Boats hitting lock gates will cause failure

Published: Monday, 24 August 2020

IF BOATS hit the wooden lock gates enough times with enough speed then they will eventually break, writes Keith Gudgin.

A 15 plus tons steel boat takes some stopping and to ask a wooden gate to absorb those kinds of forces time after time is more than it's designed for so it will fail after a while.

0x2Hand rail bent

How many times do you turn up at a lock only to find the handrail on the top gates bent into an inverted 'V' by a boat strike?  In some cases the boat would have had to rise a considerable distance to bend it that far indicating it was hit at speed.  Nothing else will bend it like that.  (As the photograph shows it is not only handrails that suffer from boat strikes.)

I will not hit closed gates and in fact I avoid hitting anything if at all possible. I don't want the contents of my kitchen or cabin all over the floor every time I do a lock or moor up.  In the winter I would have my dinner on the stove as well, I don't want that all over the floor either.  I've found a method of locking through without hitting anything that works for me, and I try to use it as much as possible!

Take pride

I take pride in entering a lock without touching the far end or the sides when going in or out.  I might not always be successful but I do try and with some locks it's impossible anyway.

If boaters are so lazy or in so much of a hurry then they need to find an alternative mode of transport.  Also they have no right to complain if they get held up by broken infrastructure. They just need to learn how to do it properly and then we'll all benefit.