Friday, 23 October 2009

Awards at the IWA Festival.

This years IWA Festival provided an ideal opportunity to the winners of a number of trophies, to be presented with their awards by Stephanie Horton, River Canal Rescues MD.

The Nationwide Anglia Trophy for the most enterprising and non continuous journey running from the 1st January 2009 was won by Di and Reece Jones aboard NB Wandering Whimbrel who travelled an amazing 815 miles through 491 locks. Their journey took them the length of the country, including all of the Leeds Liverpool canal from Keadby to the newly opened Liverpool Link and Salthouse Dock. They also included a visit to the Anderton Lift and the River Weaver on their way to the River Soar ending up at the festival at Redhill.

The Robert Aickman Trophy, for the most meritorious and enterprising journey undertaken during the 28 days leading up to the start of the festival, was won by Tony Parks who sailed the 70' NB Tom Tug 154 miles, single handed from London with his wheelchair bound wife. Negotiating a 70' boat through all of the double locks, single handed while still attending to his wife's needs was felt to make Tony more than worthy of the award.

The AP Herbert Trophy for the longest journey during the 28 day qualifying period preceding the start of the festival was won by David Jarvis in NB Orchid 2. Over the 28 days he travelled 495 miles taking a route that began in Leicester and included the River Soar, River Trent, Keadby, Yorkshire Ouse, Selby Canal, River Trent back to the River Soar and then to Redhill.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

News updates.

You may have noticed that we've added two new news items to this blog covering the new project with Adverc and the increased levels of interest in our maintenance courses (if you've not seen them look below this post). But we would also like to hear from you the customer if you have an interesting story or recent incident that others might like to hear about.
It's easy to let us know about these, all you need to do is visit the testimonials page of our website which you can access from here.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Adverc and RCR hit the ground running!

River Canal Rescue has teamed up with Adverc, the Wolverhampton based battery management systems developer and manufacturer. The two businesses are collaborating to enable RCR to develop and expand the range of services offered to its customers. This joint initiative will increase the level of service available to RCR's customers by implementing permanent solutions to battery management problems.

Until now RCR engineers and contractors, attending electrical breakdowns involving a battery management systems, would generally bypass any battery management systems and effect a safe but temporary repair which will get the member up and running again. However now RCR envisage that by working with Adverc they will increase the engineers knowledge of the management systems and as such allow them to diagnose and resolve some of the more typical faults encountered. To enable this to happen Adverc will be running a training program for the RCR engineers and each one will be supplied with testing equipment. RCR will also be adding the Adverc specialists engineers their list of current contractors so that if the issue cannot be resolved it can be easily and quickly passed to a local Adverc specialist or pass these details on to the customer.

As a result of gaining this additional training on systems of this type, RCR will be looking to add information on dealing with battery management systems onto its courses, both the diesel engine course and, quite obviously the electrics course. The latter course will involve a demonstration of the Adverc system to delegates".

Michael Stimson of Towergate Mardon has been the first RCR member to benefit from this agreement. After a plethora of long standing and ongoing battery related problems, his narrow-boat ‘Spirit' was subjected to full scrutiny by two of our engineers, Guy Taylor (Adverc BM) and Jay Forman (RCR) as a test case.

Although much work has to be done on his boat, Michael can now be reassured that his battery problems will become a thing of the past. Michael's narrow boat was a good example of what not to do in getting the best from his battery system and electrics, which reflected a combination of bad practice and lack of knowledge not uncommon throughout the inland waterways.

Adverc BM and RCR, together, will jointly provide the necessary expertise to deal with most problems on a narrowboat, in addition to providing advice on avoiding some of the pitfalls that can ruin the pleasure for the enthusiast on the inland waterways.

For more information visit,

Press Release: RCR courses filling up fast

Press Release: Courses filling up fast

The popularity of the RCR training courses would seem to be as strong as ever with places almost completely filled well into February 2010, and chances are this trend will continue throughout the coming year. As a result of feedback from previous courses and requests from members they will be adding electrical maintenance courses to the wide range of subjects already covered.

New locations are also being added to the 2009 itinerary. As a result of running a very successful course at the St Pancreas Cruising Club in central London, RCR have announced that this venue will be a permanent addition to their list of venues. Over the coming year and beyond it will provide easy access for our members, and those wishing to take part in any courses with a location in the capital.

It's not only the classroom based courses that have proved popular. With around 20 people per session, and 10 classes being held on the IWA Festival site over August bank holiday weekend, over 200 people attended. With these sessions proving so popular RCR will be continuing to run these events throughout the 2010 season at various events. It's thought that the recent squeeze on individual finances has made training on all aspects of boat maintenance increasingly popular as DIY is an ideal way for boat owners to reduce boat running costs.

