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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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Rotary washing line for narrow boat

Hi, we have bought a umbrella holder to clamp onto the tiller and would like to be able to put a rotary clothes driver into the clamp. All the rotary lines we have found are quite large (turning circle of 1.97m is the smallest) does anyone have any ideas where we can get a mini rotary? thanks

Asked by: Linda McLaughlin  | Sunday 27 June, 8.08pm | 3 answers

Replating bottom of narrowboat

I own a 1983 Mike Heywood 38ft narrowboat which has just been surveyed. Some deterioration and pitting was found in the steel bottom plate(originally 6mm) and the surveyor said it should be replated within about 12 nmonths. I keep the boat at a Boat Club near Warwick (no suitable facilities for this work) and would be grateful if anyone can suggest/recommend boat engineers in this area to carry out the work at a reasonable standard and price?

Asked by: Angela Richards  | Tuesday 22 June, 2.12pm | no answers yet - add one

Central Heating question

Hypothetical question: If there is a gas boiler connected to finrads throughout the boat (and a calorifier) and a solid fuel stove, could the stove be replaced with one that includes a back boiler and just connect it in series (or parallel?) to the existing central heating system at the closest point?

Asked by: David Pinney  | Tuesday 22 June, 1.56pm | 2 answers

Solid Fuel Cooker

Going to see a narrowboat with a Rayburn cooker, having only used gas before was wondering how easy and practical they are to use, and how legal is it to just chop down branches on the side of the cut for wood, and would fresh branches burn? or do you have to let them dry? Many thanks.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | Monday 21 June, 10.38am | 2 answers

Varnish woodwork in new fit out

Just fitting out a narrowboat with tongue and groove oak and oak faced ply. Should I seal the back of the oak before I put it up? What varnish would you recommend? Many thanks, Peter Thompson

Asked by: mrpthompson  | Saturday 19 June, 5.45pm | 2 answers

GP surgery

My wife and I are from New Zealand and we intend to spend 2 years on your canals cotinuous cruising.My wife has a UK pasport and I am a Kiwi.Our problem is a GP surgery and prescripions,can you help? Geoff NZ

Asked by: Geoff Griffin  | Friday 18 June, 11.40pm | 2 answers


I am currently planning my life on a narrowboat. I would like to move around alot but it will have to be local to my place of work in Birmingham. I know marinas are an option but it would not suit my personality. Could I move around and stay in different places for a couple of weeks at a time?

Asked by: Lee Kruba  | Wednesday 16 June, 5.37pm | 1 answer


if i had a continuous cruzing licence can i still pay for private mooring for say 3 months or do i have to keep moving thanks

Asked by: andy wakler  | Monday 14 June, 10.17pm | 1 answer

Battery charger & inverter

I have a max 6 amp supply on landline in marina. Can I run a battery charger permanently on my 5 x 110 amp/hr batteries and have a 2Kw inverter permanently connected? This would allow me to occaisionally draw more than the 6 amps allowed on the land line. I normally have lights, bilge and water pumps and radio on 12 volts, and fridge (absorbtion), tv (15" flat screen), microwave, lap top and various rechargeables (mobile, torch etc.)on mains. Do I need to do anything about earthing the mains side, and will there be increased decay of the sacrificial anodes.
thanks in anticipation
Robsuch drank

Asked by: Rob Francis  | Monday 14 June, 2.39pm | 2 answers

Canal Maps

Is there a source for electronic canal maps online?

Asked by: Mervyn Charlton  | Saturday 12 June, 5.35pm | 4 answers

Medical Support

We are (my wife a I) about to start planning our life on a narrow boat. Selling our home etc. and buying an appartment and then a boat. Can anybody advise on medical cover, attending GP surgery for monthly prescripions etc. or for more general medical issues. We intend to live aboard and travel for most of the year.

