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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Keeping your boat afloat

One of the jobs that most boat owners recognise as an essential part of keeping their boat afloat is getting it out of the water every couple of years and renewing the coats of blacking that protect the steel below the waterline. However, many may not realise just what else needs to be checked once the boat's bottom is available for scrutiny.

When a boat is in Norbury Wharf's dry dock there is an extensive checklist of items before the blacking itself can be applied.

Manager David Ray explained: “We look at the anodes, of course, to see if they need replacing but we also check the stern tube for wear and ensure the skeg is still straight.

“Then we look at the top and bottom rudder bearings for wear and check to see the rudder itself hasn't been damaged.

“We look at the propellor for any damage and check the nut and split pins holiding it in place as well a  looking at any damages on the chines. We look at the counter band paintwork and the gunwhale sides to
see the paint there is OK and examine the weed hatch, as there can sometimes be corrosion there on older boats. We even look at the fenders.”

David says the three or four day bottom blacking slot is the ideal time to do some simple jobs which would be much more difficult or impossible in the water.

“Whilst the boat is on the dock we give the hull a full health check. We can repair and replace everything  from a new fender to a new bottom – although that may take somewhat longer!”

Norbury's dry dock is popular with boaters, especially as returning customers get a 10 per cent discount, but that's also to do with the professional job they deliver and their reasonable charges.

The dock is particularly popular with liveaboard boaters as it has a substantial walk way from dockside to boat deck rather than some rickety old plank! Electric and water is supplied free whilst the boat is on the dock or you can stay in the Wharf's own holiday cottage for a few days bed and breakfast or on one of the fleet of hire boats at a discounted rate.

Currently docking and undocking costs £120 and the cost of pressure washing and applying no fewer than three coats of blacking depends on the length of the boat and the type of material used - but all include VAT. Bitumen costs £7.95 per foot, International Intertuf 16 comes in at £8.99 per foot and Comastic at £10.50  per foot.

The dock is also available on turnaround days for surveys. Norbury can arrange and book pre-purchase surveys, insurance surveys, hull surveys and full surveys. There is an on site Boat Safety Examiner and qualified Gas Safe Engineer.

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