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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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Narrowboat painting

I'm looking to have our 50 foot cruiser stern narrowboat painted, probably next year. What should I look out for when selecting a company to do the job so as to be as sure as I can be to get a good quality job done?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Thursday 8 August, 5.07pm | 2 answers

Calorifier Problem

We have an unpleasant smell from our calorifier which gets worse when water is hot. There are no obvious leaks and bilges are dry. Water pump runs intermittently when water is very hot - presume that is normal venting? - but the real issue if the 'poo' smell which spreads throughout the under-bed area and into the wardrobe causing clothes to smell offensive. Help!!

Asked by: Barbara Wilson  | Wednesday 7 August, 5.53am | 2 answers

Rudder rattle

The higher I rev my engine, the more my rudder rattles. At about 20000 its rattling so hard that the handle shakes violently and I have to decrease revs. The engine is a brand new and newly fitted beta 38. Very professionally fitted and I have no concerns about that part of that. But why would my rudder handle rattle so much?

Asked by: Carl Young  | Thursday 1 August, 11.28am | 2 answers

Lock length restrictions

I am considering purchasing a 70 ft narrowboat. What canal systems will I not be able to use? I believe there are some locks that can not accommodate a 70ft. What is the longest boat length to be able to travel the whole UK system.

Asked by: richard druitt  | Wednesday 31 July, 5.25pm | 4 answers

Shower pump out

Our boat shower has the sump and bilge pump arrangement. We had to replace the whole unit about 5 years ago due to failure of the automatic float switch. The new design has a float switch integral to the pump and we are now on our third sump pump due to unreliability of the switches. We do keep the filter in place and clean the sump as required. We are considering changing to Whale Gulper type pump. Are these pumps reliable? Are they happy running the whole time we are showering as we are not in feet-in-dirty-water school of showering? Our wash basin empties through the sump. Is it possible to plumb the pump dishwasher style so the wash basin empties by gravity without the need for an extra skin fitting?

Asked by: Clive Dutson  | Wednesday 31 July, 12.01pm | 3 answers

Raised ledge on rear deck

I have recently taken delivery of a 60 x 10 feet wide beam narrowboat and have had a gen set installed beneath the rear deck.The boat builder has left us with a 60mm raised area over the generator which is a trip hazard. Is this legal?

Asked by: Alec McCann  | Wednesday 24 July, 3.55pm | 3 answers


Is there and danger of a battery exploding left on solar panal trickle charge for a long time. I have to leave my boat for a long time whats the worst senario.

Asked by: Sheila  | Tuesday 23 July, 8.08pm | 2 answers


Hi I have my boat on a marina but due to ill health we cant get to the boat at the moment I'm worried about the battieres they are being charged by solar panels are they safe to leave for long periods I have heard about there can be a build up of gases is this ture many thanks

Asked by: Sheila  | Friday 19 July, 6.59pm | 1 answer

Can I change from 12V to 6V batteries

I need to buy some new batteries and have seen some 6V giving 230AH as opposed to a 12V only giving 115AH. Is it possible to change from 12V to 6V?

Asked by: Peter  | Friday 12 July, 9.28am | 1 answer

Easylass Windlass

Can you put me in touch with the manufacturer/supplier of this geared ratcheted windlass or similar product.
Many thanks

Asked by: Stephen Ware  | Tuesday 9 July, 5.01pm | 3 answers

boat security 2

How serious a problem is boat theft and break ins. Is their any data on this subject. Was the boat stolen a few months ago from a amarina found ?

Asked by: Mr Vernon Whitehair  | Wednesday 26 June, 3.22pm | 1 answer

boat security

I want to buy a boat security device, to track my boat if it gets stolen and secures my boat from theives trying to break in. What is the best device I can buy and where do I buy it from. Many thanks

Asked by: laura  | Sunday 23 June, 10.17pm | 2 answers

Shower Installation

Hi, Has WW published articles on Shower Installation in Narrowboats. Is next months WW going to have an article on this.
Have you published any articals on Solar Hot Water systems?

