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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

Clivevon 29-06-2021 13:10

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
You can do what you like - you are probably old enough. But you won't let your children or grandchildren swim there, will you? Yeah, sure - wild swimming. Great. Polio has been eradicated now, hasn't it??? just dont swallow the water, & have a full shower on deck when you get out.

skipmac 29-06-2021 13:15

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

Originally Posted by Clivevon (Post 3435686)
You can do what you like - you are probably old enough. But you won't let your children or grandchildren swim there, will you? Yeah, sure - wild swimming. Great. Polio has been eradicated now, hasn't it??? just dont swallow the water, & have a full shower on deck when you get out.

Nah. Pretty sure I don't want to. Was just hoping I was wrong in my assumptions and was curious to find out if my research was correct in that there are no holding tanks nor pump out on the canals and rivers.

Clivevon 29-06-2021 13:21

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Good choice. I'm always conflicted by this sort of question - I see people swimming in our marina - behind a lock gate. Do I mind my own business - or point out the possibilities? There are brilliant shore facilities but, you know, in the rain or middle of the night, who knows...

wolfgal 29-06-2021 14:36

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Hi Skipmac,

i'm glad to learn that, in the end, you will be making the trip along the canals!

you've gotten a lot of good feedback here...

decades ago, i was astounded by the direct deposit of all kinds of industrial waste in the rivers. pipes carrying smelly, fluo liquid and dead fish floating. it was shocking!

nowadays this has surely changed (there's a green party here), but there is still the agricultural run-off (france is a patchwork of industrial cereal and colza farms, for which the pesticides used are mostly subsidised...) and the fact that the boats are not equipped with black water tanks.

personally, i would not get into any canal water, much less let my loved ones get in.

For a clean dip (hot or cold), best go to Iceland. :biggrin:

that said, have a fantastic trip (and enjoy the wine and cheese)!

:flowers:

wolfie

chrisr 29-06-2021 15:01

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

Originally Posted by AJ_n_Audrey (Post 3435619)
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.

we spent a couple of weeks on the canals & lakes around potsdam, and found the swimming excellent (if a little weedy in places). all the locals swim there - not just the visitors

cheers,

Brewgyver 29-06-2021 15:12

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Nick & Terysa on Ruby Rose (YouTube sailing couple) transited the du Midi in 2019, and while much of the countryside was beautiful, the water did NOT look inviting at any point in the trip. Terysa fell in from the bank at one point, she was not happy.

If you've spent any time in Paris...

Macblaze 29-06-2021 15:33

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Ya, of the three canals I've seen I wouldn't swim in any of them. That said, I've seen kids do it.

Lot eh. That's on my bucket listóalthough I tend to avoid the the there-and-back itineraries.. River cruising is a bit more interesting but those boats are pigs. Be interesting to see how much current plays a part (although all the French rivers are pretty tamed.)

Be sure to post up a pic or two and/or some updates. Have an awesome time.

inspectr 29-06-2021 16:03

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
we travelled on the Canal du Midi about 6 years ago in two brand new Le Boat vessels. They had holding tanks and avipod drives - working in the locks was easy
Two pieces of advice.
Dont swim - the canal has a very limited flow, trapped by (in our case) more than 60 locks. At no time were any of us tempted to even get our feet wet.
Second, because of the flow, one way charter downhill is vastly better. The difference between 6 knots down hill and 4 knots uphill makes for a very long day
Enjoy the villages, Beziers, Carcazzone (spelling) and the smaller ones
Bicycling up to the village charcuterie and the bakers for fresh breaskfasts, yum, and I can still taste the chilli dark chocolate from Carcazzone
Would return to do it again as soon as we in OZ can travel

gulfcoastsailor 29-06-2021 16:25

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
…. Thank you for joining us here at the shallow end of the forum … we appreciate your participation!
Be sure to join our lively discussion next week when we cover the always popular topic …
“ Yellow snow; should I?”

See you then!

hzcruiser 29-06-2021 16:30

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

Originally Posted by Hesti (Post 3435644)
Do as the locals do. If they swim - it should be okish, if they don't, don't.

That's how I would handle it, too...

boatman61 29-06-2021 16:36

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

Originally Posted by skipmac (Post 3435639)
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.

Wild swimming in French rivers is fairly popular however this comes with a caution... don't swim after heavy rains as the E-Coli levels from runoff gets pretty high.
As a rule of thumb swimming in rivers is okay if the water is clear, E-Coli levels will be low.

Secret river, lake and waterfall swims in France¬*|¬*Wild Swimming - outdoors in rivers, lakes and the sea

snort 29-06-2021 17:06

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Probably too much "eau de oui" to my liking.

psk125 29-06-2021 17:21

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
We chartered a Locaboat on the Canal du Nivernais for a week. Decidedly not commercial. Not tempted to go swimming, and didn't see anyone else in the water either.

Quadrille in JB 30-06-2021 03:46

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
While a little off topic, I enjoy a good swim so I took advantage of many of the excellent aquatic facilities that many of the French towns have. Check these out. For a small fee you can enjoy their beautiful indoor pools. But...interestingly enough you are only allowed to wear a Speedo type brief swim suit in the pools, no board shorts as most of us in the US wear. Most facilities have a vending machine in the lobby that sells Speedos.
I did enjoy several good swims in one of the larger swift flowing rivers in Belgium.
In the Med, most all boats dump directly overboard and although the waters are crystal clear, even in the crowded marinas, I never even considered swimming in these obviously very polluted waters. Most of the marinas had many of the local kids swimming with hopefully no problems.
Here is a link to some of the public pools but most of them that I visited are not on this list, so check with someone in each town.
https://www.annieandre.com/amazing-p...ols-in-france/

bobnlesley 30-06-2021 04:15

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

Originally Posted by skipmac (Post 3435636)
First, go back and read the question carefully. I stated clearly that my hire boat will be in the River Lot...

