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The Thames - Not the most welcoming river

oldgit

Well-known member
Joined
6 Nov 2001
Messages
23,074
Location
Medway
:).
Must confess on our first visit to the non tidal Thames we did wonder if the local GDP was entirely based on the production and installation of PRIVATE and NO MOORING signs.
From the right Royal "We had a special law passed to keep "subjects " orf our front lawn .... to ....."We have owned this bit of land since William the 1 ST nicked it off the local Saxons .
Please keep moving and "Go Away ! "
 
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Chris_d

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Joined
15 Jun 2001
Messages
4,352
Location
Oxfordshire
:).
Must confess on our first visit to the non tidal Thames we did wonder if the local GDP was entirely based on the production and installation of PRIVATE and NO MOORING signs.
From the right Royal "We had a special law passed to keep "subjects " orf our front lawn .... to ....."We have owned this bit of land since William the 1 ST nicked it off the local Saxons .
Please keep moving and "Go Away ! "
Its an old tradition, they used to be written in Old Norse with a crossed out horned helmet symbol.
 

normskib

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2010
Messages
129
Let’s have a truce then if you promise to Keep of the Thames I promise to keep off the Canals , and just perhaps we can create a few more un hogged temporary moorings !
 

ianc1200

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Joined
6 Dec 2005
Messages
2,795
Location
Henley on Thames
Did enjoy that video, then watched the previous one where they were hit whilst on the mooring above Days lock. A hire cruiser lost control and smashed through their galley window. I think these were only filmed about two weeks ago.
 

Portland Billy

Active member
Joined
31 Aug 2009
Messages
423
I think we need an EA ruling banning any future registration or licensing of craft over 45 ft and a co-ordinated mooring payment system for temporary moorings limiting to 24/48 hours.
Someone needs to take charge or I see utter chaos not far away.
 

oldgit

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Joined
6 Nov 2001
Messages
23,074
Location
Medway
On our last trip to Gods Own Waterway it was noticeable that the normal narrowboats, usually accompanied by the wife and a whippet, were observing the rules and moving on each day.
Mostly met with friendly wave and frequently moved over to let us past ,when we were in hurry and doing 10 knots in the inter-lock Gran Prix.

The problem seems increasingly to be the modern custom built widebeam boats built obviously as primarily 365 days a year livaboards.
Designed for Thames use, not one of which could squeeze on to the canals proper in million years or go anywhere else for that matter.
So they remain firmly on the Thames.
They do tend to congregate in certain areas. Lady Lyndsies being one.
 
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Old Crusty

Active member
Joined
28 Aug 2017
Messages
680
I think we need an EA ruling banning any future registration or licensing of craft over 45 ft and a co-ordinated mooring payment system for temporary moorings limiting to 24/48 hours.
Someone needs to take charge or I see utter chaos not far away.
Ironically, the bigger boats such as Dutch barges get a favourable discount on the registration fees thanks to the lobbying of the Dutch Barge Association.
 

Outinthedinghy

Active member
Joined
18 May 2008
Messages
907
Location
Limehouse hole
Must say I was surprised how many boats were in Desborough cut when I went down there about a month ago.

In previous years I have seen one or two boats occasionally there but there must have been about a dozen.

I presume the use of the cut itself for high speed maneouvers of large marina based gin palaces is no longer feasible.
 

Outinthedinghy

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Limehouse hole
Ironically, the bigger boats such as Dutch barges get a favourable discount on the registration fees thanks to the lobbying of the Dutch Barge Association.
Yes and the Gold License is an attractive option I was told recently by someone with a 70x12 wide beam that it is cheaper than a Thames license.

I've bought Gold licenses before and one of my boats has one at the moment but I thought they were always more expensive than Thames licenses. Otherwise it defeats the object slightly in terms of revenue generation.
 

Outinthedinghy

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18 May 2008
Messages
907
Location
Limehouse hole
The problem seems increasingly to be the modern custom built widebeam boats built obviously as primarily 365 days a year livaboards.
Designed for Thames use, not one of which could squeeze on to the canals proper in million years or go anywhere else for that matter.
So they remain firmly on the Thames.
They do tend to congregate in certain areas. Lady Lyndsies being one.
To be fair they can get onto the K&A and go as far as Bristol and they can also go on the Grand Union as far as Birmingham. Well they could in theory of the locks weren't falling over like dominoes.

