Friday, 5 September 2008

The Art of Communication

We're planning to do a lot of locks this trip, so we thought it might be an idea to have some form of communication between the helmsman and the lock worker. We've seen other boaters with two-way radios, and they can be really useful when the next lock is through a bridge or round a corner.

So I ordered these from Amazon, and even with the free postage option selected, they arrived in just a couple of days. They were only £15 (paid for with some Amazon vouchers I'd earned for doing surveys), and they certainly work from outside the back gate to the kitchen. It'll be interesting to see how much we use them.

8 comments:

Lesley and Joe K said...

Adam
Joe and I are seriously thinking of getting two-way radio's. It will mean that we won't be shouting at each other, (no more than usual anyway)and as you say, very useful for knowing what is going on when you are trying to handle a steel tub approaching a blind lock!
NB Caxton

Adam said...

Hi Lesley, I'll let you know whether these work or not, and how much we use them. But as I say, at £15, you really can't go wrong.

Nic said...

Adam, they should work fine. We've had some for around six years or so, but don't use them as much as we should - partly because they take 3AAA batts each (I did say we've had them a while). Ours have a range of up to 2 miles so good for taking when going to the shops. For everyday use, it really depends on your crew - they aren't much use if they are left behind when whoever is operating the locks forgets to pick them up. Ones with a belt attachment maybe best, in addition an earpiece for hands-free use as it may be hard to use over the engine noise or if you're currently winding a lock paddle.

James said...

We used 2way radios during our 1st cruise. They were particularly useful on the Nene where landing stages are sometimes a long way from the locks. Once we got the hang of the locks they were mainly used for teasing each other about the speed of winding guillotine gates open and dodgy steering and, after the rechargeable batteries in ours (about £20 from Maplin) failed, we found we had developed a series of hand signals so have not replaced them. I kind of miss the teasing potential though, so will be interested to hear how yours work out.

Halfie said...

We used to use our walkie-talkies a lot, but now we find hand signals just as effective. When we remember, we do use them (W/Ts, not hand signals) in large supermarkets for finding each other!

Adam said...

Who would have thought some cheap two-way radios would have prompted so many comments! We already use hand signals in locks; the radios are intended more for when the lock is out of sight of the helmsman, such as the top of the Napton flight, where the lock is through a bridge, and where it would be useful to tell the boat that it'll be a while because someone is coming down.

Anonymous said...

Our 2-way radios have been invaluable - we could probably write a book about the different interpretations of each other's gestures. How could anyone possibly think that holding just one middle digit in the air means anything other than 'just one lock gate please'!

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

You haven't told us what channel you're setting them to so we can listen for you approaching.

We use 5+34, so set them to that and, if we're on board at our home moorings, we'll be listening for you to announce your approach to the Oozells Street Loop.