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A boat named Flea

CCT Workboats Acquisition Team

The Cotswold Canals Trust Western Depot Volunteer workforce includes a team of people who have recently been exercising their combined skills of acquiring, restoring and operating a range of workboats to very good effect. The results of their expertise can already be seen afloat and at work on the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames and Severn Canal.


One such small workboat carries the name Flea. Long ago this name was written on its hull in welded letters by previous owner British Waterways.
The welded word means that the name shall remain!

One slight problem

The little boat was discovered by the Western Depot boat team under the water in a canal arm at Etruria, near Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
Undaunted, the Boat Acquisition Team applied some positive thinking — and a crane!

Having lifted the boat out of the water and ascertained the repairability of impact damage to the vessel’s stern end that had long ago led to Flea’s sinking in Staffordshire; the workboat was delivered to RW Davis Ship and Boatyard at Saul Junction.

Plus points

Below is the list of plus points that appealed to the Western Depot Boat Acquisition Team and led to Flea’s purchase:

  • Proportions – shallow draft
  • Potential purpose – bankside maintenance
  • Pleasing appellation – (Scientific name: Siphonaptera)
  • Price – particularly attractive
CCT member Ian Moody, pictured on board Flea
Ian works for the Stroud District Council Canal Restoration Team as a Volunteers Co-ordinator

Once over-plating, painting and the refit is completed Flea will be used by the SDC Tuesday & Thursday Volunteers as a bank maintenance craft
along the Thames & Severn above Wallbridge and beyond.

Ian sums up & seeks some assistance…

“Flea’s shallow draft, wide workspace and steel cabin make it an ideal vessel for bankside maintenance and the movement of restoration tools, equipment and volunteers along the canal. There is just one more thing though; Flea will need an outboard motor to push her along!

“We will gratefully receive the gift of any 9hp long reach outboard motor that might be cluttering up someone’s outhouse, garage or boat shed.”

Conclusion & encouragement

If you have such an outboard motor creating an encumbrance at home, please drop Ian an email on
Ian.Moody@stroud.gov.uk
or leave a message on 01453 754 646.

Ian will arrange collection and suggests there may be a place for the motor donor on board Flea’s inaugural cruise!