Sunday 2 August 2015

Mooring up in a Lock.

There are a very large number of books that have been written about all aspects of boats on the inland waterways. After six years of boat ownership, every few days I seem to learn something new.

Generally, its a good idea to use a mooring line to steady a boat especially when filling a lock. The inrush of water can move a boat around causing the boat to make heavy contact with the sides and gates. The larger the lock the more space there is to move around. In the larger locks, you might be sharing with other boats. Whilst a steel boat would stand up to a few bumps and knocks the small fibreglass type of boat could soon be damaged. So whenever we share a log with a plastic boat I always use the centre line.

The favourite method to control boat movement is to loop the centre line around a lock bollard and pass it back to the person on the tiller or to get a crew member to manage the line from the lock side. 

Today we watched a hire boater loop the centre line all the way round the bollard several times! I had a word to point out what could potentially happen. I said 'Never loop the line all the way round a bollard. As the boat moves up or down. The line will at some point start to pull tight. If a loop passes over the top of the line. It will nip the rope and stop any slack from paying out. This can cause the boat to lean at an alarming angle and for loose items to spill around in the cabin. Usually the fridge door swings open and the contents end up on the floor.' They had no idea of how to use the mooring lines and they had very little idea of how locks worked.

Then as we went a little further along, we came to a narrow aqueduct. There was a hire boat entering from the other side so we slowed down our approach.  With just a little movement edging us closer to the aqueduct. I was trying to time their exit to coincide with our entry. The hire boat then came to a stop in the middle of the aqueduct! Then we noticed they were busy feeding a family of swans. The hire crew were totally oblivious to their surroundings and to the problem they were causing. 

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