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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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Hour meter dip switches

I removed my rev counter from my BETA 38 engine as the bulb and the hour display were not working. I failed to find why the hours were no longer showing but more importantly the dip switches were accidently moved. What should they be set at to ensure that the rev counter is accurate? Is there any obvious reason for the hours not to be displayed?

Asked by: Alan Davies  | Monday 22 May, 6.42pm | 3 answers

Wood burning stoves

In choosing our new wood burning stove for our boat, do we need to buy a Defra approved stove or can we use the non approved versions?

Asked by: Raymond Fowler  | Sunday 21 May, 9.35am | 2 answers

cratch cove

have you a list of crachcover makers on the Shropshire union near norbury pleas regard alan jenner

Asked by: alanjenner  | Monday 15 May, 3.25pm | 5 answers

blacking the hull of my 60 foot narrowboat

How many gallons of blackening do I need per coat for my 60 foot narrowboat hull please?

Asked by: Net Watmough  | Thursday 11 May, 3.32pm | 1 answer

Manual toilet pump out pumps

Hi - literally got caught short at Kingswood junction with the CRT pump out facility not working [it got repaired two days later]and 7/8 full black water toilet tank. A fellow boater had a manual pump out facility and said it was very useful when quite often pump out facilities are not functioning and cost effective over a few years. Any suggestions as to what pumps there are available to manually pump out the tank if the electric pump out isn't working wherever you may be. Obviously the manual pump discharge hose is directed down the elsan disposal facility.
Thanks Bill G
nb Jamdrew of Larkfield

Asked by: bill goad  | Thursday 11 May, 12.49pm | 3 answers

Narrowboat/Marbella apartment holiday swap?

We would love a narrowboat holiday and have a luxury penthouse apartment near Marbella we could lend you in exchange- have a look at https://www.homeexchangegold.com/en/listing/13322

Asked by: Richard Amery  | Wednesday 10 May, 8.17am | 1 answer

blacking the hull of my 60 foot narrowboat

I am getting so confused about what to blacken the hull with. I think that Bitumen is what I am going to use, but not sure what brand to use as some state that no protection against oil etc. I thought that all Bitumen was the same! Can someone please tell me what I am supposed to use?

Asked by: Net Watmough  | Monday 8 May, 7.32pm | 3 answers

Dull paintwork

We have a 4 year old narrow boat painted Oxford green with red side panels. The green has lost all of its gloss and become dull and almost chalky in appearance. The red has also lost its gloss. My question is how can the gloss be restored. I've used polish which gives a short term improvement, but what would you recommend to solve this issue?

Asked by: John Phillip Lloyd  | Sunday 30 April, 9.27pm | 1 answer

Does an 11ft-wide boat need a marina?

Can I ask, why do narrow boat owners insist on telling us we will need a marina if we buy a 11ft x 58ft please? They seem hell bent on putting us off and scaring us into getting a 60ft narrow boat but partner does not like the closed in feeling of them.

Asked by: Robert Cowling   | Saturday 29 April, 12.17pm | 2 answers

Webasto Diesel Cookers

Is there any reason, technical or safety related, why the Webasto diesel ceramic hotplates (X100) are not installed in narrowboats when they are fitted to motorhomes. They seem to be a standard fit in RVs and would eliminate the need to stow LPG bottles.

Asked by: Lawrence Williams  | Friday 28 April, 10.00pm | 3 answers

Strange Battery Behavior

I have recently been having a few issues with the domestic batteries. The set up is 5 110amp Hr batteries, charged via altenator and Victron inverter cahrger. last saturday, the lights went out. Checking the voltage it looked OK (12.45V) but all the circuits were dead.
strangely though, we have 1 circute, which does not go through the main domestic isolator switch (for monitoring when we are off the boat, and this was still powered up OK
I switched the inverter off and after a few seconds the lights came back on.
The system has been in place for a number of years with no recent changes. Until recently, all has worked fine.
Can anyone suggest what might be going on.

Asked by: duncan  | Tuesday 25 April, 4.18pm | 3 answers

Builder of boat??

I have recently bought a 40ft narrowboat & cant seem to find out much about its history. I've not seen another one like it yet ( the bow doors are set to one side & it has solid runners along the roof instead of rails. It's age is guessed at around late 60's early 70's. Some Liverpool boats look a little like it, but not much!
Has any one got any idea how I go about finding out who/where it was built please??

