Now here’s a dilemma.
You come down to the marina to stay overnight on your boat and………… it’s not there.
Bumping into one of the liveaboards padding up to the shower block in their nightclothes, you enlist their help in trying to locate your vessel as they have a torch and you don’t.
All to no avail.
You therefore ring the out of hours emergency number hoping to speak to the marina manager but have to leave a message on the ansafone. You then proceed to book yourself into a hotel with the intention of getting the marina to foot the bill.
Sounds pretty awful doesn’t it.
Until maybe I fill in a little bit more of the story and a couple of observations……….
Photo: Basin two in the process of being emptied
I’ve mentioned on several occasions that there is revamp work to be carried out in Basin 2 shortly and the marina staff have a had a bit of a headache finding slots for all the boats in readiness. The owner of the final boat has promised to move it tomorrow.
Several cruisers have been lifted out the water for the winter and those on brokerage are now berthed parallel to the dogwalk. After a bit of shuffling with cruisers and a couple of smaller narrows, the widebeams have been fitted into our basin in the middle ranks, and anyone living aboard their narrowboat have been put wherever possible around us as most are longer than we are.
Out on the river on both sides are the ‘holiday’ narrowboats together with vessels of varying design and girth which already have a river mooring.
Last night, Hubby and I were sitting here quite contentedly in our boat when he asked if I could see flashing lights out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t, but he was convinced something was going on and as the dog wasn’t anxious, knew it was nothing to do with the weather or fireworks.
Photo: dog walk taken from the bench at our marina basin entrance
Shortly after, a bright light outside crossed my line of vision on the dogwalk, but being dark, I couldn’t see much else. There were no frantic voices calling lost dogs or panicked cries for help if someone had fallen in, so we just made another cuppa and carried on with what we were doing.
At 9.30, we took Maggie out for her final wee and bumped into a widebeamer coming out of the toilet block having had a shower.
He asked us if we knew the location of a boat similar to ours which had apparently gone AWOL. He and the owners had been up and down all of the pontoons and checked the other side of the river, but couldn’t find it. They had just driven off in search of a hotel for the night, absolutely fuming having not been able to speak to the marina manager.
We knew where two Sea Otters from the other basin had been placed but neither were the boat in question, a sixty footer that just happened to be the same colour as ours.
Photo: all forty one feet of us moored at Offenham
His wife knew the name of their boat, which we knew wasn’t in our basin. It’s a shame we don’t get paid for Security as we notice things like that and get chatting to people!
Whilst we could appreciate how upsetting it was to travel some considerable distance to spend the night on a boat that was no longer where they’d left it, we had only a smidgen of sympathy because:
1. Notices were sent to all boat owners, liveaboards or not, at the end of August/beginning of September about the planned revamp and the need for all boats to be moved by the end of November (as per 90 days prior warning of change detailed in mooring contracts).
There was also a notice put up on the main notice board by the toilet blocks as well as in the laundry room. We are also aware that one couple who live abroad were contacted by telephone about the move just in case they hadn’t received the written notification.
To us, that’s all the bases covered for residents, visitors and casual owners.
2. Liveaboards were obviously to be given priority for placements, but consideration would be given to others wherever possible.
3. The office is manned every day of the week (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when it’s just for security and basic needs like electricity, fuel, gas or coal) from 8.30 am until 5 pm.
As these people planned to arrive yesterday with the intention of sleeping on their boat (which would’ve been damn cold after the recent low temperatures), why didn’t they give the marina a courtesy call to
a) tell them they were coming and mention they were likely to arrive after 5pm.
b) ask where their boat was and if it was easily accessible to board and stay overnight.
c) even ask if someone would kindly put a heater on if they had one (we’ve heard of staff doing this in some circumstances).
This morning as we were taking Maggie out for her first wee of the day, two members of staff were walking up our pontoon checking the names of the boats in position.
We jokingly asked if they were looking for one in particular which appeared to be lost.
The reply was it wasn’t missing, as it was berthed on the other side of the river.
We could actually see the end of it from where we stood, and had the owners driven across the bridge to check out the narrowboats temporarily moored there, they would have found it too.