For more information on River Canal Rescues courses visit their website at,

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A testimonial by a tested member!

In late May we received a call, or should we say 'calls' from a very unlucky member who, over the next few days, had a number of problems - all of which we were able to help out with. The following report is by Jean Jones which we hope you will find interesting.
My name is Jean Jones and I would like to submit the following testimonial:

We joined RCR hoping we would never have to call them, but better safe than sorry!

Two days into our holiday the fan belt broke, we called [RCR] and Stephanie sent Shaun to our rescue. It turned out to be caused by a seized alternator, after 'popping off' to get the new part it was quickly and efficiently installed.

Off we go again, next day the second belt snapped, this time the water pump had seized, again Stephanie sent Shaun and again he replaced the item quickly and efficiently.

We could not believe how friendly and efficient the whole organisation could be. Have the RAC/AA ever offered to bring you supplies when on a call out or to let your family know you have broken down?

Off we go again.

Botterham staircase lock...when my husband went to the upper lock to release the water, the fender caught on something and the boat was in danger of sinking. Trying to get free a six inch hole was ripped in the fuel tank and 30 gallons of fuel disappeared down the canal.

Other boaters helped us to pull the boat out of the lock and I again called Stephanie (by this time on first name terms) She told me not to worry. She organised everything, called the British Waterway team, the Environmental Health and sent Shaun to help us. Everyone was fantastic.

We thought our holiday was over, but Shaun would not let that happen. He climbed into the canal (up to his armpits) syphoned off the remaining 20 galls of fuel into jerry cans brought by BW, sealed the hole with a bed pillow in a black bag (you could say he went the extra
fathom to help us). After this he placed the jerrycan under our floor boards and rigged up the engine so we could drive the boat.

Stephanie organized Industrial Boats in Brewood to crane the boat out and weld a patch. (Not just a quick patch but a really professional job, they even 'blacked' the area)

On the last part of the journey to the boat yard the engine started surging, we thought 'oh no, not more trouble'. The boatyard fitter could not come for 24hours. We were worried by this time that we would not get back to our moorings in time to get to work. Stephanie said
'don't worry we will take you back by car if necessary'.

RCR to the rescue again Jay came out to replace the fuel feed diverted by Shaun, cleared all the filters and we sailed home with no more problems.

We can not praise RCR, Stephanie, Shaun and Jay enough.

Thank You, Thank you.

Jean Jones

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

RCR and Waterways Mail Team Up.

Just recently the name 'Waterways Mail' has been heard more and more as the company have established a unique postal service aim specifically at the boating community. Waterways Mail allows subscribers to have their post sent on to any post office but now RCR can also be used as a collection point as well.

Mail is delivered to Waterways Mail and they will then send it on to wherever the customer wishes. The destination of the mail can reflect the boaters movements as one text or email can amend the destination to keep up with the boats movements.

Stephanie Horton, RCR's MD said, “Waterways Mail is an innovative service that compliments our wide ranging rescue and repair services. Both businesses exist to provide the boating community with many of the services landlubbers take for granted.”

River Canal Rescue are the first company to sign up to be a collection point for users, and anyone interested in making use of the mail service can also collect an application form from RCR's offices. RCR are also hoping to develop the relationship with waterways mail and offer the services of their engineers who are out on the waterway daily to deliver urgent mail directly to boaters, where the pick up destination might result in delays.

For more information visit the River Canal Rescue website at

or Waterways Mail at

Friday, 29 May 2009

Recent Reports.

We were sorry to read that an RCR member has posted, on a blog, a report of a recent incident in which they felt that we had fallen short of the high standards we set for ourselves.

In the report the boat owners, who suffered a tiller problem in a lock, called us to ask for our assistance. Despite the fact that we don't cover the repair of damage blow the waterline we did do our best to try and assist the boater in question. Sadly their call came on a day, and in an area in which the normally resident engineer was off sick. As a result someone had to travel into the area resulting in a slower than normal service.

Suffice it so say that the boat owner in question did manage to have the problems sorted out and we are obviously unhappy that they felt that the service we offered fell short of our normally high standards. We've looked into what happened on that day and can assure all our customers that we will address any shortcomings should we find any. We'd also like to remind customers of the limits we have as a canal side rescue organisation - one reason why we are unable to address problems of this type in situ.

We have received an email from the boat owner and hope to be able to address their complaints directly. However, as a business which deals with something like 2000 callouts per year, on very rare occasions problems do occur. Sadly this was one such occasion.

