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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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Hull Blacking

I plan to black the hull of my 40ft narrow boat this November. Can you please tell me if I need to black the base plate as well as the hull sides?

Asked by: John Phillip Lloyd  | Monday 3 November, 3.38pm | 2 answers

Nanni Engine

i'm looking into buying a 55ft trad with a Nanni engine, however i've not come across this make of engine before, are they any good, and are they widely serviced?
Cheers M

Asked by: Mark Bromley  | Saturday 1 November, 2.14pm | 3 answers

double glazing

How efective is double glazed windows in stopping condenstation

Asked by: george  | Wednesday 29 October, 1.53pm | 1 answer

Gas hob

I'm fitting a new kitchen on a narrowboat. Can I use a natural gas domestic hob using propane or do I need to buy a hob made specifically for a boat? Thanks, Jo

Asked by: joannagreen  | Wednesday 29 October, 1.41pm | 3 answers


We have bought a35 ft liverpool narrow boat with a 20hp beta.the handbook says it has a 20amp alternator.we have an electric fridge and no tv, is the alternator big enough or perhaps a solar panel would help to charge batteries.it seems ok up until now, about six months

Asked by: ken button  | Thursday 23 October, 6.46pm | 2 answers

What size and type of anchor

I need to buy a new anchor for my narrowboat - 58', 16 tonnes. The question is what type and size of anchor? I have used Danforth anchors on boats in the past but on a narrowboat I find the projecting ends of the cylindrical bar at the bottom of the flukes is a nuisance. A "French" or "grip" anchor is an alternative. Another option is a folding grapple anchor which may be a better option for rivers. Your thoughts please on the type and weight of anchor.
The next question is then what length of anchor chain? I presume that the length will depend largely on the weight of chain and I see that one of the standard sizes which seems to be offered by chandleries is 3/8". Could you please advise me on the length of chain needed for the suggested anchor matched with my boat?
Thank you.

Asked by: Terry  | Thursday 23 October, 4.36am | 2 answers

Boat insurance

We are looking for a suitable boat insurance for France, can anybody recommend a company?

Asked by: Jim Latimer  | Saturday 18 October, 12.21pm | 1 answer

Bow thruster

I am looking for a bow thruster for a 15mtr Tjalk from 1905, does anyone know where I can find one?

Asked by: Jim Latimer  | Friday 17 October, 1.01pm | no answers yet - add one

sailing in europe

I have a 52ft narrowboat with 1.5 BMC engine, would that be able to sail the european rivers and canals. If not, What would be the minimum requirements?

Asked by: david gibbons  | Thursday 16 October, 6.54pm | 1 answer

Battery power on display.

Hi, I'm not sure if I have a problem or not and will try to explain the best that I can.
My shoreline electric is plugged in and working. On the battery and power info display unit the small AC in and AC out lights are both on as is the charge and inverter bypass lights. The COM light is flashing. Usually no matter what I'm using on the mains power like kettle or washing machine the batteries always show 104% charged and 13.8v. The last few days when boiling the kettle or running the washing machine the power display will drop as low as 90% charged. I have a Powermaster 1500w Pure Sine Wave Inverter/charger and worried I may have a problem. The 3 domestic batteries are 12 months old and always have shown 104% charged and 13.8v has mentioned earlier. More info if you require it, thanks in advance.

Asked by: Trevor Smith  | Tuesday 14 October, 6.33pm | 4 answers

Diesel tank capacity.

Hi Guys,
I have just purchased some Exorcet Marine Fuel Conditioner and I need a guide to the capacity of my 57 foot boat diesel tank to work out how much Exzorcet to use. Just a guide would be helpful, thanks in advance.

Asked by: Trevor Smith  | Saturday 11 October, 5.41pm | 3 answers

Engine Losing Revs

I have a Barrus Shire 50HP engine with 200Hrs clocked. The strangest phenomenon started to occur quite recently. Whilst cruising the tickover dropped from 900rpm to 500rpm and obviously the engine vibrated viciously and cut out. This happened a number of times, so I decided to increase the tickover to 1250rpm. Now when I start the cold engine it revs to 1250 until it heats up then drops back to 850rpm. This is a 'sticking plaster'cure but I have lost 400rpm?

