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Thread: Packing locks

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Oxfordshire
    Posts
    4,161

    Default Re: Packing locks

    This thread is a bit odd, normally the complaints are about not packing the locks!
    I've certainly not experienced this issue but Marlow is an odd one, being so deep and having an odd shape. The holding area on the downstream side is always a bit awkward and sometimes boats who have committed to going in are not always easy to refuse and turn away.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
    Posts
    12,529

    Default Re: Packing locks

    Think we need to be more concerned about locks packing up, rather than how they're packed ! Both Romney and Sunbury having to rely on hand wind as of yesterday.

    Also, re volunteers - they are just that, volunteers. There is no evidence that they would be prepared to be left to handle a lock on their own and I know many that would not wish to do so. Not the immediate fix that it might appear.

    We get this sort of thread every year about now - high season, a few unexpected and overly long queues and it all kicks off. Even when there were adequate staff, Boveney and Bray could still be congestion points in high season.

    By way of an alternative view, I cruised Windsor to Abingdon and back in late July early August, had almost no delays and only a few occasions where locks were on self service. The system is up to the wire but there does seem to be some effort going in to try and provide a service.

    A few hundred grand of funding would make a huge difference - and probably available if enforcement was to ensure all monies that should be paid are paid - river user reps are working on it.

    Have you responded to the consultation yet ? If not, why not ? Take the opportunity to communicate your frustrations there.
    Last edited by boatone; 21-08-18 at 10:06.
    TMBA - Championing the non tidal Thames

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    18,689

    Default Re: Packing locks

    Quote Originally Posted by djm View Post
    And the reason for that goes a long way to explain why the current EA management of our waterways is so wasteful, inefficient and incompetent.
    Feel sure the EA would welcome and value your obvious expertise in this area, believe you can apply for a volunteer job online........
    Last edited by oldgit; 21-08-18 at 11:15.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Packing locks

    Quote Originally Posted by djm View Post
    Precisely. The same sort of protectionist agreement that virtually wrecked British businesses in the 1970s.

    Time for the EA to join the real world instead of trying to rely on a magic money tree that is no longer bearing fruit.
    This is well outside this thread but ... it's much more complicated than that. Far be it for me to defend my former employer given I know where the weakness lies but there is inefficiency and incompetency in every organisation. The EA is the navigation authority and in that role it is content to manage the status quo within the boundaries of the legislation it works by (the TCAs, IWO 2010, etc). For example, treasury rules prevent it from stepping outside its lawful brief to improve funding by operating a commercial enterprise or make significant changes. That said, it does have a financial duty to fee paying customers like us and I'm not convinced that is being met never mind the poor enforcement of registration licences which annoys us all. Also, as fast as the EA raises additional funds, DEFRA removes the equivalent in grant in aid annually so there is no incentive for change.

    Back to the volunteer thread - as B1 points out, while the greater use of volunteers might be welcome, few volunteers want the responsibility of managing a lock solo or with another volunteer. I know, I asked many of them that very question. It's a retirement role for most who have no wish to get tied up with any corporate policy/elf n safety nonsense. Most of them were disgruntled when told to wear safety shoes while volunteering just because EA operating policy requires them to be worn by paid staff. There are a few ex senior managers and military who would do more if they could so that's something to consider if only the EA and unions would discuss it unemotionally.

    From a staff POV, greater use of volunteers could threaten their jobs so the staff and unions are resistant. Note that there was barely any union membership until the EA tried to sell off the lock houses ten years ago. Three successive hard-nosed, bullying and spiteful waterways managers have done nothing other than to further damage employee relations since the failed lock house sell off plan and most of the staff have joined the GMB as a result.

    As for packing locks, every boat skipper is responsible for his/her vessel so if a lockie attempts something unsafe, you must shout to prevent an incident. As others have said, at busy times at locks like Temple, Bray and Boveney, 3 up, 3 down and turn the lock round in about 7 to 10 minutes is a better way to manage the queues. However, this is always at the duty keepers discretion when trying to balance water usage with safe passage.
    When I was in the Navy ...

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: Packing locks

    “By way of an alternative view, I cruised Windsor to Abingdon and back in late July early August, had almost no delays and only a few occasions where locks were on self service. The system is up to the wire but there does seem to be some effort going in to try and provide a service. “

    Only a few occasions- you were lucky. It’s a rarity now not to see a blue sign. Seeing a lock keeper on duty is now a bonus and I don’t think we see the same faces twice, which is a shame.
    7 years ago we ran from Harleyford to Bray early season on yellow boards and the lockies rang ahead to notify the next lock we were out and about. Would that happen now? You’d like to think so, but I doubt it. And we saw the same faces on the return. And every lock was manned.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Packing locks

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Crusty View Post
    Also, as fast as the EA raises additional funds, DEFRA removes the equivalent in grant in aid annually so there is no incentive for change.
    Whilst not doubting your point, there appears to me to be a distinct lack of transparency over this issue. Is it not the EA board that decides how the total DEFRA grant-in-aid shall be allocated across its various responsibilities? I have never seen detailed and separate navigation accounts made available for proper scrutiny. Happy to be corrected.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    270

    Default Re: Packing locks

    Quote Originally Posted by djm View Post
    Whilst not doubting your point, there appears to me to be a distinct lack of transparency over this issue. Is it not the EA board that decides how the total DEFRA grant-in-aid shall be allocated across its various responsibilities? I have never seen detailed and separate navigation accounts made available for proper scrutiny. Happy to be corrected.
    TNUF members on this forum may have some detail of the accounts, I've seen none for 3 years so am very out of date. I don't recall waterways accounts being published for public scrutiny except at TNUF meetings and quick overviews at RUGs.
    When I was in the Navy ...

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    452

    Default Re: Packing locks

    I still chuckle when I take a S48 through Bray which I have done a number of times. We clear 8 inches either side but they still insist on telling us which side to moor !

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    4,129

    Default Re: Packing locks

    Quote Originally Posted by Time Out View Post
    I still chuckle when I take a S48 through Bray which I have done a number of times. We clear 8 inches either side but they still insist on telling us which side to moor !
    As an aside I've seen wide boats locking with a bow line on one side and stern line on the other......

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