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Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:36pm

Post Subject: ballast

Having removed the floor of my narrow boat,gravel has been used for ballast.Is this good,bad,or does it make no difference.Cheers Dave.


Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:00am

Post Subject: ballast

Although many older boats were ballasted this way I think the best thing to say is that it is not good. Eventually some water will find its way into most boats accommodation bilge but the gravel tends to absorb and hold the water against the steel hull. This can lead to excessive corrosion from the inside. I suppose much depends upon how the hull was treated before the gravel went in. Its use may also cause problems if parts of the hull ever have to be cut out and renewed - it would tend to fall out! Best practise nowadays is probably engineering brick sat upon something like floor tile spacers so there is a small air & water gap between the bricks and metal with paving slabs a close second. I am not sure that anyone can advise you on your best course of action unless a significant part of the ballast is removed so the hull can be inspected for the size of any pitting. An EXPERIENCED surveyor just might be able to give a guide from his ultrasound thickness measurements taken from the outside but as this is done as a series of spot readings it would be all too easy to miss a deep internal pit. I suspect this boat is getting close to the age when most insurance companies require a hull survey so that may be the opportunity to discuss it with a surveyor. Tony Brooks

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