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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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Water Tank overflow / air vent?

I am about to install a new water tank in my narrow boat and I--m unsure about the best approach to arranging the overflow/air vent. Both the original and new tanks are around 100gals.
The tank is under the floor of the forward cockpit and sits flat on the bottom of the boat and is 500mm high, so the top of the tank as about level with the boats water line. The original tank was GRP and although the top was reinforced with external ribs any amount of upward pressure on the top of the tank put unacceptable load on the top of the tank and therefore we were never able to push water up an overflow by any more than a couple of inches. Consequently, we have lived with never filling the tank to the top. The overflow/air vent terminated inside the boat and simply acted as a vent.
The forward well is not self draining; there--s a wooden floor above the tank supported on removable steel floor bearers. Any water that does get into the forward well drains though a pipe running the length of the boat and into the engine well.
The new tank that is on order is polypropylene and I--m told by the makers (Henderson--s Plastics) that the tank will be tested to a pressure of 8ft of water head and that pushing water up an overflow of up to about two feet above the top of the tank should not be a problem. I hope they--re right?
I really need the tank to overflow to the outside of the boat, probably through a skin fitting at least a foot or so above the water line; my concern is how I prevent any possibility of contamination of the fresh water tank by ingress of canal water, and or creepy crawlies?
I--m considering some kind of non-return valve in the overflow pipe and providing a separate air vent, above the overflow, inside the boat.
I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter; do you have a better solution? Do you know of any suitable devices that would fit the requirements?
Many thanks for your time.

Asked by: Peter Bone  | Tuesday 4 May, 8.42pm | 1 answer

Bow Thrusters

As a single handed boat owener to be, bow thrusters seem like a good option, which is best, ellectric or hydraulic? Many thanks.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | Sunday 2 May, 8.22am | 2 answers

Narrowboat Insulation.

Thought I would go with Spray Foam insulation for my new boat, but was told that it could trap moisture and Flame Retardant Polystyrene sheeting would be best, 50mm. on hull and 25mm. on cabin walls. Any thoughts on which would be more suitable? And do I need any on cabin roof? Many thanks.

Asked by: Anthony Burnell  | Saturday 1 May, 7.56pm | 3 answers

Boat toilet

I currently have a pump out toilet on my narrowboat.
It required pumping out after four days use with 3 of us on board.i am considering getting a cassette type.I have seen a porta potti with 21ltr waste tank can anyone tell me how these stack up against a pumpout. does the cassette seperate from the toilet when needing emptying as my old caravan model did not have a tank had to carry it to the elsan.

Asked by: edward Connolly  | Friday 30 April, 5.06pm | 2 answers

Matt paint for gunwales to rubbing strakes

It has been suggested to me to use matt black paint for the gunwales down to the rubbing strakes, rather than gloss, to ease touching up of this frequently damaged area. Can you recommend a suitable paint, and are there other considerations?

Asked by: Gordon Lane  | Sunday 25 April, 1.44pm | 1 answer

Steering in reverse

What is the secret to stearing a narrowboat in reverse? I find that before my boat makes any headway (and hence steering) in reverse, the paddle wheel effect tends to take over and pivot the boat across the canal.

Asked by: Clive Neale  | Thursday 22 April, 1.21pm | 5 answers

Split battery charging

We run a charity trip boat which is having trouble driving the second alternator and wish to just run off the primary alternator to charge the engine & domestic batteries. We propose to buy a Sterling PSR122 split charger. Are we likely to run into any problems when we come to fit it?

Asked by: Duncan Paine  | Monday 19 April, 11.28am | 2 answers

Further information on one of your contributors.

In a doctor's surgery I read an article on a Victorean rowing trip from Chester to Kendal in 1899 by a R E Froude'
Is it possible for me to make contact with the author?

Asked by: Mike Spence  | Thursday 15 April, 5.55pm | 1 answer

Moving a narrowboat from Lincoln to Bedford.

A route planner maped it via the Wash is this possible or not advisable?

Asked by: Trevor James Lewinton  | Tuesday 13 April, 11.33pm | 1 answer


Hi there,
I am due to sell my home, and wish to purchase a wide beam as a live aboard subject to finding a suitable residential mooring. My question is, if the boat I buy is brand new would I have to pay VAT, if it was to be my home?

Asked by: Griff  | Monday 12 April, 8.45pm | 4 answers

leisure batteries

what are the best leisure batteries and is there an advanage in having 135 amps over 110 when we seem to run out of power in the late evening

Asked by: D A LINDSAY  | Monday 12 April, 2.32pm | 1 answer

Roof colours - light or dark?

I am planning the paint scheme for a new 58 ft boat and am getting conflicting advice about roof colours. People I respect say a) that the roof must be a light colour to keep the cabin cool on hot days, or b) I mustn--t use a light colour for the roof, because on bright days, the sun will reflect and glare into the steerer--s eyes making the boat extremely unpleasant to use. I see many new boats with light coloured roofs - how does it work out in practice and is there a noticeable cooling effect?

Asked by: Gordon Lane  | Saturday 10 April, 4.58pm | 2 answers

Washing line pole holder for tiller bar

I saw an attachment that you could buy for your tiller bar in the magazine so that you can put up a rotary clothes line on your boat, where can we buy one?

Asked by: Rachel Rice  | Friday 9 April, 8.49am | 5 answers

winding at Oxford

I am planning a trip from Welton Hythe to Oxford and back again and obviously will need to wind at Oxford. Nicholsons is some help, Google Earth too, but I am a tad confused as to where I can wind...below Isis Lock perhaps???....and where is a good place to moor overnight closish to the city centre???

Asked by: peter west  | Thursday 8 April, 10.08pm | 1 answer

Isuzu 42hp oil filter

I have an Isuzu 42hp engine but can't find the cc or the oil filter number I need. Can anyone help please?

Asked by: YVONNE SANDERSON  | Wednesday 7 April, 3.17pm | no answers yet - add one


when we fitted out our narrowboat we was told although not an exact method 1 ton should lower 1 inch.we are now considering a dutch style barge at 60'x 12'is there a rough guide for this size as a feel being wider than a narrowboat it can't be the same method

Asked by: mick turner  | Wednesday 7 April, 12.19pm | 2 answers


pumpout or cassette toilets which are the most popular.soon to be new boaters

Asked by: hedley muff  | Tuesday 6 April, 4.47pm | 3 answers

subscription from France

Hello I was wondering if it were possible to subscribe from France and how much it would cost if it is.

Asked by: QUENOUILLERE  | Saturday 3 April, 6.26pm | 1 answer

who paints boats in 2 pack paint

in common with a lot of boats my recent repaint has failed this winter with water blistering. I conclude that 2 pack paint is the only paint worth putting on the boat. So is there a painter that can srip to bare metal and paint in 2 pack?

Asked by: Ian Evans  | Thursday 1 April, 4.51pm | 1 answer

Query about Grand Junction Mileposts

Last year someone wrote a letter regarding an unusual stone mile post at Fenny lock. The expert replied that these were the original mile post giving distances to the Thames and that he thought there was another a Grove Lock (which is true). Recent hedging work near Church Lock appears to have revealed another one all the writing is no longer visible. However it is less than a mile from the one at Grove so was it originally sited on the lockside? If so perhaps I could persuade BW to return it to it's orginal home.

Asked by: Graham Bishop  | Wednesday 31 March, 12.20pm | no answers yet - add one

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