Urgent warning to boat users as river levels fall

River Great Ouse at Houghton Locks

River Great Ouse at Houghton Locks - Credit: EA

Lower levels than normal could see boats stranded along parts of the River Nene.  

The Environment Agency has issued an urgent warning to boat users of the risks of “grounding or making contact with the bed”. 

Katherine Briscombe, waterways manager, said the lack of rainfall and “exceptionally dry weather conditions” increased the risk.  

She said: “Due to the lack of rainfall and exceptionally dry weather condition, we are experiencing lower flows and river levels in places than normal on the River Nene.  

“We are advising all river users to take extra care whilst under way at present on the navigation, especially on naturally shallow reaches” 

Ms Briscombe added: “Be aware that there may be lower levels that usual in some locations and an increased chance of grounding or making contact with the bed. 

“When mooring please do ensure that ropes and lines allow for fluctuating river levels, use spring lines and check your vessel regularly.” 

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The Environment Agency also advises that where possible conserve water by sharing locks and navigate with “extreme caution”. 

The statement adds: “Take notice of any warning signage displayed and channel markers where present.  

“Shallower areas of the river and underwater obstructions may become more prevalent whilst water levels are low. 

“Craft with deep drafts may experience difficulties and there may be the risk of boats coming into contact with the riverbed or grounding out in place.” 

The Environment Agency says their notice is effective until further notice and whilst current dry conditions remain.  

They offer an incident reporting number of 03708 506 506.