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Got a technical question or a boating query? Post your quandaries here and pick the brains of the WW team. You can also add your answers to others' questions, or browse through previous answers.

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narrowboats: centre-cockpit design?

I have recently read G Booth's book on narrowboat planning. Many of the ideas can be taken in when contemplating a centre-cockpit design (canal users seem to call this a dutch barge arrangement - pardon my sea-sailing parlance!)but I imagine there are other ideas and considerations to be borne in mind? Do you have any suggestions where such information might be found?
A second issue: I plan to spend periods of up to a couple of months cruising and a narrowboat is of course just that - NARROW! Are there any clever techniques for reducing any feelings of claustrophobia (a widebeam is a problem, since it cuts the cruising area in half!)
Any help/guidance you can provide would be gratefully received. Thank you, in anticipation - Tony.

Asked by: Tony Perris  | Tuesday 28 December, 9.49pm | 2 answers

Calder & Hebble Locks

When I saw Chris Clegg's email, explaining how you get a 60ft narrow boat through Calder & Hebble locks I thought, at last somebody how knows what he is talking about. Then I read the note at the bottom written by the technical team.
The lenght of 57ft is the max lenght of a wide beam craft. The locks have to be longer, so the bottom gates can be opened and closed. Chris's drawing clearly shows a boat longer than 57ft, because the bottom gates could note be closed if the boat was wide beam.
I can assure you that a 60ft narrow boat will fit into these locks and it is done exactly as Chris says and not by diagonal positioning.
72ft narrow boats have to do the same in Bishop Meadow lock on the Soar, as it will only except a 70ft wide beam craft.

Asked by: Mick Poyser  | Friday 24 December, 1.36pm | no answers yet - add one

new to narrow boats gas ?

can anybody tell me if i can use 15 mm copper for gas supply down the boat ?
1/2 inch is long out of date and to expensive and cant find it in lenghs always on a coil

Asked by: dave  | Wednesday 22 December, 7.33pm | 4 answers

Hull thickness?

We used to live on old (1976) narrowboat and we want to come back to old times. We have found a boat from 1997 built by BJ Welding (we believe it is small company because there is not too much of them on internet) and we think about buying it.
Our old boat was specified as 6/5/4 (when new) and after 30 years (the survey) it had still 5 mm of solid bottom and almost same thickness of the rest.
New boat was built as 10/6/3 but after just 6 years in 2002 survey the thickness was 8.2/5.1/3 and there was an information that the bottom was not painted. The seller says he took her out every 2 years and painted her and he seems to be trustworthy but...
I've read on internet that sometimes newer boats have the steel of very poor quality comparing to old ones and I want to avoid the disappointment.
I know the simplest thing would be to take her out and measure the thickness but we have very tight budget.
The second thing is the engine - BMC 1500, older then the boat (it is not said how old) but in good condition (the owner is the mechanic) with more then 3000h on the clock. I wonder if it is good engine comparing to others?
Well, I thank you in advance for any help and advice.
Kind Regards

Asked by: Joanna and Jarek   | Tuesday 21 December, 3.16pm | 2 answers

winter heaters on boats

can i use a greenhouse type heater to provide a low level of heat in my boat during freezing weather

Asked by: HGRIFFITHS  | Monday 6 December, 5.58pm | 3 answers

Axiom prop

Does anyone have an Axiom prop on their narrowboat? If so,does their narrowboat revers in a straight line as claimed by the makers of Axiom props?

Asked by: ELAINE INSOLE  | Monday 29 November, 10.04pm | 4 answers

Drained calorifier

I used my water pump to drain the water tank, pipes, shower and calorifier for the winter. If I run the engine to charge the batteries or for cruising is there any risk of damaging the calorifier. Engine cooling is by skin tanks. Thank you.

Asked by: Dave Fearns  | Thursday 25 November, 8.29pm | 2 answers

Will ultra low sulpher diesal ruin my engine?

I'm a liveaboard and have recently fitted a replacement 2.2 BMC engine in my boat, my aim is to try to modenise my boat but keep it as original as poss, if that's not too contradictory!! When I filled up with fuel I was told that the fuel will be city diesal, ultra low sulpher, from now on due to an EU directive. Will this new fuel damage my old engine? When I was a mechanic and this fuel came in to use, we virtualy had our whole fleet of dustbin lorries go down with fuel and engine problems within the first month.
Is there or will there be an additive to put into the tanks to replace the loss of the sulpher?
Thanks, CRAIG.

