Issue date: 10th January 2012
Although BW Wigan are taking bookings for next year they have recently been telling applicants that any boats with a draft in excess of 24" may be excluded.
IWA has taken this issue up with BW as although the skippers guide indicates that 24" is the maximum, many boats with drafts up to 36" have successfully navigated the link in the past.
We understand that the issue surrounds siltation in the first pound after the rotating tidal gate. BW staff let boats proceed while the tide is still coming in thus giving more depth to the first pound. The designed depth over the lock cills is 4', therefore there is a presumption of plenty of leeway for boats with drafts above 24".
Following IWA pressure a hydrological survey was carried out which will now hopefully help clarify the situation. BW as a result of the new survey confirm that the new maximum safe draft for boats will be 33" (2’9”). BW have explained the reasoning as follows; “The level was set using many criteria, however the main restricting factor has been the seasonal siltation that we remove at the start of each year. In theory it may well be possible to get a craft with a deeper draft through the link in April but I would have significant concerns about its ability to return by July; or even earlier if we have very heavy rainfall in spring”.
IWA will continue to monitor the situation locally.