Cill sinkings include boats of owners

Published: Wednesday, 18 August 2021

I WOULD suggest that the instances of sinking due to being on the cill are not hirers in the main, writes Kevin McNiff.

Over the past years, reports of these include many owners who do not pay enough attention to their boats and often they are single handed and even travelling in the dark.

Briefings don't sink in

I have spoken to many hirers who admit that the briefings given at handover do not sink [!] in. Earlier this year, one asked me where to put the water hose as he hadn’t paid attention; you can’t make it up.

I recall several times crews at Lower Heyford would swarm around the handover person when it would have been better for the nominated 'skipper' and a mate to watch and take in what was being said. That yard also had a model of a lock to explain the workings—including the cill and potential danger. And it is also true that some hirers have far more boating experience than the private individuals so are aware of the potential danger.

Always check

You never stop learning and only a fool would think they know everything. In 45 years of hiring, sharing and owning, I can admit to two potential cill incidents which fortunately were swiftly recovered before catastrophe struck so I always check when descending locks to ensure that the water flow has not 'reversed' and taken the boat backwards.