Asked by: Mike Davies  | Friday 11 June, 11.58am | 1 answer


Hi, as a newby to boating, I know of pumpout and cassette toilets, but composting? I have found out that the waste is heat dried and shaken into a powder and you have to empty the tray 3-4 times a year. Downside is cost, £2000-£3000, upside is savings on pumpouts and emptying of cassettes and as an exteral flue is included, little or no smell, so why is this not the toilet of choice? Or am I missing something? Your comments would be welcome. Many thanks, Tony.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | Wednesday 9 June, 10.14am | 3 answers

What paint is best to use to black bottom of narrowboat?

We are on river chelmer and our only access to under the waterline on the narrowboat is by craning the boat out. We want to paint the bottom and wish to use something that would last as long as possible to avoid regularly craning the boat out. What paint/medium do you suggest?

Asked by: Janette Allen  | Tuesday 8 June, 11.24am | 4 answers

The 1908 boat 'LAPWING'

I have heard the name 'LAPWING' being used by a canal boat company - The Floating boater. I have visited this narrow boat in Little Venice, London. This boat was built circa 1912/13.
My father was born on a boat named LAPWING in yiewsley in 1908. Would you be able to help me find any details of this earlier boat please?

Asked by: Anthony Mason  | Friday 4 June, 7.48am | 3 answers

Petrol generator storage

Is it safe to store a petrol generator inside the boat?
The petrol is kept outside the boat and I am aware of the safety issues with filling up
the generator and using it.

Asked by: matty  | Thursday 3 June, 11.11pm | 1 answer

can you rent barges for a few months?

can you ret bages to live on for a few months. I am thinking about buying one but want to try it first. Around the tring, marsworth, cheddington area is where i am looking.

Asked by: steven ham  | Thursday 3 June, 6.12pm | 1 answer


hi! i know this might sound stupid, but is 57 my age, 60 my wifes age she wont mind me telling you,to old to start living on the cut or have we left it to long, toni

Asked by: toni  | Tuesday 1 June, 9.57pm | 8 answers

Water Filter problem

I wonder if you or any readers can help with a problem we have.
Having purchased a unlined sale-away, and been fitting it out our selves at weekends and any spare time over the past three years the water filtration system was purchased from the Crick Show in 2008, a '3M--s 'WV-B3' whole system water filter--, we liked the idea of filtering all the water, rather than just the single tap, and used the summer of 2009 and is now due to have its filter cartridge replaced, we now find that the company that sold the system are no longer trading.
At the time we didn--t think we would have any problems with obtaining replacement filter cartridges being a well known company, in fact 3M have a distribution centre two minuets from where we live, haw wrong could we be.
This system seems to be designed for the American 'Recreational Vehicle and Marine-- market, and not available from any 3M stockist that we have been able to contact in the UK.
Can you or any reader give us any information on a supplier in this country, they are available mail order from the USA.

Asked by: Don Titchmarsh  | Tuesday 1 June, 11.47am | 1 answer

I am interested in legislation adn taxes that you have to pay in UK for your boats

Recently Serbian government has put in power new regulations in the area of nautical and boating.
Just for an example, by the law it is forbidden to fish from your own boat (I am speaking about recreational fishing not proffesional).
Or, another example, if you have a small cabin motor boat LOA=5 m (16 ft) we have to pay the tax which is dependant on the power of ones outboard.
7.35-22.05 HP means that you have to pay 150 EUR.
Or if your outboard is between 73.6 and 96.6 HP tha tax is 990 EUR. For outboards over 220 HP the tax is 2,100 EUR.
Having in mind an average income which is monthly app. 330 EUR (net) this is a lot.
This is why I am really currious to find out how these things are regulated in the UK.
Your feed back will be highly appreciated.

Asked by: Lazar Stanojević  | Wednesday 26 May, 5.23pm | 5 answers


WW has just carried an item about the sinking of a boat with a low "freeboard". We bought a 1993 built, 62', 6 berth Braunston semi trad steel 10/6/5 boat last year. In the cabin there is a notce about the maximum number of people on board but the number has faded away. I guess the freeboard is like the "plimsoll line", designed to stop overloading. Is there a rule of thumb for a 6 berth (apart from it being cramped with 6 people on board), so I can safely work out what the maximum people loading should be?
Many thanks

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | Tuesday 25 May, 9.47pm | 2 answers

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