Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picture by RNLI Dover
Would you go to sea in a canal or river boat?
By Bob Naylor
Arthur Ransome's 'We didn't mean to go to sea' is one of my favourite books ... but the crew of a 65ft converted river barge did mean to go to sea — and they were trying to get from Belgium to France with no VHF radio and only one lifejacket between the four people onboard in what were clearly very doubtful sea conditions.

They got into difficulties and were taking on water and drifting towards the Goodwin Sands but luckily for them a coastguard station was monitoring their progress and realising there was a problem they alerted the Dover Lifeboat who went out to the troubled vessel in the Dover Straits yesterday (Tuesday 26 October 2010).

In a force 8 gale the life boat crew managed to get a line onto the vessel and took her in tow ... and three hours later she was safe in Dover Harbour. 

The owner is now planning to get the vessel to France — but this time by by road.

Picture by RNLI Dover
RNLI Coxswain, Stuart Richardson said, "I would advise anyone undertaking such a journey to have the correct equipment on board and ensure that each crewmember has their own lifejacket. 
     "It is always advisable to check the weather conditions before setting out to avoid what could have been a catastrophe. 
      "The barge was drifting towards the Goodwin Sands and if the RNLI hadn't come to its rescue the end result could have been a lot different."

If you have ever thought of going to see in a canal or river boat you must watch this film: RNLI river barge rescue in the Dover Straits

The river barge in tow by the Dover Lifeboat. Picture by the MCA

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