The survey and our report

Having not owned a narrow boat before, we did have a small boat on the Thames at Henley, but that is a long time ago and a very different story, we asked Black Prince to recommend a company for our boat survey.

They passed our details on to Tom Keeling at Small Craft Services Ltd who emailed me and we arranged to chat on the phone. I was impressed with how Tom described the survey process, so we ask Tom to proceed with our pre-sale survey.

While Tom was recommended by Black Prince, it is very clear that he is working for us, his reputation is based making sure he finds what needs doing.

Tom arranged with Black Prince to come to Stoke Prior to survey the boat on 3rd February 2021 and we received his report a few days later.

Small Craft Services Survey Report
Small Craft Services Survey Report

The report starts with a boiler plate section that covers the scope of the survey and what we should expect to see on the following pages, it then describes the boats construction and thickness of the steel used as a baseline for the later test results.

The general condition of the metal work is described and explained, followed by the results of the Ultrasonic measurement of the thickness of each part show the range of measurements found.

Area Tested Ultrasonia Results (mm)
Cabin Side 4.0
Bulkheads 4.0
Hull Sides 5.8-5.9
Counter Plate 9.5-9.9
Base Plates 9.1-9.8
Transom 5.8
Swim 5.9
The report finishes with the Conclusion that outlines all the recommendations from the survey:-

“Floydtilla remains in a condition considered usual for a craft of this type, builder, use and year. There are recommendations detailed throughout the report and highlighted below which should be followed, as well as establishing a good programme of on-going maintenance.

It is known that the vendor will correct known faults prior to the completion of sale. If any further guidance is required please do not hesitate to contact the surveyor. Recommendations

  1. The craft should be re-blacked at this time (A)

    Long-term, you are advised to follow the advice given regarding sand-blasting and epoxy coating (or similar) (A)

  2. The transom edge where the rudder makes contact, has minor notching occurring. This should be repaired at this time (A)

  3. The sacrificial wear edge should be reinforced to the aft shoulders where an area of around 1m has reduced profile through wear (A)

  4. There were deeper corrosion pits to the forward aspects of the swim plating, approximately 7 per side that should be welded up at this time (A)

  5. The new aft anodes should be fitted closer to the stern gear to provide better protection with the existing anodes remaining in situ (A)

  6. The propeller is damaged and should be dressed (A)

  7. There was some play apparent in the stern tube bearing at the time of survey; this should be further investigated and the worn or damaged components replaced (P)

  8. Descale and repaint the weedhatch, including the trunk faces and seal faces. Replace the seal (A)

  9. The LPG locker base should be descaled and repainted at this time (A)”

The (A) at the end of each recommendation mean these are advisory and should be monitored or address as part of an on-going maintenance schedule.

We also received a short form of the survey that we could send to Black Prince, all of which they happily agreed would be done.
A couple of days after the report arrived Tom call us to discuss what he had found and made sure we understood, he was very complimentary about our choice of boat.
One of recommendations made in the report that we decided to put off until we understand more and can visit the suppliers, is to have the hull sandblasted and epoxy coated. We think this is a very good idea and in a couple of years when we next need to reblack the hull we will revisit this and look at our options.

The price of this pre-purchase survey was £395 Inc VAT which seemed like great value to us. It does give you a good feeling about your purchase and makes sure there are likely to be less surprises in the near future.

We will be working on a maintance schedule for when we finally take delivery, being an X-Hire boat the engine will have a high hours count, but should have been well maintained.