Tuesday, 26 November 2013

How to winterise your narrowboat

With winters getting colder and sub-zero temperatures becoming more common, River Canal Rescue has put together some tips on how to winterise your narrowboat and so avoid costly repair bills.

Cooling systems
Just like vehicles, any ‘closed loop’ cooling system needs to have anti-freeze added and replaced (per manufacturer’s guidelines).  Not only will this minimise the risk of splits or fractures associated with freezing water, it will improve the engine’s cooling efficiency and minimise corrosion risk to the engine.
Where raw water (drawn from the river) cooling systems are in place, drain down by briefly running the engine when out of the water to ensure the system is empty.  If afloat, the quickest and simplest solution is to ‘shut off’ the inlet valve (seacock) and drain as much water from the system as possible.
Where no drain plug is available, disconnect a hose, drain the water from the system and leave disconnected.  Although this will not empty the system completely, it will allow for expansion should the water freeze and reduce the risk of ruptured pipes. It’s also worth insulating any accessible tight bends as this is where fluid will collect even after draining. Once you’re ready to start cruising again, reconnect any pipes, refill the system and open the seacock.
If the engine’s winterised or seacock’s closed, clearly mark the engine and its controls; it should prevent accidental operation. 
General Checks
Check lockers, cockpit and other areas to ensure all drain holes and plugs are clear of debris, leaves, dirt etc. These areas block easily and in heavy or prolonged rain, can cause a vessel to take on water causing corrosion where the water’s left sitting or even worse, sinking.

Always test the bilge pump and battery charge levels before leaving the boat and when you return or before a long journey. Heavy rainfall, leaking stern glands and issues with weed hatches can result in water ingress that quickly fills the boat and causes it to sink. If batteries go flat at a critical point it can be devastating.

Grease the stern tube before leaving the boat, this will prevent water ingress.  Although most stern glands leak once the propeller turns, the grease acts like a seal whilst not in use.
Water in a boat will cause it to be lower in the water, placing outlets such as those for a shower, sink or air vent, nearer to the water level (leading to catastrophic results!). 

Ensure mooring ropes are secure, yet loose enough to deal with the normal rise or fall of water levels. In extreme weather or prolonged rainfall, visit the boat regularly to adjust mooring ropes and check bilge pumps and batteries are coping with the situation.

It’s also a good idea to run the engine for an hour every time you visit as this pushes oil around the engine and prevents rusting, plus it tops up the battery if left running long enough (beware of doing this if you’ve drained the cooling system!).

Spray terminals with a silicone-free lubricant and grease all available grease points on the engine and drive, plus electrical connectors. Also lubricate linkages and gear/throttle slides, this will prevent rusting/corrosion and give these components a longer life.

If not in use, store in a gas-tight locker – the same regulations as Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) apply.

Water and heating
Freezing temperatures can cause split or fractured pipes which, if left over a gradual period, can lead to complete or partial flooding.
Drain down the water system (including drinking water and cistern) and leave taps in the open position.  Most water heaters have a screw plug at their base and can accommodate an old-fashioned cycle pump which makes the emptying of water that much quicker.
Taps should be left open because if any water is left in the system and it freezes, the pressure on the pipes will be less due to air coming out of the taps.

An unnoticed pipe split and flooding will almost certainly lead to sinking which may not be covered by insurers (not all cover frost damage and a gradual incursion of water may not be classed as accidental). If covered, insurance policies normally insist ‘machinery is winterised according to manufacturers’ recommendations’.  If not available, the advice of a qualified engineer should be sought.  Taking no precautions is asking for trouble.
Lag your hot and cold pipes and top up anti-freeze in keel cooling and other sealed heating systems (such as radiators connected to the boiler).  This point is repeated because it’s the single most important thing to do, whether your narrowboat is being used over the winter period or not.    

