back set – after having
passed through a lock, back setting is the action of closing the gates,
going back to the other end of the lock and raising a paddle to start
reversing the lock for the benefit of the boat behind. Also known as
turning a lock round.
hauling – towing a butty by hand in flights of locks,
where it is quicker for the motor to go on ahead and back set the locks
for the butty following behind. It normally only requires one person to
bow haul (while one steers), as you can see in this picture where a crew
member is hauling the butty between locks. Notice the rope doesn’t
actually come from the bow but a point about 1/3 of the way back.
up – a pair of narrowboats can be lashed side by side.
This has advantages, such as freeing up the butty steerer for other
duties and is mainly done on rivers where the waterway and locks are
wide enough for other boats to pass with ease. Pairs of hotel boats may
moor breasted up overnight.
– a stud or upstand on the counter at the stern of a motor boat, to
which lines are secured when towing or mooring.
raise – the action of winding up a lock paddle
– the action of winding down a lock paddle.
off – the action of pushing the boat away from another
boat, the bank or other obstacle in order to avoid or minimize a
collision. Here a crew member eases the bump as the butty comes out of a
lock onto a corner.
– to go ahead on foot or bicycle to set locks ready for
the boats, to avoid unnecessary delays. Working boats and hotel boats do
not expect to stop before entering a lock, unless it is already in use
by another boat, since this can waste an inordinate amount of time in a
full days cruising. Normally done by crew members but some guests on the
hotel boats will also help.
– 2 very short pieces of rope which tow the butty close behind the
motor. The straps come from dollys on the stern of the motor and cross
over each other to the butty’s T-stud. Rarely used by working boats
(apart from when the butty was empty), however for hotel boats, this is
the predominant method used.
In this picture you can also clearly
see the umbilical cable which enables batteries on the butty to be
charged by the engine on the motor boat as we cruise.
– the term used to describe the length of rope used to tow the butty,
normally between 70-90ft in length. In this picture you can see the long
line between the boats. The butty sits to one side of the motor to avoid
the disturbed water from the propeller which slows it down more.
– a shorter rope used to tow the butty, usually away from locks.
– the act of stopping or slowing a boat by wrapping a rope round a
bollard or ‘strapping post’ and easing the rope out until the boat comes
to a stop. Used in particular for buttys which have no engine to slow
– A metal hook attached to the stern of a butty for securing lines.
Originally used for attaching lines to the boat behind when a train of
boats were pulled through a tunnel by a tug.
– a hotelboating term used to describe the activity which takes place to
prepare the boat or boats for the next cruise and new guests.
– an open area at the front of the hotel boats which may
have seating for guests with an unobstructed view of the of the
– (pronounced win-ding) the process of turning a boat round. This can
usually only be done at specified locations where the canal has been
widened and a ‘winding hole’ created. In the days before boats were
fitted with engines, the wind would have been used to assist the
turning, where convenient.
– a metal handle used for operating the lock paddles at locks. Carried
by boaters and now also commonly called a lock key.