Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Boat tilts in a lock

This is one in a series of A Guide to Narrow Boat Problems.

Boat tilts in a lock
Caught on cill (see Boat caught on a lock cill) or mooring rope is too tight.
Single handed boaters are most vulnerable as they will need to leave the boat tied up in a wide lock while they open the paddles. A longer than usual centre rope might help here, so the solo boater can hold on to the rope while attending to the lock mechanism. Failure to watch the centre rope and tying it too tightly will cause the boat to tilt - and tilting can lead to a serious danger.
There are three solutions:
Loosen centre rope, close paddles. In emergency cut centre rope.
If it is not yet an emergency untie the centre rope immediately.
Closing the paddles will decrease the urgency but will take a minute or so to take effect.
If the rope has been awkwardly wound or tied around a bollard it may now be too tight to undo, in which case cutting it may resolve the issue.
If you have crew, one person should deal with the rope while the other closes the paddles.
Crew must pay attention at all times in locks, whether on board or at the lock gates. Simply looping a rope once or twice round a bollard in a lock and crew holding it while paying it out, either on or off the boat, should suffice to keep it stable. For wide locks go in with another narrow boat. This will share the locking load and tend to keep the boats parallel.
Use the engine to keep the boat steady in the lock while watching for water surges. Open paddles slowly and in stages to minimise surges. Avoid a surge of water by opening the ground paddles gradually - ideally the paddle opposite the boat first, if there is only a single boat in the lock. You then reassess the situation before completely opening the ground paddles. Don't use the gate paddles until the boat is above their level. This should avoid water in your bow.
Be particularly careful if you have loads such as coal - or even passengers - on the roof, as this makes the boat less stable.
Use a Boatman's Hitch or a Round Turn and Two Half Hitches to moor up.
Single handed boaters might also consider an extended length of centre rope and carrying a sharp and stout knife for emergencies.
You don't want this to happen ...

Also for river boating think about your moorings in case of flood. Ideally you'll have a marina or a floating jetty to even out the highs and lows of water level. However if you are in an area likely to flood, care must be taken to allow for water levels, not tying moorings too tightly and placing mooring ropes at 45 degrees to the bank where possible. This allows the boat a little more flexibility to rise. This picture is from a boat that was moored on The Ouse at York in 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment