In memory of Barbara Rouse, TBA Life Member

Information provided by her long standing friend, Val Stafford.

Barbara Rouse lived with her parents, apart from when she was training to be a teacher, and taught at several schools. By the time of her retirement she had risen to the role of deputy head teacher at Westdale lane Infant school and her favourite subject was natural history.

Barbara always had annual holidays with parents at Southwold, then when able to travel alone, went to the Isle of Sark each year to watch the arrival of the puffins. She made friends with a local boat owner and crewed aboard his converted fishing boat on many occasions and this influenced her decision to have a boat of her own.

She chose the type of boat she wanted and on the next visit to Southwold ordered one to be built to her own design at a local yard. The boat was delivered to Percy Taylor’s boatyard in the early 1960’s and christened ‘Puffin’.

 Barbara cruised mainly single handed but in the company with two other boats from the moorings, travelling mainly upstream through the Nottingham canal to the Upper Trent, River Soar and Trent and Mersey canals.

Puffin moved to the Meadow Lane Lock moorings after a few years and here Barbara met Dr Stephens who owned a sailing yacht Seventh Heaven, she cruised the lower Trent to Torksey, on through the canal to Lincoln and down the Witham to Boston. One year Barabara and Puffin penned through Anton’s Gowt lock and explored the local drains alone.

After the death of the old lock-keeper George Lloydell, Puffin and Seventh Heaven moved to Park Yacht Club moorings.

Barbara crewed aboard Seventh Heaven for several summers and crossed to Holland and Belgium, eventually making the crossing from Boston to the Kiel canal and into the Baltic. When Dr Stephens sold the sailing boat and bought a twin screw fibre glass boat named Benedicta Barbara continued to sign up for the sea cruises also making two crossings with Bonny Lass, owned by Bill and Val Stafford, to Amsterdam and the Zuider Zee.

Barbara also crewed on the first St John Ambulance community trip boat at Nottingham.

Barbara completed a lifetime ambition by visiting the whole length of the river Trent from source to Trent Falls, either on foot, by road, but mostly by water. She used many of the photographs she took to illustrate the after dinner speeches which she gave. 

A selection of Barbara’s photographs can be viewed in the Historic River Trent photo album by clicking here.


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Respect the Water Campaign

Merchant Navy Association (MNA) Boat Club joins forces with the RNLI to promote the RNLI’s Respect the Water Campaign on the UK’s inland waterways

On behalf of the MNA Boat Club I’m delighted to announce the launching of a new joint working relationship between the MNA Boat Club and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).  I am delighted that the hugely respected RNLI has recognised the experience, skill and knowledge of MNA members by choosing to work with the MNA Boat Club.  The RNLI has now extended the opportunity to all members of the MNA with an invitation for them to play a part in promoting the RNLI’s “Respect the Water” campaign aimed at significantly reducing the 200 plus fatalities each year as a result of drowning.

“I am delighted to be working alongside the MNA with this initiative. We have a variety of ways of promoting our safety messages, but nothing beats a face to face conversation with a knowledgeable person. MNA members acting as RNLI Community Safety Volunteers will be able to pass on their experience and knowledge to others in order to save more lives around our coasts and waterways.” Steve Instance, RNLI Community Safety Partner.

It has now been agreed that members of the MNA Boat Club should be invited to take on the role of RNLI Community Safety Volunteer (CSVs) for all the inland waterways of the UK and Ireland – e.g. rivers, canals, lakes, The Broads, The Fens, etc. At the same time any members of the MNA  interested in joining an existing RNLI Community Safety Team attached to a Lifeboat station will be offered an opportunity to do this’

So what exactly does being an RNLI CSV entail?

Essentially being an RNLI CSV involves establishing and maintaining good relationships with organisations involved in activities on or around our inland waters, such as boatyards, marinas, boat hire operators, sailing clubs, lock-keepers etc. and affording them the benefit of our members’ extensive professional expertise and experience in terms of giving relevant maritime safety advice to these organisations and, where appropriate, also to members of the public.  CSV’s will also seek out opportunities e.g. boat shows, boat jumbles, regattas etc. to promote the RNLI’s safety messages.

