Lock etiquette - grrr

BobMod

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Last night I made the brave decision to make a late run to the Swan Pub, Staines from Penton Hook and therefore manage a number of firsts...

First lock on the Thames without a lock keeper present.. First night run.. First run to the Swan.... La la la...

Anyway.. Left Penton Hook and moor up outside lock (first mistake.. wrong side of lock.. lots of running) run to downstream gate and try to open gate.. No joy.. Could not find the issue.. Passer by tells me the sluices aren't fully closed and shows me a sluice.. Uhuh..

first lesson learnt (but aren't they supposed to be closed when exiting?) ..

Run to upstream gate and back down to boat.... Moor boat in lock and close downstream gate... lift sluice on upstream gate.. Fills up real slow.. Passer by suggests pressing the button again... TA DAaa... better flow.. (learn later there is a 3rd press... Woohoo.. Then same paser by offers to open gate for me.. Very kind...

Trundle to the swan and moor up on the rickety little dock with the tiniest dock rings in the world..

On way back... Sun is setting and not having been on the Thames at night and knowing the moon wasn't full I didn't want any hold ups and I am completely paranoid about speeding so when I arrive at the lock gate to find the downstream sluice wide open I am peeved...

Finally get to the question.. Did I have a right to be peeved? Is the etiquette to close the gates and sluices or just the gates? I just want to know for the future so I do not get it wrong...

Oh and finally nearly came a cropper entering Penton Hook Marina.. Couldn't see the green buoy that defines the far right of the channel.. well not until I was happily passing it and then started to feel friction and snagging.. Managed to power through but phew... In my head I was more concerned about waking up the peeps moored up at the back of the yacht club....

Anyway.. Hopefully the old salts on this forum will be reminded of their first time out in their first boat.. and the newbies will learn from the etiquette question.. Feeling a tad confident with a smidgen of caution at the near grounding/weed stall...

Bob
 

boatone

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You might find this information from the Visit Thames website on USING LOCKS helpful, Bob.

The info on using Out of Hours Power is not completely accurate as there are some locks - Penton Hook is one, where you need to open the sluices further after a few minutes - best read the instructions at each lock to be sure.

Don't worry, you did ok. Best bone up on nav mark buoys though - called local knowledge and can be expensive if you get it wrong !
 

Lazy Days

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Is the etiquette to close the gates and sluices or just the gates? I just want to know for the future so I do not get it wrong...
Bob

Locks on the river (can't speak for canals) should be left empty, gates closed but with the sluices in the tail gate open
 

BobMod

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Cheers charps... I will bone up on the link.. As for Nav.. Thought I knew my stuff.. Just didn't see the small green buoy in the dark.. Possibly could do with a bow running lite or a solar light on top of the buoy?... My local knowledge is now solid for at least a 1 mile stretch of the river... :D

What is the wrong side of that buoy? Is it bank or just shallow with weed? Just wondering what I will find when I lift her out in a few weeks time.. :-(
 

boatone

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All you can assume is that it is shallow. Don't even know how shallow or how deep it is just on the 'right' side of it. I have been making noises for ages (or so it seems) that it would be useful if nav. marks were to mark, say, the 1 metre mark - there's a discussion paper on the topic on the tmba website - see my sig. below.

Would be a good idea to check your weed/raw water intake filter and make sure it isn't full of weed or other crud. Otherwise, provided you had no nasty graunchy propellor type noises, and no subsequent vibration probs that weren't there before you might have been lucky and got away with it - fingers crossed :D
 

TrueBlue

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A few notes on locks

The locks on the River are a jumble of two types on mechanism:-
From Molesey to Romney the user has more control and the sluices operate in three lifts. The user has to press the button to operate the next stage - but the button is ignored if pressed before two minutes have elapsed.

On the close sluices cycle you have to hold the button until the sluices are firmly down.

The points about leaving the lock empty (emptying) and gates closed regardless of which direction you are going is that it reduces the amount of algae and weeds growing on the walls which cam make you and your boat all mucky. The gates should be closed is that if there was a catastrophic failure in the lock at least closing the sluices would isolate the lock chamber and stop waste of water. Closing the gates against a heavy flow might not work.

There is an interlock between the upstream and downstream sets of sluices to stop the public running water through the lock, otherwise you have control. (See below for other locks)
(Sometimes it helps if the reason behind what might appear as a daft / unnecessary rule is explained - at least that's the way I work)

For locks from Boveney to Osney (except for Boulters and Hambledon), the mechanism is more automated and more controlled - supposed to be a safety feature....

