Owning a narrow boat as a rule brings mainly, enjoyment
and a lot of fun. But it also can have its down side. Things can, and do sometimes do go wrong just from time to time, but armed with some knowledge and a bit of experience you can overcome most problems yourself without too much trouble and expense.
One problem you may encounter is “Man Overboard” let’s look into this situation, highlight possible
causes, and give you solutions and provide you with knowledge so it can be prevented.
More than likely this situation is an accident caused by
a lack of attention, slipping on wet decks, loss of balance through hitting an
obstruction or tripping over. However people messing about and crew members playfully
pushing each other is also another cause, so at all times be aware of your surroundings
and act sensibly.
General common sense and being prepared is the key to
everyone staying safe on board. If this situation does arise the first thing to do
is NOT to panic, don’t jump in and don’t let others jump in either. Why? The water is very cold even in
summer and you will only be adding to the problem rather than solving it. Keep
sight of the person in the water at all times.
On narrow canals and slow, shallow rivers.
engine out of gear. Don’t reverse the boat – the person in the water could be
dragged into the propeller. Throw them a line or a lifebelt and tell them to
try to stand up, if it’s a canal they might be able to walk out.
boat slowly to the bank and get one of your passengers off to help
person get out of the water.
On wider or deeper waterways.
lifebuoy to the person in the water. Keep a constant watch to ensure your
propeller is well away from them. Stop the propeller immediately by selecting
neutral gear if there’s a risk of them getting close to it. If you are on a
river you may need to turn so as to approach them slowly going against the
stream. Pull them to the side of the boat and help them aboard with a ladder,
rope or pole.
To Avoid In The Future
- Keep lifebelt and rope available, and in good working
- Keep the decks clean and clear of ropes and other
- Wear non-slip soled shoes.
- Use a non-slip surface on the
- In tunnels and bridges keep
within the form of the boat.
- Skipper should make all crew aware of protruding
branches where the canal narrows
- Be prepared. Make sure everyone on the boat knows the
drill – and knows where to find the lifeline or lifebelt.
- If the skipper falls overboard another crew member
should know how to stop the propeller and steer the boat.
- Practice the drill. It's better to learn it before an
- Wear a life jacket at all times, especially in deep or tidal waters