Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Boat Tip (3)

Boat Tips

There are a very large number of books that have been written about all aspects of boats on the inland waterways. The thing that started me creating a list of hints and tips about narrowboats was that every few days I seem to learn something new.

Whoever is in charge of the boat tiller is in charge of lock operation, if you are on the windlass you check that they are ready before opening a paddle. However, that does not mean that you can't also check for things going wrong. Any number of problems can happen when operating a lock. However, water turbulence can make any situation considerably worse. If anything goes wrong close all the paddles. Don't wait to find out what's wrong. Close the bloody paddles.

On our boat we have a referees whistle each. Which we keep on a lanyard round our neck. We will only use the whistle in an emergency. We will use the whistle for getting each others attention, because sometimes in a deep lock we could be out of sight of each other.

Standing in the wrong position at the tiller in a lock can put you at serious risk. Water turbulence can push your boat backwards into sharp contact with the lock gate. The weight of the boat coming into contact with the lock gate will cause the tiller to swing through its arc with huge force. When in a lock, never stand inside of the arc of the tiller arm. When doing a flight of locks I use a short tiller arm.

In the photograph of a typical narrowboat rudder. The blade of the rudder protrudes at least a foot behind the boat. Boaters get thrown into the water every year by the tiller suddenly swinging uncontrolled through its arc. Typically when the rudder strikes a lock gate. The button on our boat is longer than the paddle blade as a precaution.

All locks display different characteristics when you open a paddle to allow water into a lock. A good rule of thumb is to open the paddle no more than a quarter when first flooding the lock. As the water rises to half way. You can then open the paddles to the halfway point. When the lock is three quarters full, slowly open the paddle to the fully open point. Keep an eye on the boat and if it is being buffeted around by the water flow be prepared to lower the paddle to stem some of the flow.

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