Protecting possessions
Remove or put out of site any alcohol, valuable and electrical items.  If you have a secure mooring this might not be such an issue, but if in doubt, take it out.
Invest in decent locks, your insurance policy requires this and it’s more likely to deter thieves. Ensure all windows and access points are firmly closed and locked before leaving the vessel and visit regularly.  Prevent the theft of external items, such as mushroom vents, solar panels and chimneys, by fixing with extra-strength sealant and invest in security shear nuts.  Ask neighbouring boats to call if they have any concerns.

Diesel Treatment
Excessive water in the tank can lead to water feeding through the fuel system (RCR regularly removes large quantities of water from fuel tanks in the early cruising season). To prevent this;
Regularly check your filler cap seal and replace if worn, cracked or damaged. The cap sits lower than the deck so if it’s been raining wipe away excess water before opening the cap.
Either leave the tank empty during winterisation and remove any water on your return or leave the tank full and treated*.

*Fuel treatments remove water and deal with contamination such as diesel bug - where enzymes, bacteria etc live off the water in diesel and affect the diesel properties.  Inactive boats are more at risk of growth developing in the fuel tanks so treat with Marine 16 Diesel Fuel Complete. 

Freezing Weather & Ice
If the boat’s encased in ice and you’re worried about the effects on the hull take care…breaking the ice can result in more damage than simply leaving it. The only time the ice should be broken is if you need to move, and this should be only undertaken with caution.  The stress on the hull from a large surface area of ice is huge and at a minimum will  cause damage to the blacking.

Don’t forget to de-winterise
Having gone through the winterisation process, it’s important to do the reverse when the warmer weather arrives.  This means closing the taps, replacing the plug in the water heater and switching the water pump on.

Prior to cruising, run your engines up to ‘running’ temperature (if a gauge is available onboard) or for approximately 1/2 hr.  Check every inch of the cooling system for leaks or escaping steam and if something is found, immediately call-out a qualified engineer.
For domestic water supplies; once the water pump is back on, open and run water through each tap.  Start with those closest to the pump and work through to the one furthest away – this’ll push any air locks through the system.  Drain any water in the tank out and refill with fresh drinking water.   

Remember servicing, including the engine, LPG and electrical systems, plus fire extinguishers and escape hatches.  Everything should pass Boat Safety Scheme scrutiny.
Although no action is needed for gas pipes at the start of the winter, it’s a good idea to paint connections with 50% soap liquid and 50% water using a small artist’s brush – this will show up any minor gas leaks at the joints.

Before you run the engine, check water trap filters and remove any excess water.  If water is present or there are signs of diesel bug (black dust or jelly), dip the tank to identify the severity of the issue and then treat with a fuel treatment or have the fuel polished accordingly.

The easiest way to check for water in the tank is to use a clear plastic hose.  Drop it into the tank (being careful not to disturb the fuel) and when you feel the bottom, place your thumb over the end to seal it and withdraw the hose. This should provide you with a sample of the tank (plus an indication of any diesel bug contamination) and show the amount of water present.

River Canal Rescue runs boat and engine maintenance courses throughout the year, to find out more visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk email enquiries@rivercanalrescue.co.uk or call 01785 785680.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Changes to qualifying criteria for 2014 RCR Cruising Challenge trophy

