Grease in the waterways

Published: Thursday, 09 May 2019

I WAS pleased to read your comments about the 'Volvo' stern assembly and feel they should be compulsory, writes Helen Cripps.

Our first narrowboat had the normal grease stuffing system where you fill a cylinder then every time you use the boat screw it down to force grease into the stern gland, purchasing the grease in big tins, that soon empties if a decent amount of cruising is done.

Not good for the wildlife

Your contributor asks where the grease ends up, but I believe he knows—in the canal. and how much is anybody's guess but considering the number of boats using this archaic system there must be tons, that is not much good for the wildlife.

sternGearWhen Simon Piper Boats pointed out the system that his firm uses, requiring nothing more than a seal replacement after many years, and with no leakage whatsoever and with more importantly no grease being pumped into the water we jumped at the chance to have the what is a real 'fit and forget' system, and I too was concerned that RCR was pushing for two bilge pumps in a boat rather that the 'Volvo' system that doesn't even need one, other than for the bit of rainwater that gets in.

(The photograph shows the 'Volvo' stern gear as fitted in our own Simon Piper boat that has never leaked—Editor.)

I believe that the sooner that the 'Volvo' or any such similar system is made compulsory the better, not only for preventing all that grease in the canals,  but with it stopping the normal leaking from the grease stuffing system, it is much safer as should there be any failure and the pump not work whilst the boat is not used say during the winter, too much leakage, and you have a sunken boat.