Wednesday 11 May 2011

Fawlty Towers or BW, I can't tell the difference.

We have arrived back on our home mooring and I can't remember the last time we had such a challenging trip out with Rosie. The highs and lows will make for interesting reading. I will put together a comprehensive trip report for a later posting. However, here is a snippet to be going on with!

As I said in a previous posting (click here) about - British Waterways - is worth throwing a brickbat or two at, if only because British Waterways prove to be such an easy target.

Fawlty Towers or British Waterways, I can't tell the difference, can you!

Here is my second example, which highlights a very simple and basic lack of forethought by British Waterways to allow a practice that is so dangerous.

After carefully taking aim, BW have emptied a full magazine of dum-dum (or in their case dumb-dumb) into their foot.
British Waterways, have in their finite wisdom given over the lock landings at Swinton (Waddingtons) Lock as boat moorings. I kid you not, a narrow and now an additional broad beam boat (as claimed by the operators) have been allocated the lower part of the landing as a home mooring, which is level with the gunwale for most pleasure boats. British Waterways have even installed mains power points.
To get off your boat now, you have to approach the landing with your bow and enter a narrow gap between the moored boats and a large barge that has not moved position for years. If this was not difficult enough. You then have to climb an eight foot steel ladder to get to the foot path. The top of this ladder is just level with the footpath. So if you are not a nimble person you are at risk of falling back onto your boat or into the canal. Imagine what this is like when working single handed. To help matters further, the footpath is covered in brambles which also make for excellent trip hazards.

Now, even the nominated village idiot from a village fully populated by idiots would be able to spot the simple hazard that this represents to life and limb. However, this task is beyond the capabilities of British Waterways health and safety auditors. So maybe, I should arrange a visit from the HSE (health and safety executive) British Waterways, owe me and members of my family a duty of care. Inclusion in the boating press and publication in my blog might help matters along.

God forbid that anyone should get hurt or even a far worse fate. I don't want to be placed in the position of saying "I have told you so".

But wait there is even more. The local fishermen are now in on the act. They like to fish from the side of the lock landings as well. They don't like boats coming into the lock landings where they are fishing. So much unhelpful advice is offered to boaters. For instance, “The correct place to get off your boat is on the other side of the canal” and as one twerp said to me “We live here, we own this land, you can't walk here and there is no right of way” I pointed out to the Fisherman  that he may not have noticed that I was in fact walking on water. Some seed fell on stony ground.

There are 8 foot high pilings at this fisherman suggested "landing point" on the other side of the canal. With no real access point other than climbing up a rusty ladder. With no usable mooring bollards. We watched a couple on a boat follow the proffered advice and attempt to clamber up onto the pilings. They could only gain access by climbing from the roof of their boat.

This started a train of thought, I have never seen any moorings come up for auction at this point or on any other lock landing for that matter. I checked the British Waterways site for previous auctions. It looks to me like the two boats permanently moored on the landings may have some sort of special on the nod deal with the British Waterways boatyard which perchance just happens to be next door.
Just so there is no confusion – "It is my opinion that British Waterways have knowingly created what is obviously a very dangerous practice. By allowing boats to permanently moor on a safe lock landing area. British Waterways have also done nothing to mitigate or remove the danger of falling or tripping in any way."
British Waterways continue to ignore complaints made by other canal users about this dangerous precedent. Allowing boats to moor on any landing stage for any other reason than locking, is setting a precedent for the future. A form of monkey see monkey do, and we all know where the monkeys are!
Yet there is a very simple solution to this issue. That is to move the craft which are permanently moored, further along the lock landing to the higher part. Access to the boats could still be gained from the lower part of the landing area. However, I still feel that this practice of allowing boats to moor on lock landings is setting a dangerous precedent and should not be allowed.
I think Albert Einstien had British Waterways in mind when he said "Any fool can make things harder and more complex. However, it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

I don't expect any improvements in this situation within the foreseeable future.



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