Jump to content
  • Announcements

    Welcome! New around here? Take a look at the New Members' Guide for some pointers.

    Not a member yet? Sign up here and you can soon be chatting away with friends old and new..

    Check out our Handy Information section if you're after something quickly!

Calling for the Engineer


Recommended Posts

So far I have done 4 trips on the broads with hire cruisers.

On two of them I have had to contact the boatyard for the assistance of an engineer

Once for a failed started motor, and once for a blocked cooling inlet.

Now hire boats, by their nature, are used (or is it abused) a lot more than most private boats.

Turn around day doesn't actually give the yard much time for repairs, check overs, or preventive maintenance.

So here are a few discussion points:

What proportion of hirers have to contact the boatyard for assistance?

Does it vary from yard to yard?

Does it depend on the age of the boat?

Does it vary depending on the stage of the season?

Any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We rarely have to ring anyone which is a great attribute to the yard.

In all our Norfolk holidays (I've lost count of how many - maybe 20 holidays?) we have had to call Richardsons out twice - once to replace a video player and once to a dripping stern tube (tightened in seconds!), Whispering Reeds to a mischievous heater and Sutton Staithe out to a drunk windscreen wiper. All were fixed easily and with no inconvenience. I think the yards do give them a good going over but I guess where there are moving parts things will go wrong sometimes.

All the best

Dan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i do think the age of the boat and the way its been maintained over its working life counts. i tend to hire the older boats as like others on the forum it gives us the option too have 2 or 3 trips a year. had a few problems over the years but nothing major and have allways found the yard we hired from responded very quickly. remember one year in august booking with herbert woods cant remember what boat now,had to call them out to a door handle that kept falling off the engineer told us that he had spent the whole weekend on call and had to attend some 25 boats with all kind of probs, saw him another 3 times that week even made him a cuppa as the boat next to us a woods boat, cocker had packed up. must of been a bad week for them. dan sure it was the wiper drunk and not the crew.... :naughty:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my point of view over the years (I think I'm up to 18 hires now) I've had a lot more trips with no call outs than with call outs. However, call out experience has been almost all positive. Almost all faults have been fixed rapidly with minimum disruption. One holiday last year I had to call an engineer 3 times (one of which was my own fault) but even that made little difference to the holiday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only one call out in 7 hire outs back in the seventies and eighties. Any other minor faults found were fixed by yours truly :naughty:

And the call out, Moonstone from Corig Cruisers at Brundall, 1980. The pulley wheel fell off in St Olaves after the grub screw fell out. Moonstone was a petrol "pop pop" or at least that was the noise she made at the time. We did have to wait for quite a few hours for the engineer to arrive :cry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

From our point of view, engineering call outs can spoil people's holidays and are a massive drain on resources.

With that in mind, we do our best to ensure that our boats are well engineered before each hiring in the hope that we won't see the boat until it glides back into the yard at the end of a holiday.

However, there are a lot of things to go wrong on a boat and we do sometimes miss things or have customers who just can't quite grasp things. To err is human, I am told.

Sometimes we also get what we refer to as "finger trouble" where a customer creates or exacerbates a problem. One customer failed each morning to be able to start his engine, often completely flattening the battery because he'd failed to pre-heat the engine despite having been shown how to properly start it by each engineer. We were lucky they didn't burn the starter motor out.

We've had a flurry of overheats recently too - Pure Freedom 2 a couple of weeks ago was heat-seized twice by a customer in quick succession which has killed the engine requiring the fitting of another and the total strip down and rebuild of the old one. Another boat has been giving us hot gyp and was a pain in the neck for the previous hirer having to refill the water regularly. We visited the boat on a couple of occasions, found and fixed tiny water leaks but still couldn't find the real cause. Yesterday, upon close and constant inspection back at the yard between hires, having completely repiped the engine, we discovered that the cyclinder head gasket had blown and this has now been replaced.

