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 www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or phone 01785 785680.