Monday, 16 November 2015

RCR Technical column – 12 days of Xmas

We’re all aware of the 12 days of Christmas song, but rather than buying your loved one a partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, golden rings etc, we thought the following might be more useful. Available from our website and other sources.

Day one – RCR membership.  It’s amazing how many incidents are incurred by advocates of ‘it’ll never happen to me’. We’re here to help 24/7, whether it’s a breakdown or an emergency, and with annual membership starting at £55, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind when cruising.

Day two – a place on a RCR weekend boat and engine maintenance course.  Held at Alvechurch Marina near Birmingham, the 12 hour course, split over two days, costs £100 and is ideal for those who are keen to know more about the specification and maintenance of marine diesel engines and boat systems. Electrics for boaters courses are also available at £130.

Day three – a place on a RYA course.  You wouldn’t drive a car without knowing the rules and what to do, so why do set off on a boat without knowing the basics? Royal Yachting Association approved courses are run across the UK at all levels for the helmsman and crew covering personal safety, on-board communication, boat handling basics, throwing a mooring line, locks and tunnels, lock operations, collision avoidance, how to be a look-out, what to do in an emergency, looking after the environment and introductory engine maintenance.  The cost varies depending upon the number of days, people and course taken

Day four - waterways maps and apps. Have the inland waterway system at your fingertips. The Water-Way map and app is the essential boating companion, containing everything you need for route planning and sat nav when boating in GB. It details over a thousand points of interest and 100+ service providers, from doctors, dentists and vets to pump-outs, diesel, gas and shops – and everything in-between.  Priced at £93.60, you don’t need an internet connection to use it.

Day five – an automatic bilge pump.  The automatic version is far more reliable than a manual.  It immediately responds to water ingress with the float switch dictating when it should pump. Should a leak develop from cooling system, hull or other source (or there’s a build up of rain water), this will keep your vessel safe. Prices start at around £60.

 Day six – a water detek alarm. Internal water leaks, caused by loose or sheered domestic water pipes, a hull breach, or failed shower pump, can be devastating. And water in the engine compartment due to a loose weed hatch, leaking stern gland or ineffective bilge pump can result in potential sinking or engine damage. This compact alarm has a two metre sensor at its tip and is fitted with a watch battery, lasting for a year and sounding for many hours.  The detector costs £15.

Day seven – carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, so it’s vital you’re able to detect these noxious and often fatal, gases. An alarm with a seven year battery is available at £27.21.  

Day eight - a fuel locking cap. Prevent the theft of fuel from your boat with this ingenious device. Brass and chrome versions are available from £14.77 (black)

Day nine – an engine service kit.  This box, containing a basic service kit has oil and fuel filters, the correct oil, fuel treatment and essential mop-up mats. If you need anything it can be added for an additional charge. Prices vary between £35-55, depending upon your engine 

Day ten – mini tool kit.  Always handy (you never know when you might need them), this small kit is ideal for minor emergencies and easy to store and access. Prices start from £15.

Day eleven – a lock windlass.  This L-shaped tool makes the job of winding the canal lock paddle mechanism up and down so much easier.  Even if you already have one, a back-up is always useful as they can easily be left at a lock or dropped in the water. A double-headed version is available at £9.10.

Day twelve – a year’s subscription to a magazine or newspaper.  Who doesn’t like a good read? Whether it’s finding out more about your favourite pastime or just general interest, we all benefit from additional knowledge.
If none of these suggestions provide a source of inspiration for that Christmas gift, you can always resort back to the ’12 days of Christmas’. The swans and geese however, might be easier to find than the maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, pipers piping and drummers drumming.  Merry Christmas to all from River Canal Rescue .