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Remote control for narrowboat in a lock

i am a single handed boater and wish to avoid clambering on roof when using a lock

Asked by: sharp  | 8.54pm, Saturday 14 January

WW says:

The only system I know that enables you to do what you describe is the 'Boaters Lockmate' The basic system is used to control forward and reverse gears and there are two spare channels so that you can upgrade it to allow you to steer the boat as well. There are fail safe measures to return the engine to neutral quickly if things don't go as planned or if you lose radio contact.
When I reviewed this product in the August 2009 issue of WW, the basic system cost £2,000.
For more details ring Mick Thompson on 01384 70350 or 07860 761971. Alternatively you can visit -http://merlynfarwell.co.uk/inventingtoday/inventors/boaterslockmate/BoatersLockmate.html.

Graham Booth  | 11.02AM, Sunday 15 January

When boating single handed locks can pose problems, even where there are ladders as they are invariably in the wrong place, but a rope affixed to the middle of the boat is your best friend.
Going downhill is relatively straight forward. By having a rope on the lockside, when the lock is empty and the gate(s) are open the boat can be pulled with the rope either out of the lock (easier with a light cruiser) or to where the ladder can be easily used to get back on board without having to clamber on the roof.
Going uphill is harder and involves being ready to step off holding the rope and either pulling the boat in with the rope or running up the steps while the boat drifts slowly into the lock. It is to facilitate this type of action that most of the original lock tail bridges have splits enabling the easy passage of a tow rope. Alternatively stop the boat conveniently for the ladder and complete the final positioning with the rope.

Rupert Smedley  | 1.28PM, Monday 16 January

Readers say:

I appreciate that the solution that we use may be considered to be "overkill" but since we have a hybrid deisel/electric boat, when we run 0n batteries we have a little remote control that gives us forward and reverse. I simple put a rope loop on the tiller to hold it in the straight ahead position and I can then drive the boat just out of the gate so that I can close them, reverse the boat and then hop on. Whilst the boat is in the lock, I can move it forwards or backwards as required using the choice of either tickover speed or full ahead/reverse as required. The other benefits of the hybrid of course are silent cruising plus all the electricity you can use without need to run the engine. The remote control has proved to be a very useful side benefit.

R Tanzer  | 5.03PM, Saturday 11 March

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