Asked by: Martin Hickson  | Saturday 15 June, 10.29am | 3 answers

Hull Weed Removal

I'm sure this must have been asked many times but I'm hoping somebody has some advice.
My narrowboat hull was blacked 12 months ago and now has loads of weed. Does anybody know of a way of getting most of it off without taking the boat out and re-blacking?
I'm live-aboard so don't cruise much. Guess this is contributing to the growth.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Asked by: chris meads  | Wednesday 5 June, 8.35am | 4 answers

Drive train clonking in gear

Dear all,
I have a beta marine 38, with a PRM delta gearbox (no input shaft spline wear) driven by an R & D 'extra dampening' drive plate. Coupled via a double-cardan/constant velocity joint (from a london taxi propshaft), through a plumber's block to the stern bearing.
When engaged in gear, at tick-over (wound down to 550rpm), there is a distinct 'clonk-clonk-clonk' coming from the region of the gearbox.
At higher engine speeds, this noise seems to go away, although that could just be the engine drowning it out.
The shaft/cv join moves freely (with the force expected to drive a prop in water) by hand in both directions. The engine is angled down slightly on its mounts (adjustable screw-nut ones) so that the double-cardan input is slightly off-set.
My question is - should I worry about this? I have no nylon coupling between the gearbox and the prop/cv-join input shaft, so is this likely to just be 'clonky plumbers block'?
Should I raise the tick-over? It was wound down when the engine control lever insisted on increasing the rpm prior to engaging gear - there is now a correct control lever. I think the rated tickover is 750rpm. I will increase it.
Many thanks,
Patrick Vale

Asked by: Patrick Vale  | Monday 3 June, 4.32pm | 4 answers

Is sand blasting necessary

When having a boat repainted is it necessary to remove the metal oxide by sand blasting or do modern primers key and prevent micro-blistering.I have heard International Paints only guarantee their paint if the surface has been sand blasted.

Asked by: grayham pope  | Tuesday 28 May, 2.29pm | 1 answer

wide boat

what waterway can I go on with a 10ft wide boat

Asked by: Rob Sweeney  | Friday 24 May, 10.47pm | 4 answers

doubling plates?

I have recently seen a riveted iron boat which is clearly a Bantock although no details are available. Along both sides extending down from the waterline to the hard chine there are a series of what, at first sight, appear to be doubling plates riveted to the shell each about 500 mm square and of the same thickness as the shell. They are not all exactly the same shape as they have different corners. There is a square hole in the shell behind each of the plates which has been deliberately cut. Can you tell me what they are and why they were fitted? It has been suggested to me that they were where wooden footings together with an elm bottom were once fitted. If that is so how was that done?

Asked by: JEFFREY WOOD  | Friday 10 May, 11.00am | 2 answers

Alternator/Instrument panel probems

I am having intermittent problems with my alternator/instrument panel on my 10 year old Isuzu LC38.Every 15 minutes or so, the instrument panel warning buzzer 'clicks' rapidly, this progresses to a 'warble' -like a canary. The sound then suddenly stops and the tachometer hand drops to zero. After about 10 minutes, everything returns to normal but the engine revs 'dip' slightly.I have checked wiring , fan belt etc. and when the ignition is on but the engine not started, the warning buzzer and warning lights operate as normal.
Can you help please.

Asked by: Richard Cook  | Tuesday 7 May, 7.51am | 2 answers

Blacking - Waterline Rust

We were surprised to find quite a bit of rust on the waterline of our narrowboat hull after the winter as the boat was only blacked 18 months ago and the anodes were checked and some renewed. It is important to get the boat blacked now or could the job be left to September? What treatment should be done to deal with the rust?

Asked by: Clive Dutson  | Thursday 2 May, 10.14am | 3 answers

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