Friday, 15 May 2009

If your stuck for ideas what to give this fathers day, and you have a keen boating dad in the family, why not give him a River Canal Rescue voucher?

It may sound unusual but whether the dad in question is keen on DIY, or if he’s none too interested but would like the reassurance of having someone to call upon should things go wrong when on the boat, there is an RCR voucher for you to give him.

By giving a course voucher the holder can redeem it against any of the wide range of courses on offer from RCR at various locations around the UK. From beginners courses to engine maintenance and even boat electrics, all of these essential areas of the boat are covered by the courses on offer. There is even a maintenance courses that can be carried out on your own boat. All of these can all be paid for with one of the RCR course vouchers.

If the lucky dad isn’t keen on attending a course, but would like the reassurance of knowing that should something go wrong he has the backup of a national breakdown and rescue service, membership vouchers are also available. RCR’s Gold membership voucher can be redeemed against the top level of membership for RCR members.

As if that wasn’t enough RCR are also offering an engine service voucher which does exactly what it says. It covers the cost of having an engine service carried out on your boat. So, regardless what type of cover or skills you want to gain, there should be an RCR voucher you can give this fathers day.

For full details about course dates, membership advantages and what’s included in an engine service, and how to purchase your RCR vouchers, visit or call 0871 2008021.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Continued growth and expansion for River Canal Rescue.

River Canal Rescue, the organisation which provides National Breakdown and Recovery for boat owners on the UK inland waterways, has recently moved offices. The move wasn’t too arduous as the Staffordshire based company has only moved next door. But, as RCR’s MD, Stephanie Horton said, “the address is the same as we have moved next door to bigger offices to accommodate staff increases and business development, but have taken our address with us.” However not all of the new staff members will need the extra space.

Two of the newest members of the RCR team are Sean West and Ralph Kitts who will spend all of their time attending calls in their respective areas. Sean, who is based in Stourport is ideally placed to cover his Midlands and River Severn patch. A former welder, fisherman and fully qualified boat builder, he loves the fact that his new job gets him out and about and dealing directly with customers. As he puts it, “not only are the customers really grateful when you sort out the problems, but our bosses at RCR also take the time to thank us for the work we do.” He went on to say, “It’s not many bosses would do that.”

Another new face is that of Ralph Kitts who covers around London up to the Northampton area. Ralph has been involved in all aspects of boats since he was 10 years old, and over the last 20 years has been a marine engineer running his own business. With a background like that it’s not surprising that RCR were more than keen to take him on. Since joining the national rescue team Ralph has found the work enjoyable, as he describes it, “doing what I know.” So with Ralph and Sean joining it would seem that RCR have added two more highly experienced and knowledgeable individuals to the team.

If you want to find out more about River Canal Rescue go to or contact RCR’s head office on 0870 2078021.


Editors notes:

Images of the new office can be found at,

Imsges of the new engineers can be found at,

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

RCR on a mission!

River Canal Rescue, the organisation which provides National Breakdown and Recovery for boat owners on the UK inland waterways, today revealed that it has embarked on a mission. Their aim is to increase the boating communities awareness of water safety and boating maintenance issues on the UK waterways.

A recent Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) review, which looked at incidents and issues faced by organisations like the RYA and the RLNI, revealed that the general lack of awareness about water safety needed to be addressed urgently. The RNLI also reported that the number of preventable incidents, where poor maintenance and mechanical breakdown resulted in a 'rescue' situation, were increasing, thus putting added strain on an important emergency resource.

Through their network of engineers RCR will be launching a program of practical demonstrations and presentations to highlight some of these important issues. All across the UK their engineers will give presentations on lifesaving safety information, essential boat maintenance tips and provide guidance on the best tools to carry aboard. This network of engineers has also been expanded with the addition of a number of new young faces to the team. Being aware of the lack of training opportunities for youngsters to obtain qualifications in the marine industry, RCR embarked on a training program which includes two years at college and four with a senior engineer, proving it’s not just Sir Alan Sugar who’s looking for an apprentice!

The information provided to course attendees is also available in note format and a special feature will be available each month on the RCR web site. Stephanie Horton, managing Director of RCR said recently "Ignorance is no excuse, lives are being put at risk and RCR is doing everything in its power to increase awareness and ease the pressure on such an essential emergency service".

To book a talk, receive a free information booklet or find out more please contact RCR head office on 0870 2078021.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Ever Wondered How Your Engine Works?

Are you familiar with the basics of your engine? Have you spent a lot of money having broken due to something quite simple? Would you like to feel confident enough to carry out your own basic engine maintenance?
Then look no further...

