Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Breakdown call-outs up yet only 15% of boat owners have RCR cover

Boat owners looking to adopt New Year resolutions are being asked to consider River Canal Rescue membership.  The breakdown and emergency assistance firm estimates only 15% of owners are members, yet call-out numbers are increasing.
River Canal Rescue says out of the 70,000 or so boats currently registered on the waterways, only 10,500 have a 24/7 support mechanism in place, the remainder - 85% - appear happy to adopt the ‘it’ll never happen to me’ philosophy.
And with this year’s call-out levels topping 3700 by 1 December 2013 - 20%* higher than 2012’s overall tally of 3100 - RCR Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, says this is a risky strategy: “We assisted many owners who failed to service and maintain their boats before setting off on their first journey of the year, but this is really the tip of the iceberg.  The total number of people encountering problems must be huge.”
Maintenance oversights and failure to take out breakdown cover are often due to financial strain - however those with RCR membership consider it essential.  In a recent Facebook poll, RCR asked site visitors to identify the one thing they would not give up if their finances became stretched; 58% said RCR Breakdown Cover, 16% boat maintenance, a further 16% pet insurance and 10% car breakdown cover.   
Stephanie concludes: “Owners clearly value the peace of mind our cover gives over their own boat maintenance.  Whilst the majority may consider RCR membership an unnecessary expense, it’s worth remembering that if you do breakdown or require emergency assistance, the overall cost will be much higher.”

River Canal Rescue membership starts at £55 per year, four levels of cover are available and replacement parts cover is included or can be added to membership.  To find out more, visit or call 01785 785680.

Maintenance tips to reduce call-out tally

In order to avoid another year of ‘record-breaking call-outs’, River Canal Rescue is giving boat owners 10 maintenance tips to help keep their craft in a sound condition and ready for the rigours of winter and beyond.
From January to 1 December 2013, the breakdown and emergency assistance firm attended 3731 call-outs, 20% more than the previous year’s tally* which was up to the end of the year.  Calls spiked during June to August when an additional 100 breakdowns per month were logged. 
Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, says: “The number of breakdown call-outs were unprecedented.  The sun encouraged many boaters back on the water after years of poor weather, and as these boats had not been in use, it resulted in high numbers of vessels experiencing breakdowns.  In many cases, the call-outs could have been avoided if owners had undertaken some general maintenance, particularly before setting off on their first journey of the year. “
She continues: “Hopefully our maintenance tips will reduce the likelihood of owners having to contact us, ensuring their next holiday is an uninterrupted one.”
Top 10 maintenance tips
·      Check batteries are charging correctly and that the charge rate from the alternator to the batteries is as it should be.
·      Check the morse control is working correctly and that the throttle and gears are selecting smoothly.
·      Check you have enough fuel to complete your journey and inspect all fuel lines and shut off valves for leaks.
·      Check the condition of stern gland, ensure there’s plenty of grease supplied to it and that the prop shaft is turning freely.
·      Check the engine oil and gearbox oil levels and top up if needs be.
·      Check the condition of the fan belt.  If it’s worn get it replaced.
·      Check all coolant hoses for leaks and wear and tear. Replace if required. For raw water-cooling engines, check the seacock, impeller and filter and all pipe work for leaks.
·       Check the condition of the engine mounts. If they are worn replace them or if the bolts seem loose, tighten before cruising again (but only adjust the top bolt).
·       Check all bolts and connections are tight on the coupling.
·       Check the air filter and replace or clean as needed.

Stephanie concludes: “Only around 15% of boat owners have RCR membership so these figures are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the real number of people experiencing breakdowns.  Those without our support mechanism will be left to their own devices to rectify the problem so our maintenance tips could prove invaluable.”
As well as providing breakdown and emergency assistance support, River Canal Rescue offers Replacement Parts Cover, reimbursing owners for the supply and labour costs associated with the replacement of a failed part.  To find out more about this and other RCR services visit  email  or call  01785 785680