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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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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

Buying a second hand boat

...firstly, does size matter? We are planning to buy a boat soon, with a view to liveaboard soon - 2 of us.. 60foot about right? We want to travel all over the UK canal system....also 5 top things to look for when buying a boat? We will obviously have a survey. Thanks All!

Asked by: sue   | Friday 11 March, 4.14pm | 3 answers

hydraulics advice

Re WW.March/2011 p.87, BJM asks re hydraulics, which I installed on our narrowboat with a self pump-out too.Would you pass on my email address to him please?My first system was a failure in spite of advice, this one is very good. gunnyandbob@hotmail.com

Asked by: RA  | Friday 11 March, 3.19pm | 1 answer

Diesel Engine Servicing

How often should my diesel engine be serviced?
Once a year - or does it depend on the hours run?
If so, how many hours approx. between services?

Asked by: Mike Brown  | Wednesday 9 March, 11.57pm | 2 answers

Waterways World Annual 2011

Can you please confirm when subscribers receive the 2011 Annual? Thanks

Asked by: S Walker  | Wednesday 9 March, 2.31pm | 1 answer

black bottoming

How much to black bottom a 60ft 1989 trad narrow boat

Asked by: Pete  | Sunday 6 March, 3.58pm | 1 answer

bigger bed

Has anyone made the standard doudle bed bigger, I have got some ideas on how to make, a dropdown either side of the radiator, and add a rectangle of foam matress, and then sleep across the boat, but I would love to here about other peoples inventivness, we want to live aboard for a coulple of years and we would not be able to live with a standard size bed thanks

Asked by: Peter Wright  | Saturday 5 March, 12.50pm | 2 answers


The boat on which I live is coming up to 5 years old and was fitted with an Eberspacher heating system when we purchased it new. The Eberspacher failed approx 18 months after we purchased the boat and we followed advice and replaced it with a Webasto system in October 2008. This worked fine until the spring of 2010 when the heat exchanger failed. To complicate matters I had lost faith in the performance of the Webasto-approved boatyard who had originally fitted the system, so went to a trustworthy and competent repairman who was not Webasto approved.
The second heat exchanger failed a few months ago. Webasto refused to recompense me for the cost of the first replacement as I hadn't gone back to their authorised boatyard. Have other boaters had similar experiences ? What do I do next as I cannot afford to keep paying out £250 every year to keep repacing the same component. Why does it seem to be beyond the powers of the two major manufacturers to produce a reliable heating system for narrowboat use ?

Asked by: Sue Harding Hirst  | Friday 4 March, 6.41pm | 1 answer

Electrical problems

Our boat has a Victron inverter/charger and a dedicated alternator to support charging and 240 volt ac power.It also has a battery management system. All worked well at first, but now, after two seasons relatively low use, the batteries lose charge overnight to a point where the low level warning is flashing and 240 volt power fails in the morning without running the engine. We are sure we are neither using any additional electrical items nor using them for any longer than before this began to happen. The batteries have been bench tested and have been shown to be in good order. Can you suggest what else might be causing the problem? What further checks can we make to identify it and hopefully find a solution.

Asked by: Richard Holland  | Friday 4 March, 10.49am | 3 answers

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