Victor: Replace the lot

Published: Sunday, 21 January 2018

I HAVE really lost count of how many times failing pumps have been responsible for stoppages this year.

GU pump noticeThose at Crofton on the Kennet & Avon are only too often broken down, those serving the summit pound of the Grand Union are not much better and last week the pumps at Tinsley on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire were once again out of action. (Photo by 'Our Man on the Summit' relating to the Grand Union summit pound.)

Time and time again we are told that those at Canal & River Trust are either chasing around after replacements or spares. So would it not be an idea to renew the lot to a standard design and have a couple of easily accessible spares?

We all realise that the ever failing spend on maintenance is the problem, but one big spend would cure pumping problems and prevent some of the regular stoppages at least.

Panic, panic!

Panic indeed amongst the ranks of the National Bargee Travellers Association at the notice from the Middle Level Commissioners that it is to introduce boat licences to what are licence-less waterways.

For, of course, its boat licence-less, insurance-less and Boat Safety Certificate-less members flocked to the the Middle Level to park their boats very much on the cheap, and the thought that the Commissioners are to introduce not only boat licences, but in keeping with Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency, boat insurance and Boat Safety Certificates to any boat using its waters has the Bargees in real panic.

For some reason it believes its members have the God-given right to be able to moor where they want without payment and get away with everything else that conscientious and law abiding boaters pay to keep their boats on the waterways.


We all know that the Bargees run rings around Cart with their breaking the continuous cruiser rules, but they are due for a rude awakening if they believe they can play fast and loose with the Middle Level Commissioners.

They are a much tougher lot, and will not tolerate the Bargees and their antics, but will have them in Court and off the Levels in double quick time.

I'm looking forward to it, as it is about time they realised they have to abide by the rules like everyone else.

They take the risk

It is a well known fact that if you have something insured, you do not take the care of it that you would if you were responsible for anything happening.

It is the same with boats. If you are a member of River Canal Rescue you have the thought that if anything happens then RCR will turn out and sort it, so why bother clearing out your engine filters, changing the oil, checking your bilge pump or anything else—RCR will attend to it if anything goes wrong, that is what you are paying for.

So I was not surprised to read that its boss lady, Stephanie Horton, tells of a massive 4691 call-outs last year, with such things as flat batteries and the like causing the problems.

Conscientious boaters check such things before starting out on an extended cruise. If any of our batteries show the slightest sign of of problem they are replaced. Engine oil is changed religiously when it has done the required number of hours and we make sure everything is working.

We can't test the bilge pump in the marina, but it has to be seen that it is still working so it gets a short blast when we are on the river to cause minimum pollution. 

I am afraid dear Stephanie, that those relying on the service of your good-selves, will alas possibly not be so diligent, hence the many call-outs.


Our 'Pair from the Shroppie', Jim & Ether, who told us last Wednesday that they had seen none of the Cart stated 628 visitors per day pass by their moorings, told me yesterday evening that they had actually seen three people  walking the towpath during the past three days.

Three ladies together, they tell me.

Really it is time that Cart stopped its stupid claims of 628 visitors per mile of waterway every day. This weather? I doubt if there were that daily number over the whole waterway never mind every mile, as no one can possibly believe.

Doesn't mean much

So we are told that Church Minshull Aqueduct has won the UK Inland Marina of the Year 2018 award, that was presented at the London Boat Show, no doubt of which those at the marina are most proud.

But alas, it doesn't mean much, for it only relates to those of the Yacht Harbour Association, with many of the better marinas refusing to take part, as it gives out it 'gold anchor' awards rather like confetti—I understand giving yourself the first two! So personally I can understand their reluctance to join.

Victor Swift