Thursday, 23 December 2010

Bio Diesel, the real worries – in plain terms.

In the past few years as the new directive regarding the use of red diesel has been in place, the forums and discussion have brought to light many new worries about the fuel we consume and the way we store and use it. One of the biggest issue appears to be the higher potential for water contamination and therefore the development of diesel bug.
Many of you will have suffered from water contamination or diesel bug in its mild or sever form, or at least know of someone that has, it may be that the general perception is that these cases have increased in the past few years, and it is easy to jump to conclusions and conclude that our fuel is becoming more susceptible to these problems.
RCR has been aware and treated water contamination and diesel bug for many years, and worked with Marine 16 to develop a product which would eradicate these problems at source.  We are a great advocate of the products as we know they work providing quick and effective treatment of water contamination and diesel bug blockages.
Marine 16 Diesel Bug Treatment is for sever cases of Diesel Bug, and will clear systems where fuel has turned to jellified slime, clogging the arteries of the engine, all ‘bugs’ are eradicated and dissolved. This product was independently tested by PBO a few years ago and was proven to be one of the best on the market. 
Marine 16 Fuel Maintenance Treatment  is the product that RCR uses and recommends for repeated dosing to ensure trouble free fuel issues. It treats  Diesel bug, water contamination and also cleans and improves engine efficiency and operation.
Although a mute fact now, the original discussions regarding the use of white/ red diesel raised a number of issues, the main being that white diesel is more refined and therefore less likely to suffer from the effects of water in fuel, diesel bug, and also runs cleaner therefore reducing coke build up and fouling of heater plugs etc.  Therefore there was an argument that even though paying more for the fuel the quality would be better and therefore the benefits could out way the costs.
However the final decision was taken and boater have been paying a higher premium to receive lower grade fuel to date. However this is all set to change with the new fuel directive, which due to the over riding requirement to have less than 10mg of sulphur per kilogram we will now see the introduction of road diesel to the inland waterways, which should have been a welcome transition.
 Unfortunately as Bio diesel is now being introduced in to road fuel the introduction on the inland waterways because of the storage and use has lead to a number of concerns.  These concerns have been addressed in the new Fuel directive, whish states that, following a survey only 25% of all suppliers will be using bio Diesel mixes, and therefore the perceived risk is minimal. 
The issue regarding how easily it will be to ensure that the diesel supplied is from a non Bio mix will remain and coupled with the 2p to 4p litre price premium could easily be over ridden by price conscious business and individuals. 
N&G Insurers have recommended that cover for failures caused by Bio diesel deteriorating rubber components may be difficult to prove and uphold as not due to wear and tear and therefore ultimately the following advice issued by the directive should be followed to ensure minimal damage.
If a FAME(bio diesel)-free supply cannot be secured then the following precautions are advised: 
Storage on land and onboard
Because of the changes in fuel quality, you will need to exercise increased care in the storage of sulphur free gas oil where this contains biodiesel. The following has been recommended by the UK petroleum industry: 
  • Remove all water from tanks and conduct monthly checks to ensure, as far as practical, that they remain free of water. 
  • Tanks that don’t already have drain points for removing water are likely to need modification. 
  • Examine sight gauges on older fuel storage tanks for signs of leakage and replace any leaking seals. 
  • If you are having tanks serviced before you receive the new fuel it would be advisable to replace fuel seals as a one-off precautionary exercise. 
  • Replace fuel filters after 2 to 3 deliveries/turnover of the new fuel. 
  • Ensure the content of tanks is turned over every 6 months or in any event no less often than every 12 months. 
The majority of equipment and engines supplied in the last 10 years should not have any problems with the fuel but a few precautions are recommended particularly for installations of older engines and equipment. 
  • Examine fuel systems following the switch to the new fuel and ensure that any seals or pipes found to be leaking are replaced. 
  • If you are having older engines and equipment serviced, replace fuel seals and fuel hoses as a precaution. 
  • Replace fuel filters after the first 2 to 3 tank fulls of the new fuel. 
  • The current specification for fuel hose to meet the requirements of the Recreational Craft Directive and certified against standard EN ISO 7840 for fire resistant hoses and EN ISO 8469 for non-fire resistant hoses. There is currently concern that these hose specifications have not been approved for use with bio-fuel and this should be checked with the hose supplier. 
  • Bio fuel is a very good solvent and may release accumulated sediments in fuel tanks. Although it may not be necessary to clean fuel tanks and fuel lines before using bio-fuel in the lower levels of 7% it would be good practice to monitor filter plugging and keep extra filters to hand. 
  • Some metals as well as rubbers and plastics are not recommended for use with bio-fuel particularly at high concentrations. Although not normally a problem at low level concentrations it is know that bio-fuel will ‘pick up’ metal such as copper. 
It is clear that some of this advice is impractical and will be costly and time consuming to the average boater and therefore is unlikely to be implemented by most, so it is likely that at some point we will all experience some of the issues highlighted. 
However Marine 16 have now launched there new improved version of their Fuel Treatment  product; Diesel Fuel Complete Treatment. This new product has been tested extensively and conclusively shows:- 
  • Improved cold starting.
  • Reduced white smoke on start-up.
  • Reduced engine noise.
  • Lowered regulated emissions, such as particulates, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.
  • improves engine lubrications, 
  • cleans and, removes carbon deposits, 
  • treats and prevents water contamination and diesel bug
Diesel Fuel Complete Treatment  not only treat more fuel 500ml per 500ltrs of fuel , providing you with the same benefits as its predecessor but will also includes additives to deal with some of the issues Bio diesel introduces.  Using the treatment on a regular basis will ensure that water contamination, build up of Diesel bug and deterioration of rubber seals is minimised and therefore offers boaters a practical solution to the new threat of Bio Diesel.

