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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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What steel thickness?

How important is the thickness of steel on a narrowboat? Our last boat was 10/6/4, 30 years old and still very sound. We're buying a smaller used boat and see such different thicknesses, quoted as original thickness and current, e.g from recent survey. What depth of pitting is acceptable?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Saturday 25 January, 1.22pm | 1 answer

Types of heating

I'm buying a 40' steel narrowboat which has only a small multi fuel stove for heating. What are my options for supplementing it? What's the best option for effectiveness, cost of installation, etc?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Sunday 19 January, 10.34am | 2 answers

AGM batteries / mppt controllers

Hello you wonderful people. I have recently bought a 305w solar panel and kit for my narrow boat,it has a epever xtra n series xds2 mppt charge controller . My 2 leisure batteries are gpl-31t lifeline AGM 105ah, are the batteries and controller compatible ?, I'm asking as AGM batteries are not mentioned in the controller's instruction booklet . Thank you all.

Asked by: jean-marc bedos  | Saturday 18 January, 4.50pm | 5 answers

Diesel Bug clean-up

Hi My narrowboat has fallen foul to the dreaded Diesel-bug. I have used a recommended additive to kill it but this has left a varnish like residue on the bottom of the fuel tank.
Given that the only access to the tank is the filler. How do you remove this residue and clean the system.
I cannot find any company to do this can you help.

Asked by: Barry Dallas  | Wednesday 15 January, 1.25pm | 2 answers

Water tank

Our stainless steel 650lt water tank is 15 years old, when filling and emptying it the sides of the tank bang. Are the welds likely to fail with the flexing as the water level changes?

Asked by: Andrew McLaughlin  | Monday 13 January, 10.54pm | 2 answers

Incinerator Toilets and power use

Hi, I am looking at having a Cinderella toilet installed on my new build boat and while researching both the gas and electric options I thought about ongoing costs. The gas version gives about 120 "flushes" per 13KG bottle. This cost is excluded if you look at the electric version. The specification states that each incineration requires 2KWH - a 230/240V supply fused at 10A. I am planning on continually cruising, having a domestic battery bank of 5X100AH Relion Lithium Ion batteries, a 1250W solar array and a 5KW invertor. Would this set up allow me to have the electric version.

Asked by: John Towse  | Monday 13 January, 5.12pm | 2 answers

12v vs 240v

I'm buying a used narrowboat. Our last one had 12 and 240 volt electric systems. Most of the boats I'm seeing, especially the smaller ones, are 12v only.
Are there any disadvantages to 12v only?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Sunday 12 January, 8.52pm | 2 answers


After running the engine up to temperature the water level in the bowman cooler needs topping up every time (about a litre)I then see water mixed with a little oil in the engine bilge

Asked by: JOHN NORRIS  | Friday 10 January, 4.54pm | 1 answer

Reversing a boat

I operate single handedly. Are there any innovative ideas for reversing a narrowboat? Should I be able to do it without a bow thruster? Why does a boat veer when reversing?
Martin Daltrey

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Thursday 9 January, 10.02am | 1 answer

Battery Drain

I have a fairly new narrowboat, and noticed that when I left it for 10 days without a landline connection the battery discharged much more than expected. My Mastervolt Lite battery monitor shows 0.4A draw even when the batteries are isolated. The boat builder explained that all the boats he builds have the same amperage going out when the isolators are engaged, (because of the Webasto?) I am concerned that if left without a landline for a month or more the batteries would discharge completely. Is this a normal situation?

Asked by: Stephen Gainsley  | Tuesday 7 January, 5.20pm | 3 answers

A Broads cruiser planning a first-time trip on the Thames

I've had a 35ft cruiser on the Broads for 20 years, with occasional short coastal passages that I really enjoy (I used to be a North Sea diver and aren't afraid of the sea). I've never been up the Thames and never taken the boat though a river lock, but I always wanted to.
I had a serious heart operation recently but recovered well, and now want to go right up the Thames. Friends will come with me - how should I plan this 'bucket list' trip?
Graham Taylor

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Tuesday 7 January, 12.25pm | 4 answers

Water system

Changed PRV as opening and venting water overboard and now no water through taps and shower

Asked by: Mark Lane  | Friday 13 December, 7.11am | 2 answers

V bottomed hull vs fkat

Looking to buy another boat, I wonder what advantages /disadvantages a v bottomed hull has over a flat bottomed one.
Any views welcome.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Thursday 5 December, 7.20pm | 3 answers

Fitting diesel heating system.

Any advice please on how easy - or not! - it would be to retro-fit a diesel heating system, e.g Kabola , to a diesel powered 40' narrowboat?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Tuesday 26 November, 11.00am | 1 answer


can you suggest why my 34 ft springer wont steer at all in reverse. wouldn't have expected it to but i saw video of a pro n/boat handling school saying and showing that it is commonly done
all that happens is that stern moves very slightly to one side due to rotation of the prop regardless of rudder

Asked by: mb  | Sunday 24 November, 10.20am | 1 answer

best chanderly

are there any other [good prices] chandeliers besides Midland

Asked by: mb  | Thursday 21 November, 4.29pm | 2 answers

Canal craft query.

Hi, has anyone heard of canal craft hulls. Looked online and no info available. Any info on reliability and build quality would be appreciated. Or info on how to find out. Thankyou.

Asked by: Mr tony hunt  | Wednesday 20 November, 1.34pm | 3 answers

fixing windows

the windows on my 1990 springer needs new seals/rubbers strips. and will need to come out to address the rust
i cant see any makers mark on the frames but they are a very common design, alloy frame, rounded corners with [approx 4in] high piece of glass at top running the width of of the frame and hinging inwards on 2 pins.
there is a roughly triangular, flat, stationary metal piece at each end supporting the glass when its hinged inwards to allow ventilation
do you know where i can get seals/rubbers strips. am hoping they are universal for that type of frame

Asked by: mb  | Friday 15 November, 3.45pm | 1 answer

reversing a boat

i operate single handedly.
are there any innovative ideas around for reversing a 34 ft springer a short distance.
alternatively ive thought of turning her round before heading back. ive thought of waiting for a favorable breeze then pushing the bow out for the wind to catch and push round. swinging the rudder quickly in one direction then slow in the other. even building an electric rotating paddle for the bow or a jet of compressed air
i dont want a bow thruster unless they come with a subscription to WWW mag but i am working on an idea for harnessing the power of some very big ducks which are always around when i tie up to take on water
also why does boat veer v/slightly when reversing, is that because of the direction of prop rotation?

Asked by: mb  | Thursday 14 November, 6.50pm | 1 answer

how to grind back roof 4 painting

ive established that a scrabbler [with teeth for metal] is best tool for removing several layers of paint and any rust etc from a steel cabin roof prior to painting, but they are £500. alternatively there are cheap ones for £100 which are listed as being for concrete how can grind .
my question is 2 fold: would the cheap one for concrete work ok, or would the metal make short work of the teeth.
also, is there another tool/attachment that would be almost as as efficient for the job
i realize i can hire one

Asked by: mb  | Wednesday 13 November, 3.54pm | 3 answers

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