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.”