Retro

Moving your boat via the motorway

You live and learn…
 
Today I discovered TT was involved in a discussion on Canal World Forums, re; our sordid tale of woe when we first arrived at Mercia Marina. The guy who started the thread was wanting to move a widebeam boat by crane – lorry – crane, like we did, and asked about the whole procedure.
 
Other people had mentioned our experience, one guy suggested perhaps we’d been a bit naive about leaving glasses in a cupboard – point taken. But to be fair we thought it could be no worse than crossing a tidal estuary in choppy water, which we’ve done without any damage whatsoever…
 
So, I replied by letting him know we were totally aware of the obvious problems when moving a fully fitted out boat, and how to (hopefully) prevent them. But however careful we were, it wasn’t just about broken glass:

Maybe it was naive to leave glasses in a cupboard, but they were packed in tight behind other things. All cupboards / doors etc were taped shut as they should be, anything loose was bubble wrapped and packed in boxes. What I didn’t show on the blog at the time was this photo of the three door wardrobe across the bed. I was too upset to post it at the time. The wardrobe WAS SCREWED to the wall…
 
So here it is, I can bear it now…!
 
IMG_8834
 
In hindsight we think the damage occurred as they were lifting the boat out of the water, the crane company we’d booked (and paid a flippin fortune for) was MARSDENS, one of the best. (Ha!) What they sent was a contractor, not even a Marsden crane…
 
A 5 guy team were supposed to be there on site, only 3 turned up. Dave (hubby) ended up steadying one of the guy ropes. But we trusted their judgement till (even with balancing beams) they started lifting her out with the front strap too close to the middle of the boat, so she lurched forward. Thus:
 
It got worse before it got better…
 
047
 
This tally’s with which door opened (the only one) and which way the wardrobe fell, fortunately landing on the bed it was cushioned by the quilt…
 
When they got the lift all wrong I honestly thought the strap was going to slip back even further. I was screaming at them to put her back in the water, quite a few of us were! But they were a bit slow to respond. They did eventually realise and plonked her back in while they moved the strap forward, then tried again. I was fuming…
 
The lorry firm was supposed to be reputable, but even the driver wasn’t happy with the back end of the boat sticking out. Hang on – extendable lorry and they already knew the dimensions of the boat…??
 
Then when we got here at Mercia, friends told us TT had been here overnight and the crane (without balancing beams) arrived early. Hence they were lifting her off the wagon just as we arrived. We were alarmed to see this but – “too late now” as they say.
 
Fortunately they managed to drop her in but not without incident, she swung round in the wind and gently bounced off the side of a building in mid air. Said building being the dry dock boat shed…
 
We’ve seen several widebeams go in here since, and every one has had the balancing beams. Yep, we felt like we’d been ripped off at the time, but, damage sorted we got over it…
 
However I did say on the blog that anyone doing this should try and get a “package” from the same contractor. We tried, but the distance from point A to B was quote “too far for the crane to travel.” (?)
 
The other advice I gave was to take photos inside the boat before being lifted out, after being lifted out (sat on the wagon before it sets off anywhere). When it gets to the other end after the journey, and again after it’s been put back in the water.
 
Why? Because with a date and timestamp you have evidence as to who / when / where any damage occurred – you’re on THEIR insurance during the process. Sod elf and safety climbing up a ladder onto the lorry for a photoshoot. THEY can flout the rules…
 
Why? Because without photographic evidence, each company blames the other. None takes responsibility. Onto a good deal there aren’t they? Shifting blame when it suits…
 
If we hadn’t been on such a time sensitive “schedule” we would have asked questions, but alas you put your trust in these people and the service isn’t always as promised. However good the reputation is matters not. We were advised by two marina managers about who’s best to use – we didn’t just jump in and Google it. We trusted their judgement and got let down – literally…
 
I think the best people to listen to with regards to advice as to which firm’s are to be trusted and which to avoid are other boaters who have experience.
 
This? Well it´s all about a lesson learned the hard way, what to look out for, and who to source info from…
 
Just thought this was worth an airing for future ref, especially for anyone wanting to show a widebeam what a motorway looks like…

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