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Mach1
Mach1

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:13am

Post Subject: Narrowboat Builders

Narrowboat reviews in Canal Boat usually allude to the importance of the 'builder's pedigree' and the quality of the design and construction. Narrowboat construction is not exactly rocket science, and there are a great number of boat builders, so how would you advise a prospective buyer of either a new or used boat to ensure that they are not buying something that may be pleasing in terms of it's appearance and quality of fitout, but built into a poorly designed/constructed hull?

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:30pm

Post Subject: Narrowboat Builders

This is what your surveyor is for - even on a new boat. Far too many have been sold with questionable RCD certificates and with faults that breach the BSS requirements. As an individual I would look for how a builder is regarded among more experienced boaters. this is where things like the Canal World Forum can be a great help. Do internet searches on the builder's name, If a limited company have a look at companies house. Try to find out how long established they are - the longer the better. Always remember the market is segmented. All too often people recommend a top range builder but forget there are some very long established mid-range builders producing perfectly acceptable boats. Often the builder is no more than a fitter out who has bought the hull in from a hull builder. There are many fitters out but far fewer actual boat builders. Tony Brooks

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:30pm

Post Subject: Narrowboat Builders

This is what your surveyor is for - even on a new boat. Far too many have been sold with questionable RCD certificates and with faults that breach the BSS requirements. As an individual I would look for how a builder is regarded among more experienced boaters. this is where things like the Canal World Forum can be a great help. Do internet searches on the builder's name, If a limited company have a look at companies house. Try to find out how long established they are - the longer the better. Always remember the market is segmented. All too often people recommend a top range builder but forget there are some very long established mid-range builders producing perfectly acceptable boats. Often the builder is no more than a fitter out who has bought the hull in from a hull builder. There are many fitters out but far fewer actual boat builders. Tony Brooks

Mach1
Mach1

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:19am

Post Subject: Narrowboat Builders

I would, of course, arrange a full survey before actually parting with money but I was really looking for tips on how to shortlist possible boats somewhat earlier in the buying process. I suppose what I was dreading was to find a boat that looked OK - with good standard of fitting out and general condition but 'behind the scenes' had hidden problems - maybe poorly desined hull or mismatched engine/prop etc. The comments about running a company search and asking for opinions via the forum both sound really helpful. Many thanks.

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:20pm

Post Subject: Narrowboat Builders

There are two problems. The first is that over the years there have been many hundreds of "boat builders" with many, as I pointed out, buying in a shell and then just fitting it out. If a boat was to be exhibited as a show boat then it may have been finished to a much higher standard than a sister production boat. There is no easy way to tell. Nearly any experienced boater can probably list a number of builders in order of quality but that is only in their opinion which is not much help unless you get the same names coming up from different boaters. I am certainly not willing to to give my opinion on a public magazine forum that depends on advertising. The second problem is that you do not appear to be very experienced in the world of narrowboats (if you were you would not have asked the question) so you do not seem able to judge a boat from its presentation or even be sure about which potential problem areas you might be able to inspect. I am not even sure that you can recognise potential or actual problems on boats so the only thing for you to do is to either find a boat that seems to suit you and then have it surveyed or ask a knowledgeable boating friend to look over boats with you. However if you had such a friend you would not be asking the question. It's chicken and egg really. Google will provide you with my private contact details so if you want to send me some web links from brokers sites I will give you my opinion but you must state in your email that you will observe strict confidence. Tony Brooks

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