The vast majority of the work at Lower Heyford with regard to boats is done on Friday or Monday. On these days services are closed for passing boats and all OXNB’s on the dock are prepped for the clients coming in the afternoon. First we have to wait for them to arrive back from a previous hire. A member of staff will board if necessary to assist customers to moor the boats where we want them. Then we have to allow time for the returning incumbents to disembark (it is surprising how much stuff people take away with them for three days), before we can get onboard and check the boat hasn’t been destroyed, On a good day (for the workers) only one or two boats need prepping on a bad day up to eight are required. all boats need to be stripped of all bedding and towels etc before any preparation work can start. Some of these boats have been at the dock for several days and are prepped on the days leading up to the hire out day.
On a boat like OXFORD 47 ft 2/4 berth, the time taken is less than a couple of hours, starting at the front and cleaning all the windows then the toilets followed by the kitchen, this includes an inventory check. Ceilings are wiped down, paying particular attention to the kitchen ceiling followed by making up the beds. If 4 berths are required pillows, duvet etc are made up and placed on the fixed double. A 69 ft 12 berth takes a sight longer than a 2/4 berth. Putting one duvet cover on in a narrow boat is not easy, putting 10 on is a right pain. Of course 10 covers means 24 pillow cases. A neatly folded bath towel is placed on each pair of pillows. Clean shower curtains are put up in the bathrooms hand towels, soaps, toilet rolls etc. In the kitchen clean tea towels, dishcloth, bin liners etc. After the beds are made all surfaces are dusted and then the whole boat is vacuumed from bow to stern. What takes extra time is if any sheets, duvets, pillow cases or towels are marked or torn. These have to be changed and you never notice this until the cover/sheet is on the bed. While all this is going on two guys are outside filling with water pumping out poo tanks, all the larger boats have two tanks, wiping down the roofs and sides and cleaning the outsides of the windows. Even the tunnel bands are cleaned. If there is time deck boards are lifted and the guttering cleaned out and we finish with polishing the tiller arms. While all this is going on the engineers are checking oil/water levels and fill each boat to the brim with fuel, other yard staff are fixing anything that is bought to their attention.
This is a young persons game, it is not for the feint hearted
Whatever size boat you do the customers start arriving about 12 sometimes earlier.