The recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham generated a considerable amount of pride in the athletic achievements of the competitors. Still, the event was also a proud moment for Cheshire-based Aqueduct Marina, who supplied two boats to the Canal and River Trust just as the event began.
The new 35 ft boat is called Aquarius II and will replace the original craft Aquarius. Despite this being the name of the mythical water carrier, the boat was used for something somewhat less glamorous but nonetheless important: to collect debris from the waterways in and around the Birmingham area during and after the games. With the eyes of the world on Birmingham, The Canal and River Trust were keen to present the canals in the area in the best possible way, a job that required a new, electric-powered boat.
The engineers at Aqueduct are no strangers to building or refurbishing some of the Trust’s fleet of workboats. This experience, coupled with the workshop team’s unique skillset, helped the Cheshire marina be awarded the contract.
Mick Carrington, Plant & Equipment Manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “Aquarius II is going to be another essential workboat for our fleet. It will be a vast improvement on the old craft, providing improved performance from its battery-powered electric propulsion drive. The welfare provisions have been updated to provide 240-volt electrics and toilet facilities. The timely arrival of the new craft ensured, with the help of the Trust’s dedicated volunteers, that Birmingham’s canals looked their best when the city welcomed thousands of visitors for the Commonwealth Games. We have worked with Aqueduct Marina before and have been impressed by their operational capabilities and skilled engineers, and we are delighted to entrust them with the build.”
In addition to Aquarius II, a full refurbished Pennine Princess also took pride of place in Birmingham. Previously stationed at the Standage Tunnel, the 50ft unpowered boat was fully refitted to provide a floating exhibition and media interview location close to the indoor arena in the city. As a result, Pennine Princess was fitted with solar panels, a 240v system and new workstations. The seating arrangement was also changed, after which it was repainted and blacked.
Robert Parton, MD of Aqueduct Marina, said: “We are proud to be supporting the Trust in their program of bringing their workboat fleet up to modern standards, and Aquarius II was made more interesting by its connection to the Commonwealth Games. It was also great to see Pennine Princess moored in such a prominent position during the Games.”
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