As a RNLI Community Safety Volunteers MNA Boat Club members will normally be affiliated to an RNLI Community Safety Team based at an RNLI lifeboat station.

For further information please contact:  MNA Boat Club Commodore and Weymouth RNLI Community Safety Officer Clive Edwards.or go to

Tel: 01305 781725 Email: or

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Non-native Invasive Species, Floating Pennywort found in River Witham

Floating Pennywort has been discovered on the Witham system for the first time, this invasive non‐native  species can cause issues by blocking out light, causing deoxygenation and blocking air breathing insects.

In  addition the plant can form large mats which can become very dense. The species spreads from plant  fragments so it’s important not to try not to break up any patches as this can aid and speed up its spread.

If you see any Floating Pennywort on the River Witham please report it by calling the Environment Agency’s  Incident Hotline 0800 80 70 60.

The characteristic leaves and growth help to make this plant easy to identify. It is found mostly in the south-east of England and occasionally in the north-west of England and Wales. Spreading rapidly.

First naturalised in 1990 as a result of discarded plants from garden ponds. Can grow up to 20cm per day and may quickly dominate a waterbody forming thick mats and impeding water flow and amenity use. May out-compete native species by blocking out light, causing deoxygenation, obstructing air breathing insects from reaching the water surface and reducing water temperatures.

Floating pennywort is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to Scotland only. As such it is an offence to plant or otherwise cause this species to grow in the wild.

For further identification details please follow this link: Floating Penywort

Weed control  The Environment Agency and the Canal and River Trust take very seriously the issue of weed in the River Witham.

Both organisations appreciate that this year has seen particularly large build ups of weed and understand that this affects a range of waterway users.

This year, both  organisations have put additional effort into seeking solutions to the problem and ensuring efforts are as  coordinated as possible going forward.
In particular, we appreciate that weed can build up in large volumes at Grand Sluice.

The Environment  Agency is responsible for managing flood risk, therefore it can be difficult to justify removing weed when it is  not deemed to be a flood risk. The Environment Agency is not funded or resourced to carry out routine weed  flushes, but is happy to flush out weed from Grand Sluice when it is safe to do so and there are staff in the  area. Whilst the Environment Agency does have a responsibility to provide a minimum depth of water on the  Witham, they have no other formal responsibilities for navigation.   The Canal and River Trust is the navigation authority for the Witham with a remit of maintaining a channel of  navigation within the river. ng priorities. The

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New requirements for CO alarms for boats with accomodation for BSS

Following the public consultation in Autumn 2018 on proposed changes to the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) the BSS Management Committee has decided that new BSS Requirements for carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on boats will be introduced from April 2019.

Strong support for the changes was demonstrated in the responses to the consultation with 84% in favour of introducing a requirement for suitable working carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

All boats with accommodation spaces subject to the BSS will see mandatory checks introduced for suitable CO alarms in good condition and in appropriate locations. The requirements are designed to keep people on and around boats safe.

As well as protection from neighbouring boats, the CO alarms are also expected to prevent death or injury to boat owners from their own boat engines or appliances.

The alarms will warn people in the area about immediately dangerous levels of CO. They can also alert craft occupants to moderate levels of CO, which can be a long-term threat to health if left undetected.

BSS Manager, Graham Watts said:

‘We want to thank all the contributors to the consultation. Your comments and views have been exceptionally valuable and have caused us to reflect a little longer before publishing the checks in order to ensure that the wording is entirely clear.

The BSS will be publishing the new checks in detail in January/February 2019 on its website.

It’s encouraging that so many contributors already enjoy the protection of CO alarms, however if you are yet to be protected, please take a look at a list of CO alarms recommended as suitable for boats by the manufacturers’ body on the BSS Stay Safe CO advice webpages.

The mandatory new BSS Requirements will come into effect from 1 April 2019.


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CO alarms save lives!

“If you have any fuel burning appliances aboard, an engine or generator, fit a suitable audible carbon monoxide alarm for an added re-assurance.” – Boat Safety Scheme

Boaters are being urged to install a carbon monoxide alarm as the save lives, to read the full article or to find out more about carbon monoxide alarms, please click on theis link : CO alarms save lives!

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