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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
    Posts
    12,592

    Default Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    Summer Relief- a paid employee carrying out all the functions of a relief lock and weir keeper (LWK), Actually not employed directly by the EA but recruited through an employment agency. Usually employed so late in the year that required training prevents them being productive until well into the boating season. Also, bizarrely, it would appear that they are able to take leave during the period of their seasonal appointment rather than at the end of their contract.


    Volunteer Assistant Lock Keeper - unpaid community minded folk (some 250 of them) who volunteer to assist EA permanent staff to provide assisted passage to boaters. Many also help with routine maintenance of the lock sites such as gardening, painting etc. Wear pale blue T shirts with a “Volunteer” marking. Must complete training programme and be “signed off” as competent to operate specific locks. Only permitted to operate lock if a full time EA LWK or other member of waterways staff is on site to supervise. If a lock is unmanned by an EA LWK volunteers are unable to assist in filling the gaps.
    (Do thank these guys and gals when you see them - it makes their day!)


    Boaters- approximately 8000 motor boat owners who pay a not insignificant registration fee to use their boats on the non tidal Thames. Permitted to operate locks themselves when “Self Service” signs are displayed ( or when it is obvious no lock staff are on duty - sometimes difficult to ascertain). At some locks, instructions may be provided on the control pedestals. Not all locks were created equal so procedures vary and antiquated electronics allow impatient boaters to screw things up if they keep pushing the buttons indiscriminately,


    Waterways Management- the people charged with managing these resources to provide a functioning waterway for the benefit of all who use and value the river. One might be forgiven for thinking that this is where most of the problems lie.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    343

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    Down here on the cut, CRT has ruled that volunteer lockies must not work solo following two incidents where one diabetic VLK keeled over in the heat at a remote site and another VLK got into an altercation due to his own officious attitude.

    Meanwhile, those of us who man busy sites in towns are carrying on solo if it suits us.

    Were I still living near the Thames I'd be taking matters into my own hands and be manning Bray this weekend. While I continue to support the retention of paid lock keepers at every site, on weekends such as this it would be quite reasonable to use unsupervised volunteers with many years' experience.

    Debate.
    When I was in the Navy ...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    19,987

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    "impatient boaters to screw things up if they keep pushing the buttons indiscriminately,"

    OG emphatically denies and refutes this version of events as being true and wishes to ........O all right then it was me.

    Fortunately the lockie at Molesley did release us and all the other boats in the lock eventually.
    Last edited by oldgit; 07-07-19 at 08:14.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    343

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgit View Post
    "impatient boaters to screw things up if they keep pushing the buttons indiscriminately,"

    OG emphatically denies and refutes this version of events as being true and wishes to ........O all right then it was me.

    Fortunately the lockie at Molesley did release us and all the other boats in the lock eventually.
    I'm sure Big Steve was grateful for the 80 quid call out!
    When I was in the Navy ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Limehouse hole
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    A few months ago I noticed the police box / steamer switch enclosure at Marlow had been forced. The yale security lock was wrecked. I reported it and it was fixed. A bit dangerous to have full lock keeper operation - specially at Marlow!

    It would be worth having proper durable signage made up with instructions for locks such as "press sluice buttons once only" on locks where this is important.
    There are several different systems so each type needs its own short and to the point instruction board.

    As for volunteers I live on a canal boat on CRT water but also have a small motorboat on the River. I like doing it all myself specially on canals. Always have done since I moved aboard in 1994. Its easier that way.

    Volunteers can present a problem if they do not realise someone had already done 1000s of locks single handed and may have unusual techniques or paddle opening sequences.

    Irritating if you get the wrong person and it causes conflict because it can mess up a nice day on the Water.
    Last edited by Outinthedinghy; 07-07-19 at 12:20.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    343

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    The pedestals used to have operating instructions on each one but time, Olympic gold paint, indifference and ineptitude have caused many to disappear. Despite the many appeals to the EA by B1 and others (even EA LWKs) for instructions to be replaced, the team leaders led by the donkeyish senior so-called management have failed to act. Two sheets of A4 laminated (oops, single use plastic alert) can't be that tricky to do.
    When I was in the Navy ...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    4,260

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Crusty View Post
    The pedestals used to have operating instructions on each one but time, Olympic gold paint, indifference and ineptitude have caused many to disappear. Despite the many appeals to the EA by B1 and others (even EA LWKs) for instructions to be replaced, the team leaders led by the donkeyish senior so-called management have failed to act. Two sheets of A4 laminated (oops, single use plastic alert) can't be that tricky to do.
    Tush, tush - shades of The Thames Conservancy dictates that any sineage has to be engraved, preferably directly on to the metal of the cabinet...

    I (think) I recall some pedestals had a (good quality) printed sheet covered by a Perspex sheet. They lasted a while but some folks who take pleasure in destroying whatever help "authority" places on their mechanisms.
    Such instructions are not so much of Thou Shalt Do, but more of 'how to work this device if you don't know how..."

    I know that the venerable B1 has spent hours in developing specific graphic
    signs tailored for each lock pedestal (not just general one-type-fits-all) to help the vast number of short term boaters whom I for one encounter who say "how do I operate this".
    At the moment a rejoinder of "RTFM" is invalid as the FM is no longer in place.

    Surely, surely, surely the cost of restoring the signs would be insignificant when compared with the overting and other costs when an EA person has to attend to reset the mechanism -because the user has held the 'sluices up' button - rather than a single, short press.....

    (I'll get stick for this later)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Just a few cables from Boulters Lock
    Posts
    12,592

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    (I’ll get stick for this later)

    No stick from me. As you say, as a member of TNUF I have been working with EA staff to address the issues of lock pedestal signage for over a year now but they simply do not seem to recognise this as an urgent issue. Even the HM has acknowledged that current instructions are woefully inadequate, in some cases non-existent. I have indeed been working up instructional graphics and intend to publish these as a TMBA contribution which boaters will be able to download from the website to print off and keep on the boat.
    Last edited by boatone; 08-07-19 at 08:38.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    19,987

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueBlue View Post
    the user has held the 'sluices up' button - rather than a single, short press.....
    Oooo-err, that might explain a lot to one particular culprit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Idiots Guide to Lock Manning

    I am one of those people, who can destroy a computer, or other electronic equipment, just by turning it on.
    Techs, ask, how did you do that ? Er, I turned it on ?
    So, no, if the lock is not manned, I wait, until someone comes along, who knows what they are doing, and I go through, with them !

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