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Philip

Interfering at locks

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Philip    7

Just come up Wheaton Aston lock and there was a boat waiting to go down, with one of the crew on the lockside, there to 'help'. As per normal practise along here I opened the centre paddle on the gate straightaway since I enjoy watching the water rush in as it does and then the person off the waiting boat started ranting, telling me that I shouldn't be opening that one and ordering me to put it down.

First of all on the safety aspect; I have a short boat and keep it towards the back of the lock so the water surge doesn't even come close; the sluice itself is partially covered by a baffle which directs water to the side; and the surge itself actually pushes the boat away from the gate, unlike a lot of ground paddles which pull the boat towards it. This was all very obvious to anyone looking at what was happening.

Secondly; why do people feel the need to start interfering when it isn't even their lock? I would never tell someone how they should be doing things unless I could see an obvious hazard about to happen and even then I wouldn't start telling the person off about it and threatening to report them to CRT. I've no problem whatsoever with people offering to help, but I'm sick of people interfering like this when it isn't their boat, nor their lock. Is it a common theme all over the network?

Edited by Philip
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ianali    149

Not common.. Though my only breakage this year has come because a helpful boater opened a paddle before he should have. 

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Athy Donate to Canal World    900

Your use of the emotive term "ranting" suggests that you are upset. I have no idea what danger lay in your opening a gate paddle, but is it not possible that the other person perceived a danger and was calling out urgently with the intention of saving you or your boat from some mishap or danger? In other words, they may have been offering help, and I am pleased to note that you do not mind that.

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Philip    7
14 minutes ago, Athy said:

Your use of the emotive term "ranting" suggests that you are upset. I have no idea what danger lay in your opening a gate paddle, but is it not possible that the other person perceived a danger and was calling out urgently with the intention of saving you or your boat from some mishap or danger? In other words, they may have been offering help, and I am pleased to note that you do not mind that.

There was clearly no danger as there was about 40ft between the surge and the boat. Upset is the wrong word, I'm a little fed up by it though.

Edited by Philip

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Athy Donate to Canal World    900

I said that the other person apparently perceived  a possible danger - it sounds as if they had your interests at heart, even if it didn't come out right.

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nicknorman    1,971
14 minutes ago, Athy said:

I said that the other person apparently perceived  a possible danger - it sounds as if they had your interests at heart, even if it didn't come out right.

I think you are being too kind. They were narrow minded people who couldn't conceive that anyone would do something a different way from the way they'd do it.

Anyway, some people are scared of paddles generally and gate paddles in particular. Not helped by lots of CRT signs warning of the dangers of gate paddles even though most they have baffles and/or pretty incapable of flooding a boat. In our recent trip I came across a lock with a notice along the lines of "gate paddles cause dangerous flows, do not open until the gate paddle outlet is submerged". Which was interesting because there WERE only gate paddles. Presumably one has to wait for a very rainy day to half-fill the lock before opening the gate paddles!

I've only once had a similar thing, Stourport basin upper lock, which is quite deep IIRC. Jeff was on the boat and I think there were only gate paddles but anyway, although I wound the paddle fully up I was concerned that if the boat got sucked forward it could flood, so I kept the ratchet up and obviously held the windlass, in case I had to lower the paddle in a hurry. A guy waiting to come down who was standing on the other side of the gate said "Put the ratchet down" in a commanding voice. I explained why I was doing what I was doing. He just said "PUT THE RATCHET DOWN!" louder. I said, no, I've explained why. He shouted "PUT THE Fxxxxxx RATCHET DOWN". I was getting irked by now and a fight nearly broke out. It was all very weird.

Generally, people who get a bit hysterical about paddles are those who have recently bought a shiny boat and/or are inexperienced and  incompetent.

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haggis    169

The only times I have asked a fellow boater to do something different is if I see a windlass left on the paddle. This makes me really nervous as if the ratchet slips the windlass could go anywhere and cause lots of damage if it hit someone. I don't rant and rave though but from a safe distance explain the possible consequences and I think the other person usually thanks me as they hadn't thought of that.  If they still leave the windlass on the paddle gear, I just stand well back :-) 

haggis

 

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Athy Donate to Canal World    900
7 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

I think you are being too kind. They were narrow minded people who couldn't conceive that anyone would do something a different way from the way they'd do it.

 

Well, neither of us was there. But, for example, if someone had been at Varney's Lock a few years ago and had called out "Don't stand at the side of the tiller arm" then there might have been no tragedy there that day and a life could have been saved. The onlooker may have thought "Better safe than sorry" which is a laudable maxim - and there is not always time to explain one's view slowly and patiently.

