Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Horace42

Death throes of rusty boat

Featured Posts

33 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Ok, but how many people with, or buying, an overplated boat have any idea of this?  I'd offer that most folk here, and I'd say they are are generally more interested than most in boating, will have little appreciation of stability let alone have heard of Metacentric Height or have an understanding of the effects of shifting it.  Bloomin' good job it's not rough, I'd say! :sick:

It was said partly tongue in cheek - the serious point is that the sort of weights people routinely put on cabin tops (which the boats were never designed to accommodate) seemingly without consequence, are far more significant to a vessel's stability characteristics than overplating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine now has two sides and three bottoms as nobody ever suggested cutting out. It certainly sat lower in the water, so I took the ballast out and then it didn't any more. I'm used to it, I like it and I couldn't afford a new boat so it was worth doing for me. Wouldn't have been worth it just to sell it on.

To be honest, they did suggest chopping the bottom off but decided against in case they couldn't find any decent steel to weld the new sides etc to! What they did find was scary enough...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Things have changed over the years. Back in the 70's, 80's and 90's (all very approximate of course) buyers would be told that a new steel boat would 'last for ever'. Builders would lay the base plate flat on the floor, weld from one side and when the boat was dropped in the water there would not be a lick of paint on the bottom. Why? because its easier but people were told that the bottom didn't need painting. If only that was true. Boats were given a quick coat of bituminous paint and frequently not docked for years. 'Through bilges' were common. Not many of these boats have survived without overplating. Nowadays things are different. The bottom is painted, usually with decent paint and so is everything below the waterline. Docking and painting is now seen as part of ongoing maintainance.  Bituminous paint is less common and design and building has grown up a bit. I would reckon these boats will last much longer  before they need welding. Its all down to painting with the best paint you can afford and docking every 3 or 4 years (or more if you are a worrier.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I have hired from Rose.

 

Agreed, if it is a properly done job then there is no problem.

 

I would suggest that boat 'overplating' is sort of a back-street business and for every well-done example ( properly welded, ballast corrected, freeboard checked etc) there would be an example of 'less than perfect' work.

 

Cost could well be a deciding factor in peoples choice of where to have it done, and think that price would be indicative of 'quality'.

 

Maybe a generalisation but in many instances boats that need overplating will be towards the bottom end of the market* and will probably be owned by people with limited 'discretionary spending'.

 

* There will always be the 'historic' or 'specials' owned by enthusiasts.

If the ones we see here for blacking are indicative of the general standard then the bad jobs are few and far between, no doubt because of competent oversight by the hull surveyor who will have specified the scope of the work in the survey that led to remedial works being deemed necessary. At the end of the day, it's the surveyor that signs it off, and that oversight should include checking downflooding heights etc.

 

That said, bad jobs do exist - the most memorable for me was when a gentleman booking his boat in for blacking asked if we could "re-do the silicone" while the boat was on the slip. I had not a clue what he was on about, and he got quite impatient until it dawned on me (and I still didn't believe it until I saw it) that the above water line welds were not continuous, and between the tacks it had been siliconed - no word of a lie.

 

Worse still he'd paid good money for the boat on the basis of a recent survey provided by the vendor which confirmed that all the work required to the hull had been carried out to a good standard. That surveyor went out of business rather than answer to his proffessional body for that one, and as the survey was in the name of the previous owner, the unfortunate new owner had to spend a lot of money having it all cut off and re-done at his own expense..

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Bee said:

Things have changed over the years. Back in the 70's, 80's and 90's (all very approximate of course) buyers would be told that a new steel boat would 'last for ever'. Builders would lay the base plate flat on the floor, weld from one side and when the boat was dropped in the water there would not be a lick of paint on the bottom. Why? because its easier but people were told that the bottom didn't need painting. If only that was true. Boats were given a quick coat of bituminous paint and frequently not docked for years. 'Through bilges' were common. Not many of these boats have survived without overplating. Nowadays things are different. The bottom is painted, usually with decent paint and so is everything below the waterline. Docking and painting is now seen as part of ongoing maintainance.  Bituminous paint is less common and design and building has grown up a bit. I would reckon these boats will last much longer  before they need welding. Its all down to painting with the best paint you can afford and docking every 3 or 4 years (or more if you are a worrier.)

As I type this I'm being held up by a 49 year old 1/4" plate bottom which has never seen a lick of paint, and passed its last survey with flying colours. It is not however a through bilge!

 

Age is not the defining factor and I'm not sure that modern steel and paint is better - there are still one or two GU boats out there with their original bottoms which are now knocking on 85 years old. Local conditions, stray volts and internal dryness are significant factors IMHO.

