Mooring Lines on Varying Water Levels
By the Richardson half of Richlow
The waterways of the region covered by Richlow require a different mind-set to the canals of the main system. Even on the Fossdyke the levels depend on the rivers Witham and Till.
We own a narrowboat but the vast majority of our boating, over many years, has been on tidal rivers. But on any river, and with heavy rain some canals, the water levels are variable and this must be borne in mind when mooring-up.
To allow a boat to rise-and-fall safely the mooring lines (ropes) should not be short and tight, but when lengthy they still need to control the boat alongside the bank . We've found that, at the stern, both requirements can be easily be achieved by using the off-side line to tie the boat to the shore. We have both stern lines rigged to use this method wherever we are - even on canals we find the boat rides snug against the bank (where there's enough depth of course!).
The usual shape of narrowboat bows makes this option less effective at that end, but by running the line to the bank ahead of the boat a safe length can be achieved.
Running lines from the off-side is the standard method used by those responsible for mooring vessels considerably larger than our narrowboat.
(Clicking on a picture will, with most operating systems, present a larger image.)
The boats of the Humber Keel & Sloop Preservation Society on their summer home moorings at South Ferriby. www.keelsandsloops.org.uk
The River Ancholme is used as a major drainage outlet and levels can change substantially - increased by major rainfall, and decreased by the water being pumped out into the Humber.
This is allowed for by keel Comrade, on the inside, and sloop Amy Howson on the outside, both being moored by lines from their off-sides.
HMS Tyne at Immingham Docks Open Day in 2012. Her aft mooring line can clearly be seen, it ran to a bollard on the dockside.
For caption completeness - in the foreground are the Humber sloops Phyllis www.sloopphyllis.com and Spider T www.spidert.co.uk
And finally - on any waters having a mooring line from anywhere high on a boat is not a good idea, but where the water levels are variable it's a dangerous thing to do.
A mooring line from the roof of the green narrowboat in this picture is restricting the boat's ability to cope with the rising levels and that's why it's heeling over.
This is at Castleford and the owner probably thought "I'm in a lock-cut with flood-gates at each end so it'll be OK." But the very high levels in the River Aire were causing water to come through the top slats of those flood-gates.
Of course we went and sorted things out.