Victor: Aquavista

Published: Sunday, 08 December 2019

EH? What's that when it's at home—I hear you asking.

Well my friends that is the new name of the now defunct British Waterway Marinas Ltd, and I think it rather grand.  Much better than BWML don't you agree, and it is certainly 'watery'!

British Waterways Marinas Ltd was the not-so-good investment of the combined British Waterways and Canal & River Trust, that was as you may remember reported in narrowboatworld as being sold at an undisclosed figure (loss?).

It was moorer Jan who received a card from one, Steve de Polo, CEO, telling of 'previous communications on the 'exciting new journey for our marinas', to gather views and suggestions, that alas she had no knowledge of, but perhaps as a moorer of some 20 years she did not qualify!  Anyway she also now gets a 20 page booklet of bumf, and very pretty too, but one very important omission...

The omission

And that omission, believe it or believe it not is 'safety'.  Yes, my friends, in this very health and safety conscious waterways world, I found this most remarkable that the booklet whilst listing the many attributes and definitions, yet the word 'safety' at the marinas was not even mentioned, and it certainly should to be, as my example will testify.

TwoBikesRegulation 22.2 covering these marinas clearly states that no items must be left on jetties or walkways.  Yet on Jan's own jetty are a couple of bikes that are clearly dangerous.

Here's a picture taken a couple of weeks ago.  Even before they were chained together one of them caused an injury. The fella was one of the couple walking along the jetty away from the gate one Monday evening in the dark, and with it raining was holding an umbrella.

Back in time

But allow me to regress—it was way back in September of 1988 cruising the Oxford Canal to the Thames with our accompanying boat some distance ahead (so as not to cause delays locking the narrow locks close together) that a passing boater told us someone had fallen in at a lock, at which we became most concerned.  Sure enough it was Fred of the accompanying boat who had filled a lock, was walking across the beam of the single lock gate as it swung open but not looking where he was treading went straight into the drink.

The lesson learnt was that on lock beams and jetties, always look were you are treading... 

BruiseJettyAnd that is exactly what the fella was doing when walking Jetty 3 on that wild and windy evening and bashed his arm against the protruding bike's brake lever.  Here's a picture taken a few days later!

No, no, no.  This is not about making a claim, as after the initial pain it simply bruised then faded, so it was not even reported.  But now as can be seen from the first picture, the bikes are no longer apart but fastened together, protruding even further onto the jetty, and  last week the cover was missing with not only the brake lever but the peddle protruding, just waiting for another victim.


And, indeed.  For we are all aware that boaters are sometime well fond of a bit of 'liquid refreshment', and the pub a few yards from the main gate is well within staggering distance.

So with quite a few resident moorers on that jetty in addition to the visitors to their boats, a crash into those two bikes could all too easily send someone, a little bit the worse for wear, off course and straight into the drink. 

Time to get these dangerous obstacles moved off the jetty together with the many pots that have sprung up owing to the laxity in safety, before there is yet another injury or drowning added to the statistics.

Victor Swift