RichM

Who's in charge?

27 posts in this topic

So recently I navigated up the Severn and entered a manned lock. (Diglis lock) I traveled single-handedly at the time and got up on the roof to secure the centre of the boat against the large lock, to which the lock keeper abruptly shouted, telling me to get off and go back to the stern. I was not very amused by his attitude/mannerisms and promptly replied "You do your job and I will do mine!!!". He later threw a booklet at me detailing the rules of the Severn...

It got me thinking, who's actually in charge here? Surely a skipper is ultimately responsible and therefore in charge of their boat in such situations?

RichM

 

 

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When I'm going through the locks on the Severn I always follow the lock keepers instructions as they are manned locks. We met one of the nicest keepers operating Holt Lock when we went through recently, she couldn't have been any nicer.

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 What did this booklet say?  It would have thought that as these are manned locks the keeper is in charge, but that is no excuse for attitude.

Never having done the Severn single handed, I don't know what they expect in terms of ropes in that case as they normally expect bow and stern through the risers.  Couldn't you go past the riser, thread the centre through the riser and then back up without having to get on the roof? That is what the single handlers seemed to do on the Trent.

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32 minutes ago, RichM said:

So recently I navigated up the Severn and entered a manned lock. (Diglis lock) I traveled single-handedly at the time and got up on the roof to secure the centre of the boat against the large lock, to which the lock keeper abruptly shouted, telling me to get off and go back to the stern. I was not very amused by his attitude/mannerisms and promptly replied "You do your job and I will do mine!!!". He later threw a booklet at me detailing the rules of the Severn...

It got me thinking, who's actually in charge here? Surely a skipper is ultimately responsible and therefore in charge of their boat in such situations?

RichM

 

 

I found one of lockies at diglis a right arrogant twat a few years ago. I pointed out that not only was it hard to keep the bow in due to the "boil" from under a leaking top gate when my OH did get the rope on the riser wire it wasn't attached at the bottom. He then just pulled the paddles. I was slightly vocal in my opinion to which he just wandered off. 

The last time we went through the risers had been fixed and it was a different and helpful lockie. I'll let you know in a few weeks what happens this year! 

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19 minutes ago, frangar said:

I'll let you know in a few weeks what happens this year! 

I expect the lockie will point to which side he wants you (usually the same side as the operator's hut) as you approach, come to the side above you once you're in and  (if you haven't already) ask you to pass a stern line behind the riser and hold it to keep your back end in place. He'll then check your CRT number to ensure that your licenced, operate the lock for you and send you on your way, usually with a cheery wave. Of course, sometimes they may be having a bad day, and perhaps less than compliant boaters may get short shrift then, but my experience has always been positive. The only time I've had anything much different to that is when there was a local area power cut, when he appeared to get help from everywhere to help operate the lock manually, which was no mean feat! 

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Never had a problem but I work on the basis I need to follow instructions from the lockie.

As for throwing the book... he could hardly pass it over.

JP

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Last time we went through Diglis (in a flood) the lockkeeper was very friendly and helpful. Obviously there are good ones and bad ones, just like everywhere else. If you let bad ones "get away with it" nothing will change, so I suggest a complaint is in order. Mind you, Nick Worthington (SW regional manager) is a patronising idiot so you may not get very far. But with enough complaints, even he might have to do something.

To answer your question, they are in charge of the lock, you are in charge of the boat. You would be foolish to blindly follow the instructions of someone else who might or even be a boater. But of course ultimately you have to come to an agreement with the lockie, otherwise he might not let you through. Although I suppose he is hardly going to refuse to operate the lock with you in it, nor flush you out!

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23 hours ago, RichM said:

So recently I navigated up the Severn and entered a manned lock. (Diglis lock) I traveled single-handedly at the time and got up on the roof to secure the centre of the boat against the large lock, to which the lock keeper abruptly shouted, telling me to get off and go back to the stern. I was not very amused by his attitude/mannerisms and promptly replied "You do your job and I will do mine!!!". He later threw a booklet at me detailing the rules of the Severn...

It got me thinking, who's actually in charge here? Surely a skipper is ultimately responsible and therefore in charge of their boat in such situations?

RichM

You are in charge. But that carries with it a responsibility to  operate your boat in a safe and secure manner - which to my mind includes following good advice and instructions from others where appropriate.

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1 minute ago, Horace42 said:

You are in charge. But that carries with it a responsibility to  operate your boat in a safe and secure manner - which to my mind includes following good advice and instructions from others where appropriate.

In practice on the Severn how do you exercise that authority of being in charge though?  Sometimes you don't even see the lock keeper never mined engaging in any conversation.

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18 minutes ago, john6767 said:

In practice on the Severn how do you exercise that authority of being in charge though?  Sometimes you don't even see the lock keeper never mined engaging in any conversation.