Intrepid travellers keen to win the 2014 River Canal Rescue Cruising Challenge trophy (recognising the most enterprising non-continuous journey) can log journeys undertaken since the last Inland Waterway Association Festival rather than wait until the usual ‘beginning of year’ qualifying period.
RCR and the IWA have given entrants more time to log journeys to encourage greater exploration of the UK waterway system, particularly useful as participants receive additional points if they visit lesser-used waterways and reach distant end-of-navigations and inland tidal sections.
In a further change, anyone attending the Festival and submitting their log in person, with or without boat, is eligible to enter.  In the past, only those turning up with their craft could apply.
River Canal Rescue Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “In previous years the timescales have been limited, making the more inaccessible parts of the system difficult to visit.  By extending the qualifying period from one Festival to another we’re providing entrants with greater flexibility when it comes to route planning, plus we’re opening the competition up to a wider audience.”
The only restriction for the RCR Cruising Challenge Trophy is that no section of canal or river may be counted more than once in the same direction in the same calendar month.  Entrants are required to supply a full cruising log at the 2014 IWA Festival, showing miles and locks, which must be supported with evidence (photographic or otherwise) of reaching key destinations during the cruise.  Judges will consider the log presentation and the overall cruise content, rather than the longest journey.
The qualifying period for the other two RCR-sponsored trophies; the Robert Aickman Challenge (most enterprising journey) and AP Herbert (longest journey) remains around eight weeks before the summer Festival and boat travel to the event is required when submitting logs.  RCR will continue to give away a year’s free gold, silver and bronze memberships to the three trophy winners.
To find out more visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or contact Paul Chilvers, IWA Festival Awards Officer on 07774 164413.

2014 boat and engine maintenance courses

River Canal Rescue has announced dates for its 2014 boat and engine maintenance courses.  Run once a month from January to October at Alvechurch Marina near Birmingham, topics covered include; diesel engines, transmissions, boat plumbing, boat electrics, lay-up and refit procedures.
The courses combine theory with practical demonstrations and participation and are ideal for owners keen to learn more about basic boat engine maintenance and electric systems.   A two-day, weekend course costs £100 and is run by Keith Duffy (ex RCR engineer) and Howard Williams (electrical specialist).
2014 dates; 18-19 January,  15-16 February, 22-23 March, 12-13 April, 17-18 May, 12-13 July, 16-17 August, 13-14 September and 25-26 October.

Additional courses can be run to meet demand either at Alvechurch Marina or a boat clubhouse.  

To find out more visit http://www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk/courses/boat-engine-maintenance/ email  enquiries@rivercanalrescue.co.uk  or call  01785 785680.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Stuck Fast

River Canal Rescue was recently called out to help Jane Pollard, ‘About Time’ owner, after her boat got caught on the cill of lock 9w on the Huddersfield Canal.   The freak accident occurred as she was part way though leaving the lock, the boat became caught on the front sill, and unable to reverse, the bow quickly became stuck and within minutes the vessel was starting to take on water in the stern.  Jane ran around the lock roping the boat to secure it, and following the quick arrival of the Canal & River Trust (who emptied the pounds above the lock), the boat finally came to rest at a 45 degree angle with the bow wedged in the entrance and the stern on the bottom of the lock.

Jane, her friend and dog evacuated ‘About Time’.  They realised that due to the lock position (one mile from any road access), the lock width and position of the boat, the waterway would need to be closed and a specialist team brought in.
Initially a local contractor attempted to refloat the boat, but this was stopped on health and safety grounds.  The following day, with the approval of C & RT, RCR’s team started work.  The boat’s inlets were sealed and a canvas ‘bag’ was strung over the stern to deflect water from entering the vessel.  Pumps were placed on board to pump out any water that did get in and the vessel was secured by distributing the load over the bollards.

After four hours of gentle persuasion (and a five-man team), the boat was successfully refloated, moved to a secure location and towed back to Portland basin for repairs and dry out.
RCR Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “This was a technically difficult and challenging rescue; there was no access for cranes and no other options…in fact only a helicopter might have helped. C&RT later reported they found an obstruction wedged in the paddles which may have caused the issue.”
Despite the ordeal, Jane is full of praise for RCR, the C& RT and her insurers, Haven Knox Johnson: “This was a very complicated situation, but thankfully no one was hurt and the boat is structurally sound.  Everyone involved was amazing and I’m full of praise for them all.”

