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Slipways – Dry-docks – Cranes

UK Inland Waterway Slipways, Dry-docks and Cranes

Periodically every boat should be taken out of the water for the hull to be inspected, cleaned and the bottom treated. The inspection can also include the propeller, shaft, retaining nut and split-pin, bearing gland and rudder. The rudder should be treated with the hull. The prop should be inspected for bends or cracks in the blades and replaced if necessary. The rough edges may be filed smooth.

The rule of thumb and common advice is that this inspection should take place every two years. If left much longer the minor problems likely to occur below the water line in that period may develop into something more serious and costly!

With a steel hulled vessel the inspection would include the sacrificial anodes, if there is over 50% loss of volume then they should be replaced. Whilst the boat is out of the water we would recommend pressure washing the hull and removing any rust flakes, repair any seriously damaged or worn areas of the hull. When dry the hull should then be painted with at least two coats of anti-fouling paint or ‘blacking’.

With GRP hull - you should look for signs of osmosis and damage to the hull. Small bubbles on the hull should be broken, dried out and epoxy filler applied to the crater. The gel coat should be inspected and re applied.

There are three main ways of removing a boat from the water:

Slipways are where your boat is drawn out of the water on a trailer, cradle or similar.

Dry Dock where the water is removed from an enclosure at canal level by hydraulics - The traditional method of carrying out the above work is in a dry dock but they are few and far between.

Craneage; at a boat yard where there is a resident crane, the boat is lifted on to ‘sleepers’ for the inspection and work to be carried out. Generally the most expensive option if the crane has to be brought in to where the boat is. The cost can be shared if a number of boats are coming out (and going back in) on the same day(s)