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.”