 

Steel is certainly very variable. I have six boats from the same shell builder all built between 87 and 89, plus another from the same builder which we built for a private customer and have always maintained. They have been treated the same in terms of paint systems etc, and five of them are still in excellent condition - two of the hireboats however have had to have significant amounts of steelwork as they seem to have been built out of recycled Austin Allegros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Horace42 said:

<I have a steel boat and it is going rusty.  I was not warned about this when I bought 33 years ago> snip

 

 <hull blacking (only 3 times).> snip

 

 

 

 

May I ask what was the idea in investing in blacking 3 times was for? 

 

Did you think the fish would complain about the hull looking a bit shabby? 

 

If you do not feel you were warned about keeping a boat protected from rust then why invest in blacking at all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, cheshire~rose said:

 

May I ask what was the idea in investing in blacking 3 times was for? 

 

Did you think the fish would complain about the hull looking a bit shabby? 

 

If you do not feel you were warned about keeping a boat protected from rust then why invest in blacking at all?

 

 

I'm shocked so many here could not see his tongue stuck so firmly in cheek saying this...
 

So many fantastic rises to the bait, he got! 

 

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rose Narrowboats said:

Worse still he'd paid good money for the boat on the basis of a recent survey provided by the vendor which confirmed that all the work required to the hull had been carried out to a good standard. That surveyor went out of business rather than answer to his proffessional body for that one, and as the survey was in the name of the previous owner, the unfortunate new owner had to spend a lot of money having it all cut off and re-done at his own expense..

 

I've only had one survey (my 1st 'big boat') the survey was excellent, we bought the boat and then found serious issues that took £20k+ to resolve and all of which the surveyor had 'passed with flying colours'.

Engaged a marine lawyer who went thru the survey and basically said - "don't waste your money going to court, the 'small print' absolves him from any errors and omissions, and basically the survey is just an opinion and not legally binding".

Have purchased (probably) 18 or 20 boats since (we normally replace them every couple of years) and never had a condition survey.

 

Add in the recurrent failures of BSS Examiners to even move out of the saloon, let alone see the Fire extinguisher are 10 years out of date, or other 'tests' I've set and I have little respect for the term 'surveyor'.

 

It won't be long before the money I've saved on surveys will buy me a new boat.

 

When we bought the Catamaran in Croatia (it was a £250k boat) we told the broker we did not want a survey, he insisted, I insisted, & in the end he paid for it to go over to Italy and be lifted out (nowhere in Croatia could lift it with 23 foot beam) and have as survey. He was not prepared to sell it and potentially sully his name by selling a 'bad-boat'.

 

The only fault found was a crack in the cross-trees which had already shown up whilst on its mooring when the broker arranged a rigging survey.

 

 

Screenshot (63).png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bee said:

You have had the boat 30+ years. IF you had bought it brand new it would very likely need some plating by now so you have done well with it. Do you like the boat? Enough to give it another 30 + years? If you do then get it overplated. Do you Really like it? then get the old steel removed and new put in (you might find this then leads to a re- fit as well). With a survey like that its really just a project boat and worth E Bay auction money - a few thousand at most. Your questions have pretty much been answered by others but a steel boat really is endlessly repairable if the owner wants to do it. If you go to Holland there are very many old (and ancient) iron and steel boats still in use, some of these are not classics either but because they are useful they get repaired.

Not really, our boat was 36 years old when we sold it, and certainly did not need overplating, or indeed mch attention to the hull at all.  I would suggest that the main cause for deterioration is that the OP's boat was only blacked three times in more than thirty years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

 

I'm shocked so many here could not see his tongue stuck so firmly in cheek saying this...
 

So many fantastic rises to the bait, he got! 

 

Not just me thinking that then....!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, frangar said:

Not just me thinking that then....!! 

I did wonder but was a little surprised at someone who knew what a blinking mess their hull was likely to be having it surveyed themselves prior to sale - makes it harder to say 'I'm sure it's fine' Shirley? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Ok, but how many people with, or buying, an overplated boat have any idea of this?  I'd offer that most folk here, and I'd say they are are generally more interested than most in boating, will have little appreciation of stability let alone have heard of Metacentric Height or have an understanding of the effects of shifting it.  Bloomin' good job it's not rough, I'd say! :sick:

The lack of understanding of stability is a common problem with inland boaters, unfortunately, hence the weight that some people put on their roof - coal, wood etc etc. Because of this added weight high up it means that the average narrow boat has less transverse stability than some people may think, made worse by the free surface effect in fuel and water tanks. Good reasons why I wouldn't like to consider taking a narrow boat into open waters unless it has been modified to take this into consideration.:boat:

 

Howard

Edited by howardang

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a  bloke with a little old springer who found a fallen ash tree and cut the whole lot up and put it on his roof. He had no stability problem at all.