Sunday, 8 September 2013

RCR-sponsored trophy winners go that extra mile

At this year’s Watford-based IWA Festival, River Canal Rescue sponsored three trophies; the new RCR Cruising Challenge (most enterprising non-continuous journey), Robert Aickman Challenge (most enterprising journey), and AP Herbert (longest journey). The waterway assistance firm also gave away a year’s free gold, silver and bronze membership to the three winners.
When deciding who will win the accolades, the judges consider a number of criteria.  These include; duration of the cruise and overall distance covered from their mooring to the Festival, waterways visited and the respective limits of navigation reached, river navigations used by canal craft, tidal crossings and presentation of a cruising log.  Entrants are awarded points and extra marks are given to boaters who reach rarely-visited inland waterways.
The RCR Cruising Challenge trophy was won by David and Sylvia Jarvis on their 46 ft narrowboat ‘Orchid II’.   Together with Collie, Tess, they completed three non-continuous journeys, covering 748 lock miles, from the middle of May to the Festival date.  Stage one involved leaving their mooring in Banbury on the Oxford Canal, making their way to the River Trent and navigating the potentially perilous Trent Falls, before joining the River Ouse.  David comments: “You need to plan carefully for this trip, go in company and get help as it can get very tricky.”
Stage two was a trip via the Humber Estuary and Ouse to reach the rarely-cruised Pocklington canal, (not surprising as in order to reach the Pocklington Canal the intrepid duo spent two hours with a small saw hacking their way through a fallen tree blocking their route) and stage three, navigating Yorkshire’s River Derwent to Stamford Bridge.  ‘Orchid II’ was the fifth non-local boat to visit the Upper Derwent this year.
David concludes: “We were delighted to win the trophy and are grateful to RCR for the effort they make in encouraging people to use the waterways.”
The Robert Aickman trophy was won by Michael and Denise Bending after they travelled some 590 continuous lock miles to Watford’s Cassiobury Park on the Grand Union Canal from their mooring in Kings Bromley Marina, Staffordshire.  From 23 May to 17 July, they navigated the Trent & Mersey Canal, Coventry and Oxford Canals, the Thames from the end of navigation at Lechlade down to Brentford and from there to Watford on the Grand Union Canal, visiting the Basingstoke Canal on the way.
Mike advises their 57ft narrowboat ‘Densie’ was among the first visiting boats to reach the end of navigation of the Basingstoke canal in recent times.  The Canal had been unusable for four years and was re-opened at Easter after the restoration of the main flight of locks.  However, a landslip caused a blockage four miles before the end of the navigation.  Luckily for the Bendings, the Canal opened fully at the end of June, in time for their visit.
Commenting on their win, Mike said: “We were surprised, delighted and proud to receive the trophy – particularly as it dates back to the 1950s.  We’re also very pleased with the prize of a year’s free RCR subscription.”
The third trophy, AP Herbert (longest journey), was won by John and Nancy Harman on their 63 ft narrowboat ‘Perfect Harmony’.   Festival Award Officer, Paul Chilvers, explained why they were given the accolade: “Their longest journey was 576 lock miles covering the Kennet and Avon Canal from Reading to Bristol and back again.  They continued onto the River Wey to Godalming (the most southerly point of the waterway network) and then navigated the tidal Thames through London to Watford.  The Longest Journey trophy is given to an entrant who hasn’t won one of the other awards.”   

RCR Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, concludes: “It’s important we recognise and reward boat owners who undertake what in some cases, can be arduous journeys.  These award categories fit well with our ethos which is to support people, whatever their journey.”

