Wednesday 28 March 2012

North East Commercial Waterways

The following email was received from British Waterways yesterday. It would seem that some boaters have not been reading up the requirements of the North East’s commercial waterways and their use before visiting these very unique cargo carrying waterways.

“Mechanised Locks Freight Waterways NE Tuesday 27 March 2012 until further notice

There have recently been a number of incidents involving vessels passing red traffic lights at mechanised locks, these locks are used by large freight vessels. This notice provides general advice on lock traffic lights in the NE Waterways and is intended to reduce the likelihood of vessel collision at the locks.

  • Red Fixed -  Lock keeper in attendance - Do not enter lock. Wait for lights to change or contact lock keeper for advice
  • Red Flashing -  Lock keeper not in attendance - Flood conditions do not proceed.
  • Red & Green Lock -  keeper in attendance – Self operation not possible at this time. Lock under preparation await further signal or instruction from lock keeper
  • Amber -  Lock  keeper not in attendance – Lock set to self-operation. Leisure craft proceed with caution and self-operate the lock. Freight craft await instruction from lock keeper and do not enter lock unless instructed by the lock keeper.
  • Green -  Lock keeper in attendance – Enter lock & follow lock keepers instructions. Self-operation not available at this time.
Enquiries: 0113 2816860”

The above advice applies to the River Trent, River Ouse, Aire & Calder Navigation, New Junction Canal and the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigations. It is essential for safe navigation of these waterways that leisure boats follow the instructions carefully. Commercial vessels are much less maneuverable than leisure craft and require much larger turning areas and stopping space.

Commercial craft announce their arrival at all locks and at various pinch points and bridges on the navigations. Keeping a listening watch on VHF CH74 will keep you fully aware and informed of their locations and intentions. It is important to remember that these navigations are still very much commercial waterways and leisure use is very much their secondary function. Obeying the traffic lights and using VHF radio will ensure you enjoy a safe passage.

Please stay safe on the North East’s commercial waterways this year.

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