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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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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

Tar stains onyboat

We're getting tar streaks on the side of the boat from the stove chimney. Three things; what causes it, how can I prevent it happening, how can I clean the stains off ( nothings worked so far!).

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Tuesday 28 March, 5.32pm | 3 answers

Which Cratch Cover

We're looking at getting a cratch cover for our boat and I am wondering which material to choose. I really like the look of canvas but I'm concerned it won't be fully watertight at the seams and the problem of discolouration. I'm not keen on the look of PVC and I'm concerned about the potential of ripping it, or it degrading and splitting over time. Am I getting overly concerned about these fabrics or is there another fabric that would be best. Any advice on which way to go will be appreciated.

Asked by: Raymond Fowler  | Sunday 26 March, 3.17pm | 2 answers

Calcium Silicate Board

How do I fix Calcium silicate board to the wall/batons around my stove

Asked by: Ian CLARK  | Monday 20 March, 8.13pm | 3 answers

engine option

we are in the process of buying anarrowboat.one has perkins mc42.The other a betabv1903s(kabuta).Please could you give comparison thoughts. thankyou

Asked by: mick furner  | Thursday 16 March, 11.25am | 2 answers

Pump out problems - New Boat

Took ownership of our shiny new boat last year on December 16, and been living on it since. I have been using Silky RX holding tank treatment from the word go. Pump outs haven't been a problem until recently. The last three times, when I have been pumping out, the pump out pump at the marina has broken. A share pin has snapped. One fixed I can continue pumping out with no probems, however the next time I need to pump out it breaks again. Has now happened three times in a row. Other boaters don't seem to have a problem. I can't find any blockages that I can think of. I am to scared to go pump out again.

Asked by: Andre Skarzynski  | Monday 13 March, 3.32pm | 6 answers

Attaching a drawing

Have you come across PO toilet systems having a separate flush water tank? Both tanks on same side of boat & of appropriate capacities. Boat ballasting done under "nominal" conditions. Boat will list when pumped out but should right when flush tank refilled. Like to send a diagram if poss. Thanks.

Asked by: Guy Campbell  | Wednesday 8 March, 6.12am | 3 answers


Hi we have a 70ft narrowboat that weighs in at 27 ton what size anchor ect would we need to have ?

Asked by: keith  | Sunday 5 March, 9.47am | 3 answers

Deterring Ducks

Suddenly after 9 years in our marina, ducks have taken to doing ducky-doos on our counter. We have a cruiser stern and have tried installing a 4 inch square net from the pulpit rail to cover the entire counter and tying it down to keep it taut but this hasn't stopped the doos. Maybe we need a net with finer mesh? Any other ideas?

Asked by: Clive Dutson  | Friday 3 March, 12.56pm | 4 answers

Highbridge grp cruisers

Has anyone got information on the Highbridge Crusader 1983 32ft grp cruisers please?Is there an owner's club?A relative of mine has bought one
and water is getting into the cockpit.Dry dock charges are high on the Kennet and Avon [Bath].Also self employed handymen/engineers hard to find there for things like installing a solid fuel boatstove etc

Asked by: brian james  | Thursday 16 February, 8.05pm | 2 answers

Kingspan narrowboat insulation

We are considering having a new bespoke narrow boat built and have visited nine potential builders after visiting Crick last year. Perhaps not surprisingly, we have received various opinions on virtually ever aspect of boat build and design including insulation of the shell.
Most builders seem to use spray foam. But one builder, who we are particularly interested in, uses a Kingspan-sourced ridged foam board which, while giving a consistent thickness would seem to have limitations in insulating hard-to-reach areas. I wondered what your opinion is regarding the merits or otherwise of the two systems?
Trevor Hogg.

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Monday 13 February, 3.58pm | 2 answers

Have I got a stove leak

I have noticed several tar streaks running down the outside of the stove chimney on the part of the chimney that's inside of the boat. (So running from the roof line down). Do a have a leak between the chimney and the roof fitting?

Asked by: Adam Savory  | Sunday 12 February, 9.47pm | 4 answers

Cable Terminations

Is there anything in either the RCD,BSC or IEE Wiring Regs which requires the fitting of ferrules on cable terminations on 12v DC or 230v AC boat wiring systems ?

Asked by: Rodney Hardwick  | Saturday 11 February, 4.47pm | 4 answers

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