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Q & A

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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gearbox ratio

im having a 58ft semi trad built with a beta 43 engine and 150 gearbox.i intend to use canals and rivers, would you recommend a 3:1 or 2:1 gearbox ratio.

Asked by: d baird  | Thursday 14 April, 7.25pm | 3 answers

New regulations regarding solid fuel stoves

I've just read your article regarding the new British Standard for the instalation of solid fuel stoves in small craft. Is this to be applied retrospectively or only for new istallations? I ask because the BSS Certificate is due for renewal on my narrowboat shortly and I know my stove does not comply!
David Stebbens

Asked by: David Stebbens  | Tuesday 12 April, 4.56pm | 1 answer

Drawings plan/section drawings of barges

Can anyone advise where I can get hold of construction type drawings (plans & sections) of barges, in particular dumb barges or lighters.
Thanks Ed

Asked by: Ed McCann  | Thursday 7 April, 6.02pm | no answers yet - add one


Is there a suitable replacement for the recessed 8w fluorescent lights on my boat which do not give out much light without the need to replace the ceiling to cover up the cut-outs?

Asked by: Roger Beswick  | Thursday 7 April, 3.20pm | 1 answer


hi where can i buy a good set of waterways maps that show good pubs to visit and places of interest etc thanks.

Asked by: andy wakler  | Wednesday 6 April, 11.19pm | 2 answers


50ft narrowboat twin alternaters one for leisure batteries one for engine battery can i connect negitives to all batteries at present two seperate systems

Asked by: bruce  | Sunday 3 April, 9.47pm | 2 answers

Whale pump adjustment?

Just bought an ex-Alvechurch hireboat. The domestic water pump is a Whale. It hammers for 20 seconds when tap is turned off. Can't find an adjustment screw anywhere - any ideas? I have checked the accumulator and it's fine. (previously have used Shurflo's and Flojets, so am a bit surprised that I can't find an adjustment on the Whale).

Asked by: Cliff Eden  | Wednesday 30 March, 6.16pm | 2 answers

Chinese narrowboats

Can you please advise if there are any inherent problems with Chinese built narrowboats as we are thinking of buying a new one.
Many thanks

Asked by: Christine Etherington  | Wednesday 30 March, 4.58pm | 3 answers

Boat cruises on the upper Thames

To celebrate my 60th birthday I am looking for a day/evening cruise with the family and I have seen a TV programme about a large boat that operates on the Thames. Do you have more details on who to contact please?

Asked by: John Carter  | Tuesday 29 March, 10.36am | 1 answer

Spec for electrical system for liveabord and cruiser

I seek a an outline spec for the electrical systems of a liveabord and cruising boat that I wish to use on both some UK waterways and most continental. I wish not to be dependent on shore hook-ups for electricity supply but have the option of using 230 volt appliances and charge battereis from the boats own resources. I anticipate making light demands for electical supply both whiloe crusing and staying put.
I had initially expected to run a generator alongside the boats engine (saildrive?) but read of inbord engines that can function as generators and suppliers of hot water.At the same time I read that running diesel motors (my preference) for more than 5 minutes without load shortens engine life. Can you advise of a budget power source/set-up that will offer solution to this broad spectrum of demands.Ps thanks for the Q & A on your site -any chance of installing a search facility so for example all the electric issues can be found?

Asked by: Graham Davidson  | Sunday 27 March, 5.16pm | no answers yet - add one


we are unable to view any of the waterways world online magazines. We can see other pdf file downloads from other sites but notyours. Appreciate you letting us know when you are back online. Thanks Rewi and Janet

Asked by: Rewi Kemp  | Saturday 26 March, 5.56am | 1 answer


I have a bad condensation problem with newish 60ft Narrow boat I had bult which the builder wont repair it,I am now going to take legal action against the builder, does anyone know of a lawyer who has knowledge of what narrow boats are about and would then be able understand my condensation problem problem

Asked by: David Anderson  | Wednesday 23 March, 3.15pm | 3 answers

Self Fit-out Cost Saving

In Grahams Books and WW it is frequently stated that fitting out a shell yourself generates cost savings over having one fitted out for you.
Does anybody have any ideas on a typical saving on a narrow or widebeam against the Commercially Quoted Prices.??
I.e. Commercial 1,000-1,250 per foot for narrowboats

Asked by: PAUL BROWNETT  | Tuesday 22 March, 8.28am | 5 answers

Electricity supplies

Want a wide beam with usual home comforts, how do I know what type of inverter / generator I need to power everything without shore power. Yours in anticipation P J B.

Asked by: Peter Bailey  | Monday 21 March, 5.13pm | 3 answers

New build problem

Hi All.
I was hopping I might get some advice. I am currently having a narrow boat built. The shell was built by one company and the basic fitting out by another. The problem is that some way through the fit, it was discovered that the windows were cut in the wrong positions (all 7" out to the stern). I have been told that moving them would look unsightly. If this had been discovered before the fit out and painting had been started I would have sent the boat back, but that doesn--t seem an option now. Upon speaking to the builder (who's name I wont mention) he said that all he could do was apologise. I wondered what the readers advice would be and how I might proceed

Asked by: Antoine Grujon  | Friday 18 March, 7.59am | 1 answer

how to dispose of rubbish on the cut?

hypertheticaly if one needed to on the cut, dispose of some rubish,and then come across a bw workin barge with no up to date liecense and rubbish in it already!! Q is can i put in a bag or two?

Asked by: Mark  | Friday 18 March, 1.56am | 2 answers

poloma water heater

what size water pump do i need to run my poloma water heater

Asked by: graham blackhurst  | Thursday 17 March, 7.13pm | 3 answers

best engines for widebeams

hi,i would like to know what engines are considered to be the most reliable and best value for a 57-10 ft widebeam semi trad.any input would be greatly appreciated.

Asked by: rick butler  | Monday 14 March, 8.22pm | 1 answer

water coming from rad.cap

we are de-winterising our narrowboat. We have filled up the water tank and every time we turn on the water pump, the radiator cap on a tank in the engine well leaks waater. We have replaced the cap, what else can we do please?

Asked by: peter  | Friday 11 March, 8.29pm | 2 answers

Why do narrowboat passageways always go down the starboard (right hand) side of the boat?

I realised this today after working on a very tightly boxed in Lister engine with all the fuel and oil systems on the opposite side of the boat to where the engine access hatch is:
There seems to be a convention that if you have a corridor or walkway, or a door even, through a narrowboat, if they're not central then the builder seems to always route the walkway down the starboard side of the boat. Is this the case or am I imagining it? And if it's true, what might be the reasons why this is so?
Maybe this is why we like BMC engines, because they end up with all the interesting bits on the near side to the maintainer. ;-)

Asked by: Workboat Pug  | Friday 11 March, 6.36pm | 2 answers

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