Asked by: craig sheaf  | Tuesday 23 November, 11.16am | 3 answers

Rudder Problem

I caught my rudder on a lock sill yesterday and it seems to have knocked the tiller up about 4 inches from the deck. It still works but it is obvious that the rudder has become detached from the bottom bracket. I am tempted to get in the water(shallow mooring) and lift it back in place - would this be viable

Asked by: martyn holder  | Sunday 21 November, 3.28pm | 2 answers

12 v vacuum cleaner

We have recently bought a Narrowboat with a 1500 W inverter and are having problems with our 1400 W vacuum cleaner and have been told that the only answer is a 12v one, but my experience of those is that they are useless on carpets. Does anyone sell an efficient 12v cleaner or a lower wattage mains cleaner, or do you have any other advice to solve the cleaning problem?

Asked by: Chris Dann  | Tuesday 16 November, 4.40pm | 5 answers

fuel polishing

having had 2 cases of fuel contamination in 2 years,is fuel polishing as seen in WWDec the answer?
Geof Long

Asked by: Geof Long  | Friday 12 November, 3.12pm | 1 answer

Lister LH150 gearbox

No oil pressure in my gearbox , therefore stuck in forwards . Have decided to take the box ( and reverse box ) out and send to professionals for repair , any tips on this job ? many thanks .

Asked by: Jos Flinn  | Thursday 11 November, 10.35am | 2 answers

Leaky windows !

Yup , it's that time of year , my narrow boat's windows are leaking !
I'm a G.R.P. top , fitted with aluminium framed ( caravan type ) windows , I'm looking for suggestions for the best type of sealant to do a neat , effective job ( I don't want messy bath sealant goop all over the place ) many thanks !

Asked by: Jos Flinn  | Thursday 11 November, 10.30am | 3 answers

the Bryces Bix

does anybody know what happened to Bix the Bryce's well travelled narrowboat.is the boat still with us,has the boat got a different name,and where is the boat moored.I would love to see this narrowboat for real to take a few piccy's. Can anybody help.thanks

Asked by: gaz bee  | Monday 8 November, 8.13pm | no answers yet - add one

Vu Qube satellite dish

I have been researching automated self-seeking satellite dishes to replace my manual dish which is a hassle to set up. Any recommendations from existing users? The Omniview VuQube, which is quite new to the market, is portable, would not spoil the roof line and can be located where there is the most open view. It thus appears suitable for use on a narrowboat. Does anyone have experience of it? Could it be reviewed for Boats & Pieces?

Asked by: Richard Holland  | Tuesday 26 October, 8.32am | 1 answer

Multi Fuel Stoves

I am going to fit a multi fuel stove to my narrow boat, and i need to find out all the regulations such as fire retardant wood and other lining materials etc that i should use. Is there a leaflet or book that i can read on the subject

Asked by: david lee  | Monday 25 October, 4.14pm | 3 answers


Our boat does not have the curtain 'retainers' to hold the closed curtains against the hull. Where can you buy them?

Asked by: Marian Birks  | Saturday 23 October, 1.54pm | 1 answer

White diesel - is it harmful to engines?

My partner and I use red diesel. What will the consequences be to our engines, Perkins 1992 and Beta 2000) when we have to change to white diesel?

Asked by: Barry Babbington  | Wednesday 20 October, 7.51pm | 1 answer

Size of fresh water tank

We are having a 57ft narrowboat built; for holiday not live-aboard use, generally for 2 people, occassionally for 4. What would anyone recommend as a minimum acceptable capacity for the fresh water tank? (asking the question as a desire for a bow thruster appears to limit space for this tank; we have also been unable to find advice on our likely daily water consumption)

Asked by: nigel cribb  | Monday 18 October, 8.14pm | 2 answers

Tee studs and Dollies

Hi, as a newbie to the boating world, why have Tee studs at the bow and Dollies at the stern? I find that the Tee stud is easier to attach mooring ropes, as you can get a good figure of eight around it. Is there a practical reason why Tee studs can not be used at the stern? Many thanks.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | Sunday 17 October, 10.30am | 2 answers

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