Friday, 21 March 2014

Changes to qualifying criteria for 2014 RCR Cruising Challenge trophy

Intrepid travelers 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.
Anyone attending the Saul Waterways Pageant (23-25 August) 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.
RCR MD Stephanie Horton said: “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 last year’s Festival to this new event, we’re providing entrants with greater flexibility when it comes to route planning and 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 Waterways Pageant, 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 event and boat travel 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, contact Awards organiser Paul Chilvers on 07774 164413. Downloadable entry forms are available from the IWA website- - and information on River Canal Rescue is at


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Seek assistance before moving grounded boats says River Canal Rescue

Boat owners keen to move displaced vessels which have been grounded as a result of the high water levels are being urged to seek assistance before attempting to move them.  The advice comes from River Canal Rescue Managing Director Stephanie Horton who has found an increasing number of customers appear keen to take matters into their own hands.

She comments: “We recently had a call from the wife of one of our more elderly customers pleading with us to stop her husband from wading into the river Thames in order to try and free their 26ft cruiser which was listing severely due to its moorings being flooded and the ropes left too tight. 
“Having explained the importance of identifying the optimum time to undertake a rescue attempt and the associated hazards, the customer relented and decided to wait until one of our teams arrived on site to assess the situation. What started as an assessment visit ended up as a rescue – which we did for free.  Our customer still insisted on assisting us though!  He was so relieved his boat, which would have sunk, was saved he gave the engineer his new waders.  He only bought them in order to get to the boat.” 
Stephanie continues: “At the end of February, a boat owner jumped into the river Thames at Abingdon and swam after his 60ft narrow boat after witnessing it breaking its moorings.  Luckily a lock keeper saw what was going on and rescued the boat owner.  By this time however, the owner injured his arm and had to go to hospital.  He called us before seeking treatment as although between them they managed to secure the vessel, the boat had caught on something under the water.  When the engineer attended to see why the propulsion failed he found the prop shaft had come away when it hit something.”
She concludes: “It’s only natural to want to protect your boat and possessions but sometimes it’s better to take a step back and consider the potential risk to yourself and others who may have to rescue you.  RCR is here to help in an emergency; we have three teams and can be on site within hours if required ... so make that call first.”

To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit or phone 01785 785680.  

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Demand is high for RCR boat and engine maintenance courses

Boat owners interested in signing up for River Canal Rescue’s  two day Boat and Engine Maintenance courses this year need to book early as spaces are filling fast, advises Managing Director Stephanie Horton.
She comments: “A few spaces are still available on the 17-18 May course, however, demand tends to peak just before the summer and continues through to September.  We always receive a lot of enquiries via our stand at Crick in May, so it’s wise to book now to avoid disappointment.”
The courses cover basic boat engine maintenance and boat electric systems and suit all backgrounds, particularly DIY fans and those keen to develop their knowledge and skills.
Held at Alvechurch marina near Birmingham and run by Keith Duffy (ex RCR engineer) and Howard Williams (electrical specialist), classroom and workshop topics include; diesel engines, transmissions, boat plumbing, electrics, lay-up and re-fit procedures. 
To ensure participants gain more ‘hands-on’ experience alongside the theory, four engines are provided.
The Maintenance courses cost £100 and after the May session (April is fully booked), will be held on 12-13 July, 16-17 August, 13-14 September and 25-26 October. A follow-on course, Boat Electrics, taking a more in-depth look at marine diesel engines is also available at £130. 

To find out more visit call 01785 785680 or email