Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury Sabrina boat gets her annual health check before a busy season on the water

Sabrina, a triple-decked passenger boat, is a familiar sight as it transports tourists and revellers along the River Severn in Shrewsbury but temporarily she was lifted out of the water for an annual clean, safety checks and service.

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The Sabrina Boat is lifted out of the River Severn for a good clean and service

The 28.5-tonne boat was hoisted out of the water at Frankwell Car Park in Shrewsbury by a 250-tonne crane.

During the nine hours out of the water on Monday specialists from the Maritime Coastal Agency are using ultra-sonic testing of mechanical parts, including the propeller, the prop-shaft and bearing cutlass, which helps the steering.

At the same time staff clean her and carry out general maintenance.

Sabrina Boat is lifted out of the River Severn for a good clean and service

Dilwyn Jones, the 49-year-old owner who acquired the vessel in 2010, said: "The Sabrina is the same age as myself and was initially a passenger boat on the River Thames.

"In 2007 Sabrina arrived in Shrewsbury as a passenger boat and I acquired her in 2010."

He said the vessel had a busy season ahead.

"I am already considering what we might be doing to celebrate Coronation Week in May."

"We can take 80 people each time on day trips from the Welsh Bridge to the English Bridge during 45-minute trips.

"From March 1, when we start taking passengers on board, we make six round trips each day and these include table service, drinks and a commentary.

Sabrina Boat is lifted out of the River Severn for a good clean and service

"We also offer themed evenings such as Mamma Mia nights, gin-tasting and Motown events as well as private hire."

The business also has a smaller boat.

"We also take our picnic boat, a pontoon boat, out of the water for cleaning and check," Dilwyn said.

"This can take ten people for small private hire charters."

"While they are out of the water we work flat out as we have to carry out lots of maintenance.

"We have a total of 30 part and full-time staff, of which seven are skippers who work in shifts.

"I like to think that we have something that is integral to the town and which plays a key part of showing off our beautiful part of the country.

"People on our private hire trips say that they have so much fun."