 

The buoyancy issue got him though.

 

...............Dave

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After a full overplate we had to remove quite a lot of ballast and move stuff about. We are still looking to move more. However the confidence we got from grinding on the bottom of the canal with a decent lump of bottom, rather than worry about every grounding was great.

the really worrying bit on the docking was discovering the iron stem had cracked 3 inches above the waterline. No doubt in bwb ownership.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ours was overplated the full length along both sides, and as a result is 1" (25mm) lower in the water. This has proved that I was right when I said to the boat builder 30 years ago that it should have had some ballast to make the stern sit an inch lower in the water, it now handles better and stops in a much shorter distance when necessary.

 

I did have the floor of the gas lockers (at the stern) raised because their vents were already rather close to the waterline and I don't want to have to rely on the thin floor of the lockers to keep me afloat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Rose Narrowboats says, local conditions, stray volts and internal dryness are important. Its the stray volts that are so hard to know about. Is it this that causes pitting? I understand the anode and cathode bit (well sort of) but as I understand it local bits of carbon, slag(?) and just plain old 'stuff' within the steel is enough to start a pit, you do not have to have an iffy electrical system on the boat or your neighbours boat. The only way that I know to deal with this is paint, my experience is that once you paint the pit it stops it developing but I cannot remember every pit on the boat so who knows? How is it that HMS Belfast is still afloat? or any other steel boat sitting in corrosive salt water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Bee said:

How is it that HMS Belfast is still afloat?

 

Its probably built of something thicker than 1/4 plate!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

That's about as long as I've had mine.  i don't think it owes me anything and I don't begrudge it the money I've spent on it, it's been 30 odd years of pure happiness (and occasionally expense).  It sounds like the OP is thinking of moving on to another boat, in which case (as he can presumably afford a new one) it would be probably best to sell it for whatever he can get for it without bothering too much.

If mine fails to get its engine fixed, that's how it'll go and I'll pick up whatever I can afford to potter about on, but it won't be another narrowboat.

 

ETA final piece of crucial advice... fit TWO automatic bilge pumps, because one will certainly fail as soon as you need it.  Mine always have.

Arthur - We will sell our boat and not replace it.

 

Regretfully (in our 80's) we have to give up boating because we feel the physical limitations brought on by old age exposes us to serious accidental injury, even when being very careful.......days on jumping across locks to operate gates (to save walking round) - are long gone.  Even stepping up and down on stationary boat close to the bank is an ordeal for my wife who has bad painful arthritis in her joints...and as for pulling on mooring ropes - we do not have the strength....well we do! but this is where the risk creeps in....I say this as a matter of fact - not for seeking sympathy.

 

Coupled to this is the need to move home to be nearer our children in our old age - not because we want to - but more for children's sake because they worry about us be far from them in emergencies.

 

This means selling our home (which has an EOG mooring) and without a boat, our new home will not need  to be canalside.
The economics of selling our boat is no big deal seen in the context of our house and land sale to a developer for housing.   - which timed by demands of completion  might mean we move out quicky  and live our boat for a while.....a dream for some by all accounts...but for us a logistic nightmare.

 

My question about  rust and things is more for the benefit of the boat buyer - I just want to get rid of the hassle.....!
There are comments by  many others that I will respond to asap.

On 07/02/2020 at 13:27, billS said:

answer 3 - a scrap man

Yes - but how much for

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Horace42 said:

Arthur - We will sell our boat and not replace it.

 

Regretfully (in our 80's) we have to give up boating because we feel the physical limitations brought on by old age exposes us to serious accidental injury, even when being very careful.......days on jumping across locks to operate gates (to save walking round) - are long gone.  Even stepping up and down on stationary boat close to the bank is an ordeal for my wife who has bad painful arthritis in her joints...and as for pulling on mooring ropes - we do not have the strength....well we do! but this is where the risk creeps in....I say this as a matter of fact - not for seeking sympathy.

 

Coupled to this is the need to move home to be nearer our children in our old age - not because we want to - but more for children's sake because they worry about us be far from them in emergencies.

 

This means selling our home (which has an EOG mooring) and without a boat, our new home will not need  to be canalside.
The economics of selling our boat is no big deal seen in the context of our house and land sale to a developer for housing.   - which timed by demands of completion  might mean we move out quicky  and live our boat for a while.....a dream for some by all accounts...but for us a logistic nightmare.