A few weeks ago, one boat lost all steering and we feared a snapped steering cable but the actual helm unit casing where the cable clamps in had fractured. As a temporary repair, It was refitted, clamped tight and worked perfectly well again, but frearing another fault, we decided to replace the steering unit completely. The replacement, though looking identical, had a modified clamp arrangement which then took two additional visits to the boat to fix as we didn't have the tools with us to engineer the replacement unit.

One of our biggest bugbears is customers not reporting problems soon enough. Often (and it's growing), people won't report minor issues and I can understand that they don't want the hassle during their holiday. The problem is that minor issues has a habit of becomming major issues which have a habit of taking a very long time to solve rather than a 30 minute delay to come a tighten something when it was a minor fault and make it go away. I don't want to encourage people to call for no reason, but if you suspect there may be an issue, a quick phone call to an engineer could set your mind at rest.

Overall, it's been quite a strange year; last year, we had absolutely no significant engine faults (or any major other faults) but this year has been quite different and, at times, very challenging. Most customers aren't seen or heard from throughout their holiday until they return the boat and I'm sure this is the case with all operators, but our profound appologies go out to customers who've been delayed by a call out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just at the moment, if I had a hire yard, I would be stressing to all hirers heading for Coltishall the need to check their weed filter more than once a day.

Don't know whether it would do any good, but quite separate to the usual hirers' manual, I would also hand them a warning sheet to this effect.

If it can catch a privateer out (who is usually vigilant on this sort of thing), you can be sure that it will catch a few hirers out.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only mechanical problems we encountered as hirers were many many years ago.

In more recent years, I cannot recall a single incident requiring a callout.

The worst was so many years ago that I must stress that it has no bearing on the yard in question these days. In fact, it is a yard that I have quite an affection for, so decades later I am still reluctant to post this up :-

We were a mixed party of ten in our very early twenties on a Broadsventure class boat (Broadsventure 3, I think and it seemed to have been withdrawn from hire the next year).

All that I can remember is that we had an unbelievable number of callouts and the final tally went something like this:-

4 starter motors replaced

3 water pumps replaced

1 replacement rubber exhaust pipe (after it had caught alight when the 2nd water pump failed)

Nowadays, I would have identified the change in exhaust pitch and rougher sounding engine before the exhaust caught alight, the engine seized and we turned sideways blocking the river (with smoke pouring from the cockpit)!

Memory is hazy now but I don't think it was due to any failings by us in checking weed filters etc.

We were always pleasant to the visiting engineers (who we saw every couple of days), but one man boarded the boat with the words "If anyone says anything to me I am leaving."

I wanted to offer him a cup of something but we all sat in stony silence until he left.

Silly man - he could have had a much more pleasant visit but we have no idea what his day had been like up to that point.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just at the moment, if I had a hire yard, I would be stressing to all hirers heading for Coltishall the need to check their weed filter more than once a day.

Don't know whether it would do any good, but quite separate to the usual hirers' manual, I would also hand them a warning sheet to this effect.

If it can catch a privateer out (who is usually vigilant on this sort of thing), you can be sure that it will catch a few hirers out.

Steve

Thanks for the warning Steve, I'm hoping to get up there at the end of next week.

From my experience last year I would say that it will probably also be the case if anyone ventures up to Dilham.

That is what blocked my inlet system last year, but unfortunately the bit of weed that she injested was too big to actually reach the weed filter!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a similar problem above Potter Heigham in the West Somerton area, but I expect it there.

My weed filter became so tightly packed there with a mixture of very fine and coarser weed that I had trouble physically clearing it out.

cheers,

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, before anybody else posts about it I will admit that it is now 5 broads trips and 3 call outs....

This time it wasn't the boat that failed but the skipper!

Sprung her off a windy bank in Thurne Dyke, but the crew member handling the spring somehow ended up ashore...

So I got to the turning point at the head of the dyke dragging a mooring line and when I engaged astern...

One nicely wrapped propeller!

:oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops::oops:

A tow back from Thurne to Horning and a bit of work with a knife through the weed hatch

and we were back on the river by just after lunch the same day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • NBN Mobile App

  • Our Sponsors

    Norfolk Broads Network is run by volunteers - You can help us run it by making a donation

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.