Robin Godber tells the story of his life as the owner of a Norfolk Broads hire boat fleet. If you’ve ever hired a boat on the Broads, or thought it would be wonderful to run a yard, you should read this book!
A Broad Experience: Diary of a Norfolk Broads hire fleet 1999-2006
A hire boat operator must be a ‘Jack of all trades’. He, or she, must be a boatbuilder, shipwright, carpenter, painter, grp laminator,and filler, machinist, engineer (marine, heating, sanitary, glazier, plumber, electrician and Gas Safe registered, a carpet layer, uphosterer, television and electronics expert, clerk, bookkeeper, computer literate, lawyer (employment, consumer protection, health and safety), risk assessment manager, tax collector (VAT, PAYE, fuel duty). As if that is not enough they must also be a qualified boat operator/helmsman with a MCA Boat Master’s Licence, an instructor in boat handling, fire officer and first aider. Furthermore he or she must be prepared at any time to clean boats inside and out, make up beds, vacuum clean, pump out toilets and dispense fuel (with knowledge of all the regulations for such tasks). It is also helpful to be a jobbing builder and dredging and piling contractor with an inexhaustible supply of enthusiasm and optimism. And when all that has been done, he is on call 24 hours a day in case of breakdown (11.30pm – “we can’t get a picture on our television”). Why does anyone do it? Perhaps the secret lies in these pages.
Robin Godber tells the story of this episode of his life in diary style. Thoroughly entertaining throughout, it gives a window on what it takes to run a hire boat yard and relates tales of some of the things, good and bad, that hirers get up to (no names!). If you’ve ever hired a boat on the Broads, or thought it would be wonderful to run a yard, you should read this book!