Preston Fire & Rescue recently attend a fire on a 57ft Stephen Goldsborough boat – No 3 Gulliver – moored near lock 7 on the Lancaster Canal. Having tackled the blaze, however, the drama didn’t stop there as Stephanie Horton, Managing Director, River Canal Rescue explains:
“The craft was completely gutted so in order to contain the debris, it was put in lock 7 of the canal. Unfortunately, due to the amount of water it had taken on, it sank blocking the pathway of boats booked for passage on the Ribble link. Twelve boats were diverted to nearby Preston marina, leaving them with potentially ruined holidays.
“Mindful we had a race against time, within two hours our engineers and a local contractor, Steve Altham - who undertook the environmental clean-up - were on site, had raised the boat and contained the spillage. The following day, the vessel was secured onto lock moorings and the lock was cleared, allowing the Canal & River Trust to wave through the backlog of boats before the tides changed and access to the link was no longer available.”
RCR then worked with the CRT and Environment Agency to co-ordinate the vessel’s removal, which due to its potential environmental impact on the waterways had to be lifted from the lock, posing location and access issues.
Steph continues: “We waited until the tide changed and the Ribble link was no longer in use, then craned it onto a low loader. Further investigations revealed an electrical fire in the engine room - the owners were lucky to escape without injury.”
As RCR is an approved repairer for the boat’s insurer – Navigators & General – the claim was dealt with speedily leaving owners Keith and Jennie Riley to reflect on the experience. “Although this was an awful experience, it showed us the good side of human nature,” commented Keith. “We’ve been well looked after by all the people who had anything to do with us, including the fire service, lock keepers, Red Cross, RCR and our insurers.”
The couple plan to continue cruising the waterways as soon as they’ve found a replacement boat.
To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit www.rivercanalrescue.co.uk