Innovation and Customer Service at the heart of RCR’s New Membership Cover.

Innovation and Customer Service at the heart of RCR’s New Membership Cover.
River Canal Rescue are proud to announce an innovative and new service as part of RCR membership. This new cover offers our members an amazing service, taking ‘peace of mind’ a step further and ensuring that no matter what happens we can assist you. Not only that but we can also remove the burden of unplanned costs.
The new, RCR Replacement Parts Cover is designed to complement the benefits members already receive under the RCR Breakdown membership. This is not, however, available as a standalone product. The new service will be included in all membership levels other than the retainer level.
Parts Replacement Cover – 
Now after you’ve broken down we can pick up the repair bill.
RCR Replacements Parts cover gives you additional peace of mind, knowing we could help protect you from surprise repair bills should your vessel breakdown. (Full details will be available in the T&C’s membership booklet.)
What the new RCR membership will cover: 
  • Following a breakdown, attended under your RCR Membership, the cost of parts, labour and VAT are covered if your vessel needs repairs due to mechanical or electrical breakdown. Cover limits and exclusions apply.*
  • Cover includes a huge range of pastedGraphic.pdfparts, for example :-
  1. Starter Motor
  2. Alternator replacements
  3. Water Pump
  4. Fuel Pump, Fuel Pipes & Fuel Hoses
  5. Gearbox & Drive Plate
  6. Propeller Shaft & Couplings
  7. Hydraulic Pipes
  8. Engine Mounts
  9. Mechanical Steering and Hydraulic Controls
  10. Injection Pump
Specifically EXCLUDED Parts
  • Oil Cooler
  • Propeller(s)
  • Stern Gland/Tube
  • Engine
  • Consumables such as cables, filters, rubber components and the like that require routine wear and tear replacement
  • Pays up to a maximum of £1,000 per repair**
  • You can make up to 4 claims per year 
  • no restrictions on age of the engine
*Excludes normal wear and tear. 
**£50 excess per claim.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Notorious submerged wall catches another boater out on the River Trent

Sunday morning (21st Nov) a 57ft narrow boat and its crew left Torksey lock to travel to Newark, however shortly after leaving Torksey, disaster struck and the crew found the engine lacked power. As a result they were not making headway but luckily a fellow boat managed to tow them to the pontoons at Dunham Br. After taking a break they decided to carry on and, having passed under the A57 bridge, they headed to a tight ‘s’ bend in the river. The boat navigated the first right hand bend successfully but as they reached the second bend they lost drive again and suddenly found themselves grounded.