...I am thinking you lack common courtesy.

Methinks your response is rather harsh and that you owe that poster an apology.
Having 'gone back and read the question' I for one noticed that the primary question which you asked was:
...how polluted are the canals and is it advisable to swim there?

dannc 30-06-2021 06:37

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

Originally Posted by Brewgyver (Post 3435770)
Nick & Terysa on Ruby Rose (YouTube sailing couple) transited the du Midi in 2019, and while much of the countryside was beautiful, the water did NOT look inviting at any point in the trip. Terysa fell in from the bank at one point, she was not happy.

If you've spent any time in Paris...

Yeah, the water looked to be very high in nutrients.... :redface:

No way would I swim in the water they showed.

Later,
Dan

skipmac 30-06-2021 09:24

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

Originally Posted by wolfgal (Post 3435748)
Hi Skipmac,

i'm glad to learn that, in the end, you will be making the trip along the canals!

you've gotten a lot of good feedback here...

decades ago, i was astounded by the direct deposit of all kinds of industrial waste in the rivers. pipes carrying smelly, fluo liquid and dead fish floating. it was shocking!

nowadays this has surely changed (there's a green party here), but there is still the agricultural run-off (france is a patchwork of industrial cereal and colza farms, for which the pesticides used are mostly subsidised...) and the fact that the boats are not equipped with black water tanks.

personally, i would not get into any canal water, much less let my loved ones get in.

For a clean dip (hot or cold), best go to Iceland. :biggrin:

that said, have a fantastic trip (and enjoy the wine and cheese)!

:flowers:

wolfie

Thanks. We are really looking forward to the trip. I first heard about the French canals when I was in high school and read an article in National Geographic about them. Was one of the first things I ever put into a bucket list, before I even knew what a bucket list was.

I agree about the pesticide runoff. Sewage is bad enough but agricultural residues are nasty. In the US there is a huge dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River, over 20,000 square kilometers. The biggest contributors are nutrients from agricultural fertilizers but there is also a significant content of herbicides and pesticides included.

I have to say, with the strength of the Green Party in Europe I am surprised that there are no regulations for holding tanks on the rivers and canals.

skipmac 30-06-2021 09:26

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

Originally Posted by Macblaze (Post 3435779)
Ya, of the three canals I've seen I wouldn't swim in any of them. That said, I've seen kids do it.

Lot eh. That's on my bucket list—although I tend to avoid the the there-and-back itineraries.. River cruising is a bit more interesting but those boats are pigs. Be interesting to see how much current plays a part (although all the French rivers are pretty tamed.)

Be sure to post up a pic or two and/or some updates. Have an awesome time.

I too have seen local kids swimming in places that looked so bad I wouldn't want to touch a dockline that fell in.

Will definitely post about the trip when we get back. I too would have preferred a one way instead of round trip but the Lot sounded so inviting we decided to go with it anyway.

skipmac 30-06-2021 09:33

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

Originally Posted by bobnlesley (Post 3436009)
Methinks your response is rather harsh and that you owe that poster an apology.
Having 'gone back and read the question' I for one noticed that the primary question which you asked was:
...how polluted are the canals and is it advisable to swim there?

Yes I did title the thread swimming in canals but did River Lot in the very first post.

And I agree my response might have infringed on the forum rule to be nice, however when someone says of me, "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" perhaps the apology should be coming from the other direction.

valhalla360 30-06-2021 10:57

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Swimming where a lot of boats are moored is a bit iffy but...

Water clarity if often a poor measure of pollution. Clear water can be badly polluted and turbid water can be largely pollution free.

ozolli 30-06-2021 11:36

Re: Swimming in the French canals????
 
Hello,

You may have the information you are looking for here:
https://www.tourisme-lot.drupal.rc-p.../river-bathing

skipmac 30-06-2021 12:49

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

Originally Posted by valhalla360 (Post 3436239)
Swimming where a lot of boats are moored is a bit iffy but...

Water clarity if often a poor measure of pollution. Clear water can be badly polluted and turbid water can be largely pollution free.

Quite correct. One example, hikers in the US used to advocate drinking from clear mountain streams but that clear mountain stream can be polluted with all sorts of nasty bacteria.

El Pinguino 30-06-2021 13:45

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

Originally Posted by skipmac (Post 3436307)
Quite correct. One example, hikers in the US used to advocate drinking from clear mountain streams but that clear mountain stream can be polluted with all sorts of nasty bacteria.

Nothing like a bit of giardia to tone up your system.

Swim in the French canals or rivers? I wouldn't swim in the North Sea.

boatman61 30-06-2021 15:39

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

Originally Posted by El Pinguino (Post 3436334)
Nothing like a bit of giardia to tone up your system.

Swim in the French canals or rivers? I wouldn't swim in the North Sea.

To bludi cold.. the W coast of Portugal's bad enough.. :nonono:

goboatingnow 30-06-2021 16:41

Swimming in the French canals????
 
Jesus the BS here. The Lot has many swimming areas and people regularly swim in it. Canals are different. But equally many people swim in various canals including Dutch kids etc . The midi is well known as not suitable for swimming in.


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