Coming up to Cowley lock and about to pass under the fairly narrow white bridge next to it, with boats moored wither side, a narrowboat tried to speed up and overtake me. There obviously wasn’t room for both of us so I increased speed and he dropped back behind me. Then as soon as I slowed down (when navigating a lock, especially one next to a bridge, especially when your boat has a high wooden cabin it’s safer to go in slowly) he tried to overtake again.
There was a craft already in the lock and when it emptied, despite me arriving first, the narrowboat rushed in ahead of me and its crew started closing the gates. I beeped the horn for them to let me in beside them. They looked surprised that I was annoyed.
All their crew left the boat to work the lock. No-one tied it up. As the water level fell their boat drifted backwards and nearly hit the cill. I remonstrated with the driver asking what he was doing but he seemed unconcerned. I on the other hand was concerned, because if their boat tips over it might take mine with it. He just said “Oh I never bother to tie up”.
I assume he didn’t own that boat. It must have been hired because surely no-one would risk their own boat in that way. I’m not saying that everyone needs to take a two day helmsman’s course but the half hour training that many hire boat companies give is obviously not enough.
(This isn’t the worst idiot driver I’ve ever seen. I once watched a man deliberately and repeatedly crashing a hired boat into a bridge to amuse his toddler son, who was sat precariously on the roof, while he filmed it all on camcorder.)