Not my experience.  Navigate the Severn in winter and you'll meet the same bloke at each lock you transit too! :)

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Slightly off the subject, but say on the Thames and the Avon it's practical for a single hander to alight and tie the boat up fore and aft.  But on the Severn, like the Aire & Calder you have to lash the boat to risers in the lock.  What did single handers do (in such locks) before the use of centre lines became commonplace?  

Edited by Neil2
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10 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Not my experience.  Navigate the Severn in winter and you'll meet the same bloke at each lock you transit too! :)

Not always, but have had it where the lock keeper never comes out of the control cabin.

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34 minutes ago, john6767 said:

Not always, but have had it where the lock keeper never comes out of the control cabin.

Hmm, that's a bit naughty then. Hard to square the usual lockies' emphasis on the importance of running a stern line through the riser and then one not even looking.

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24 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Hmm, that's a bit naughty then. Hard to square the usual lockies' emphasis on the importance of running a stern line through the riser and then one not even looking.

Agreed. Can't recall not being signaled to one particular side on approach and they always ensure you are secure before operating paddles.

JP

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When single handing the Trent or Ouse I stand on the roof with the centre rope doubled around the risers - seems to me to be the best method. Lockies all happy too so don't see what's different on the Severn locks.

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3 minutes ago, Midnight said:

When single handing the Trent or Ouse I stand on the roof with the centre rope doubled around the risers - seems to me to be the best method. Lockies all happy too so don't see what's different on the Severn locks.

The lock keeper at Cromwell made a single hanger who was doing that get off the roof.  If don't think there is anything much different about the Severn locks to the Trent ones, although you can not operate any of the Severn ones yourself.

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11 minutes ago, john6767 said:

The lock keeper at Cromwell made a single hanger who was doing that get off the roof.  If don't think there is anything much different about the Severn locks to the Trent ones, although you can not operate any of the Severn ones yourself.

but there seems to be a difference in the attitude of the lockies. Is there an official policy on single handers standing on the roof?

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This particular lockie might have had a bad experience with somebody falling off a boat roof -- you don't know.  On the face of it, it isn't really a safe practice, but sometimes the least hazardous method isn't the right one in the circumstances. A rude and officious attitude from someone whose job involves interacting with the public isn't exactly ldeal, though. There are 'jobsworths' all over the place who are best dealt with using polite compliance (even if inside you are muttering "Richard Cranium").  

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On ‎17‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 21:11, RichM said:

So recently I navigated up the Severn and entered a manned lock. (Diglis lock) I traveled single-handedly at the time and got up on the roof to secure the centre of the boat against the large lock, to which the lock keeper abruptly shouted, telling me to get off and go back to the stern. I was not very amused by his attitude/mannerisms and promptly replied "You do your job and I will do mine!!!". He later threw a booklet at me detailing the rules of the Severn...

It got me thinking, who's actually in charge here? Surely a skipper is ultimately responsible and therefore in charge of their boat in such situations?

RichM

 

 

You are each in charge of your respective domains!

Unless and until BOTH of you are happy that the lock should be operated, it shouldn't be operated.

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20 minutes ago, mayalld said:

Unless and until BOTH of you are happy that the lock should be operated, it shouldn't be operated.

I think the problem might be that NEITHER of the combatants knew this (although perhaps the OP did). 

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1 hour ago, Midnight said:

When single handing the Trent or Ouse I stand on the roof with the centre rope doubled around the risers - seems to me to be the best method. Lockies all happy too so don't see what's different on the Severn locks.

The don't like that on the Weaver.

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16 hours ago, john6767 said:

In practice on the Severn how do you exercise that authority of being in charge though?  Sometimes you don't even see the lock keeper never mined engaging in any conversation.

You are in charge automatically by default. If the lock-keeper is not available then there is no one to 'argue' with or dispute authority.

You do it your way.

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1 hour ago, Horace42 said:

You are in charge automatically by default. If the lock-keeper is not available then there is no one to 'argue' with or dispute authority.

You do it your way.

I think you missed my point.  

There is always a lock keeper on the Severn, you can not use the lock if there is not, if they are not at the lock you would have a red light and you have to hover in the river.   My point was referring to a couple of cases where I have not actually seen the keeper as they have stayed in the operating cabin, which is perhaps 20 feet above you when in a full lock.

So I would have either spoken to them on the radio on approach, or they have seem me on the camera, and given a green light to go into the lock.  We rope up to the risers, as the lock gates close, then the lock fills/empties and the exit gates open and we go on out way.  They of course can see the boat on camera/mirrors all the time.

In that example there is no iteraction, and you are under the control of the keeper

Edited by john6767
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River Seven locks are deep locks and if you fell off the roof of your boat and banged your head going into the water you will have drowned before the lock keeper could get anywhere near you.  Makes sense to not allow climbing on and off the roof as the lock keeper has a duty of care and if the boat caught or banged against the side when rising and you lost balance, who would be blamed??

In answer to the original question of who is in-charge? then I would say you are in-charge of the boat and the lock keeper is in-charge of the lock.  If you don't do as the lock keeper says, then you aren't going anywhere..........

Edited by Chewbacka
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