Rescuing a canal boat from the River Soar (with pictures)

Start of haul

Start of haul - Credit: Archant

River Canal Rescue raised a capsized narrowboat at Barrow, on the River Soar, after torrential rain and surging water caused the boat to become wedged

Taking the slack

Taking the slack - Credit: Archant

River Canal Rescue raised a capsized narrowboat at Barrow, on the River Soar, after torrential rain and surging water caused the boat to break its moorings, sending it down river to Bridge 30 where it became wedged.

The vessel was left in a precarious position, with the bow in the air and stern in the water, see-sawing on the barrier. A refloat could not be done until flood waters receded. However as levels quickly went down, the barriers gave way, resulting in the vessel capsizing and becoming trapped between the bridge pillars and the barrier pole.

Moving for the pull

Moving for the pull - Credit: Archant

This multi-agency rescue involved Essex Boatyard and Crouch Recovery. RCR managing director Stephanie Horton said: “The best way to undertake this recovery without the vessel overturning and sinking in the river was to use divers, airbags and plant machinery.

“We inflated the airbags, righted the boat and then pulled it forward, away from the bridge with airbags on it. “

Air bags out

Air bags out - Credit: Archant

The boat was lifted onto a transporter and taken to a local yard for storage and assessment.

Given the extreme weight of the boat, RCR used four winches with a total of 20-tonne capacity to pull it away from the bridge.

Final pump out

Final pump out - Credit: Archant

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Stephanie added: “This pulling power was attached to plant machinery and we removed a fence in the field opposite to get access to the location without causing too much damage to the meadow.”

According to locals in the appropriately-named The Moorings pub, the river was at its highest level in 26 years.

Connecting to Hawser

Connecting to Hawser - Credit: Archant

In order to prepare the rigging, Essex Boatyard practised on a narrowboat that was capsized at the same angle as the stricken vessel.