Low water levels

From over-heated engines to troublesome debris, low water levels can cause havoc for inland boaters...


According to a report by marine insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue, low water level groundings are one of the most common causes of insurance claims.

If you do become grounded:

1) If the bow is aground put engine into reverse and move all crew to the stern. If still stuck fast and water tanks are at the front of the boat – turn taps on and release water. I

2) If the stern is grounded whilst in astern, put the engine in forward and transfer crew to the bow. If the stern is grounded whilst moving forward put the engine in reverse and move all crew to the bow of the boat and move astern carefully.

3) For both situations, if the boat cannot be released: turn off the engine, contact the local waterways authority and find out when the water levels will change or if there is the possibility of releasing more water. Occasionally they may have a workboat that can attend. If a passing boater offers to assist, follow the general rule and ‘pull the boat back in the direction it entered’

4) If you have suffer a grounding, always check your weed hatch for propeller obstruction as well as the water trap and impeller for blockages.

Quick check: Is water still coming out of exhaust or water outlet? If there are any signs of overheating, moor up immediate and investigate or ask an engineer to attend.

For step-by-step instructions on how to deal with engine failure, fouled propellers and overheated engines order the Essential Skipper guide for just £6.95.

Image credit: Elsie esq

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