New high for River Canal Rescue

The number of rescues carried out by RCR rose again in 2017 The number of rescues carried out by RCR rose again in 2017
Industry Database

The number of rescues carried out by River Canal Rescue in 2017 has again reached a new high.

In the period from January 1 to December 31, teams from RCR attended 162 incidents (137 major and 25 minor), 8% up from 150 (119 major and 31 minor) in 2016.

Major is defined as submerged, partially sunken or grounded craft, plus salvage work; minor as situations which on attendance, can be resolved without the need for a full rescue team.

Lapse of concentration

“The main causes of major rescues are silling or catching the rudder in the lock,” explained RCR MD Stephanie Horton. “Usually this is due to a momentary lapse of concentration and something that can happen to experienced and inexperienced boaters.”

And she explained that other reasons for rescue often include an insecure weed hatch, a vessel taking on water or listing, hull issues, groundings and other mishaps and fires that are usually electrically related.

There could also be domestic water ingress or prop and drive system damage caused by underwater obstacles.


Outside the rescue requests, RCR call-outs - from electrical, fuel and engine issues to flat batteries, over-heating and gear box failures - totalled 4691, up 115 from 4576 the previous year.

The majority of call outs – 72% were to narrowboats.

“It’s evident that a surge in the popularity of our waterways coupled with an increase in the number of owners who fail to service and maintain their boats are key contributors to these spiralling numbers,” added Ms Horton. “In many cases, the call-out could have been avoided with a little know-how, by giving the boat a once-over or simply carrying spares.”

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