Today I received the latest copy of the excellent GOBA magazine together with a letter reminding members of what they call Lock and Mooring Etiquette. Full copies of the etiquette are posted at every lock on the Ouse and include advice on closing gaps at moorings to leave more space, sorting out the order in which boats should enter or leave a lock, how to leave lock gates and so on.
Being unfamiliar with guillotine locks it was helpful to me in deciding whether to reopen a half closed guillotine gate when another boat appears round the corner. GOBA's suggestion is that if the bottom of the gate has touched the water surface, then its reasonable to carry on lowering. These gates take several minutes to raise or lower.
I reckon this is a great idea and I wish BW would do something similar at locks and visitor moorings. Not only would it make it easier to gently complain to a miscreant, it would also be useful to hire boaters or other visitors not aware of local informal rules.
EA and BW have surprisingly different ways of doing things and could learn from each other.
I have complained before about the awkward positioning of EA lock gates on the Ouse and Nene, but there is one aspect that BW would do well to copy, which is that of having wooden rubbing boards along the edges where you have to pull in by the bollards. This would save a lot of touch up paint. There is now one lock on the BW that now has this and that is Coppermill lock near Harefield. Also EA visitor moorings have very nicely constructed with good bollards and superb non slip surfaces.
However I'm not so sure that BW should bother spending our money on the safety signboards seen at EA locks. They have so many different warning triangles and No xxxx signs that it would put off people ever using locks if they read them all! Some poor lady was killed a few days ago at a lock on the Oxford canal by hitting her head after slipping, but I somehow doubt that the sign would have made any difference.