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Black Pearl Narrowboats - Frequently asked questions

Q) How long does it take to build a narrow boat shell?
A) The build time on a narrow boat shell is 3 weeks, once the design has been confirmed.
Q) I need help with designing my boat, can you advise me?
A) We will help to design your boat as best we can, once you have decided on a length and internal layout for your shell we can then help with window placement and optional extras such as bow scrolls. Once these have been taken into account we can draw up the shell using AutoCAD software to show an image of what your shell will look like.
Q) Do I need to pay a deposit to secure a build slot?
A) No. Once we have agreed a design s deposit is required for the steel. You will have the assurance of a BMF contract which will ensure total security for your payments/ shell completion.
Q) How much do they cost and do I have to pay VAT?
A) The cost of the shell will vary depending on the length and any optional extras you wish to select e.g. semi-trad shell, bow thrusters etc, all prices include VAT at the current rate.
Q) Can you recommend a fitter to complete my boat?
A) We can recommend ABC Leisure group who have dedicated fitting teams located in Alverchurch in Worcestershire and also a team in Hilperton near Bath.
Q) Will you arrange transport to the fitter?
A) Yes we can arrange transport to the fitter
Q) How is the shell delivered and how much does it cost?
A) The shell will be delivered via a boat transport specialist to your required destination, and the cost will vary depending on the distance.
Q) Is there a guarantee with the shell?
A) There is a 10 year guarantee on the shell
Q) Why should I use Black Pearl for building my narrow boat?
A) We have a dedicated team of highly skilled narrow boat builders with a combined experience of over 100 hundred years, who take great pride in building high quality narrow boat shells. We are members of BMF and CBA (British Marine Federation and Canal Boatbuilders Association). We are also accredited to ISO 9000 2008. All of our shells carry a CE marked plate.
Q) What steel thickness should the shell be?
A) The shell bottom is 10mm (optional 12mm), hull sides 6mm, cabin sides 5mm and the roof and bulkheads 4mm. All steel used on our shells is certified prime steel.
Q) Are there any optional treatments to make the shell last longer?
A) A 12mm bottom is an option which can add a significant amount of time to the base of the shell, we already black and primer our shells to prevent oxidation of the steel, the black should be carried out approximately every two years in order to keep the submerged part of the shell properly maintained.
Q) What sort of engine is best?
A) An Engine is a personal choice with a wide variety available, but we would recommend Beta.
Q) What’s a good size of boat for a beginner?
A) A good size shell would be a 58ft this is a medium size shell and it also allows you to manoeuvre through 95% of the waterways in Britain.
Q) I’m retired, can I live on a narrow boat permanently?
A) Permanently living on a shell is an option that many people undertake, and this is not strictly limited to retired persons.
Q) Are they cold in winter?
A) Based on having the correct heating and insulation fitted to your shell they are very comfortable in the winter.
Q) How secure are they?
A) Narrow boats are secure, with additional security available from specialist providers

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