They were in relatively deep water and there were no signs of an obstruction but try as they might they were wedged tightly and could not escape…. It was at this point that the engine cut out and they could not re start it. As time went by they realised that the tide was going out leaving them even more stranded on the unknown obstacle. The captain contacted BW [British Waterways] who, after some discussion, agreed to send out a tug to assist them. Unfortunately with the tide going out it was not going to be easy and with the tide only due to turn at 8pm could have been a long and dangerous wait.

The captain then contacted RCR (the AA of waterways) to see if they could send an engineer out to get the engine running. RCR received a call at approximately 11.30am, and although they offer a Join on The Spot membership this option was not available because the boat was inaccessible. RCR have a fully trained rescue team trained by the RLNI to undertake water rescues; as in the past they have had to rescue a number of boats in precarious situations on the river Trent.

The captain was offered the option of the rescue team attending, and the potential scenarios that might occur, including possible capsizing of the vessel and the need to get the captain and crew off the vessel whist the engineers attended to the engine.

Working on a river is dangerous and combining this with freeing a vessel as the tide rises can put lives and boats at risk. RCR dispatched their rescue team of three personnel (K.Horton, P.Barnet, & T.Forman) to undertaken the rescue of the boat. They were equipped with a small rib, to get to the vessel, and essential safety equipment to ensure minimal risk to personnel.

The tide was dropping rapidly so the aim was to get a rescue boat in the water as soon as possible so that the engineers could get aboard the narrowboat and assess the situation. The engineers arrived on site at 1.30pm.

Having attended three previous rescues in this particular location the engineers were confident that the obstacle that had grounded the vessel would be a stone wall which extends in to the Trent on the bend. The wall is present to reduce bank corrosion but, as it is unmarked it presents a serious obstacle if a boater decides to cut a corner. The engineers launched the vessel at Dunham Bridge and set off to locate the stranded vessel.

When the engineers arrived at the vessel it was clear that there would be no possibility of towing the boat off the wall and although there was no immanent danger to the crew the decision was taken to get them off the vessel to ensure their safely and allow the engineers to work on the engine without any distractions. The BW tug arrived on the scene at approx 2.15pm, but with no possibility of pulling the boat without damage they moored up at the pontoons and waited to see if they were needed once the tide started to rise.

The engineers worked for 4 hours to get the engine running, removing several litres of water from the fuel tank, and fitting a new fuel pump which had also failed. The fuel tank was treated with Marine 16 additive to remove any additional water and also kill any diesel bug that might be developing. Finally at 6pm the engine was successfully started. Unfortunately with the boat completely stranded the only thing everyone could do was wait for the tide to turn at 8pm.

At approximate 8.30pm the decision was taken to use the BW tug to pull the boat free rather than waiting for the tide to rise high enough to re-float. The BW crew executed this with obvious experience and once free of the wall the engine was fired up and the boat turned and cruised up to the pontoons to be reunited with its owners. The engineers loaded up the rescue boat and finally headed home after a job well done.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue highlight risks of reduced water levels

With warnings of dropping water levels on lakes reservoirs and canals, (intended or otherwise) Navigators & General is urging caution on the part of with the increased risk of groundings.

Historically on lake Windermere we have always seen a rise in the number of underwater gear claims as boat owners collide with rocks or other obstructions that are normally at a safe depth. Often it is the more experienced owners who are at risk due to complacency with the local waters.

