Storms and Narrowboats [DO THEY MIX?]

Welcome back to Canal Boat UK and another article (hopefully) full of useful tips. Today I am looking at the subject of storms and how they mix with canal and narrowboat life! Although the UK doesn’t often get serious storms (such as hurricane’s and typhoons), it is still well worth making sure you are taking all the necessary precautions.

What Problems Can Narrowboater’s Face When its Stormy?

Have you ever tried steering a narrowboat when it’s windy (not even storm level winds)? It can get pretty hairy, especially when passing other boats. Narrowboats are heavy but yet they are still effected by winds, I dread to think what it is like if you are in a GRP cabin cruiser style canal boat! Winds and narrowboats don’t mix!

Your narrowboat could potentially be blown away from it’s mooring if it is not well secured during a storm. Not to mention things flying off the roof and other open areas of your boats exterior.

Something many people forget are the potential danger of trees. In stormy conditions they could be blown over and literally crush your boat if you are moored under it. It doesn’t have to be storms that can cause this, heavy rain over time can loosen the ground tree roots are secured in.

Storms often bring heavy rains which might cause flooding. Although this is less likely on a canal than a river, it should still be prepared for.

Pre-Storm Narrowboat Checklist

Check 1: Check weather forecasts regularly whilst cruising.

Check 2: Is there a storm? Any wind higher than Gale Force 6? You should be moored up.

Check 3: Make sure you are moored away from trees.

Check 4: Look around your mooring spot, is there anything loose nearby that could potentially fly off in the wind and hit your boat?

Check 5: Make sure your mooring ropes are secured to your pins well.

Check 6: Allow some slack in your mooring ropes in case of flooding.

Check 7: Make sure to secure anything on the exterior of your canal boat.

Frequently Asked Questions?

Are Narrowboats Vunerable to Lightning?

When thinking about storms, many boaters will start to worry about the danger of lightning. Especially narrowboaters, who live in a metal encased home 🙂 They have visions of lightning strikes frying all of their on board electrics! But should you be worried?

The simple answer is no. Lightning will usually find the fastest route to earth, which would likely be a nearby tall tree.Put simply, the lightning will gravitate towards the highest point in an area. It is rare that a narrowboat would be higher than its surroundings!

Also lightning prefers tall pointy objects to discharge its electricity to the ground, something a narrowboat certainly isn’t.

Some also argue that the narrowboats metal exterior would act as a faraday cage to quickly discharge the electricity to the water, with little directed towards your electrical appliances. Not sure how accurate this is, but to be honest I don’t think it’s ever been tested as you have more chance of winning the lottery than being struck by lightning on a canal boat 🙂

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