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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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Emissions in diesel stoves

What emissions issues are there with diesel stoves? (I mean, as compared to diesel engines or solid fuel stoves)

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Thursday 18 April, 11.03am | no answers yet - add one

Is my stove legal?

With the new emissions regulations coming on, how do I know if the stove on my narrowboat will be legal or not?

Asked by: C O‚ÄôRourke  | Thursday 11 April, 11.12am | 1 answer


Despite taking great care to avoid this problem, I have noticed unsightly streaks from the stove chimney down the side of my newly painted boat. I have used several wash and wax products, even Jizer but to no avail, it still remains , any suggestions please?

Asked by: Gail Hark  | Wednesday 10 April, 10.21pm | 3 answers

UPVC Front Doors

Hi - I'm looking to replace the teak front doors on our narrow boat with uPVC, as (1) the current doors need re-staining & varnishing. and (2) I found that the design is not weatherproof, rain pools on the top of the doors and is then blown in. (3) I'd like the new doors to be more secure too, the current ones are secured with an ugly padlock. I'm not worried about double glazing, as there isn't any elsewhere on the boat. The new doors will need vents though. So, i'm looking for comments, recommendations and things to beware of. Are there any companies that specialise? Thanks!

Asked by: Pete Samuels  | Monday 8 April, 4.45pm | 1 answer

Alternator over-voltage on tick-over

Our narrowboat built in 1999 with a Beta 37.5 HP engine has two alternators - the 40A charging the starter battery and the 80 charging the domestic bank (3 X 110) via an Adverc controller.
Before the start of the cruising season I fitted 3 X 100W solar panels connected via a Victron MPPT controller (the adsorption voltage limited to 14.25V) - mainly so we could leave the boat with the fridge running when away.
This worked fine until the 4 days into our summer cruise when with the engine on tick-over there were two loud bangs. Found cases blown off (gel) batteries. Called out Kings Lock Chandlery as they were nearby - they replaced 3 batteries and checked the charging voltage which was OK but two days later, again on tick-over - the Adverc green lamp started flashing indicating an over-voltage warning. I unplugged the Adverc as recommended when alternator's own regulator should take over (14v) but the meter was still showing 15v. I then disconnected the alternator to prevent further damage and relied on solar panels to run the domestic circuits for the next 5 weeks till we got to Stoke on Trent Boat Builders where we were booked in for re-blacking.
They sent the alternator to a specialist repairer and refitted it. Everything seemed to be OK but I kept monitoring the voltmeter. After 2 days at 14V it started moving between 14.25 and 14.5 V (as Adverc's "what to expect" instructions* predict) but whenever the revs dropped to tick-over the voltage rose to 14.5 and up to 14.8, dropping again as soon as the revs increased. This seems illogical.
I Unplugged the Adverc but still there is still an increase in voltage on tick over
Could the installation of the solar panels have caused the alternator and/or the Adverc controller to fail or was it just coincidence with a 19 year old system? On thinking back the alternator had over the past year been taking increasingly longer to "kick-in".
I have since found that the excitation connection on the domestic alternator is supplied from the starter battery via the "ignition" switch - connecting a lamp between the main output and the excitation terminal limits the voltage rise on tick-over.
Any suggestions or advice, please?

Asked by: JDR Lloyd  | Saturday 6 April, 6.01pm | 5 answers

Boat curtains

What are the regulations regarding curtains/blinds in the galley area in the proximity of a gas hob? We would prefer Roman blinds running in a channel.Is there a minimum distance requirement under the BSS?

Asked by: Trevor Hogg  | Thursday 4 April, 4.07pm | 1 answer

Engine size

Any thoughts on the engine capacity I'd need for a 35' narrowboat mainly used on rivers? She's likely to be moored on the Anglian river network.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Tuesday 2 April, 12.20pm | 2 answers

Retro- fitting pump out toilet

We're downsizing to a smaller narrowboat and most smaller boats seem to have cassette toilets. Is it possible to retro-fit a pump out toilet?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Tuesday 2 April, 11.01am | 1 answer

Hull Blacking

Is BOSTIK bitumous black waterproof paint the same as bitumastic waterproof paint and is it OK for blacking my narrowboat hull?

Asked by: Mike Parsons  | Thursday 28 March, 2.56pm | 1 answer

What's this thing in my pumpout tank?

My pump-out tank is now 19 years old, and being mild steel won't last for ever. It has a dump-through Mansfield Traveler and still works well.
On inspecting it recently, I noticed what looked like some sort of rusty sludgy stuff, and poked it with a stick. It seemed to move, but all in one piece, almost like a piece of fabric. So I got hold of it with a litter picker, and gingerly removed it. It didn't come out straight away, but eventually did after a slight tug.
It turned out to look like a cross between a pan scourer & wire wool. Taking it outside and washing it, it definitely was a sort of metallic wool.
It had been directly underneath the dump-through part, which leads me to wonder if it was a basic piece of protection that had been glued in to stop extra corrosion where the sh*t hits the pan, to coin a phrase! Can you comment? What is normal practice?

