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wgilbert
wgilbert

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:47pm

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

I recently took delivery of my new build canal boat and have always been concerned as how low the stern of the boat sits in the water, but never thought it was something to be overly concerned by. The first time I took the weed hatch lid off to inspect the prop, water came flooding over. luckily I managed to quickly secure the lid without too much water coming in. On later inspection the canal water level is actually higher than the top of the weed hatch. My boat builder does not seem overly concerned by the situation, as all that needs to be done is the removal of some ballast. There is some pig iron ballast on the starboard swim, but thatâs all I can see, all the other ballast is under the cabin floor. The hull is from a very well respected company, so I have no concerns the hull is at fault, just the builder has put to much ballast in. What I would like to know is: 1. Can sufficient ballast be removed to change the waterline to the correct level? 2. How high should the water come up the weed hatch i.e. what is a safe distance from the water level to the top of the hatch? 3. If I feel the boat is unsafe and not fit for purpose can I demand a full refund? As understandably I have lost all confidence in him.

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:47am

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

As I understand it this problem means the boat is in breach of the Recreational Craft Directive and as such the sale to you was illegal. I suggest you contact your local Trading Standards because they have the statutory RCD matters (when they can be bothered. It is vital that you write to the vendor to make it plane that you do not and will not accept the situation and expect them to correct it. The BSS Hire Boat Guide gives best practise in this respect http://www.boatsafetyscheme.com/downloads/W%20Gu ide%20Pt%2010.pdf and in my view your surveyor should have picked this up before delivery - you did have one didn't you! In the light of the above I can only refer you to the 10" above the waterline for ALL hull openings as referred to above. The correct waterline is a movable feast but I would want the boat to trim slightly down by the stern with the uxter plate (swim plate) at least a inch BELOW the waterline at rest. 2" would be better to minimise the prop ventilating. Ballast can be removed to the point described above. As I said I believe this boat has been sold in breach of the RCD and as such the RCD certification is also illegal. Talk to trading standards. Hampshire County Council did/does have a lot of RCD stuff on their website. Tony Brooks

wgilbert
wgilbert

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:35pm

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

Thank you Tony for the advice, do you think I can demand the builders return my money and take back ownership?

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:35pm

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

It really does not matter what I think and I have seen enough cases of dispute about boats where whatever the rights and wrongs the owner has been left very much out of pocket. Even if you do persuade a judge that this is what should happen there is every chance that you will then fine the builder has liquidated the company. As a matter of urgency you must: 1 instruct a qualified surveyor who is willing to act as expert witness for a report. 2 talk to your local Trading Standards (Consumer Protection) Department re the possible fraudulent RCD declaration. You will probably have to push them on this but you have the BSS document I showed you. 3 talk to a lawyer (many will give an hour's free advice) to clarify your rights before informing the builder that you are considering rejecting the boat and have no intention of being deemed to have accepted it. There is some need for speed here because the longer you delay the better the builder may be able to argue that you have accepted the alleged defect. This is a legal matter concerning the RCD and the RCD certificate so I would be very ill advised to give an opinion in respect of your ability to reject the boat. As you give me no information about the depth of the Uxter plate I can not make an assessment about ballast removal but if that can be done so the Uxter plate is still 1 to 2 inches below the water and the boat still trims down by the stern I suspect that would be the option that minimises your expenses. Talk to your surveyor about it. It may even be possible to extend the weedhatch trunk so it is above the waterline by several inches (exact height would be defined by the RCD on a boat built since 1997. Tony Brooks PS Sorry to have to add this as it is no help to you but it is for others who are thinking of buying a new boat. I very much doubt this would have arisen in a surveyor had be retained to oversee the build.

wgilbert
wgilbert

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:06pm

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

Thanks for all the advice. From memory the water level is about 6 inches above the Uxter plate. On average how much does the water line change with an empty fuel tank compared to when it was topped up. What I am thinking about is installing a replacement tank, which is a lot smaller.I have attached a photo of the boat during build, hopefully you will be able to judge the depth, and it is defiantly higher than the top of the hatch.

Weed hatch water level
Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:25am

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

I am sure that you can safely remove some ballast from the back of the boat because I doubt that a full tank would push the stern down by more than an inch. Try removing the pig iron from the swim but I suspect this is trimming ballast to correct any list caused when the fitting out put more weight on one side of the boat. Otherwise see if you can get the ballast out of the cabin bilge trap that should be at the back of the accommodation. May be you will have to have the whole floor area of the back cabin cut out to remove enough ballast. If the boat then trims down by the bow I fear you will have to remove ballast from the front. Just a thought, is your water tank empty because that would certainly drop the stern. I can not tell very much from your photo because it is too small. However, apart from what looks like a pipe that may or may not be running above the weedhatch I think it would be far easier to have the weedhatch trunk extended upwards and probably cheaper than a new fuel tank plus fitting. Just make sure nothing above the hatch will obstruct your access to it - you sometimes need to get one shoulder into it! If you want me to look at any more pictures then please email to Tony@TB-training.co.uk. Tony Brooks

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:49am

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

One further and important thought. This goes to the heart of the matter. If this boat in its present condition does not meet the RCD design standards then the certificate is fraudulent. That being the case it is worthless and if you try to sell the boat in the EU within 5 years you will also be committing an offence. You need an expert in RCD matters to give an opinion and take it from there. This is why I advised a surveyor. If that certificate is fraudulent then you have every right to reject the boat and try to get your money back. If however it is only the weedhatch that is non-compliant then modifying it and/or the boat's trim should make the certificate legal for the least cost and worry. Tony Brooks

wgilbert
wgilbert

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:04pm

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

I thought I should give you an update. I did get a surveyor who found the boat had a serious defect and a fraudulent RCD, I got a solicitor and rejected the boat, the builders continued to blame me for the defect! Eventually trading standards got involved then the builders soon changed their minds and gave me a refund. I ended up loosing several thousand pounds but I did get most of my money back. The boat is currently for sale in your magazine! I did learn one point â ALWAYS HAVE A SURVEYOR!!!

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:41am

Post Subject: Weed hatch water level

Thank you for the feedback and I am sorry you lost money. However I am pleased that you did not loose more as you so easily could. I wish all purchasers of boats both old and new would read this because it just underlines the fact that using a surveyor is vital on new builds and I would appoint one to oversee the build as well as a final inspection. Tony Brooks

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