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Pram Covers
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Thursday,9 May, 2013
10:24 am
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Hi,

 

Having now started on the path of getting our new boat made Smile , we are looking at pram covers. I know some boaters are not keen on these but we do feel that we would benefit. As liveaboards, and having dogs, this would provide another room effectively. Would not use it during cruising however as i do think that they could impede visibility and would not go under bridges.

Question is, does anyone recommend any particular material for these covers?  I have seen some which are like a rubbery feel, presume easy to wipe down but can imagine that they may be quite heavy and thick.  Also seen some canvas type but have read that these can go mouldy due to condensation.

PS> Hoping boat will be ready early september Cool

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Thursday,9 May, 2013
3:41 pm
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Poole, Dorset, UK
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Hiya,

I had always imagined that they were constructed from the same (or similar) fabric as sports car soft tops, which is a form of rubberised cotton.

In the old days of MGBs and Midgets, the covers were single layer affairs, but my neighbour has just bought a Merc C class convertible and that has a padded middle layer between the exterior and the interior skins. It’s very supple stuff and currently beadingly waterproof, but I don’t know whether it would work for a pram cover.

Good luck for the completion date BTW … any chance of any pictures of the building or fitting stages?

Cheers,

Blakie Smile

Poole, Dorset … not a canal in sight, but I’m not going to be here for long … Anupadin

Thursday,9 May, 2013
3:55 pm
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Hi Blakie,

 

Thanks for the response.  I prefer the material type rather than the rubbery type. I think that in the sun and then the winter, the rubbery would harden and potentially crack but hoping someone on here may have experience of them.  I would guess that the more ‘posher’ the material, the price would then match !!

I certainly will be posting some stage by stage pics.  Have made decisions on the external stuff and having another meet in a couple of weeks for the internal fabrics etc.

Looking through marinas now so that is filling our weekends (quite nicely too, especially of the weather stays like it did last weekend )

best wishes

 

Kim

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Friday,10 May, 2013
7:17 am
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Jersey
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Hi

 

We’ve just got a cratch cover and dodger (a skirt around our cruiser stern to keep the dogs from jumping/falling off the boat) and we went for the rubbery material as we thought this would be easier to keep clean. It cleans off fine although I can’t say it’s better than the canvas type though as we can’t of course compare.

 

Regarding the pram cover, we were going to get one for the exact same reason as you i.e. wet dogs and an extra room, but held off. We’ve managed fine without it by just having a sheet at the bottom of the stairs and a towel to dry them ready and waiting. It has to be said though that it hasn’t been a particularly wet winter and being on no timescale we can of course plan when to walk them and therefore try to dodge the heaviest showers.

 

Our dogs are Hungarian Vizsla’s (a type of gun dog with a frame a bit smaller than a Labrador) and size probably matters so if you’ve got Great Danes or the like then our way wouldn’t be particularly feasible.

 

Keith

Enjoying the Dream ( Keith & Nicky http://narrowboatboysontour.bl…..gspot.com/ )

Friday,10 May, 2013
7:45 am
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Southam, Warwickshire
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I have a trad stern, so a pram cover doesn’t really apply. However, as part of my job I move a large number of boats around the marina. I don’t enjoy moving the boats with pram covers. In wet or cold conditions the pram cover windows are very difficult to see through. It’s also quite difficult to manage your boat via the centre rope with a pram cover on as the rope is difficult to reach.

I know you say you would take the cover off when you were cruising but you have to think about the logistics. If you use the pram cover to create an additional room, you need to think about what you would do with all of the things you’ll store in your new room when you take the cover off to cruise. You also have to ask yourself whether, realistically, you’ll be prepared take the cover off and store it in the boat, often when it’s wet, and find a home for all of the other contents of your extra room every time you set off in your boat.

Pram covers are perfect for static liveaboards but are a bit of a pain if you actually want to use the boat to cruise.

A far more useful bit of kit is a cratch cover for the other end of the boat. We have two dogs, a springer and a cocker spaniel. We have a cratch cover over the well deck and plastic matting on the deck itself with a sheet over it. We use the front deck as a lobby area for dealing with wet dogs with muddy paws. The cratch cover allows us to clean the dogs without getting wet if it’s raining and also gives us additional storage space for coal, the ash bin, hose reel, shoes and dog toys. However, we have the same problem as I’ve indicated you might have with your pram cover; it’s a very convenient extra room but we very rarely take the cover off because of the logistics of moving the contents. It’s a shame because we have a table that fits neatly on the front deck so, whether permitting, we can sit outside for a meal or a drink. I miss the al fresco dining, but I would rather have the storage space.

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Friday,10 May, 2013
8:27 am
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HI,

 

Cant have a cratch as we are not having a front well deck. Pushing the Bedroom right into the bow.  We would not store anything in the stern, the pram cover is purely for extra cover when needed (i.e. when moored in poor weather). Having a top box for storage of coal. We will likely winter moor too (for hubbys work) so the pram cover would be likely to get most used then which is why I would like to get the right material at this stage. 

 

I have 4 dogs (three little ones and one a little bigger) so the space is purely dog orientated except when on move.