Currently some locks preventing wide beam passage due to completely rotten lock gates. At one lock (Kings Langley) you aren't allowed to stay on the boat (narrow boats only) and it has to be bow hauled by CRT staff because the lock gate might actually collapse completely.
Another one further up at Ivinghoe similar problem. Nackered basically.
Sad times for the canals and there are vast numbers of these widebeam vessels on the cut so yes there will be a lot more of them turning up soon on the River. Huge numbers and the fabricators are churning them out fast as well. This is just the beginning.

It seems sort of appropriate that the boat which blocked the navigation at Sunbury was yes you guessed it a new wide beam canal boat.
 
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Rolo77

New member
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16 Nov 2020
Messages
2
Are people, living on a "new widebeam", growled at anywhere upstream of Reading then?

I only ask because this is our plan, all be it in its early stages, and fitting it with other river users is quite high up on our list of "must haves" for our new life.

Cheers, Robin
 

Chris_d

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Joined
15 Jun 2001
Messages
4,352
Location
Oxfordshire
Are people, living on a "new widebeam", growled at anywhere upstream of Reading then?

I only ask because this is our plan, all be it in its early stages, and fitting it with other river users is quite high up on our list of "must haves" for our new life.

Cheers, Robin
Just my opinion and others will differ I'm sure, but these wide beams are being built at such a rate that its unsustainable on the river, everyday I seem to see a new one and most are the driveaway half fitted out type. In a few years the river will be full and a very different place, there are simply too many and they are too big.

We used to think grp boats were getting too big, but they rarely exceed 45ft and are mostly used for short weekends holidays and then live in marinas. Wide beams are build to live on 365 days a year and a small one starts at 50ft, most are over 60ft, they tend to stay at moorings for extended periods and fill the smaller locks.

I hate to deride anybody's choice of boat, but these really are going to cause a big problem, the Great Canal Journeys, 3 Go barging etc... have made it all very fashionable but it doesn't last, some come up for sale after only a couple of years as they exhaust the Thames and realise its a much harder exsistance than they thought.

If it was me I'd buy a Narrowboat around 45-50ft and have the whole UK canal system to cruise.
 

Rolo77

New member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
2
Just my opinion and others will differ I'm sure, but these wide beams are being built at such a rate that its unsustainable on the river, everyday I seem to see a new one and most are the driveaway half fitted out type. In a few years the river will be full and a very different place, there are simply too many and they are too big.

We used to think grp boats were getting too big, but they rarely exceed 45ft and are mostly used for short weekends holidays and then live in marinas. Wide beams are build to live on 365 days a year and a small one starts at 50ft, most are over 60ft, they tend to stay at moorings for extended periods and fill the smaller locks.

I hate to deride anybody's choice of boat, but these really are going to cause a big problem, the Great Canal Journeys, 3 Go barging etc... have made it all very fashionable but it doesn't last, some come up for sale after only a couple of years as they exhaust the Thames and realise its a much harder exsistance than they thought.

If it was me I'd buy a Narrowboat around 45-50ft and have the whole UK canal system to cruise.

Understand what you are saying and understand your concerns.

Personally speaking, I'm a qualified boatbuilder and I've lived on or near the Thames all of my life. My plan has always been to live on a "houseboat" of some sort, at some point before I got too old and, after a couple of years of looking at the options and at what is available, the "sailaway" 60' x 12'6" suits us in every way.

If this means that we'll be looked at or treated differently, this will definitely have an impact on our decision, as that's the last thing we want.
 

Outinthedinghy

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Joined
18 May 2008
Messages
907
Location
Limehouse hole
These wide canal boats seem to have been a nice little windfall for the boatyards as they can let their vacant moorings as winter moorings once the seasonal boats have been put on the hard.

So not everyone is bothered about it but the sheer number of them turning up will at some point cause problems just because of the available space on moorings.

It doesn't negatively affect me as I tend to just tie up to a random tree and practice social distancing during the summer but the logical outcome is that all of the popular visitor moorings end up full of boats which are being used as residential accomodation. I have lived on boats all the time since 1995 but not pretending to live in a house. It's more of a caveman thing.

