Canal Boat Troubles - Why Low Water Levels this Summer are Causing Problems

It would be fair to assume that to most canal boat owners, a sunny day is a much nicer experience than standing out and navigating your boat in the cold and in the rain. Let’s face it, sunshine makes everything better, doesn’t it?

Although, for many canal boat owners this summer, the sun and a lack of rain might actually be the cause of some bigger issues, issues that are seeing many canals currently with low water levels which in turn can cause problems for the entire canal ecosystem, from the wildlife that live in them, to the canal boats and their owners.

Low water levels and a build up of silt and sand within the canals, in some areas have been causing a vast number of boats to ‘run aground’, essentially getting stuck in place due to there not being enough water in a particular area to float the boat. When this happens it can cause damage to the integrity of the vessel, but can also require emergency callouts in order to get the boat moved or re-floated, this is something that can end up becoming quite costly and can also cause further damage to the boat if the move is not carried out carefully.

According to Canal Junction:

“Over the last few months rescue coordinators have been giving on the phone assistance to at least one person a day, and while many callers are then able to move their boats, around 40% require support from a rescue team.”

Issues have been occurring in a number of canal and river hotspots across the UK, including on the River Trent, the River Severn, the River Nene and the River Ouse.

The best way to avoid running aground is to only venture into waters where you know there is a decent enough level of water to navigate, check depth gauges and also local area news to see if there have been any reports of boats running aground in the area. If you’re exploring rivers, consider the flow of the water and the local environment to determine if the stretch of river you are heading towards is safe to navigate and always check the weather before venturing out to ensure it is safe and that your boat will get back to it’s mooring in one piece!

You should report all incidents, accidents and near misses to the Canal & River Trust, you can find out more information on how to do this over on their website:

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