3 minutes ago, haggis said:

The only times I have asked a fellow boater to do something different is if I see a windlass left on the paddle.

 

Damn' right - and quickly!

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nicknorman    1,971
Just now, Athy said:

Well, neither of us was there. But, for example, if someone had been at Varney's Lock a few years ago and had called out "Don't stand at the side of the tiller arm" then there might have been no tragedy there that day and a life could have been saved. The onlooker may have thought "Better safe than sorry" which is a laudable maxim - and there is not always time to explain one's view slowly and patiently.

Sorry but the danger of "better safe than sorry" is that it is an interfering control freak's passport to interfere! "Better safe than sorry" taken to extreme, causes paralysis and inaction. Better to stay in bed. Oh except that there are more deaths in bed than anywhere else. Eeek!

Opening a gate paddle is hardly a justification for a "better safe than sorry" intervention.

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18 minutes ago, haggis said:

The only times I have asked a fellow boater to do something different is if I see a windlass left on the paddle. This makes me really nervous as if the ratchet slips the windlass could go anywhere and cause lots of damage if it hit someone. I don't rant and rave though but from a safe distance explain the possible consequences and I think the other person usually thanks me as they hadn't thought of that.  If they still leave the windlass on the paddle gear, I just stand well back :-) 

haggis

 

Too right.  Son No 2 had to be taken to Rochdale Hospital after leaving a windlass on a spindle at Summit.  Mind you, I don't know which is worse - getting a hole in your face or having to go to Rochdale........

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Athy Donate to Canal World    900
19 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Sorry but the danger of "better safe than sorry" is that it is an interfering control freak's passport to interfere!

No need to apologise, I can see your point and there are indeed times when it is justified.

That's the good thing about a discussion forum, differing points of view are proffered!

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Machpoint005    596
26 minutes ago, haggis said:

The only times I have asked a fellow boater to do something different is if I see a windlass left on the paddle.

Yes, this worries me too. I must admit I would generally lie about having actually seen a nasty mishap when somebody did so. That gives 'em food for thought.

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Rob-M    93

Whilst sharing Braunston Locks recently I asked the young chap on the other boat if he minded not sitting on his rear seat whilst sharing the locks as if something went wrong and his tiller knocked him off the counter I didn't want him going through his own prop or mine.  Having explained the potential consequences he thanked me and stood inside the doors of his semi trad stern for the remaining locks.  Whilst sharing the wide locks through Leicester the chap on the other boat whacked the ground paddles and gate paddles straight up, this isn't something I would normally do but given our boats were both closed in the front and weren't going to sink I didn't ask him to do anything different and said to my wife to do the same at the next lock.

If I thought someone was at risk of sinking or injury then I would say something though and depending how likely would depend on how loud I said it.

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Machpoint005    596
1 hour ago, ianali said:

Not common.. Though my only breakage this year has come because a helpful boater opened a paddle before he should have. 

We had one of those a couple of years ago. The Memsahib though it was my doing until she saw the "helper" at the gate paddle.

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Sea Dog    340

Takes all sorts guys, and sometimes you're gonna meet some who'll rub you up the wrong way. Check whether they're right so you don't miss anything useful and then move on, either the wiser for their input or simply away from the source of agravation - you'll be all the better for both. 

(Note to self: I must try to remember this next time it happens to me!) :D

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NickF    48

One of the few times I have intervened is when someone tied their plastic cruiser firmly to a bollard in a lock on the Avon then proceeded to empty the lock!   Oh yes and when someone was so busy chatting on the locksode at Marple they didn't notice thei gunwale get stuck under a stone that stuck out and the boat start to tip.

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nicknorman    1,971
41 minutes ago, Athy said:

No need to apologise, I can see your point and there are indeed times when it is justified.

That's the good thing about a discussion forum, differing points of view are proffered!

Thinking more about it, the issue is the fundamental difference between something you know to be unsafe, vs something that is outside your experience and thus you think it might be dangerous but don't actually know.

We have this problem in aviation. On the one hand, there is no point in having a copilot if they don't speak out when they see something wrong/dangerous/unsafe/abnormal. But on the other hand when they are a year 1 copilot with very little experience, whilst many would be mostly in learning mode, the nature of a few was they were very quick to complain/warn about something which was in fact quite normal, but which they simply hadn't experienced before. Under the wrong circumstances, that can cause distraction which in itself is dangerous.

