Friday, 2 April 2010

Lifeboats for canal boats

Some friends informed us that a new EU Health and Safety ruling came into force (yesterday). Which states that “all canal boats must have a lifebelt lifeboat by 01/04/2011”
Thereby allowing everyone a year to go out and buy one before your real boat is impounded. The basis to this theory is that it’s a good idea to have a back up, if ever there’s a need to abandon ship in an emergency situation…
This may all sound like common sense but of course it isn’t. So in order to avoid the rush on the 31/03/2011 we went out yesterday and ordered one that’s a carbon copy of the one being launched below…
This is the widebeam version and is designed to be towed behind the boat, or even rest on top of it in the same manner as a shuttle on a Boeing 747.
Note how the area was cordoned off with traffic cones whilst two blokes lifted it up off the trailer and carefully placed it in the water. When Dave asked if it was made of fibreglass the answer was “well no, not really – it’s very thick plastic though.”
Our own newly ordered lifeboat hasn’t been fitted out yet. So we’ve taken some measurements and we’re going to install a spacious galley which will overlap an equally spacious saloon by about 5 foot. There isn’t room for a bathroom and the bedroom will be cleverly concealed inside one of the thick plastic walls. It will be a bespoke drop down thing with two small props for support so that it literally doesn’t “drop down” through the floor when you’re trying to sleep asleep on the bed.
According to rules and regulations,, inside a lifeboat like this there’s standing room for three people. But if the hosepipe’s on board, only two…
Unfortunately all canal boat lifeboats have to be the same colour, a bit like fire engines. But, (extremely important) there’s no way it will coordinate with TT’s roof…
So we’ll have to tow it, disconnect it before each lock, carry it under one’s arm, round to the other side, and reconnect instead. Well, we’ve given ourselves plenty of time for the fit out, we must be amongst the first people to buy a lifeboat for a canal boat. Or are we just a couple of fools…?

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