Sluice paddle error leads to stranding

Ouch! This narrowboat became jammed in a lock after its crew were unable to close the sluice paddles, putting an abrupt end to one family’s canal holiday. The impressive picture appears in the Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s (MAIB) latest Safety Digest, which can be downloaded from their website: MAIB Safety Digest.

The report describes how the situation developed. ‘A mother and father had hired the 18.3m narrowboat for a weekend canal trip with their young daughter and two sons. They entered the lock chamber, the gates were closed, and the mother and daughter opened the paddles to allow the water out and the boat to descend. The husband reversed the engine to keep the bow away from the bottom gates. The limits of the cill were clearly marked on both sides of the lock (see figure), but as the boat descended, the parents noticed it was trimming by the bow.
The father told his wife and daughter to close the paddles, but they were unable to do so. He and his two sons disembarked to the lock-side. As the boat’s stern was hung up on the cill, there was ingress of water into the forward end of the boat and it became jammed in the lock.’

Download the MAIB Safety Digest here.