During the winter months the marine industry begins to slow down and our team at Commercial Rib Charter take full advantage of this opportunity, making it our busiest and most productive time of the year for maintenance and improvements, whether it be vessel refits, up-grading our maintenance facilities or even our offices, year on year we ensure we use the time wisely in order to start the new season with vessels, equipment and facilities in the very best condition.
Before the winter season arrives CRC programme and prioritise the schedule, this usually starts with vessel refits being at the top of the list. We believe our vessels should be in a permanent state of readiness , taking them ‘off-line’ for a lengthy refit isn’t really an option. Any works need careful planning and a timely turn-around. Consideration will also be given to which vessels are done at the same time. Where we have multiple ‘sister’ vessels on fleet the schedule will ensure that no ‘sister’ boats are being worked on at any single period meaning that should a client need one we can fulfil the requirement.
In addition to vessels we also use the quieter time of year to ensure our actual facilities are in good order, our workshops need to be in a good clean state with all tools and equipment in working order. We also ensure our processes are efficient and up to standard.
A Winter at Commercial Rib Charter
What is a refit?: A refit is where a boat is worked on including repairs, restoring, mending and generally ensuring the vessel is in full working order. At CRC every boat has an annual refit irrespective of its age.
With over 25 vessels on fleet this isn’t a quick project, there are also occasions where we will draft in sub-contractors.
The smaller CRC vessels are all maintained ‘in-house’, each vessel usually taking one week for 3 technicians to complete. Before coming into the on-site undercover facilities all vessels are cleaned. Once inside any repairs are carried out, engines are serviced and then work starts on polishing and general cosmetics. The team complete check sheets and record sheets for every boat, this provides the ability to notice any trends with potential faults and also ensure a good maintenance record is kept. Each year we also introduce ‘annual updates’. Small items that do not necessarily have a manufacturers documented service routine are checked and serviced, equally if we have noticed any items that fail infrequently we will usually change these across the full fleet.
This year we are removing every single steering system from our ‘Open Ribs’. The systems will be checked, all bushes replaced, re-fitted and flushed with new hydraulic steering fluid. Even the systems that look in perfect condition will receive the same treatment.
On the larger vessels on fleet we do carry out a majority of the work ourselves but will use sub-contractors to do works that we either do not have the time to complete, or where specialist knowledge and training is required. An example of where we might engage a subcontractor would be working on the jet propulsion systems fitted to our our shallow draft crew transfer vessels. Hamilton Jets are fitted to these vessels and a qualified engineer will be sent from the Hamilton Jet HQ to fully service and check all systems. We also use other companies to do other works. Goodchild Marine and Diverse Marine are well known to us and are often used for any electrical or mechanical work.
Some vessels may have major works undertaken. Following a couple of engine problems with our vessel Lodestar it was decided the best option would be to fit new engines to her during refit. SAL Marine of Lymington have supplied and installed 2 x brand new Volvo Penta engines and drives.
CRC strive to ensure we supply boats in good clean order that work efficiently without breakdown, the annual refits are all part of making this work.
This year our workshop facility has also received a complete revamp and has been fitted with a state of the art Linpic, automated storage carousel, improving efficiency and storage space. As well as the Linpic being fitted, a pedestrian wall has been built creating a walkway in the workshop, all in order to improve safety within the workshop.
Our offices have also had some attention this year. The front aspect of the buildings has undergone a bit of an update with the hard standing area being dug up and re-surfaced. This hasn’t been the quietest of projects with diggers and machinery running through the day, hopefully though it will look far smarter when it is finished. The offices are also being freshened up with new paint and carpets throughout.
As a company it is our ethos that everything should be maintained to a high standard and kept in good order, something we hope we achieve and in turn gives our clients the results they look for when booking us.