Such claims can be very expensive, and in extreme cases lead to sinking which can also have dire implications for the environment. N&G would urge owners to watch lake levels closely, and should water levels drop take extra care to try and identify shallow areas of the lakes or known obstructions and give them a wide berth  

With warnings of reducing water levels on canals and rivers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue are urging caution due to the increased risk of groundings and associated damage, one of N&G’s most common claims*

Prolonged lack of rain, leaks and high lock usage are all contributory factors, and their effects can vary from region to region. Even though the speeds are low there is still a risk of damage to boat or machinery, aborted journeys and plain embarrassment through being unprepared for the risk that low water levels present.

Weeds, tree debris and rubbish which would otherwise sit in the bottom silt will be far more likely to come into contact with the hull, propeller and rudder. The consequences can range from a much slower journey, so serious damage to underwater gear, or a fouled propeller.

For those boats with water cooled engines the risk of ingesting fouled water which can lead to overheating, a broken impellor or block in the engine itself are a big risk is shallow waters, especially if high revs are used.

Owners need to try and be aware of water levels on the stretch of water they are using, exercise caution if levels seem low and try and avoid the obvious shallow areas. You may need to re acquaint yourself with the weedhatch and methods to clear a fouled propeller.

Remember to ensure that the boat is securely moored, the engine is off (ideally battery of and key out) and you have a pair of gloves handy. Finally make sure the weedhatch is correctly replaced after as failure to do so can lead to sinking. You may want to mark a reference point on the hatch and lid.

RCR have already logged over 20 callouts in the last few months where grounding was the initial cause of the problem, low water levels, sand banks and obstacles on the Thames, Fens and Trent have caught out many experienced boaters.

If you do become grounded here a few tips which can help depending on severity of the grounding:
  • If the bow is aground; put engine in reverse, and move all crew to the stern, if still stuck fast and water tanks are at the front of the boat – turn taps on and release water.

  • If the stern is grounded whilst in astern put the engine in forward and transfer crew to the bow.  If the stern is grounded whilst moving forward put the engine in reverse– and move all crew to the bow of the boat and move astern carefully.

  • For both situations if the boat cannot be released,  turn off the engine, contact the local waterways authority and find out when the water levels will change or if there is the possibility of releasing more water. Occasionally they may have a work boat that can attend. If a passing boater offers to assist, follow the general rule and ‘pull the boat back in the direction it entered’.

If you have suffered a grounding, always check your weed hatch for propeller obstruction, the water trap and impeller for blockages – quick check; is water still coming out of exhaust or water outlet?. If there are any signs of overheating moor up immediate and investigate or ask an engineer to attend.

The risk of hitting underwater obstacles also increases as water levels drop, if you hit an obstacle you may find that the engine cuts out, or that you hear an unusual noise, or that the engine misses a beat, or vibration suddenly increases.

If this occurs moor up and check your propeller for obstruction or damage and once on the move again be aware of chattering or crunching noises coming from gearbox, leaks in the bilges or an increase in vibration, as these are all classic signs that further damage may have occurred.

It is worth remembering that the Fens, Broads, Trent and Thames waterways are subject to varying water levels which can catch any boater unawares. Ensure you are aware which waterway are subject to change and touch base with the local waterways authority if you are unsure.

The key to cruising during low water levels is to keep speed to a minimum, as speed will tend to pull the stern lower in the water and thus increasing the risk of pulling debris in to water intakes, or grounding the boat, it also has the added benefit of giving you time to make manoeuvres and reduce the severity of grounding should you experience problems.

For further information contact:  
Stephanie Horton, MD River Canal Rescue,
t: 0870 2008021     e:

Specialist TV producer Serious Leisure TV has announced that it is returning a specialist inland waterways programme to the air, after a break of over a year.

