Page published 24 July 2023

Go to Top Removing the Old Name and Numbers

It's Monday and this morning I had a few hours spare before yet more relatives arrive to stay for a few days. I use the time to visit the boat to see if I can remove the old boat name from the transom and the remnants of the three sets of old Broads Authority numbers.

The transom of Singing the Blues

The old Broads Registration number and name as they appeared before I started work.

I gather that on the Great Ouse a boat's name is more important than its registration number. All you see there is a small ticket, normally placed in a cabin window, that indicates that a boat is licensed for the current year. On the Broads, the Broads Authority requires a registration number to be visible on either side of the bows and the transom, and while their forms ask for a name to be provided, there is no specification about where or whether this should be displayed.

When moved to the Great Ouse all the previous owner had done was remove the characters from the self-adhesive backing sheet. But that left some residue and over time dirt has allowed the old number to reappear, albeit faintly.

Broads Authority Registration Numbers

The New registration numbers received from the Broads Authority, at no charge, to a new owner.

While chatting with Kathy at Moonfleet Marine she told me that the Broads Authority would be able to supply a new set of registration numbers of the approved size and, sure enough, a new set arrived a couple of days after I emailed them. However, they did warn me that this was a concession as a new owner and I would be charged £3.00 if I required further copies in future.

It seems that my set may have been the first of a batch. While the left hand end of the vinyl label had rounded corners, the right hand end was cut straight across the backing paper. The misshapen corners of the right hand end that you see in the photograph was the result of me doing a little trimming of the label to create matching rounded corners. It's left the backing paper a little ragged.

The old marks almost completely removed

The registration label came away from the hull quite easily. I remembered just in time to take a photograph of the job part done.

At Buckden there had been talk of the need to heat the signage in order to loosen the adhesive that held the label and lettering on the boat. Accordingly, I took along a heat gun, but quickly found that the heat just softened the label itself and caused it to stretch rather than pull away from the hull. In fact, all that was needed to lift the label of the hull was the blade I had also taken with me.

The lettering of the name came away remarkably cleanly, perhaps because it had been applied more recently than the registration labels. However, on the transom the registration label appeared to have shrunk over time and that did leave a ring of dirty adhesive residue around the site of the label.

Painted registration numbers

Removing the registration labels from either side of the bow revealed that the Broads registration numbers had originally been painted onto the hull.

The situation at the bows was different. There was no sign of a shrunken label or ring of adhesive residue. Instead it showed that the registration numbers had originally been painted on the hull. My plan is to use a little T-Cut to remove that paint. That's because I won't be putting the new label in the same place. The existing numbers are sited immediately under an ring set in the toe rail used for hanging a fender, so the registration number is partially obscured. My plan is to move the registration number a little further forward, keeping it clear of any fender.

The new name lettering

The new name and decoration arrived over a month ago. It's still on its backing and cover sheet.

The last job will be deciding exactly how to place the boat name. I posted some notes on its design back in May. What I didn't consider then was the "hand" of the notes. Both face left. Will the eye be drawn to the vertical bars of the notes rather than the extreme edge of the notes to the left or will the eye be drawn to the centre of the sign and is the "g" in the centre of "Singing" more of a draw that the "B" of Blues. I guess I'll decide that simply by offering up the sign to the transom and make a decision then about what looks right.

Now read about the new name being applied...

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