Asked by: Mike Holyoake  | Thursday 9 October, 4.25pm | 1 answer

Repairs to fridge

Our Electrolux 3fuel fridge still works on electricity but has stopped working on gas, even though the pilot works ok. The appliance is quite old, what are the chances of getting the gas cooling working again?

Asked by: John Rich  | Wednesday 24 September, 9.01pm | 1 answer

Best/adequate pressure washer psi to use

What would be the best/adequate bar/psi to hire for cleaning the bottom of my boat prior to blacking?

Asked by: robert statham  | Thursday 18 September, 5.41pm | 1 answer

Poo tank

We have been experiencing difficulty in emptying our poo tank for some time now, whilst we have found a boat yard that will pump out via the toilet itself this is less than ideal. The pump out stops after a short time and the vacuum air pressure is considerable suggesting that something may be blocking the outlet. I have tried a household drain unblocker - a tick wire some 2m long which gets into the tank without effect. The boat, and I assume the pipe, is 22 years old the last pump out operative suggested that the pipe may be de-laminating internally resulting in a blockage once the suction of the pump out takes hold. The suggestion being a replacement pump out pipe. A horrible job yes but attention is needed!!
Any thoughts?

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | Sunday 14 September, 9.00pm | 1 answer

Coolant problem

Recently came down the Thames form Teddington to Limehouse and was punching the tide for the first hour or so with my Canaline 42hp engine running at 1,600rpm. Engine temperature gradually increased from low 70's to mid 80's and stayed there for remainder of trip decreasing after the tide turned to mid 70's and as revs were decreased to more normal 1,500rpm cruising speed. On arrival at Limehouse, was a large amount of clear glycol mix in the sump pan yet the header tank has not lost any coolant. Could an air lock in the skin tank be the problem? Can't see any obvious leaks and running for power for last couple of days in Paddington basin has seen temperature constant in low 70's as usual. Suggestions?

Asked by: peter osullivan  | Thursday 11 September, 9.07pm | 3 answers

Correcting a list

Our 55 foot narrow boat has a slight list to the starboard side - probably about 1.5°. Various 56lb and 20kg are already deployed on the uxtor plate and front locker. My guess, from getting people to stand on the gunnel is that I need about 200kg of additional ballast. It has been suggested I could put some steel ballast on the base plate on the bilge which wouldn't be a corrosion hazard because of the grease in the bilge. Any thoughts? Should I consider lead ballast?

Asked by: Clive Dutson  | Monday 8 September, 5.33pm | 6 answers

Contamination in diesel tank

On dipping my tank, I'm picking up some mid-brown stuff on the end of the dipstick. There's probably no more than 1 or 2 mm of it. Should I do anything about it? Our engineer thinks it could be due to overdosing Fuelset - I don't particularly think I have overdosed but I may have erred on the generous side rather than on the mean one as it is not always easy to be sure how much the tank will take. He think it wouldn't be picked up by the intake and, if it was, the filter would deal with it. He suggests if I want to be ultra cautious I could get the fuel polished.
What would you do in our circumstances?

Asked by: Clive Dutson  | Monday 8 September, 5.22pm | 1 answer

changing prop zinc on Vetus bow thruster

Hello, Rupert-
What is the best way to replace the prop zinc on my bow thruster? Do I disconnect the drive unit within the bow compartment, or do I hire a long-armed gorilla to do the job within the tunnel?
I do hope things are well with you. Midnight Auer and I are doing fine.
Best regards,

Asked by: mike auer  | Tuesday 26 August, 6.59pm | 1 answer

Altenators for low RPM engines

I currently have the need to replace the Alternator on our Narrowboat Blue Rover, and am looking for some advice.
The Engine is a Beta BD£ Tug, that runs at between 700 & 1200 RPM.
Do I need to take the low RPM nature of the engine into consideration when selecting an altenator. If so, what do I need to look for when selecting the correct alternator?
Any advice would be much appreciated

Asked by: duncan  | Thursday 14 August, 3.27pm | 2 answers

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