Capsized Soar boat to be rescued on Wednesday

Published: Monday, 23 March 2020

THE narrowboat stuck by the bridge on the river at Barrow-on-Soar will be pulled out by River Canal Rescue (RCR) this coming Wednesday.

Torrential rain and surging water caused the boat to break its moorings, sending it down river to County Road Bridge (30) where it became wedged.

SoarFirstPrecarious position

The vessel was left in a precarious position, with the bow in the air and stern in the water, see-sawing on the barrier.  A refloat could not be undertaken until flood waters receded, however as levels quickly went down, the barriers gave way, resulting in the vessel capsizing and becoming trapped between the bridge pillars and the barrier pole.

This multi-agency rescue will also involve Essex Boatyard and Crouch Recovery.  RCR Managing Director Stephanie Horton explains:

Divers, air bags and plant machinery

“The best way to undertake this recovery without the vessel overturning and sinking in the river is to use divers, airbags and plant machinery.  We’ll inflate the airbags, right the boat and then pull it forward away from the bridge with airbags on it.  We’ll then pump it out, make it secure and tow it to a safe location—Pillings Lock.”

SunkBarrow400From here, the boat will be lifted onto a transporter and taken to a local yard for storage and assessment.

Given the extreme weight of the boat, RCR is using four winches with a total of 20 tons capacity to pull it away from the bridge. Stephanie continues:

“This ‘pulling power’ will be attached to plant machinery and we’re removing a fence in the field opposite to get access to the location without causing too much damage to the meadow.”


In order to prepare the rigging, Essex Boatyard practised on a narrowboat that was capsized at the same angle as the stricken vessel.

River Canal Rescue will be onsite from Monday 23rd March, preparing equipment, strapping the boat and managing health and safety issues.