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Ribble Link warning

PUBLISHED: 16:16 22 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:16 22 June 2015

Boaters are being warned of the dangers of navigating the Ribble Link

Boaters are being warned of the dangers of navigating the Ribble Link

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Boaters are being warned of the dangers of navigating the Ribble Link following call-outs to free grounded or trapped vessels. Recent rescues have included a boat perched on metal boulders on the bend at Savick Brook in Preston and a craft stuck above the banks of the River Ribble at the entrance to Savick Brook and the Ribble Link (following travel from the Rufford Arm).

Boaters are being warned of the dangers of navigating the Ribble Link following call-outs to free grounded or trapped vessels. Recent rescues have included a boat perched on metal boulders on the bend at Savick Brook in Preston and a craft stuck above the banks of the River Ribble at the entrance to Savick Brook and the Ribble Link (following travel from the Rufford Arm).

“The grounding of a boat on the metal boulders was reported by CRT staff who asked us to attend and advise on the situation,” said River Canal Rescue managing director Stephanie Horton. “The customers later explained that while travelling down the Ribble Link they ran out of water which they believed was due to a leaking lock gate. This delayed their progress which meant as they got to the Savick entrance the tide was already running.

“Due to the height of the water they were unable to pass under the bridge to travel down Savick Brook and the water pushed them back towards the bank. They took emergency action and tied their boat to a tree. Unbeknown to them – due to damaged marker poles – they were resting on bollards for the bend, which only became apparent when the tide started to recede.

A second rescue involved boaters being mislead by the high tide which covered the bank. As they cruised across it they became grounded. The boat was at risk of tipping and unlikely to be refloated at high tide due to the height of the bank.

“Using a tractor and one of our rescue vehicles we manoeuvred the boat off the bank and onto the mud so it could be refloated with the midnight high tide. We then arranged with the RNLI to escort it up the Ribble Link, ensuring it arrived safely at the lock,” added Ms Horton.

To reduce the risk of an incident on this journey, RCR suggests the following precautions: on preparing to enter Savick Brook from the Ribble, always line yourself up before entering, according to which way the tide is running. This will vary, but never cut the corner or try to swing in to it. On entry from the Lancaster Canal, if the water is low or there are any concerns, call CRT and ask them to confirm you’re okay to continue. If you are worried, moor up and wait for the next crossing.

CRT advises permission should be sought before undertaking the journey and asks boaters to check with the sea lock to confirm travel up Savick Brook is allowed. It also suggests a mobile is left on and within hearing range.

In its 2015 Guidance Notes the Canal & River Trust asks boaters not to cut corners, particularly on the western side of the Savick Brook entrance where there are sandbanks. It advises there are areas of shallow water over marshland hiding submerged walls and suggests boaters keep within the markers and adopt a central position in the estuary.

We’ll have a feature on the Ribble Link and getting to the Lancaster Canal in the next (August) issue of Canal Boat, on sale at the beginning of July

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