 

Kim

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Wednesday,15 May, 2013
8:35 pm
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You don’t say what type of stern you are having, be it trad, semi-trad or cruiser.

We have a pram hood on our semi-trad and find it brilliant! It is the ‘rubbery’ type as you describe it, which is vinyl. They come in many colours and ours has a light grey colour inside and glazed on all four sides so it is always light and airy. It is easy to keep clean and doesn’t let in a drop of water. Ours was made by Cover-it, up Manchester way. They are not meant to be used under way but it takes, literally about 30 seconds to lower or raise it and maybe 2 minutes if you remove the side screens to stop the side glazing panels from creasing. 

It effectively creates an additional room and we have never found it to make cruising difficult with regard to the centre line. It just sits on the top of the lowered hood, which simply hinges forward. If you are living aboard then it will really come into it’s own with so many uses. We can dry our washing on a sunny day in about an hour or so on a drying frame which sits nicely in the pram ‘area’. It also protects the rear hatch from the elements, which can be left open for ventilation and light without letting in wind or rain. And also helps retain cabin heat when the rear hatch is open. 

If you are going for a trad stern then maybe it might not be worth the bother as it would probably be too small to be of real use. The ones I have seen on cruiser sterns seem a much more complicated affair and would clearly take a lot longer to rig and de-rig. 

 

Ken

Wednesday,15 May, 2013
8:45 pm
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Hi Ken,

 

We are having a Cruiser stern.  I have been on a boat that had a pram cover, a couple kindly showed me how theirs worked, which sounds very similar to the one you describe.  They literally were able to fold it down, like a pram hood, within a couple of minutes but made an amazing difference when inside.  It was a blowy wet day when we saw it so could see just how much difference it made.  I also can imagine it makes a big difference in the winter. 

We have a couple of dogs so can also imagine how this extra ‘room’ would be appreciated when they want a bit of space.  We are having a decorative mesh around the back of the stern for safety for the dogs so this would be a safe space for them.

With regards to the rubber material – how does this get on in the varying weather conditions?  The one I saw was like a black , sort of , hessian type of material. We were advised that the rubber ones can tend to crack after exposure to rain, sun etc.  I would have thought they would be a bit more hardy than this but your experiences with it would be welcomed.

 

regards

 

Kim

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Wednesday,15 May, 2013
8:47 pm
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HI Ken

sorry, meant to mention that we would also have a skirt around the mesh to complete the ‘room’.

 

Kim

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Monday,20 May, 2013
9:30 pm
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Hi Kim

 

The pram hood we have is 10 years old and, apart from a little fading of the colour, is still in remarkably good condition and as I mentioned before, does not leak a drop of water! It pays to look after them with proprietary cleaners which can be obtained from the likes of Halfords.

As for the hessian type of material you referred to, I think that must be a canvas type. They do seem to suffer more with age, but that maybe just my observation. I can only speak for the vinyl type, which seems to last very well!

 

Ken 

  

Monday,20 May, 2013
9:44 pm
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Hi Ken,

If yours have lasted 10 years, then I dont think there is a better recommendation than that.  Fading, i would have thought, would happen to any type of material, being open to the elements. 

regards

 

Kim

 

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Monday,3 June, 2013
10:38 am
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Hi Kim,

We are slightly different to you as we are a widebeam, but we have both cratch cover and also stern “pram” cover with dodger. These were put on by Wilsons and very good as well they are. There’s is the canvas type and very easy to look after. If we are going out then we can either roll the side and back windows up or take the whole side panel out which is even better.

 

Last year, we returned the pram cover back to them and they changed the front window to a roll up type which is even better for when you are out & about. We would not be without our covers especially in the winter as they provide “wet areas” on the boat and also for putting the washing out to dry instead of on the boat.

 

Paul. Smile

Monday,3 June, 2013
12:13 pm
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Hi Paul,

 

Thankyou for your response.  We are set on having a pram cover now, I can definitely see how this would benefit us with the dogs and , as you said, for drying washing etc.  Where are Wilson’s?  do they have a website?

 

KimSmile

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Sunday,9 June, 2013
7:28 pm
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Saturday,9 November, 2013
1:56 am
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Hi Carpetbagger

 

Now in the position to actually get our pramcover sorted.  We have ordered from Wilson covers. All I am hoping for now is that we can get it before Christmas ;) )

Thanks for your suggestion

There is nothing in the world as precious as the gift of life itself.

Wednesday,9 July, 2014
10:15 am
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Peter Goddard
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I have a narrowboat in London & enquired about the cost of a cratch cover for my boat with X4 zips, two windows & window covers from the canvasman; the price was out of my budget at £975 + VAT which doesn’t include the cratch board at an extra £900. I found Wilsons & Kinver covers to be a very similar price.

After deciding this was far too expensive a friend put on to ‘Tricksy Covers’ who he used for repairs to his window & zips. I contacted them & finally had a cover made for £650 with a five year guarantee, and as a none VAT registered company I didn’t give any of my hard earned cash to the tax man! I’m very pleased with the result (looks very similar to Wilson covers I’ve see around the marina). I don’t if they do pram covers but I listed their email address if anyone’s interested. (I only paid £50 deposit but had to pay C.O.D.)Laugh

tricksycovers@yahoo.com

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