by: David McGovern
Boat Landing Stages – How we make them
Depending on the height of the towpath, in some cases we need to take a slice out of the bank, generally taking a few hours work with the mini-digger backed up by shovels.
The rear line of piles is then pushed in – some will recognise these as ex-motorway crash barriers, they are made of galvanised steel and known as Open Box Beam (OBB). They come in 4.8m lengths, take five people to lift, and we cut the rear piles to 1 – 2m long.
Positioning of the front piles, cut typically to 3m, is done by spacing with OBB cross-pieces and “tourniqueting” the front and rear piles together with a heavy strop. We lift and place the front piles in position with the crane, which then collects the piling hammer. Before bolting a permanent cross piece between every third pair of piles, we cut a mineral fibre ‘carpet’ around the piles to make a barrier to weeds.
The next step is to fit wooden frames which we assemble in a workshop, currently at Brimscombe Port, using steel corner pieces to join the lengths to the crosses. Each of the five frames is numbered for its place in the sequence, as a standard landing stage has a regular height of 0.5m for boats with a slope to a lower level for canoes at 0.3m. Frames are bolted to the piles and to each other.
The landing stage surface is Fibregrid, a perforated non-slip glass-reinforced plastic material, finished off with Armco barrier, and mooring bollards concreted into every third front pile. The bank here at Chestnut Lane has been topped with more OBB to ward off traffic, and seed-impregnated matting laid down the slope. And once work has finished for the day, kit stowed away, a team photo if we remember.
The Landing Stages team will soon restart its regular stage-constructing tasks, and we are looking for more volunteers, to enable expansion of our work from Tuesday/Thursday to include Mondays and Wednesdays. If you are interested contact Alan Jones for a chat, and hopefully we will see you here soon! firstname.lastname@example.org 01453-752396 (evenings).