Following on from our last blog post, we now take you to our survey day! This was just over a week on from our test-drive. By this point, we had put our deposit down and paid up-front for our survey to be done. Unfortunately Adam couldn’t take the day off work, so it was down to me to make sure I knew what was being said and making lists of what needed to be done…. no pressure….
We arrived for around 09:00 and my mum came with me for company, she didn’t know anything about narrowboats and this was fine. I maybe 32 at the time and having my mum there was great support for a scary day. When we pulled up to the marina, I was extremely apprehensive for the day ahead. I knew a fair amount of information to blag my way through the discussions with the staff and surveyor, not enough to know 100% how the day would go.
The first thing I noticed is the narrowboat wasn’t in its usual spot. I went into the office to find our how the day would progress, again the staff were fab and put my mind at ease. They informed me that she had been moved to the other-side of the marina and was already near the dry dock waiting. Not long after this discussion, the surveyor arrived and he was a really lovely person. Throughout the whole process, he spoke to me and discuss the boat in great detail. Mum and I watched as she was moved into the dry dock, the gates closed and water was drained from the dock. She started to move lower and lower until she was sitting on very large wooden planks which looked like railway sleepers. We hung around for a while, waiting for the surveyor to finish his inspection of the hull. Once completed, he called me down to have a chat. I was in goods spirits as soon as I saw him as he had a great smile on his face! I wandered down to where the surveyor was on the bottom of the dry dock, he really did look pleased. He explained about the hull of the boat and that she was in great condition, recently blacked and only a very small amount of pitting. He said he did a quick fix on the weed hatch and now was working fine. Overall, she was sound. He explained that quite often, a lot of surveys end there as the hull is in such bad shape it will not get through its BSS. A lot of repairs have to be done before he can come back and do the hull survey again and carry on with the rest. *Do not worry non-boaters, I will explain the terminology in a separate blog ;)*
You think from hours of research, YouTube videos, talks with fellow boaters that you know a good amount about narrowboats.. even now nearly a year on we are still learning about her.
The next step of the day was to fill up the dry dock, bring her back out into the marina for an internal inspection. The surveyor informed us that this would be quite sometime, so mum and I decided to go for some brunch and a nice drink somewhere. Now, if you ever go to Braunston marina I highly recommend you go to the gongoozler! The gongoozler is a narrowboat cafe! They do a lovely range of food and drinks and everything was delicious! As we had Lilly with us for the day, we couldn’t step inside unfortunately. This didn’t matter, luckily the weather was kind to us and their was outdoor seating. They took our orders via their side hatch and kindly brought it over to us in the garden area where there was bench and tables to sit at. We ordered our much-needed coffee and bacon and sausage baguette. They were beautiful! The baguette tasted fresh and they were cooked perfect. We filled our tummies and took off to the local pub for a warm up and a drink to relax. We ordered our drinks and I picked up a copy of the waterways world mag whilst we were there. They had free WiFi and welcomed Lilly in the bar area.
Once a couple of hours had passed, we were warm with our bellies full, we headed back to the marina to see how things were going. When we pulled up, the surveyor was still working through the narrowboat, so we sat in the car as the sun had gone in and it was a little chilly. My Lilly doesn’t appreciate the cold being a lurcher lol.
Once he was done with his inspection, he called me over to go through everything. Mum stayed in the car with Lilly to keep warm and I headed over to him. I had been prepared with a list of questions Adam had for him so I took my note-book and pen too. Whilst he was going through everything with me, the engine started!!! I panicked, wondering what was going on. I had NEVER been inside the narrowboat whilst it moved!?! They decided to move her to her mooring with us inside….gulp… This may sound silly, as were looking to buy the narrowboat to live on so this would be a regular occurrence, however this didn’t stop me feeling scared and ecstatic at the same time. We started moving in the middle of the discussion with the surveyor and he did chuckle at my face when we started moving. He stopped and told me to go watch if I wanted. He knew I must be a newbie! It was lovely, slowly moving around the marina, hearing her engine going beautifully, we even helped do the ropes when she was settled in place. He carried on with going through everything. He said everything would be in the report so not to worry too much about writing everything down. I explained that my husband would want a full report from me as he is stuck at work, to which he smiled. He answered our questions and even wrote notes for Adam too. Once he had finished going through everything, he knew about our time constraints to get her to her home mooring and advised that he would email the full report by the evening! This would allow us to get any work done as quickly as possible as we needed to move her the following week.
There was a couple of main issues that needed to be done before she could receive her boat safety certificate. The first was having the cookers gas pipe replaced to a marine one as it was fitted with a household one. In a house, you are allowed a certain amount of gas leaking, on a narrowboat it has to be gas tight. The next thing was to cooker itself, this needed servicing as the gas when lit wasn’t blue it was yellow. I needed a thorough cleaning. So far, 2 things which were not too bad or expensive to do… The next thing was the washing machine plumbing. The hole/ skin fitting, for where the grey water from the washing machine would come out was too low. Any holes have to be a certain height so if she was to be full of our belongings there is still a good clearance otherwise the water would come into the boat!!! The easy fix was to put on a new pipe which had a U bend in so water could come in. Lastly, the multi-fuel stove needed servicing. It needed a bloody good clean out as it was all choked up and smoke would likely come inside. All in all, this wasn’t a massive amount of work to get done! Woooohoooo!
Next was to negotiate with the current owners about getting the work done before purchase. The options usually are to have them pay for the work and you still pay the offer price. Or you have the work done and they knock the price down. Luckily for us, they wanted a quick sale too so they let the marina do the work as the owner wouldn’t be able to do the work himself quickly enough for us. Bonus! This meant our tight time scale could actually work and in our favour. I will be honest, I would much prefer the marina staff to do the work than the owner… that’s my personal preference as I knew nothing about the owner. Looking at the kitchen he had done, actually I won’t go into that yet…
So, the work was to be done within a few days, the surveyor would come back to reassess the parts that needed fixing and supply us with out certificate! Once the certificate is in hand, this means we could now get the insurance, canal/river license and more that we needed. This was it…. it was actually happening!
My next blog post will be about us getting ready for the move to our home mooring! We bought a LOT of stuff. All was needed and will also tell you about the journey home! Until then, a few pics from the survey!