Boat Breaking for the National Trust

Our Boat breaking team were on the road again last week to scrap a number of abandoned boats for the National Trust. Along the Northumberland coast there are a number of National Trust locations and we were tasked with helping to clear a beachside boat store. Over the years it had become a dumping ground for old yachts, fishing boats, dinghies and windsurf-boards.

When we were first contacted we thought the collection of derelict vessels would be straightforward. However the buildings next to the boats meant access was extremely limited. We could just about fit our vehicle and a small trailer in. Our usual method of sending a lorry with a Hiab arm was out of the question.

Close to the beach

The boats were open to the elements and close to the beach. This meant the metal trailers under them has really begun to deteriorate.

Some of the National Trust team had already stacked a number of vessels up in another compound. These were simple for us to deal with as they all stacked up nicely. We also managed to slide in most of the Kayaks and windsurf boards.

Once the first compound was cleared we turned our attention back to the grassy boat park. Our plan was to try and pull one of the yachts out on what was left of the trailer. If we could get it around to the main road we could then load it on to our flatbed trailer. The flatbed trailer was just too long to get around into the boat store.

Worst Case Scenario

The boat breaking team trimmed off the boat’s small bilge keels. We then managed to winch her up on to another boat trailer that we had been asked to clear. With great care any travelling at about 2mph we slowly pulled the boat out of the store and around to the main road. The worst case scenario would be if the trailer collapsed and blocked access to the neighbouring cottages.

Due to the area being run by the National Trust there were hundreds of ramblers and dog walkers. It was nice to see so many people enjoying the beautiful scenery. However we were very aware that any trailer collapse would soon cause disruption to the visitors.

Air Bnb and Alpacas

Thankfully the trailer held firm and we were able to get her up and on to the flat bed. Once the yacht was strapped down we filled it with all of the other small boats we needed to clear. Clearly in the past people have chopped some wooden boats in the yard but then left the waste there. So our team cleared all of this in to the first yacht.

Whilst we were in Northumberland we stayed in a fantastic cottage near Alnwick. One of the perks of tricky jobs that need us to be on site for a couple of days is getting to stay in cool AirBNBs. Our base for this trip was a cottage next to farm which had a number of resident Alpacas. The team also enjoyed visiting the bars and restaurants in Alnwick town centre. As expected the Northumbrian locals were extremely welcoming.

Abandoned Boat

On our final day in the store we removed another motorboat that had been left abandoned. Anything of any worth was long gone and there were a number of old surfboards stowed away. The trailer under the boat was in a poor state. Most had been buried in the soft sandy earth and long grass. The team adopted the same technique of hitching the trailer on and slowly coaxing the boat out and around the corner. One the wheels was completely locked up and the tyre simple dragged along the road.

Once again the slow and steady approached worked well and the trailer just about held out for us to loading.

There had been a number of metal trailer parts that we had been asked to remove. Whenever we have this situation we will almost always use local scrap metal collectors. They are usually extremely helpful and willing to take the metal away. It also means we don’t have to transport the metal back to us in Portsmouth or waste time separating it from the GRP parts.

The first phase of clearing the old boats from the boat park was complete. The National Trust team have said that they’ll want us to return to dispose of a few more derelict boats once they have sorted out the legal side of things. We just hope that the cottage is available for us to stay in again.

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