Friday, 23 August 2013

Water leak detector from River Canal Rescue

In a bid to reduce the number of call-outs to boat owners suffering water leaks, River Canal Rescue is selling water leak detectors via its online chandlery at http://shop.rivercanalrescue.co.uk/shop/ShowProduct.aspx?Id=83316
River Canal Rescue attends, on average, one call-out a week* due to water leaks internally; these can be caused by  loose or sheered domestic water pipes, a hull breach, or failed shower pump. In addition water in the engine compartment due to a loose weed hatch, leaking stern gland or ineffective bilge pump can result in potential sinking or engine damage.
This compact alarm has a two metre sensor at its tip and is fitted with a watch battery, lasting for a year and sounding for many hours.  The detector RRP costs £15, with a £1.50 delivery charge.
RCR Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “What starts as a minor leak can soon turn into a major disaster with the floor, carpets, furnishings and electrical items all ruined.  Having witnessed first-hand, the shock and stress such an incident can cause, we are delighted to have sourced something that may prevent this.  
“Simply position the sensor in the bilge, by the weed hatch, under the shower - anywhere it may be difficult to detect a water leak - and hook up the alarm in a central area so you can easily hear it. This gadget offers a real warning of problems before they become critical.”

To find out more visit RCR’s website or phone 01785 785680.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Prepare your boat for 40 days of sun

Predictions that the hot weather will last for 40 days has prompted River Canal Rescue to remind boaters about the importance of maintaining equipment and carrying spares - actions which could prevent call-outs for replacement parts.
Last year River Canal Rescue attended 573 call-outs for part failures and already this year the assistance firm has seen a spike in cases of broken water pumps.  Parts which commonly fail are;
·         Cables
·         Alternators
·         Fuel pumps
·         Starter motors
·         Drive plats
·         Gear boxes
·         Batteries
·         Water pumps
·         Couplings
·         Engine mounts
Failures are typically due to; lack of servicing, condensation getting into the components, excessive or harsh use, vibration, accidental damage, wear and tear, old-age, misalignment of parts, hitting underwater objects  and the effect of pollutants such as diesel, oil or anti-freeze.
Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “Folklore suggests the weather you have on St Swithun’s day (15 July) will continue for 40 days.  If this is the case, the prolonged heat may take its toll on major components.  To ensure their smooth running, service and check all parts and carry spare cables, a fan belt, impeller, spark plugs, fuel filter, bulbs, bolts, fuses, oil and ‘stop leak’ or putty for an unexpected hull breach.
“It’s also useful to have screwdrivers, spanners, pliers, a socket set, battery tester, electric wire and insulation/PTFE tape.”
Replacement parts cost, on average, between £20 (cables) and £1200 (gearbox), plus there are labour charges.  River Canal Rescue includes replacement parts within its membership package, covering up to £1000 of parts per repair, labour and VAT*. 
To find out more, visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or phone 01785 785680.
Notes to Editors
*Four claims a year can be made and an excess of £50 applies.
River Canal Rescue is a partner of the Canal & River Trust, having donated £5000 this year to support its work.

Media Enquiries
Stephanie Horton, Managing Director, River Canal Rescue, T: 01785 785680 or E: sho@rivercanalrescue.co.uk

Francesca Breeze, Freelance Journalist/PR Consultant, T: 01273 421115, M: 07710 963838 or E: Francesca.breeze1@ntlworld.com

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Insurers asked to adopt approved repairer scheme for claims

River Canal Rescue Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, is asking insurers to review their clams handling processes in order to get boaters back on the water within days of an incident.  During a presentation at the recent Crick Boat Show, Stephanie emphasised the speed at which claims can be resolved if the insurer runs an approved repairer scheme. 

When an incident occurs, insurers typically require claimants to register the claim and complete and return a notification form with a minimum of two repair/replacement quotes.  Upon approval, the claimant is left to progress and pay for the work, submit an invoice and wait for reimbursement.

River Canal Rescue estimates this process, on average, takes between two weeks and three months.

Insurers running an approved repairer scheme, however, have authorised River Canal Rescue’s subsidiary firm, Canal Contracting, to make repairs up to an agreed limit, so there’s no need to source and pay contractors up front.   The breakdown specialist says this process; from notification to repair, can take one or two days as often only a single call is needed to the insurer for the claim to be registered, authorised and progressed. 

Stephanie went on to outline common causes of claims, such as navigational errors, grounding, accidental damage and vandalism and explained how to reduce further losses.   She also put insurance jargon into plain English and advised on claimants’ responsibilities.