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Athy Donate to Canal World    900

Could be, yes - but they will learn from this situation, at least one hopes they will, otherwise they may not advance and become Year 2 copilots.

(Addendum: this is the first time I have seen co-pilot written as one word, "copilot". It looks as if it should rhyme with Lancelot or ocelot.)

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Wanted    1,109

I had the same in reverse, going up clitheroes Lock on the GU just outside of Brentford. 

Boat was in, gates closed, with Charlotte at the helm, I'd wound the ground paddle waiting for the water to cover gate paddles, as is the way I prefer. Some bloke with a windlass came along in what can only be described as a fit of apoplectic enthusiasm for canal life without owning a boat.. he cracked open a paddle and proceeded to let most of the Brent into the lock at once, knocking our boat all over the shop. Thankfully Charlotte has anticipated his move so remained calm whilst I grabbed him out the way and closed the gate PDQ. 

After a brief moment I asked him if he wished to sell his windlass as I needed a spare. He knew what I was saying and left it on the roof of my boat and walked away. Sort of felt sorry for him, but then I thought about my house and pregnant wife in the lock! 

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alan_fincher    1,846
1 hour ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

Too right.  Son No 2 had to be taken to Rochdale Hospital after leaving a windlass on a spindle at Summit.  Mind you, I don't know which is worse - getting a hole in your face or having to go to Rochdale........

To be fair after a tow-path injury it was Rochdale Urgent Care Centre that I ended up at.

I was well looked after - more so than when I have had to go to other Urgent Care facilities.

(I also had a hole in my face!)

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nicknorman    1,971
28 minutes ago, Athy said:

Could be, yes - but they will learn from this situation, at least one hopes they will, otherwise they may not advance and become Year 2 copilots.

(Addendum: this is the first time I have seen co-pilot written as one word, "copilot". It looks as if it should rhyme with Lancelot or ocelot.)

Yes of course they learn. The question is about the balance between learning and safety. The same balance that needs to be struck with a "better safe than sorry" mentality. Distractions cause accidents.

Copilot? Co-pilot? You're the expert but I thought words were generally hyphenated when there was a clash of sounds such as "co-operative" rather than "cooperative" (the shop).

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alan_fincher    1,846
2 hours ago, Philip said:

Just come up Wheaton Aston lock and there was a boat waiting to go down, with one of the crew on the lockside, there to 'help'. As per normal practise along here I opened the centre paddle on the gate straightaway since I enjoy watching the water rush in as it does and then the person off the waiting boat started ranting, telling me that I shouldn't be opening that one and ordering me to put it down.

In my head, a lot of people don't seem to have fully read or understood your initial post.

If you are working your boat through a lock on its own, it is not really anybody's business to intervene and tell you how to, (or how not to) do it.

If they can genuinely see something going wrong that is one thing, if they only think there is a possibility of something going wrong, based on their own experience and mindset, then that is different, and they should stay out of it.  However, if they genuinely feel they must do it, then there is no reason why the intervention should be anything other than polite.  If nothing is going wrong, or has gone wrong, then shouting, ranting or ordering is quite out of order.

Fortunately I have rarely experienced anything quite as extreme as you suggest, but I'd be pretty miffed if I did.

I think you are quite right to be upset by someone behaving in this way, and I'm amazed anybody can justify their behaviour using a "better safe than sorry" argument.

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Athy Donate to Canal World    900

Nick, anyone who tries applying analogy to the English language is on a hiding to nothing! Think of the eight (at least) pronunciations of "ough" for example.

You're certainly right about the Co-op, though the French call it "le Coop", I guess they sell chickens. A hyphen can help to clarify a word's meaning. Last week, on a musical forum, I was puzzled by the word "doover". Was it an insult? Something which sucked carpets? Upon enquiry, it transpired that the bloke was referring to an updated version of a song: a "do-over". I think he was American, but there are limits.

7 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:



I think you are quite right to be upset by someone behaving in this way, and I'm amazed anybody can justify their behaviour using a "better safe than sorry" argument.

Perhaps because it's preferable to "better sorry than safe"?

You are quite correct, there is no reason to be impolite. But I can imagine words uttered urgently in a situation giving the impression of being aggressive, when the person was simply being audible and conveying a sense of urgency. 

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WotEver    683
1 hour ago, Dr Bob said:

An Ocelot would be a distraction in a lock

Or indeed on a flight deck. 

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