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-   -   Swimming in the French canals???? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f17/swimming-in-the-french-canals-252696.html)

skipmac 29-06-2021 09:29

Swimming in the French canals????
 
We had booked a trip with le Boat last year which was canceled due to Covid. Le Boat would not offer a refund so for better or worse we are using our credit this July.

From all I can learn, holding tanks are not found on any of the hire boats nor are there any pump out stations that privately owned boats would use so one has to assume that all the toilets are flushing directly into the rivers and canals?

Is this a correct assumption? If so how polluted are the canals and is it advisable to swim there?

By the way, we are going to one of the less traveled rivers, the River Lot which seems to have much less traffic so perhaps safer than somewhere like the Canal du Midi.

boatpoker 29-06-2021 09:34

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by skipmac (Post 3435522)
We had booked a trip with le Boat last year which was canceled due to Covid. Le Boat would not offer a refund so for better or worse we are using our credit this July.

From all I can learn, holding tanks are not found on any of the hire boats nor are there any pump out stations that privately owned boats would use so one has to assume that all the toilets are flushing directly into the rivers and canals?

Is this a correct assumption? If so how polluted are the canals and is it advisable to swim there?

By the way, we are going to one of the less traveled rivers, the River Lot which seems to have much less traffic so perhaps safer than somewhere like the Canal du Midi.

I haven't been in France since the 60's. It was quite common to see men peeing in the gutters on busy streets. Given the attitude back then I think you have a vaild concern :)

skipmac 29-06-2021 09:35

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Follow up. I found a notice online that swimming is not allowed in the Canal de Midi nor any of the other canals maintained by the VNF in France. But the Lot is a river that I think does not fall under their authority. But even if allowed, is it safe?

Jubilee39 29-06-2021 09:43

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
The prohibition on swimming in the canals probably has little to do with the lack of holding tanks. In my circumnavigation the only countries where non holding tanks where a major issue was Turkey and the USA. Admittedly I went north from Vanuatu so didn't go to Australia or New Zealand. I am not saying that the requirements didn't exist just that there wasn't any apparent concern.

Stu Jackson 29-06-2021 09:58

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Just look at the bloody water? Why would you even consider it? We have enjoyed the canals many times (midi, Nivernais, a few others, plus the UK).

Think about it? How does the water flow, and from where? High points with water and the rest is downhill all the way, trapped by locks.

Grimy from boat exhausts is more than enough. I could never understand people fishing off the banks - who'd wanna eat that carp? :)


We canoed on the Lot. Don't bother.

sandy stone 29-06-2021 10:00

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
As far as pollution and swimming in the river, I think your concern is more with the adjacent towns than the boats.

AnglaisInHull 29-06-2021 10:42

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Have rented on two canals: le canal de la Marne au Rhin boat had a holding tank, on le canal du Midi it didnít. Must be quite a cesspool on a hot day.

AJ_n_Audrey 29-06-2021 12:02

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
I imagine the water quality in the French canals is about as bad as the ones in Germany where I lived. I wouldn't swim in them.

tarian 29-06-2021 12:08

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
No modern country allows swimming in their canals come on is this a wind up, amd a canal is not river so why ask, a river flushes water through constantly, one would expect French rivers to be just as clean as other rivers in civilised Europe, heavy traffic areas, and industrial points do not swim, nice water in middle of country swim , have we become so obsessed with risk and common sense we have lost tbe ability to make these judgments or go onto a website a read about it , or do we like the drama of forums, lost for words really amd people like you are in charge of a boat , god helps us all

seandepagnier 29-06-2021 12:16

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
I swam in the great dismal swamp canal and I consider it clean enough. I was the only boat there for the entire week I spent there.

skipmac 29-06-2021 12:22

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tarian (Post 3435623)
No modern country allows swimming in their canals come on is this a wind up, amd a canal is not river so why ask, a river flushes water through constantly, one would expect French rivers to be just as clean as other rivers in civilised Europe, heavy traffic areas, and industrial points do not swim, nice water in middle of country swim , have we become so obsessed with risk and common sense we have lost tbe ability to make these judgments or go onto a website a read about it , or do we like the drama of forums, lost for words really amd people like you are in charge of a boat , god helps us all

First, go back and read the question carefully. I stated clearly that my hire boat will be in the River Lot.

Second, there are a number of canals over here in the USA where it is completely legal AND safe to swim. Yes the US canals are a bit different as most are sea level and the water isn't constrained by locks.

You seem to think I lack common sense. I am thinking you lack common courtesy.

skipmac 29-06-2021 12:26

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Seems like the experience of all just confirms what I already assumed. Don't go in the water. I was just hoping to learn my assumptions were wrong but apparently not.

Too bad as some of the photos of the River Lot look quite lovely and I do enjoy a good swim.

mikecambrai 29-06-2021 12:29

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
The VNF does not allow swimming in the canals but of course, people do. Yes, there is black and grey waste in most of them although in theory it is forbidden to dump into the water and there are only a few places where you can empty any waste tanks. I can only think of one in Northern France. The biggest issue though is probably the chemicals leaching into the canals from the fields and of course, if anyone stirs up the mud at the bottom then poisonous chemicals from years of exhausts make the mud really noxious. If a canal is dredged it is very expensive to take away the mud and decontaminate and place it somewhere.
I have seen a few places where the water is so clear that there have been shoals of blue fish swimming happily alongside as we passed through. So if you can see the bottom and there are fish around then I would think that it is safe enough to swim, but those places will be few and far between. And they are likely to be on a river and high enough to be near the source.
The Lot has very few boats, mostly for hire, as access from the Gironde is not currently allowed, and swimming and general water recreation is abundant with very clear waters. Indeed the Dordogne nearby is very clear but not deep enough for boats apart from skiffs and canoes.

Hesti 29-06-2021 12:31

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Do as the locals do. If they swim - it should be okish, if they don't, don't.

Davidhoy 29-06-2021 12:56

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by skipmac (Post 3435636)
You seem to think I lack common sense. I am thinking you lack common courtesy.

Well said! That other post was utterly ridiculous.

-David


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