 

My question about  rust and things is more for the benefit of the boat buyer - I just want to get rid of the hassle.....!
There are comments by  many others that I will respond to asap.

Yes - but how much for

I'm sorry that your 'distressed sale' has been taken by some to be a 'wind up', it cannot be easy and such a life changing decision is not something undertaken lightly.

 

My 90 year old parents 'had to sell up' a few years ago and we have accommodated them in a 'double lodge'  ( basically a 'holiday home' but built to building regs) a couple of 100 yards from our house so they have independence but I could take their meals etc around. Mother died a couple of years ago and Father is virtually immobile, even with 2-sticks, the best he can manage without his buggy is 10 yards.

 

Change your life, hard as it will be, to enjoy what you have for as long as you can.

 

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/02/2020 at 13:34, TheBiscuits said:

Just check that your policy doesn't include a phrase like "has a survey within the last 5 years with all recommendations carried out" as many do for older boats.

 

If your policy has that wording and you haven't had the work done then you are not insured, even if they took your money.

 

Note that you can still get 3rd party only insurance without this requirement, it's for fully comp policies that it applies.

So very true. Insurance has been my problem - even with fully comp cover - you are right about 'recommendations being carried out' - I asked the surveyor to say my boat was seaworthy for the time being and repairs were not immediately required..... or that it was in immediate risk of sinking .... all I got was a smart-arse answer.

 

But I have got fully comp insurance (based on a copy of the survey report accepted by the insurers) - so I should be covered for my loss, where for me the costly risk is not losing my boat (because it sinks at the end of my garden due to undetected minor leaks in the hull and a failed bilge pump)  but instead to me, the perceived 3rd party risk of my boat sinking in a lock and me being landed with a huge bill for emergency clearance of the obstruction to navigation. Then refusing to pay blamed on 'recommendations' not being carried out'

 

For this I  am comforted by good independent authority that an insurer is fully liable to pay out on a claim (by law) unless it can traced to a contributory cause by something that would not have happened had the recommendations been carried out.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of people got their homes flooded last year, with full insurance cover. Most of them haven't had a penny yet and some are suing the insurance companies for refusing to pay out. I wouldn't underestimate the ability of the company to find some small print that says in only blacking the boat 3 times in thirty years you were being negligent.  That said, my 3rd party Basic Boat cover which asks nothing much covers me for recovery if I sink, so if that's the only worry you should be fine. Probably....

Anyway, you'll likely spot the danger well before it sinks and have time to get to a yard, which is what I did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/02/2020 at 14:43, TheMenagerieAfloat said:

To be honest with you if you've enjoyed your boat for 33 years you'll have probably had better 'value' from it than most boat owners get. I'm not sure if you liveaboard or use it for play but if you put it in the 'like a car/caravan' rather than 'like a house' category in your head (i.e. it is a liability requiring maintenance as it depreciates rather than an asset which increases in value (sometimes) without significant investment) then you might get a better perspective on it.

 

Surveyors generally focus on the stuff you can't see easily as an average person whilst the boat is in the water (e.g. I'd rather they spent time using their ultrasound on the hull than looking at the quality of the kitchen cabinets which I can judge myself). You've clearly invested time and energy (and probably some £ too) in the parts you can see - and those are what will attract a new buyer. They may also want a hull survey (I don't think you're obliged to show them yours although it would come across odd not to if you mention it and they ask) but by that time they've already basically 'fallen for' the bits you've kept pretty.

 

Options are

* sell, without mentioning your survey, at a price which reflects the condition of the visible bits

** reduce price significantly (to close to 'scrap' value) after they get a hull survey to reflect what it is likely to say

 

* sell, with mentioning of your survey, priced at scrap value, with a comment along the lines of 'price reflects work recommended by recent survey to get hull up to standard of living accommodation'

 

* fix and sell - you'll need to speak to a few brokers/ppl on here/browse appolo duck/... to get an idea of if the returns will be worth it to you

 

Edited to add...

1, Are there any standards for minimum thickness of rusty hulls?

** as above, only for some insurance/insurers

2, What is the death profile of a steel narrow?

3, Who would buy a rusty boat?

** dreamers/the poor/the ambitious/the unaware/the 'fallen for the fit out' types/someone spotting a potential bargain/... lots of boats near me are in pretty shocking nick.

Thanks for the detailed reply and selling tips.

Yes! Many years of fun, but as a fair weather cruiser. My boat is moored at the end of my garden - and hardly used - it is more of a hobby - I am always doing jobs on it. But as my reply to Arthur, my boat has to go.

I will sell it 'as is' with full disclosure of the report - and at the valuation price or less - I don't want any after-sales hassle.