Stephanie comments: “Boaters, particularly recreational ones, who insure with firms without this scheme, tend to resent the amount of time it takes to get their craft repaired and one of their biggest frustrations is having to return home to complete a claim form and source quotes/failure reports in order to obtain repair authorisation.  This takes up time and can involve a fair amount of travel to locate suitable contractors – all before anything is agreed. 

“Insurers must adapt their processes and take into account the stress and trauma often faced by boaters when they make a claim and equally, claimants need to understand the requirements and limitations of their policy.”

Recent Incidents Prompt Warning

Water Pump Alert
River Canal Rescue is urging boat owners to check their water pumps and act upon any leaks, no matter how small, after responding to seven times more call-outs in May and June. 
The inland waterway assistance firm receives on average, three calls per month for broken water pumps, yet in the last two months it attended 21.  The first week in July has already seen six calls for assistance.
Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “In many cases it’s where people neglect to put right a small leak so it develops into something more serious or they fail to replace their impeller, which only has a one year warranty and should be changed every year.”
The symptoms of a broken pump, which is typically caused by a faulty impeller or seal, are; a water leak, the pump not working at all or the engine over-heating.  Stephanie continues: “It’s important to get leaks sorted as soon as possible, as the loss of water from the cooling system due to pump failure can result in engine damage if overheating is not picked up, and this can occur within 15 minutes in severe cases.”

Visit River Canal Rescue at www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or check out Facebook.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Collidge & Partners join forces with RCR.

One of the UK’s best known Insurance underwriting agents, who’ve specialised in the marine sector for over 25 years, Collidge & Partners, have teamed up with River Canal Rescue to offer a unique breakdown service which is now on offer to their clients. The new membership is now available to both new and existing clients and means that their customers now have access to competitively priced breakdown cover for their boat.

The service, full details of which are available on Collidge and Partners website, was first discussed just under a year ago when Chris Collidge asked RCR’s MD Stephanie Horton to come up with a package to replace Collidge &; Partners existing breakdown recovery product. The brief was simple, Chris wanted something akin to the RAC’s coverage for the motorist. He also stipulated the service was to be 24/7 and it had to be competitively priced. The result is C&P’s new Inland Waterways Breakdown Cover. 

With cover now being offered and it’s popularity evident Chris Collidge commented that he “welcomes the arrangement with RCR and is more than happy to be associated with the company [RCR]” which he describes as “complimenting his own insurance business.”

As for RCR, Stephanie states “ It’s great to finally get Collidge & Partners on board, as one of the most successful inland waterways brokers we worked with them to put together a very unique membership package. This package includes the elements that C&P championed as being a top priority to their customers, and also provided them with the benefit of knowing that they have RCR cover and access to a dependable service 24/7” She added that RCR are also “the approved repairers for Navigators and General policies and as such also handle claims for Collidge and Partners; so their customers will now experience a seamless and first class service no matter what happens...we are here to help”.

For full details of the breakdown cover on offer from C&P visit www.collidgeandpartners.co.uk and click on the link to the ‘Inland Waterways Breakdown Cover’ where you will find full details and the opportunity to download the application form. Prices start from £65 which provides cover for a maximum of 3 callouts per year.

For full details of River Canal Rescue’s range of breakdown services, and their unique Canal Contracting company, visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk

Thursday, 18 April 2013

RCR Engine Maintenance & Boat Electrical Courses (RYA accredited)

Changes have been made to two of RCR’s well-known and ever popular maintenance courses for the 2013 season. This year the electrical courses will be run by Howard Williams, and the Maintenance course by Keith Duffy. These courses were previously presented by Tony Brookes who is now retired.

