The most important safety feature of any paddle gear is that it is able to be dropped INSTANTLY under it’s own weight in any emergency.
NONE OF THE NEWLY DESIGNED GEARING MEETS THIS REQUIREMENT
Rack and Pinion Gearing
The best type, tried and tested, simple and easy to operate if properly fitted.
If it is correctly aligned it can be drawn easily. Accidents occur when one has to struggle.
When the paddle is closed the rack should be level with the pinion. New racks are frequently fitted with a random amount of rack sticking up above the pinion when the paddle is in the down position.
This happens when the rod connecting the rack to the paddle is the wrong length, and has the following effects:-
- The operator is unable to ascertain if the paddle is properly down.
- Then goes to check and tries to force it further down, thus putting strain on joints and couplings.
- When wound fully up, only part of the paddle is then drawn, thus causing delay.
- If experienced boaters are unable to tell if the paddle is fully closed or not, what chance does a novice have.
When composing lock working instructions I feel that much more emphasis should be put on ensuring that PADDLES are properly closed. Unless the lock is leaking very badly, it doesn’t matter too much about gates. They don’t seal anyway
|This paddle is fully down, although it appears to be partly drawn
|This paddle is also fully down. In this instance there is a bracket fitted below the rack. This is designed to stop the rack, taking it’s weight and so protecting the couplings. As it is fitted it does not fulfil this purpose
|When the paddle is fitted in this manner at the side of the paddle post, it leaves more room for the operator to cross the gate, and minimises the chance of getting grease on the clothing.