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Canal rescues decline in 2023

River Canal Rescue (RCR) responded to 121 major incidents in 2023 across the UK’s inland rivers and canals.

These consisted of emergency situations either involving submerged, partially sunken or grounded craft, plus salvage work.

The figure was slightly down from the 130 incidents RCR reported in 2022; despite more rescue jobs being undertaken in the summer, RCR experienced a quiet period between January and March, historically a busier time.

“Our waterways are becoming increasingly popular and while RCR is always on hand to help when and where we’re needed most, we always urge owners to give their boats a once-over before starting any journey and carry some spares,” said RCR MD, Stephanie Horton. “A bit of preparation before you set sail can make a big difference to the success of your journey.”

The number of general call outs, such as electrical, fuel and engine issues, flat batteries, overheating and gear box failures was 3,335, down from 3,411 a year earlier. Around 300 of these were return visits.

RCR engineers responded to 86% of callouts with 14% handled by approved contractors.

RCR’s Canal Contracting service organised 593 visits to undertake a variety of work, including plumbing and electrical installations, gearbox replacements, inverter, solar installations and general engine maintenance – up from 499 in 2022.

There were also 515 engine inspections booked in, 417 of which combined inspections with services. Its subsidiary, Key Diesels, whose team fits and supplies new and refurbished engines nationwide, completed 20 engine replacements/installs, sold 15 new and used engines direct to customers, worked on 18 customers’ engines and refurbished/provided 16 gearboxes.

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