You have to laugh!

Published: Monday, 19 June 2017

IT SEEMS to me that 2017 is the year that 1st April stretches from 1st January until 31st December! Writes Orph Mable.

From the pages of narrowboatworld I see that, in my opinion, the inland waterways and those that are responsible for them are really having a laugh at the expense of boaters.

inside tunnelOutright stupidity

Ignoring the proliferation of ‘silly signage’ I would like to point out the outright stupidity of allowing unpowered, low freeboard canoes, which are naturally unstable in the hands of novices, into dark unlit tunnels where there is the strong possibility that they will meet a powered craft coming the other way.

It is also worth noting that most experienced boaters have their tunnel light directed towards the tunnel roof at a point several yards in front of the boat. This leaves a dark area immediately in front of the boat so even if that boat has a ‘spotter’ in the bows, it will be easy to not notice a canoe. Surely the powers that be should take note that up until now all the tunnels that I have seen, carry notices (sensible ones) expressly forbidding unpowered craft from entering tunnels. Unlike today, the waterway managers of old knew a great deal about their system and posted these signs for a damn good reason.

Howard binsNo bins—less litter!

Having spent money on encouraging ‘visitors’ to the waterways in their hundreds of thousands (if CaRT figures are to be believed) we are now told that CaRT are removing litter bins to see if that results in less litter.

Sounds a bit like thrusting your hand into a fire to see if it is hot! Ludicrous! The actual reason is probably that if there is a litter bin provided, then the ‘owner’ of the bin has to ensure that they empty it regularly. Thus no litter bins then no-one is required to empty it, thus saving money: or am I just cynical?


Many ‘permanent cruisers’ (real ones, not fake ones) are rightly annoyed by ignorant boaters who moor on water points and lock waiting areas but are also really angry about boaters who overstay on authorised mooring points. Many of these ‘real cruisers’ often like nothing better than to moor out in the country away from others and only use authorised mooring spots for shop visits or to use other facilities.

Coir369Now it seems CaRT want to stop rural mooring by declaring ‘nature areas’ willy-nilly and blocking off suitable rural mooring with ‘weedy-sausages’. I would point out that often these ‘weedy sausages’ break free from their tethers (which rot) and become a hazard. They also rot down and add to the debris at the bottom of the canal requiring more dredging which I am often told is ‘unfunded’ especially in rural or quiet areas.

Obvious advice

Now the latest ‘Boaters Update’ from CaRT goes into great detail about preventing boating problems by carrying out regular maintenance on engines and boats. Most of the info in this segment was supplied by RCR who took the opportunity to advertise their boat maintenance courses.

Now what struck me most was CaRT stressing that regular maintenance by competent people will prevent failures. Funny or what? Regular maintenance prevents failures—Remember folks, regular maintenance prevents failures! CaRT publicised that but they do not seem do enough of it on our waterways. A case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’, I think!

Rubbish about Diesel Bug

As an aside, in the same Boaters Update, ‘Diesel Bug and water contaminated fuel’ are cited as an oft cause for engine failures. Totally agree that water contamination plays a huge part in the occurrence of fuel problems, but Diesel Bug being a ‘common problem’ is rubbish!

In 14 years of operating here at Oxley and being called out to hundreds of boats with problems (many on behalf of RCR) we have never encountered Diesel Bug in a boat. There is sometimes a build-up of sludge in the bottom of diesel tanks but this is not the dreaded Diesel Bug. It is worth noting here that excessive use of fuel additive is worse than not using any.

We have seen several cases where catastrophic wear to injector pumps has been attributed to overzealous use of this product.

I wonder what our waterway guardians will dream up next to inform, entertain and confuse us?