UK Boating - inland waterways is a 30 minute programme, dealing with inland waterways topics, and it is intended to evolve gradually into a bright and newsy presentation with up-to-date content and information.
"We produced a series of this programme some time ago," said Executive Producer Chris Gosling, "and had a terrific amount of interest from all kinds of inland waterways boat owners and users, especially from people who love Britain's canals and inland waterways."
"Over the course of time, we'll be filming all over the canal and inland waterway network - including hugely popular areas like the Thames and the Norfolk Broads, and we'll be looking at the hire industry as well as boat ownership in its varied forms."
"Everyone with all kinds of news dealing with inland waterways topics is welcome to contact us," added Giles Meehan, the programme's editor. "Our news slots will also be available online, and we encourage as many people as possible to get in touch with us!"
You can find examples of our news items at
We also have what we plan to be a fast-growing facebook page at!/pages/UK-Boating/131426136895811?ref=ts
The first programmes in the new series of UK Boating are sponsored by River Canal Rescue, who operate The National Marine Breakdown and Recovery Service for boats on the inland waterways - an outstanding and successful business enabling boat owners to cruise with confidence anywhere on Britain's waterways.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

We don't just rescue boats!

Ralph Kitts one of RCR's southern engineers was patrolling his local area in Watford and decided to pop down the towpath to check on a few of the local boaters and see how things were going. On arrival at the moorings at Coxley Common Moor on the GU he stopped to chat to some of the boaters and have a cup of tea. At some point during the conversation he heard a large splash, and thinking it was possibly a fish or bird, he popped his head round the boat and noticed a large red jacket floating in the canal on the opposite side.
He quickly realised that the jacket contained someone and that as they were unmoving were probably unconscious. The route around to the opposite side was a long trek and it would take too long to get around to the man in time..... So without hesitation he leapt in to the water and waded across to the body. Having reached the victim he managed to turn them around and in doing so realised that the elderly gentleman had a heavy rucksack on his back which was hampering the rescue. Luckily a number of workmen noticed him struggling and came over to lend a hand pulling the unconscious man out of the water and onto the towpath.
As the gentleman was revived an ambulance was called and the gentleman, who was approximate 70yrs old, was taken to Watford General hospital.
Ralph although very wet and cold headed back to his van to head home for a change of cloths and a warm drink. 

Well done Ralph!

From River Canal Rescue

Friday, 26 February 2010

Festival Times - February 2010

The following was published in the IWA's Festival Times newsletter and highlights our two months free membership on offer to all boats visiting this years IWA Festival at Beale Park.

River Canal Rescue (RCR) has long been a great supporter of IWA’s National Festival & Boat Show.  However, 2010 will see them taking that support to a new level.  

All boaters booking in for the 2010 show at Beale Park will – for the first time – be offered two months free breakdown cover from mid-July to mid-September.  During this period, RCR’s engineers can be called out as often as required and will provide engineering expertise to diagnose and repair any engine related mechanical problems.  The only costs will be a simple £35 call-out fee and the price of any spare parts that may be required.

David Pullen, IWA Festival’s Waterspace Director, said:

“This is an extremely generous offer and should be a significant incentive, particularly to any longer distance boaters who may be thinking of a Thames/London ring/K&A trip en route to the Festival at Beale Park. “

RCR is the UK’s leading waterways breakdown and rescue service and the National Festival organisers are sure that this generous offer will be very popular with visiting boaters, especially those who do not normally cruise on rivers.  Full information about the RCR offer will be sent out to boaters with their Festival packs in early June.

Stephanie Horton, RCR's MD, said that "as a company we've supported and worked with the IWA for many years, supporting the IWA awards for 'most enterprising journey', 'longest journey' and 'most enterprising non continuous journey' and we are keen to build on this, especially during the 2010 festival to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Tom Rolt."

The Beale Park Festival will take place alongside the Beale Park estate, Lower Basildon, Berkshire on the River Thames over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 28 – 30 August 2010 and is a great three day celebration of the inland waterways.

Attracting up to 600 visiting craft, including many historic vessels, with hundreds of trade exhibitors and live entertainment, the National Festival is a great day out for everyone.  The 2010 National will also celebrate the Centenary of the birth of Tom Rolt, one of IWA’s founding fathers who was passionate about waterways, steam railways and vintage cars and the organisers hope to reflect this during the Festival.