River Canal Rescue are now offering two day courses in diesel engine and boat maintenance. For nearly five years RCR have worked closely with Tony Brooks, the dedicated lecturer and writer on the canals and waterways of the UK. Together RCR and Tony have travelled the length and breadth of the country delivering this practical, beginner friendly course.

During these two day courses you will be offered the chance to learn using a combination of theory and hands on experience. The course content teaches basic engine maintenance and provides practical advice. Topics include engine operations, steering gear, gearbox types, fuel systems, cooling systems, electrics, alternators and battery charging. All aspects of the course are demonstrated on three different engine makes. By the end of the course, students should be able to bleed their own systems and carry out a basic service.

As we all know, River Canal Rescue is always here for boaters in need, however they do believe in empowering boaters with knowledge of how their engine works. This knowledge can only lead to providing further piece of mind, as well as helping to keep our waterways moving, which is good for all of us!

All courses are run over a Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm and the courses on offer include,
  • Engine courses.
  • Boat Electrics.
  • One to one tuition.
  • One day engine familiarisation.
Discounted rates are also available for group bookings and courses can be run at clubs specifically for club members.

RCR are continuously looking for new locations and are proud to announce a new venue at the prestigious Preston Marina. The aim of adding this venue is to provide boaters, in the north west of the country, with easy local access to our courses and we hope to be able to add more venues over the coming months.

Please feel free to make any enquiries about any course or make a booking. You can call RCR's friendly staff on 0871 200 8021 or email For details on course dates and venues visit and click on courses.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Harral Brokerage Services and River Canal Rescue - a major new collaboration

As a result of a major new collaboration, Harral Brokerage Service and River Canal Rescue are now working together with the aim to provide safe and comfortable cruising.

These two major names in the boating world have gone into partnership to ensure that the top quality boats, sold at Harral brokerages, are covered by RCR Bronze memberships. As a result this will ensure boaters, who make a purchase from Harral Brokerages, not only receive a high quality boat to sail away, but also have peace of mind should anything unexpected occur. In addition people who choose to sell their boat with Harral Brokerages will not only receive a professional, friendly service, but also an extra selling point for their vessel.

With RCR membership, gone will be the days when things like a fouled propeller will stop you in your tracks. Instead of waiting around trying to find someone who can help, then having to pay call out fees, hourly rates and travel time, you will make one free phone call. All arrangements will be made for you and there will be no call out charges, hourly or travel rates. River Canal Rescue’s aim is to be at all breakdowns within three hours. In 96% of cases they are able to get you moving within two hours. If a problem turns out to be terminal they are able to organise for a registered contractor to take on the work. In the event of the vessel needing to be recovered they will arrange for you to be towed to the nearest safe haven within two hours.

With a beautiful boat from Harral Brokerage Services, the gorgeous scenery of our British waterways and the peace of mind knowing you and your boat are in good hands, how can you go wrong?

For more information please contact Lauren McCabe, Marketing Coordinator on 0871 200 8021 or email

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Waterwasy Mapping Software - 50% Discount for RCR members

RCR and eureauweb have teamed up to offer RCR members a fantastic deal on the new Waterways mapping software. As a new or current member of RCR you can purchase a copy of the software at an unbelivable price of £80 .... thats 50% discount on the RRP of £159.

This offer is only available until July 09 and orders are taken by phone
Call us NOW on 0871 8021

Water-Way is Europe's first satellite navigation solution for inland waterways providing up-to-date waterways, navigation and tourist information - an essential cruising guide showing both waterways facilities and nearby tourist attractions.

Water-Way allows you to:

Easily find out where you are and what is available to you in you area .

Get detailed POI data - Quickly view basic information on each POI and then double-click to get more details .
Move round the map - Zoom in and out, pan round the map to see as much or as little information as you choose .
Track your route - as well as showing your actual position, the GPS function allows you to track and record your journey. .
Plan your journey - (PC Version only) our simple to use, interactive route planning tool allows you simply to click on the map to select your start and finish points and any intermediate stopovers.
Calculate distances - use the distance tool to quickly calculate how far it is from where you are or want to moor to the nearest POI (such as the pub!) .
Quick searches - use the quick search tool to find individual POIs, bridges or locks, towns, waterways or boat services and closures in your area.

RCR Representatives out on the waterways

Today RCR welcomed a number of our members in to the RCR team.

This group of indiviuals will be representing RCR out on the waterways, letting boaters know about our services and the benifits of membership, and working to ensure that everyone knows about our unique service.

So if you have any questions and you see them out on the waterways feel free to approach them, they will also be able to offer discounts on memberships and free gifts.