In this respect the hull is a minor worry.  Over the years I have refitted it out a couple of times - and with added electrical  'gadgets' (excluding solar panels). Things that are neatly packaged as  'norm' today, but long ago only available to DIY boaters with skills and time to design and fit them. 

Although I have drawings and photos  of everything, I have a feeling the new owner will have problems if something goes wrong. I don't want to be called out - even if paid.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Horace42 said:

Regretfully (in our 80's) we have to give up boating...

May I take this opportunity, and I'm sure I speak for many here, to wish you all the very best with your sale and for your forthcoming career as a land lubber. It sounds to me like you've had your money's worth and more from "Willpower" and, notwithstanding your inattention to her bottom ;), she's given you great service and a bundle of happy memories.  Good luck Horace! :)

  • Greenie 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/02/2020 at 14:25, Arthur Marshall said:

I think my boat is about sixty years old, maybe a bit more.  It's been replated twice - wouldn't have needed the second replating yet if the first had been done properly, but there you go.  If you've only had it blacked three times n thirty years I suspect the surveyor was right and it's almost ready to sink. (Sounds like a survey i had on a house once, which more or less implied the surveyor thought he'd been lucky to get out without the house falling on top of him, and advising me not to go back in without wearing a steel hat!).  Mine, before I had it done last, was so thin it was only the blacking keeping the water out - when they cleaned it off to reweld, you could see daylight through the hull.  Very pretty it was too, like little stars... it started sinking for other reasons and the boat only survived because I was gazing sadly into the engine bilge at the time and saw the hole develop and the water start to come in.

You have to work out whether it's cheaper to resteel the boat or buy a new one.  I would think that with a survey like that it would be virtually unsaleable, though the "we buy any boat" mob might give you a few quid for it, but if they're anything like the car ones, they'll rip you off good style.  My resteeling cost me nine grand, if the boat's worth less than that after doing it, and you don't want it,  then it's scrap.

You only need one pit to go through to sink.  Then you have to pay recovery costs on top of having a worthless boat.  I'd treble check your insurance policy for phrases like "as long as properly maintained" and the rest of the weasel get out clauses. They may well refuse to pay for the refloat now they've seen the survey, but they'll always be happy to take your money, especially if they think they'll be able to turn down any claim.

A surveyor can't tell you how long before you sink - too many variables.  They won't put anything in writing in case they're wrong and you sue.  And you're allowed on the canals until you sink, then you're only allowed under them... CRT don't care as long as you pay to hoick it out again.  There aren't any standards of hull thickness either - you just get the thickness and quality of steel you choose and pay for.

I really can't see how you can complain that you weren't warned that a steel thing, sitting permanently in water might go rusty.  First, it aint rocket science, and second, you must have had a clue when painting it every year that some of this brown stuff that appeared had something to do with damp!

Lots more wise words Arthur.  I was being flippant when I said I did not know about the rust - of course I did - but not to the extent that it would be a constant and continuous battle to keep it a bay. It is fair to say it became obvious the first year of ownership, but I ignored the blacking mainly out of laziness - and now it come up to bite me.

As you have said here (and my reply earlier) the insurance is the tricky bit - but I have done all that I can in this respect. If the worst happens - they cannot say I did not tell them before I paid.

As a minor but relevant  detail, I have fitted a moisture sensor and alarm in the lowest point of the bilge to detect he first signs of a hull leak.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Horace42 said:

Thanks for the detailed reply and selling tips.

Yes! Many years of fun, but as a fair weather cruiser. My boat is moored at the end of my garden - and hardly used - it is more of a hobby - I am always doing jobs on it. But as my reply to Arthur, my boat has to go.

I will sell it 'as is' with full disclosure of the report - and at the valuation price or less - I don't want any after-sales hassle.

In this respect the hull is a minor worry.  Over the years I have refitted it out a couple of times - and with added electrical  'gadgets' (excluding solar panels). Things that are neatly packaged as  'norm' today, but long ago only available to DIY boaters with skills and time to design and fit them. 

Although I have drawings and photos  of everything, I have a feeling the new owner will have problems if something goes wrong. I don't want to be called out - even if paid.

 

That'll be like mine when it goes. Any new owner will get a detailed list of where everything is and how to get to it, plus all the various things that have been done to the hull and engine. After that, as in any 2nd hand sale, it's buyer beware and my responsibility will be over.

I bought the boat as a real mess for eight grand over thirty years ago, it cost about 15 in major repairs plus the usual stuff over that time and if someone else can get some fun out of it and give me a few bob back I reckon I'd be well ahead of the game.

Are you getting a new one or just disemboating?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.