24 May 2018

BAT Squad rescue Flea

You may remember that the Boat Acquisition Team recently assessed the possible recovery of dredger Penelope.  Well, today, we were off to Stoke on Trent, Etruria basin, on the junction of the Caldon and Trent & Mersey Canals to meet a representative of a crane company which is tasked with removing the sunken work boat Flea onto a trailer, for delivery to Saul Junction.

The boat has been at rest on the canal bed for too many years, it has a small leak - somewhere.  Our task was to assess what was necessary to firstly, float it and then where to move it to for the crane lift.
The original plan was to drag it around to the Black Prince Depot nearby, to use their slipway.  It is a fair distance with a number of navigational difficulties and risks.  Having visited the location of the boat, it was immediately clear that the large empty car park along side the old folks home, where it adorns their back garden, was the obvious lift point. This belongs to an industrial museum which is only open on certain days and just a short trip round the corner from where it rests.
We believe that the leak is slow, so pumping the water out at a rate faster than the leak should achieve flotation.  A list of items and actions was formulated on the return journey.  The time has yet to be set for the lift.  It will require a cradle as there are no lifting points on the hull.  Detail arrangements can now be made.