Asked by: Natalie Woollard  | Monday 24 April, 1.38pm | 4 answers


We are just about to finalise the purchase of a 1999 Sea Otter, having sold our lovely old Springer. The main advantage to us was the fact that it would not need so much hull maintenance. Otters seem to be as popular as ever and it has taken a few attempts to get to see one before it has been sold.
The Otter will be coming out for a survey shortly and we were therefore surprised when we were advised to black it while it was in dry dock. We have owned small aluminium boats before, which had no paint cover, just bare aluminium. We have asked around, but get conflicting advice. It is a similar situation with trying to get information about the dreaded "electrolysis" which apparently can destroy an aluminium boat overnight!
Would a Waterways World expert be able to tell us whether blacking is necessary and also explain, in simple terms, how to spot and avoid electrolysis.
Any information or advice would be much appreciated.
As these boats seem extremely sought after, perhaps WW might consider producing an article on them.
Emailed question from Jeff Jones

Asked by: Robert Cowling   | Monday 24 April, 9.21am | 1 answer

Low oil pressure

Barrus shire 1250 4ntv88 with 700 hrs and about 4 1/2 years old. The oil pressure is 2.5 to 4 bar cold and about 2 to 3 bar hot. The manual states 0.6 bar idle and 3.9 to 5.4 bar normal ! I service it every year with the correct oil and filter and run the engine with the pto engaged.
I would like to know what is normal running and do you think I might have a problem. I have spoke to barrus but they wont come out under warranty untill i have had the pressure checked. I'm going to get the pressure checked with a Master meter soon but I would be interested in your opinion.
Many thanks Anthony

Asked by: anthony spanswick  | Sunday 23 April, 6.44pm | 3 answers

Improving mobile phone reception in a narrowboat

I'm looking for a cheap way to get a better signal inside a steel narrowboat with portholes - a near-perfect Faraday cage that blocks any signals in or out. I've seen phone boosters for cars that fit to a window, basically just passing the signal passively between an outside aerial and an inside one, using an inductive coupler to get through the glass. I thought I might try getting two carphone aerials, one outside and one in, and just connecting them together with a short cable. Obviously there will be some attenuation, but has anyone tried either of these methods? I don't want to make a hole in the roof unless I'm sure it would improve reception, but the idea of having a completely passive system with no power supply sounds good to me! I've seen examples of passive TV repeaters, using a pair of directional aerials linked by a cable, for instance to get a signal to houses below a hill, so it ought to work in theory.

Asked by: Robert Wood  | Sunday 23 April, 10.11am | 2 answers

advice about condition of boat and how to renovate or is it worth it?

i have seen a post on eBay of a narrow boat for sale was in storm it is now re-afloat and in need of a good clean and overhaul. It has a 1.5 bmc engine which was refurbished just before I brought the boat, this will also need attention,ie emptying of water and re-filling with oil and diesel. When i did the rebuild in 2010 every thing was brand new, ie:- Gas cooker, Gas boiler,Valour multifuel stove, Shower, Pumps,Lighting, Wiring 12v and 240 hook up,etc. These should all be ok with a good drying out and clean. how much time and money would it cost to do this as the inside looks very damp and sustained water damage would it be a total refit?

Asked by: abbie o'connor  | Tuesday 18 April, 9.45pm | 4 answers

Dimmable LED's

I recently changed all 16 of my old 1990's 'festoon bulbs' in our boat for 'Lumo LED 9 Touchlife' lamps . The results are fantastic apart from 1, the last one I fitted, which is nearest to the battery bank. This bulb appears to have a mind of its own and is out of control. I have replaced it thinking it must have been a rogue and even turned the cable connections around, all to no avail.
Any ideas?

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | Monday 17 April, 5.17pm | 5 answers

blue smoke

Hi everyone I have just had my BMC 1500 engine reconditioned it has run for about 18 20 hours now its puffing out blue smoke does any one know whats happening have the rings gone not sure.
Many Thanks Lez

Asked by: Lez Brennan  | Wednesday 12 April, 5.42pm | 3 answers

From Horning to Bradford on Avon

We have a Princess 33 moored in Horning Norfolk, Can we navigate via Great Yarmouth, Thames to Bradford on Avon, are there bridge heights to consider? Our air draft is 9ft. Thanks for any help. Will need fuelling, water, and pump out destinations too if anyone could help. Buy you a pint on the way!!

Asked by: Rebecca  | Sunday 9 April, 7.48pm | 1 answer

Engine size

I'm interested in buying a 60ft narrow boat that has a barrus shire 40 Hp with a 17x12 prop ,I plan to cruise the river Trent and soar as well as the canals , is 40 hp on a 60 ft boat adequate

Asked by: wayne rook  | Wednesday 29 March, 8.31pm | 4 answers

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