For further information please visit our website and click on Events.
For further information about RCR please see their website

IWA Launches New Tailored Boat Insurance Scheme With Built in Breakdown Membership

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has teamed up with both Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue to enable an insurance facility that it believes is unique to the market, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and so helps our charitable work for the waterways.

Our tailored inland waterway insurance policies cover loss and damage to your vessel, protect against legal claims, pay out for injury and damage caused to other property and provide the additional security of inclusive breakdown membership.

Key policy features

The policy incorporates many features that are unique including:

  • Membership to River Canal Rescue breakdown (which can be upgraded at additional cost)   

  • Dedicated insurance cover for owners who permanently live aboard their boats (Additional cost) - Personal public liability

  • Marina benefits

  • Medical expenses cover

  • £3 million pounds third party cover

Speaking on behalf of IWA, Neil Edwards, chief executive, said:

“IWA currently arranges insurance for over 170 of IWA’s corporate members, including most waterways societies and trusts, many boat clubs, community boat groups, navigation authorities, educational, industrial archaeological, waterways leisure and heritage bodies, museums and a wide range of other non-profit making organisations.  This is something that IWA has done as a non-profit making service for over 35 years, and has helped save many thousands of pounds from waterways insurance bills.  IWA’s experience in insurance matters led us to believe that something advantageous could be put in place for private boat owners too.  We believe that our partnership with Navigators & General, a leading pleasure craft insurer, and with River Canal Rescue, the foremost boat breakdown organisation, makes this scheme a market-leading proposition, and one which provides additional financial benefit to IWA that will allow it to further its charitable work for the waterways.”

For more information please go to:

Frost Damage

The freezing temperatures in December and January may be gone, but are not forgotten by Insurers Navigators & General as steady numbers of claims are coming in for damage caused by split or fractured pipes. Together with River Canal Rescue (RCR) the following advice is offered to owners. The number of notifications is already alarmingly high this early in the season, and it could be an indication of worse to come as owners start to return to inspect their boats since the thaw.

Whist seeming basic, the effects of a split or fractured pipe can be catastrophic on a boat leading to complete or partial flooding over a gradual period. If the pipe in question relates to a cold or hot water system on the boat the consequences will not be as severe as a raw freshwater cooling system, especially with metal pipes.

A split and leak here will almost certainly lead to flooding and possible sinking if not spotted. It also may not be covered by insurers as claims for frost damage is not covered by all companies, and gradual incursion of water is a common exclusion.

If frost damage is covered insurance polices normally insist that "machinery is winterised according to manufacturers recommendations" If not available than the advice of a qualified engineer should be sought, but taking no precautions is just asking for trouble.

For heating systems and fresh water tanks these should be drained and where possible taps left in an open position to allow for expansion. Just like cars any "closed loop" cooling system needs to have antifreeze added and replaced (per manufacturers guidelines) Not only will this minimise the risk of splits or fractures associated with freezing water, but it will also improve the cooling efficiency and minimise corrosion risk to the engine. Where raw water (drawn from the river) cooling systems are in place these should be properly drained down by briefly running the engine when out of the water to ensure the system is empty.

If afloat, Trevor Forman from RCR recommends “The quickest and simplest solution is to 'shut off' the inlet valve (seacock) and then drain as much water from the system as possible leaving a drain plug open or hose drain disconnected. Although this will not empty the system completely it will allow for expansion should the water freeze and therefore reduce the risk of ruptured pipes.

If there are any tight bends which are accessible it is also worth insulating as this is where fluid will collect even after draining. It is very important that you or anyone else

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Midnight Boat Rescue on the River Trent.

The following is a report on the dramatic rescue of a stranded boat. The rescue was not easy but was successfully concluded as can be seen below.

