As it is with all boats the maintenance of Kennet is a continuous process. Keeping a heritage boat such as Kennet well-maintained is essential to enabling it to continue to carry its ‘cargo of heritage’ along the canal. In order to achieve this the Society has created a full maintenance cycle which covers a 6-year period and has a supporting budget. Maintenance of Kennet consumes a very large portion of Kennet’s £5K a year running costs.
The Society has kept a record of all the maintenance on Kennet which has been carried out while it has been under Society ownership. The 6-year maintenance cycle has been developed in conjunction with our Marine Surveyor and in response to the requirement of our Insurance Company that Kennet has regular checks. The aim is to keep Kennet in the same condition as it was at its ‘relaunch’ after the major restoration conducted under a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2011-12.
The maintenance cycle consists of short term (annual) and long-term maintenance. These link to form the 6-year programme which is broken down into two 3-year periods.
The short-term maintenance schedule covers not only the annual checks on the engine, generator and ancillary equipment used on Kennet. It also covers the regular checks and maintenance required before and after every use.
The long-term maintenance schedule covers intermediate and full surveys, repairs where necessary to steel work, blacking the hull and repainting the top side. This requires periodic dry docking.
Inevitably, alongside the maintenance program there is always the unexpected repairs associated with heritage boats.
The maintenance of Kennet would not be possible without the volunteers who carry out a large proportion of the short-term maintenance schedule and, wherever practical, are involved ‘hands on’ with the long-term maintenance.