Friday, 26 September 2014

River Canal Rescue picks up the pieces

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

RCR – the good Samaritan

River Canal Rescue recently came to the aid of a boat owner undertaking a triple heart bypass whose 45ft narrow boat Rosalie sunk three times on the Lancaster Canal. 
Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, explains: The first sinking in April was due to a rust hole in the water tank.  Having duly raised the craft we inspected it, made it secure and moored it on the Lancaster Canal near bridge 35.  As this was not an insurable claim, the owner was advised the craft needed to be lifted out of the water for repairs and he would be liable for the bill.
“Unbeknown to us, the owner had been ill and was unable to pay the lift out costs for the vessel.  Two months later, in June, it slid away from its moorings and sank again, whilst the owner was in hospital.  This meant that when the Canal & River Trust tried to contact him, advising it was obstructing the pathway and removal costs would be around £4k, they didn’t get any reply.
“The CRT has an obligation to clear the waterways and keep them safe for other users, so the vessel was raised once more. The contractor advised it had a hole in the hull and would need to be lifted out.  Sadly, before further action could be taken, it sunk a third time, blocking navigation again.
“We contacted the owner’s carer and upon learning of his predicament, realised he could not arrange the raising, lifting out, transportation or disposal of the vessel, nor meet any of the costs incurred to date.   Having alerted the CRT to the situation and with the owner’s permission, we raised and transported the vessel to a local scrap merchant, absorbing the costs ourselves.
“Next step was to discuss with CRT the ‘writing off’ of their raising costs, due to the owner’s situation.  This was agreed and we’re now waiting for a scrap valuation.  As these were extenuating circumstances we’re happy to absorb the costs involved and delighted the CRT was able to do the same.”

Warm weather prompts record number of rescues

 The recent warm weather has prompted high numbers of boating enthusiasts to take to the water, resulting in a record-breaking season for rescues, reports River Canal Rescue.

During June and July the breakdown and assistance firm undertook an average of 140 rescues per week, 17% higher than its 2013 equivalent average of 122.  Weekly call-outs for these periods peaked at 190 this year and xxx last year. 

RCR Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “The heat wave certainly encouraged people to take to the water earlier in the season and in many cases, they and their boats have not been out for a while and appear to be over-looking the basic checks. 

“A small amount of preparation, such as; ensuring batteries are in a good condition, having a fuel service and checking the condition of cables could make the difference between making an unscheduled stop and carefree cruising.”

To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit

Grounding warning from River Canal Rescue

River Canal Rescue is urging boat owners to take care to avoid grounding.  Over the summer the breakdown and emergency assistance firm has attended an average of two call outs per week, instead of the usual one a month.  Craft on the River Thames and The Fens appear particularly at risk.
Managing Director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “The heat wave in June and July affected the water levels, creating a peak of call-outs at the end of July.  To reduce the risk of grounding, keep to the deeper channels, do not cut corners and only travel where there is adequate water.”
To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit


Key Diesels offers cash for parts

Diesel injection specialist Key Diesels is offering marine businesses money for old injectors, pumps or pipes.  It’s pledging up to £150 per injection pump, £10 per injector and even offering cash for non-serviceable items which can be used for spares.
The firm already has the largest range of stock held by a single supplier – carrying over 1000 parts for diesel injection engines - and recently purchased all the Lister and Petter Fuel Systems from Marine Engine Services and stock items for BMC engines from Calcutt Marine. 
Managing Director Stephanie Horton, however, says additional parts are always welcome:  “A number of fuel systems are no longer in production so it’s important to build up a surplus of stock for marine businesses. Those forgotten Beta, Vetus, Isuzu, Volvo or other parts could generate extra income with very little effort.”
Key Diesels has already had a positive response from contractors and its website – is being updated with stock items added on a daily basis.  Businesses keen to swap their parts for cash can call 01283 537958 or email

Breakdown and emergency assistance firm River Canal Rescue acquired Key Diesels earlier this year. To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit