll send out letters to those without a registered email address.

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Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

Keeping your canals and rivers ready for you to enjoy is a year-round job. From time-to-time this includes some major engineering that means we need to temporarily close the navigation. Below you’ll find a list, by region, of anything that’s happening that may affect your cruising.

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.

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Bits and Bobs

  • I’m sure most of you already know (wink, wink) but this Sunday it’s World Rivers Day! If you’re doing anything to celebrate it, do take a photo and share via our Facebook Boating page

Happy boating!

Damian

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The boaters' update

Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events.

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