Of course this complete saturation may not happen but I do think there is a general negative view of the situation overall by leisure boat users.


The other factor is that some people use the River for the purposes of relaxing. Maybe even having a lie in listening to the wildlife and rowers and passing boats.

The last thing you want is to be woken by someone starting their engine because they want hot water.

It's quite common for this to happen if you moor near one of these boats, and it is not at all pleasant.

Despite the effectiveness of solar and availability of bottled gas a lot, I would say the majority, of people on luxury floating apartment type boats view the boat's main engine as a combined heat and power source.

This would be ok if they were properly silenced but they aren't. There is almost always a really nasty drone. Horrible.

It's a not a rant as such but due to noticing this tendency I try to avoid mooring near that particular type of boat. The noise carries a long way. Maybe they aren't going to start the engine at 8am but in so many cases this does happen it's better to avoid it because it is just not pleasant.
 
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Chris_d

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Joined
15 Jun 2001
Messages
4,352
Location
Oxfordshire
Understand what you are saying and understand your concerns.

Personally speaking, I'm a qualified boatbuilder and I've lived on or near the Thames all of my life. My plan has always been to live on a "houseboat" of some sort, at some point before I got too old and, after a couple of years of looking at the options and at what is available, the "sailaway" 60' x 12'6" suits us in every way.

If this means that we'll be looked at or treated differently, this will definitely have an impact on our decision, as that's the last thing we want.
Well I certainly wouldn't worry too much what anybody else thinks, if the you like the boat and it suits your needs go for it.
 

Old Crusty

Active member
Joined
28 Aug 2017
Messages
680
As you must know, there has been antipathy towards narrowboats/widebeams on the Thames for some time as well as rivalry between 'slugs' and 'yogurt pots' as they are known, affectionately. IMO, a boater is a boater, hopefully with a similar passion for the water, and I'm not influenced by type of boat, only by attitude of its skipper. Rowers, SUPs and inflatables are also derided just as Audi & BMW drivers are on the road. You will never please everyone and shouldn't even try.

Whatever the opinions of the forum and the rest of the wider boating community, you should do what suits you because everyone else will too. As the late, great Terry Wogan said, people either like you or they don't and there's nothing you can do about that.
 

Scapegoat

New member
Joined
16 Nov 2020
Messages
22
Understand what you are saying and understand your concerns.

Personally speaking, I'm a qualified boatbuilder and I've lived on or near the Thames all of my life. My plan has always been to live on a "houseboat" of some sort, at some point before I got too old and, after a couple of years of looking at the options and at what is available, the "sailaway" 60' x 12'6" suits us in every way.

If this means that we'll be looked at or treated differently, this will definitely have an impact on our decision, as that's the last thing we want.
Bear in mind that there are very few “Residential Moorings” on the Thames and many riverbank moorings are paid for and time limited - eg Henley 2 weeks, EA probably up to 72 hours. You also need to give a “base mooring” on your licence application. Some marinas specifically exclude live aboards.
Just a suggestion to check out the logistics before finalising your choice. And as others have said you’ll have more choice of cruising routes on a narrowboat.
 

MgtTeewee

New member
Joined
1 Jan 2019
Messages
3
It's been a while since I "outed" myself as a looker-on to this forum. However, I have to say that since my late husband and I had to give up boating - in 2012 - after 21 very happy years on both the Thames and the Canals, it seems as if things have deteriorated a lot. We had a little Freeman 22 - 6ft10 so were able to go not just on the Thames but also on the canals. In fact, our first big excursion was down the Thames, onto the Grand Union (at 4.00 in the morning to catch the tide right), up through the locks at Hanwell (with help from a lovely young man) and eventually onto the Oxford Canal and then down to the Thames again. It took three weeks and was magical - though there were plenty of scary times! Since then we had lots of years on both the Thames and the Canals. We hardly ever encountered any animosity - a couple of times someone objected to where we were moored so we would move if it enabled another boat to get in between us and the next one (no worries there). I can't really understand why this situation has seemed to deteriorate so much - my fond memory of the Thames particularly is the way that we would always acknowledge each other by a wave as we passed, and then happily speak to each other when we got to our mutual mooring spot.
 
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