Victor: So it's 'Better by Water'?

Published: Sunday, 01 March 2020

NO ONE can possibly be oblivious to the sheer destruction by the flooding rivers now taking place.

River Severn floodingThat makes me wonder—did anyone at CaRT really give a thought to its 'Better by Water' slogan?

Did not anyone not think that the two most natural catastrophic occurrences are fire and water?  Did not anyone think for a moment that winter sees floods, now getting worse and worse, with literally thousands of people made homeless and businesses ruined, not counting that in the latest year of statistics by the Water Incident Database that 592 people drowned?

'Better by water'?  I wonder what all those people who have experienced the ravages of water and the relatives of those drowned think about that? 

This must surely be one of Canal & River Trust's most ridiculous slogans, obviously created during summer with little thought of the destructive power or the obvious possibility of the coming disastrous floods.

All it needs

All it needs indeed, is a short piece of rope—and your boat will be safe.

BountyStringWith many boats moored at jetties in river marinas there is the risk of sinking—as two did at Sawley Marinaall for the sake of a bit of rope.

For should a boat drift back with its rudder under the jetty, once the flood water rises, it holds the stern down and in rushes the water.

All it required is a 'string' from the boat to a forward anchorage, as ours in the picture, with a handy clip on the boat end that can easily be removed and refastened, preventing the boat from moving backwards and getting caught under the jetty.

Yet  all too often I see boats with their rudders/fenders well under jetties.  It was only the quick work of those at Sawley that prevented many from being so caught, but alas there were so many that those two beat them to it and ended up caught and flooded.

Not only but also

Another reason for sinking boats in floods, and not only in river marinas but on river banks (there have been no few over the years so sunk along the Soar—one pictured in the Times yesterday) and that is by tying a boat securely to the roof's middle ring then onto the top of the sliding 'flood' ring.

Sawley boats tiedThis means that as the flood water rises the boat is pulled over by the rope as it has no slack, and so sinks.

Here's a picture of two such boats so tied in a river marina, and poor Thomas getting told off for interfering when he attempted to tell of the danger of securing boats in such a stupid way! 

Luckily for them they left before the current floods, otherwise they would have been pulled over and sunk—that would have been a great 'I told you so' moment!

All in all boaters have to be particularly careful if moored on rivers, yet what I find strange is that I have yet to see any warning issued by owners of such river moorings amongst the myriad of rules and regulations they issue.

It is about time they realised that many boaters are ignorant of the dangers of river mooring, so there should be an effort to warn of the particular dangers of  tying dangerously.

A bit of a mess

The continuing floods are certainly causing a bit of a mess on the waterways, resulting in a list of either closed or restricted canals.

In addition to the floods causing damage to the Figure of Three Lock on the Calder & Hebble and the damage to the culvert on the Rochdale already reported, another northern waterway—the Huddersfield Narrowhas restrictions between locks 14E and 15E caused by silt washed into the pound, our Keith reports, adding a few more:

On the Shroppie the sluice could not cope at Barbridge Junction with the navigation closed,and another stoppage on the Shroppie with vegetation washed into the waterway by Hollins Bridge (58) near Market Drayton, again preventing navigation.

The Leicester Section is closed at Debdale Wharf by a 'structure failure' and the boat is still stuck by the bridge at Barrow-on-Soar stopping navigation.  Mind you, from our own experience that is one waterway you would never get us on in winter!  We've been stuck too often even in summer by the quickly rising floods.

Enough to be going on with I reckon.  But it's 'Better by Water' so we are told...

Victor Swift