Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Running aground

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

Boat comes to a halt though engine still running and propeller still working
You've run aground
Prepare to push - hard. Check water level in the canal. It may be generally low or there is a particularly low spot. Test this by prodding with your pole, remembering that you may be poking into deep mud or silt. Having identified the area first try reversing while a crew member pushes from the bow with a pole. If this doesn't work but the boat seems to pivot, switch the engine off and use two pole, bow and stern from the same side at the same time. If you can reach to shore and a firm edge always prefer that to a soggy canal or river bottom. Don't get into the water.
Check water levels by eye and by examining the wash from the prop (more vigorous in shallow water). Keep to the mainly deeper central channel whenever possible. Keep clear of sharp inner corners on rivers, where silt accumulates. Always carry two long strong  poles. This one has a flared end which is very effective for muddy conditions. See more at Boat Poles and hooks.

When put under pressure (just when you need it most), one of our poles revealed a hidden area of rot and broke!

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