Victor asks if you are having your say

Published: Sunday, 14 February 2021

I TAKE it you boaters are taking advantage of the latest survey on the state of our waterways.

The fact that Canal & River Trust is only sending the survey to a third of its boating customers is somewhat of a mystery, as being done over the internet it would cost little more to invite all.

Mind you there will be many more as the link to the survey is being bandied about on social media and we are told many are taking advantage to give their opinons, as have I.

Mind you, as to the result I reckon that will be a matter of conjecture, eh?

Carbon free

Helen Cripps gave an excellent summing-up of the questions in the survey about making boating carbon free, pointing out the many uses of electrics that would be needed—especially in weather like we have just experienced—boating without the use of either diesel, fires or gas.

I was somewhat alarmed at those who would be in charge of the supply of the alternative power, but not such much who but how it would be accomplished.

There is little doubt that the sheer number of charging points needed along the canals and particularly rivers would be a nightmare undertaking, as many miles of waterway are devoid of any power whatsoever.  And what about the thousands of continuous cruisers who would need constant and very regular charging facilities?

A nightmare in the making, and considering the miniscule use of diesel in comparison with the scheme of things, hardly worth it.

Just think

Just think, here you are coming out of Keadby Lock on the tidal Trent heading the 27 miles to Torksey and the tide turns leaving you battling against it and running out of battery power... 

For though narrowboats have large diesel tanks and you can always carry spare containers—as we dothere is no way you can carry spare electricity, so how many charging points will there be on the tidal river, and how long to charge to escape the full tide against you?

One thing is definitely sure, the rescue company River Canal Rescue will be in great demand.  But what can its people do other than arrange some way or other to tow you to the nearest charging point?

There is no way the company could have trucks loaded with charged batteries transferring power, considering the few places a vehicle could get near enough.  And its personnel, though able to carry a can of diesel along the towpath to a stricken boat, could hardly be expected to do the same with batteries—somewhat on the heavy side.

One thing is definitely for sure, narrowboating will certainly loose its attraction when you have to plan your charging points along the way and risk getting stuckpowerless.


Before you start telling me that there are electric boats already on the waterways, these are trip boats that operate in the season and need very little power other than for propulsion.  Their galleys usually use a gas heater for water, but I read that these too, like gas cookers and gas refrigerators give off the dreaded carbon dioxide.

I wonder just how many of you will either purchase new narrowboats, have the ones you already have converted to all electric or pack it in altogether.  We will be amongst the latter as it is all much too much hassle and inconvenience.

Not so hot

Reading the websites regarding living on the waterways in London, there is a definite change of opinion after many are experiencing a real freezing winter in a boat, with many stating it is far too cold, according to social media.

Many have realised that notwithstanding the selling blurb, there are only two inches between them and the freezing water with little insulation in between, so are finding it rather uncomfortable!

One tells that they have never been so 'bloody cold'.  Another has 'had enough at attempting to keep the things warm', and a mother complains 'the kids are complaining continuously about the cold' whilst another is concerned that there are no building regulations like there are in houses, and makers can turn out what they want, cutting corners at will to save money.

There are lots more in a similar vein, but with Jack Harley stating they should have taken more notice of what they were getting into before they thought they were into cheap accommodation.  That I thought rather well put.

Any money left for the signs?

It's good news for us narrowboaters that the wide beams are at last to be restricted on the Oxford Canal.

Roger Fox too believes it good news that the passage of the North Oxford Canal by wide beam boats is to be controlled.

But he wonders if the CaRT blue sign department will have enough cash to produce and erect warning notices at Braunston and along the waterway.

The trust will certainly find money for those Roger—most important, don't you know!

On short time

The towpath access point at Shenton Aqueduct on the Ashby will be closed every Thursday from 18th February until further notice, between the hours of 9am and 3pm we are told.

The steps require urgent repair work, hence the closure.  But working just one day a week?some urgency!

Victor Swift