Keith Duffy has also joined as a course tutor specialising in mechanical engineering. Keith maybe a familiar face to those who’ve used River Canal Rescue’s services in the past as he used to work for RCR and was one of their first employees. A former RAF trained aircraft engineer with 43 years engineering experience and blue water sailor, Keith has now retired but enjoys teaching other people how to maintain and problem solve their own mechanical problems.  He can still be found on the waterways helping boaters and also supports RCR junior engineers in their roles.

 Howard Williams was apprenticed as an electrical technician and is now an Approved Electrician and British Marine Electrical Association Marine Electrical Technician. He has a personal interest in boats and hired on many occasions before buying his first boat in 2000. Howard carries out electrical work on and around boats on a day to day basis. This includes all types of work from emergency call out to rectify faults to full wiring of new boats from scratch. Howard like to keep up to date on new developments and as a result he’s confident that he will be able to offer those attending the course an informative, educational; but most importantly an enjoyable: time, and looks forward to meeting new learners." 

 Stephanie Horton, RCR’s MD said, “The new format of the courses has taken the excellent content of our previous courses, and the RYA requirements but added in more practical and hands on activities, we have looked at the key elements that boaters want to achieve from the course and condensed it to ensure that everyone comes away with real skills that they can put in to action on their own boat”.

Details of the courses can be foudn on the RCR webpages www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk

RCR Sponser the IWA Festival Awards

Waterways Festival Awards
River Canal Rescue is urging people to enter this year’s Waterways Festival Awards which are presented during the 19-21 July get-together at Cassiobury Park, near Watford.
Described as the biggest waterway event alongside Crick – the annual Festival attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of canal boat owners with their craft. 
The waterways breakdown and rescue firm sponsors three Awards; the AP Herbert, Robert Aikman and newly re-named River Canal Rescue trophies, recognising the longest journey in a qualifying period, most enterprising continuous journey and most enterprising non-continuous journey. 
As well as the trophies, award-winners receive free RCR membership, and a Free Service for the longest Journey.  Deadline for entries by post or email is 8 July or for those handing in their forms at the Grand Union canal Festival site, 18 July.  
To find out more visit www.waterways.org.uk or email enquiries@rivercanalrescue.co.uk

Friday, 29 March 2013

Storm and flood losses higher than reported says River Canal Rescue

The £1.9billion* paid out by insurers to people who suffered flood and storm damage following last year’s wet weather is likely to be the tip of the iceberg, according to Stephanie Horton, Managing Director of River Canal Rescue.
Stephanie says the figure should be higher as the damage and loss to canal and river boats is not included in this figure; it comprises home, business and motor claims. 
River Canal Rescue reports it attended 75%** more call-outs to emergency situations in the period from October 12 to January 13 and specialist insurers also confirm the bad weather caused an increase in claims.
Stephanie comments: “Last year’s weather caused devastation for those on water as well as land and it’s important their losses are acknowledged.  We helped retrieve 45 sunken, partially submerged or grounded vessels, and in some cases these craft are the owners’ home, business and form of transport. Over half of these were insurance claims.”
Insurers who have not given River Canal Rescue delegated authority to make repairs as part of the claims process spend more on claims settlement due to customers’ having to source repairers themselves and agree quotes.
Stephanie explains: “Insurers who give us delegated authority save a minimum of 25% on their claims costs.  Last year, however, we reduced their bill by 65%***.  By allowing us to take ownership of the claim, we can quickly source and make repairs, reduce the total loss amount and speed up the process.  This results in less hassle for the craft owner.”
She concludes: “We’ll never know the true costs incurred as a result of the terrible weather last year, but it is important to prepare for more floods and storms and have support at hand to minimise losses if damage occurs.  Even as we approached British summer time this year, the country faced freezing conditions and more weather warnings, which is unheard of towards the end of March.”
River Canal Rescue issues warnings and reminders for people to check their craft on Facebook and via email alerts to customers. To find out more, visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or phone 01785 785680.