As well as the interlock above the sluices are completely timed, one push of the button operates the whole cycle (Nice), BUT the sting in the tail is that if the sluices are down, when they should have been left open then the next user has to go through the whole cycle regardless of whether the lock is full or empty.

That's a complete pain and appears illogical.
 

BobMod

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Cheers mate.. Plan to check all that tonight as all I could think of was a large G&T and my pitt once alongside.....

I can honestly say that with 2 - 3 feet inside the buoy the depth is
<1m.. I was staring at my engine temp all the way into the marina.. :mad:
 

CX54WEK

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Locks on the river (can't speak for canals) should be left empty, gates closed but with the sluices in the tail gate open

Not true for all rivers either though.

The best bet is to follow local instructions on individual locks. Locks requiring gates and sluices to be left in a specific way often have a list of instructions adjacent to follow.

Canal locks are an easier affair, leave the gates you exit from open with the sluices on the gates closed, unless of course there are instructions that say otherwise.
 

Andrew_Fanner

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Bob.

Its well worth having a look at your inlet filter(s) as part of your startup routine next time. If there is nothing significant in there and water flow looks good then probably no further worry on this occasion.

There are a couple of other nav markers in your area(unless washed away/stolen) but on the whole its best to avoid the inside of a bend. Do you have a depth gauge?
 

boatone

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Oh and a note on Penton lock advising on how to leave the lock would be great.. It is what prompted the original post.

Its in the link I gave you earlier:
When you leave the lock, please CLOSE the gates behind you but leave the sluices OPEN.

So that means if you're travelling UPstream you'll be leaving the lock full.....but if you're travelling DOWNstream you'll be leaving the lock empty..... NO !!! Hang on a mo - that can't be right, can it? Elsewhere it says:
After use, leave the lock empty and the gates shut, as in many cases there is a public right of way over the gates.

Watch this space - I may find more, yet .........no, it's ok - The Users Guide to the River Thames - EA Booklet - says the same as the second quote above. Confused ? That's ok then :D
 
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BobMod

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LMAO.. Yar confusing but I meant on the actual control console at the lock...

I believe that logically all sluices should be shut and I do understand the argument re growth on the sides of the lock but who runs back to empty a lock when going upstream? But, if the sluices are shut it saves the next person having to run the length of the lock to shut sluices before running back to open their own either way... That was the Grr in my original post as I was losing light fast.... Since there are weirs anyway, I do not see the point in leaving either sluice open..

My goal is as follows;
1. Be safe
2. Not upset anyone
3. have fun
4. Not upset anyone
 

Chris_d

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I do not see the point in leaving either sluice open..

I always leave the bottom sluices open, you are supposed to leave the lock empty so if departing upstream you open the bottom sluices and just leave the lock to drain. If you close them, the lock will partialy refill due to leakage from the top gates. It also helps anyone arriving from the down stream side as the OOHP will only allow the gates to be opened with the sluices already up. Only downside is that if arriving from upstream like you did you have to go and close sluices at the opposite end, but that is how the lockkeeper would have left it anyway. Thats for evenings only, if its lunch time just leave the gates open;)
 

oldgit

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Canal locks are an easier affair, leave the gates you exit from open with the sluices on the gates closed, unless of course there are instructions that say otherwise.[/QUOTE]

and that is the exact same system used on the Medway since we be a lad.

eastfordoak.jpg
 
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TrueBlue

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Canal locks are an easier affair, leave the gates you exit from open with the sluices on the gates closed, unless of course there are instructions that say otherwise.

and that is the exact same system used on the Medway since we be a lad.

I agree that for other rivers, with proper gates.
BUT on the general canal system with a preponderance of LTTTs Best Practice is to leave all gates closed.

My take on the reason is that on a river there is always an amount of flow, so a small amount of leakage through a top gate is of no consequence.

However, on a canal with little or no flow (as when there is no traffic), then a series of leaky top gates can waste a lot of water.

The problem is that many canalers don't / can't be bothered to understand the issues and leave gates open because they are bone idle and care less for other craft.

"Not my problem" pervades everywhere....
 

No Regrets

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We leave the gates how they are when we leave the lock.

P1ssing around closing and emptying things is all very well unless the next user is going the 'wrong' way!

Usually, the waiting people want it left as it is...
 

storm-force

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We leave the gates how they are when we leave the lock.

P1ssing around closing and emptying things is all very well unless the next user is going the 'wrong' way!

Usually, the waiting people want it left as it is...

Instructions on the lock operating pedestal tell you to close the gates & empty the lock end of story
 
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