Late on Friday 21st Jan a 57ft narrowboat and its crew left Torksey lock to travel to Newark using the river Trent which, although swollen, was navigable. The crew hoped to make it to their destination before dark however, approximately 45 mins in to the journey, and having passed under the A57 bridge, they headed to a tight 's' bend in the river. They navigated the first right hand bend successfully but as they reach the second bend they lost drive and suddenly found themselves grounded.

They were in relatively deep water and there were no signs of an obstruction but try as they might they were wedged tightly and could not escape…. as time went by they realised that the tide was going out leaving them even more stranded.  As the river dropped it revealed a submerged wall to be the unknown obstacle.

With no road access or mooring locations for miles they contacted the emergency services who dispatched Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire fire brigades. When they arrived on site the decision was taken to remove the crew from the boat and get them to safety. British Waterways was then contacted to see if they could assist in getting to the vessel before the next high tide at 1am in order to refloat it.

Unfortunately BW were unable to put together the required team, and suggested that RCR (the AA of waterways) was called in. RCR received a call at approximately 8.30pm, and although the boater was not a member, and this is not an event covered by their membership, they mobilised a crew to attend.

Working at night on a river in flood and combining this with a rising high tide encompasses many dangers and the decision was taken to dispatch three personnel (K.Horton, P.Barnet, & T.Forman) to undertake the rescue of the boat in a 4 x 4 Landover to ensure they could get to the isolated location.

The tide was due to start running at 10.30 and the aim was to get a rescue boat in the water before this so that the engineers could get aboard the narrow boat and assess the situation.

Having used satellite images to identify exactly where the boat was located and the off road tracks that led to it, they headed though North Clifton to the river, and launched the rescue boat. The Land Rover picked up the dirt track and began to follow the river aiming to meet at the boats remote location. Unfortunately the fire rescue vehicles and a combination of heavy rain resulted in a very poor driving conditions and the engineers finished the journey on foot.

The boat had been equipped with blue flashing beacons to warn of its presence by the fire brigade and was easily located. Once the engineers arrived at the boat, and secured it with ropes, they checked the engine was running smoothly and then with the tide starting to rise they began the delicate task of releasing the boat from the wall, with the guide ropes ready should the tide try to twist or roll the boat.

At approximate 11.30 the engineer called to say the boat was free and had been successfully turned around and was cruising up to the floating pontoon at Durham Bridge (A57). The engineer was on this and was to pick up the crew from the St Johns Ambulance van where they were being cared for after their ordeal.

By 11.50 the crew were finally reunited with there vessel and the engineers loaded up the rescue boat and finally headed home after a job well done.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

RCR cover for festival boats.

River Canal Rescue, the UK's leading waterways breakdown and rescue service, has a long and successful association with the IWA and their annual festivals held across the UK. However boats attending the 2010 festival will, for the first time, be offered two month breakdown cover by RCR. The temporary RCR breakdown cover, for boats not already RCR clients, will cover a period from mid July to mid September during which RCR's engineers can be called out as often as required (but it's hoped not too often).

With anything up to 600 boats being catered for over the weekend of the festival, RCR can only provide breakdown cover and not crew relay or towing services however it is hoped that having enjoyed the benefits of membership - even for just an eight week period - boat owners will look to extend their membership to include all of the services available to full members. The cost of this temporary cover is nothing! The only fee's to be paid are £35 per call out (assuming the call takes no longer than a couple of hours) and any parts that may be required. Full details will be available from the IWA and included within the information pack being sent to all boats attending.

Stephanie Horton, RCR's MD, said that "as a company we've supported and worked with the IWA for many years, supporting the IWA awards for 'most enterprising journey', 'longest journey' and 'most enterprising non continuous journey' and we are keen to build on this, especially during the festival to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Tom Rolt."

The 2010 National Festival will be held at Beale Park on the River Thames at Pangbourne, near Reading over August Bank Holiday weekend. For more details on the festival visit and for more details on River Canal Rescues range of breakdown cover visit