Old Canaltime boats

Published: Thursday, 26 October 2017

WHILST many boat hire companies produce new builds for their fleet year upon year, Canaltime does not, with its fleet very old indeed, writes, Conrad Palin.

These were produced en masse at a factory specially set up for the purpose in the North East during the period of 18 to 20 years ago, all to the same design in three lengths, purposely for Canaltime. The build was nothing like the luxury of today's hire boats, in fact they were produced to a strict budget.

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Early problems included solid fenders that caused damage to both lock gates and craft, so were dispensed with and proper fenders installed, but the biggest problem was that having only one entrance, the front of the cabin is solid, there was no escape hatch, so the boats had to be modified with an escape hatch in the roof.

In comparison with other hire fleets, the boats were rarely repainted and became very tatty indeed, but as Canaltime was part of a larger timeshare organisation, it had a permanent clientèle, so was able to keep its fleet working.

But people hiring nowadays want the luxury that the sparse Canaltime boats just do not give, and I can see that before very long, unless new and better equipped boats are produced, it will surely pass into history, as no one will want to hire boats well past their 'sell by' date.