On Saturday 14th October the volunteer crew of Massey Shaw set off from West India Dock and took her up river to use the Port of London Authority (PLA) drying out facility – known as Kew Grid – alongside Strand on the Green, opposite Oliver’s Island. The boat is a former London Fire Brigade fireboat which was built in 1935 and restored in 2008 with a successful Heritage Lottery Grant.
The Grid allows boats to moor at high tide and then settle on to the Grid as the tide drops, thus providing access to the rudder, propellers and shafts, and the hull below the waterline. With Massey’s flat bottom and lack of keel she is quite comfortable in these circumstances.
The crew needed to get her out of the water in order to inspect and clean the hull, do a bit of painting, and inspect the sacrificial anodes which are attached to the hull to slow down electrostatic damage to the metal.
The painting of the lower rubbing strake (the wooden beam that goes round the boat to take the brunt of touches against lock sides etc) improved the look of the historic fire boat considerably and jet-washing the hull was a great success.