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Monday 25 March, 4.20pm | 5 answers

How do I remove duck droppings from the paintwork

Some ducks seem to have made a toilet of the counter/stern of my narrowboat. What is the best way to remove it?

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Saturday 23 March, 4.04pm | 2 answers

Engine noise and tiller vibrations

Two issues that may be connected? I am getting a high pitched "squeal" from the engine bay when cruising between 1100 and 1400 rpm but not all of the time. Often start just after having put the engine into reverse. It only makes the noise when in gear. Secondly I have some vibration through the tiller. I have had a new prop and some mods made to the rudder which have made a small improvement but the vibrations are still there. Any thoughts?

Asked by: Paul Willmott  | Monday 18 March, 9.54am | 1 answer

Bilge problem

at what am I supposed to do what am I supposed to do then Waits they still reviewing it are they so what you're telling me a month ago fortnite Fri

Asked by: Ann Munt  | Thursday 14 March, 10.22pm | 1 answer

Robert Pike

We are about to buy a narrow boat and travel the waterways. Do marinas allow short stopovers, say for a day or two and to use their facilities?

Asked by: Robert Pike  | Thursday 14 March, 4.22am | 2 answers

Should domestic battery bank be connected on a sailway?

We're on the verge of having our new sailaway delivered, but today recieved quotes called "Cabling costs, for location of batteries and electric" our package included boat side electronics and we're finding this a little hard to swallow. Are we off the mark or do we have any grounds to dispute this? Thanks for you help!

Asked by: Rebecca Shillito  | Wednesday 13 March, 3.08pm | 3 answers

Deepest lock

According to my Nicholson guides the deepest lock in Britain is Bath Deep Lock at 19ft 5ins with Tuel Deep Lock on the Rochdale a close second at 19ft 4.25ins. Tuel Deep Lock recently has been claiming to be Britain's deepest at 19 ft 8.5ins. Has there been a change or is it cunning marketing by Pennine Waterways?

Asked by: Gavin Scott  | Wednesday 13 March, 9.30am | 3 answers

Leaking windows

My windows and portholes are leaking and they are fixed by rivets. Is it best to dill the rivets out and replace with screws? Also should I clean the metal where the windows seat with a wire brush then treating it with fertan before using a seal? Thank you for your help.

Asked by: Andrew McLaughlin  | Sunday 10 March, 11.52am | 1 answer

What should a GRP cruiser cost?

I read with interest Mark Langley's article, Back to Plastic, in the February edition of Waterways World. I am looking to buy a GRP cruiser, and having considered all that are available, I came to the conclusion that a Viking 26 wide beam is the best bet. Like Mark, our budget would not exceed £30,000, and he comments that most good ones were over that amount. There is one 2010 model available but the asking price is well in excess of £30,000. I particularly like the later model with the U shaped seating in the cockpit. I think this design dates from about 2003. Since Mark has recent experience of searching for such a boat, would he be able to tell me what the expected price range would be?
Also, it would be really helpful if he could give me some tips on finding the boat. I know about the Viking dealers (David Mawby, Tingdene, Norfolk Boat) and a couple of other brokers on the Thames. Other than that, where am I most likely to find one? We are looking to moor on the Thames but I believe the boats can be transported, so location is not an issue (except for viewing!).
Pauline Lonsdale

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Thursday 28 February, 11.59am | 1 answer

Water Pump "Hunts"

Our recently acquired 12 year old 58 ft narrow boat has its water pump at the bow end, next to the water tank.
The pump operates whenever water is called for, i.e. the shower, hot and cold taps in the bathroom and the kitchen.
The pump operates satisfactorily for all outlets except the kitchen cold tap. For this the pump turns off and on every 2 seconds and although the flow is continuous it is at a lower rate than for all the other outlets.
This tap is the only one that has an in-line carbon filter which I have recently replaced as the original one appears to have been leaking for some time.
Am I right in assuming that the water flow through the filter is not enough to prevent the pump cut out pressure switch from operating, followed by a drop in pressure allowing the pump to turn itself on again?
Would installing an accumulator tank close to the pump outlet prevent this hunting, or are there better solutions?
If a tank is the solution what size would you recommend please?
Neil Murfitt

Asked by: Neil Murfitt  | Monday 25 February, 1.34pm | 3 answers

water outlet

hello ,I am fitting out a new sailaway , ive got round to fitting the sink the only thing is where I have to drill a hole for the out let for the sink its 7 inches above the water line and ive been reading that it has to be above 10 inches above the water line . any advice would be helpful

Asked by: Vince Sherlock  | Monday 18 February, 7.53pm | 3 answers

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