Notes to Editors
*Association of British Insurers  2012 storm and flood statistics

** River Canal Rescue call-outs Oct 11 to Jan 12 v Oct 12 - Jan 13
*** Based upon potential claims cost v amount paid for cases in 2012

Media Enquiries
Stephanie Horton, Managing Director, River Canal Rescue, T: 01785 785680 or E: sho@rivercanalrescue.co.uk
Francesca Breeze, Freelance Journalist/PR Consultant, T: 01273 421115, M: 07710 963838 or E: Francesca.breeze1@ntlworld.com

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Breakdown Guide from Towergate Insurance and River Canal Rescue

Canal boat insurance provider, Towergate Insurance, has joined forces with breakdown and recovery specialist, River Canal Rescue, to produce a Guide listing the five most common causes of emergency call-outs and how to avoid them.

During 2012, River Canal Rescue responded to 3,100 call-outs and in 2011, 3,400.  Although slightly fewer, it still equates to 60 call-outs a week.  
Last year, the top five call-outs were; batteries and electrical malfunctions 21%, fuel issues and contamination 18%, breaking cables 9%, over-heating/cooling system breakdown 8% and alternator issues 6%.    These were closely followed by; gearbox/drive plate failures 5%, fan belts 5%, starters 4%, propellers 3% and couplings/sheared bolts 3%*.
The Guide offers breakdown advice, general preventative maintenance and tool box contents tips, discusses how to solve problems before calling out a third-party and gives a word of warning about bio-diesel.
Towergate Insurance (marine) Managing Director, Nigel Mills, comments: “We hope canal boat owners find this Guide a useful reference tool which will reduce the need for a call-out.”
River Canal Rescue Managing Director, Stephanie Horton agrees: “Many call-outs can be avoided by regular servicing/maintenance and learning about your engine.  This Guide encourages owners to develop routines that will minimise unnecessary costs and avoid a holiday or break being spoilt by an ill-timed breakdown."
Available online at www.towergateinsurance.co.uk (click on info zone and boat) and www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk (click on tips and advice). 
Canal boat owners taking out a Fresh-Waters policy with Towergate Insurance can purchase River Canal Rescue support at a discounted rate or opt for a higher level of policy cover and receive it automatically.
For further breakdown information visit either of the websites and for insurance advice call 0800 515629 or 01743 284664.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

RCR’s Engineer of the Year Awards.

During River Canal Rescue’s recent AGM, held at their offices in Stafford during January, two awards were made. The awards for Engineer of the Year and Most call outs were made to J William Forman and Dean Burroughs, both of whom work in the midlands region with Dean being a junior engineer and J being a senior engineer.

J William Forman won the Engineer of the Year award, this award is very difficult to win in that it is not simply a case of getting the most jobs done, but is measured on a range of skills which take in to account the number of call-outs, number of inspections and services completed, the quality and accuracy of his documentation, management of stock and professional appearance and attitude, most importantly, the number of compliments received for his work. His award was made by last years winner Steve Hill who presented not only the trophy but also the RCR 1P number plate for his van and a gift voucher for Halfords.

The award for most breakdowns was made to Dean Burroughs and was presented by last years winner Aaron Forman. Dean attended some 269 call-outs over the last year. He won both a trophy and a Halfords voucher but only just! He was closely followed by three other engineers but managed to win by just six call-outs.

Stephanie Horton, RCR’s MD said that, “this award is a true reflection of the dedication of our engineers and the company to providing an excellent service for all our customers and the emphasis we place on the full package not just simply engineering skills.” She added, “There is quite a lot of friendly competition between the engineers to win these titles, Dean has had a difficult year in 2011, and has really pulled though to show that he can perform and deserved the recognition that the award brings. Jay has worked his way though as an apprentice to Senior engineer and the Engineer of the Year is a true representation of the emphasis that we place on our engineers developing and maintaining their skills, in both customer service and engineering knowledge as is a testament to his work in the field.”

Steve Hill presenting (L) to J Forman (R) 
Aaron Forman (R) to Dean Burroughs (L)