Monday 18 January 2010

More Mind Musing

After Poppy went on her unplanned doggies paddle in the canal at Sprotborough lock. I decided it was time to "invest" in a dog lifejacket for her. A quick look on eBay popped up hundreds of possible items. We have settled on one which gives additional floatation, has high visibility and includes a carrying handle. Making it easier to extract for extraction of pooch from the cut. It even has a pocket for her "poo bags"!!

Now this device cost less than £10.00 including postage and packaging and the item is being mailed to us from China.

Now I know what you are thinking - Made in China - So let me explain why I am happy to purchase such an item.  Remember, we live in a throw away world. Little or nothing is ever repaired, if it goes wrong its replaced.

Just before Christmas, I purchased a radio for my 1300cc Honda Pan-European. The Pan however is not a car, its a motorcycle. The equivalent Honda product for the Pan costs about £300.00 and the speakers are an extra. However, this is one from China and cost £16.02 including postage and packaging. The radio comes complete with the speakers and wiring kit. It works a treat on the FM band. It also comes with a lead for an iPod or MP3 player.

Anyway I digress - back to lifejackets.

Everyone has slipped or tripped over at some point. I should imagine that most narrow boaters have been over the side for a quick dip. I know that the majority of canals (with the exception of the locks) are not overly deep. Whilst rivers on the other hand can be swift flowing and quite deep at the same time. Now maybe I should be looking around for something similar to pop's lifejacket for us to wear. Whilst I am a good swimmer - and even better whenever needs must! I have this thought in the back of my mind. What can I do to safeguard myself or Mags if either of us slips on the boat deck and disappears over the side or even slipping and taking a tumble into a lock. The vast majority of narrow boaters I have observed as a typical gongoozler don't seem to wear such items. So I guess we could be rocking the boat so to speak.

This train of thought had me wondering in greater depth about the different stern arrangements on narrow boats. The traditional without a guard rail looks a bit to exposed to me. The semi-traditional stern seems to be somewhat better in this respect. The cruiser stern doesn't seem to offer much more inbuilt safety than the semi-trad. So the type of narrow boat style has been narrowed down to cruiser or semi-traditional with a semi-trad preferred.

This also had me mind musing about alerting the crew or even stopping the engine if the helmsman has gone for a "flip and dip" over the stern. There are devices for applying the brakes on locomotives called a "dead-man handle".

  • A dead man's handle as its name suggests, is a switch that is automatically operated in case the human operator becomes incapacitated. The switch usually stops a machine, and is a form of fail-safe. They are commonly used in locomotives, lawn mowers, jet skis, chainsaws, and other such devices. To either stop an engine, close a safety valve or to apply a brake.

So I was thinking that a wireless "man over board switch" could be an interesting option. Such devices work when they hit the water when their signal is interrupted. However, Diesel engines generally don't require electrical power be present for operation once they are up and running. So a wired in lanyard style safety tether might be a better option.

I wonder if the boys and girls in China do a version?

The mind works in mysterious ways….. Mine more mysterious than most!


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