As river levels recede after their unprecedented rises, breakdown and assistance firm River Canal Rescue continues to be kept busy retrieving sunken, grounded and partially submerged vessels.
From January 1 to the end of March, emergency assistance teams helped 43 boat owners on a number of canal and rivers across the UK, including the; Thames, Wey, Kennet & Avon, Leeds & Liverpool, Grand Union, Nene and Gloucester & Sharpness. These types of rescues would usually be around 20 for the winter period.
The highest number of call-outs, 49%, was for help refloating sunken vessels. Next came calls to release grounded boats (25%) which were displaced by high water levels and typically dumped elsewhere when river levels subsided. “Unfortunately,” says RCR Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, “some were washed downstream and submerged or damaged.”
Requests for pump-outs to stabilise listing craft accounted for 21% of call-outs. Stephanie continues: “All call-outs are time critical but in these cases, a swift response can help minimise damage and save a boat from some of the worst effects of the floods.”
She concludes: “Displaced boats wedged in new and often dangerous locations, craft crashed into bridges (in one case resulting in a sinking), ones overwhelmed with water and vessels in need of refloats were commonplace. In many cases it’s waiting for that optimum time to undertake the rescue and the earlier we are made aware of stranded boats the easier it is to choose the right time to attempt a rescue. Whilst this weather event has stretched our teams, we’ve never lost a boat yet and don’t intend to do so now.”
To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk or phone 01785 785680.
Case studies include
Queen of Hearts 70ft Narrow boat sunk at Abingdon
28ft Cruiser on river Wey damaged and sunk following a tree fall
57ft narrow boat broke mooring in high winds and came to rest against bridge on the Gloucester & Sharpness, and quickly sank due to the water and wind
57ft wide beam near Sonning, partial beach and partially sunk
Three cruisers stranded on bank in Staines in February, another three in March
50ft narrow boat partially grounded and partially submerged with the extra challenge of being under a wide beam neighbour
70ft narrow boat stranded on the bank
Cruiser stuck in a tree on Thames
Four cruisers on the Thames in Staines/Windsor area – submerged and refloated
Cruiser washed down river and found in Sunbury upside down – on refloat only half of the boat left
Cruiser at Beal Park and three narrow boats at Reading saved from sinking
Grounded narrow boat on river Nene
Partially sunken narrow boat on Trent & Mersey
Cruiser on Leeds & Liverpool sunk