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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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Which way round for your bed

Which way round should one fit a double bed in a narrow boat so the boat does not wobble at night ?

Asked by: Gary  | Wednesday 9 January, 2.06am | 1 answer


A conversation I had over a dinner table, I was boring my friend talking about Narrowboats again,he said why can't we capture the energy of the water running through our locks, this sparked an hour of conversation with a guy with no interest in our waterways imagine what it could dowith people actually interested in the subject , for instance energy produced from a 10/20 lock flight, I have no knowledge of how, but sure it could be sorted out over a couple of pints what do you think?

Asked by: doug  | Tuesday 8 January, 5.22pm | 3 answers

Firefox 5 clean burn stove

I'm just about to purchase my first stove for my narrowboat and need some advice. The stove is a Firefox 5 clean burn and I want to follow all the safety instructions as much as possible. I spoke to the manufactures of the stove and they state that it must sit on a 2 inch concrete or granite hearth but when I look at http://www.soliftec.com/boat%20stoves%201-page.pdf installation instructions, it states "THE HEARTH needs to project at least 225mm in front and 150mm to each side of the stove OR have a high lip. Made of sturdy, non-flammable material, to fully protect combustibles underneath." So nothing about the base having to be concrete or granite. The FireFox chap did say he was quoting building regulations.
My question is, are building regulations applicable on narrowboats when it comes to installing a stove and would my insurance be void if there is a fire and the stove was not sitting on a recommended 2 inch concrete or granite hearth?
Any help with this matter would be very much appreciated.

Asked by: darren  | Monday 7 January, 3.09pm | 1 answer

Isolation Transformer v Galvanic Isolator

Our surveyor has recommended we install an Isolation Transformer rather than a Galvanic Isolator as we have neither at present. What are the relative merits and is the substantial extra cost of the former justified? The boat is 12 years old and will occasionally be hooked up to shoreline power.

Asked by: Neil Murfitt  | Tuesday 18 December, 10.04pm | 1 answer

looking for advice on stoves

So straight to the point. Squirrel is out of my league so looking at lillyking stoves with back boiler. Any advice about this?

Asked by: darren  | Friday 14 December, 8.43pm | 1 answer

Honda Gas Generator

If using the above gene can we have a gas connection within the gas locker for making temporary connection as required.
Intend to use gene outside what is max length gas hose and what material should it be

Asked by: angela  | Wednesday 5 December, 1.56pm | 3 answers

Honda Gas Generator

If using the above gene can we have a gas connection within the gas locker for making temporary connection as required.
Intend to use gene outside what is max length gas hose and what material should it be

Asked by: angela  | Wednesday 5 December, 1.27pm | no answers yet - add one

Marine generators - raw water to keel cooling

Its seems most of the small second hand marine generators advertised are raw water cooled. Can these be converted to keel cooling by diverting the water flow from the exhaust elbow injection point to a calorifier to keel tank and fitting a dry exhaust or is it not as simple as that?

Asked by: Mark  | Tuesday 4 December, 1.54pm | 2 answers

Time limit

is there a case for compensation for a long boat build. My builders have been fitting out my boat for 54 weeks and I can't seem to make them complete the build.

Asked by: alan griffiths  | Sunday 2 December, 4.48pm | 1 answer

Overflowing anti-freeze in engine header tank

I have a new Vetus M4.45 engine with a coolant header tank that came with the engine.
Since installation the header tank has leaked when the water got hot and expanded. I took it off thinking that the tank had a small split, only to find that there was a small hole in the back at the top, which (it turns out) was supposed to have a return pipe to deliver any overflow back to the skin tank of the engine -the expanded excess water was overflowing out of this hole.
The dealer has given me a replacement header tank without this hole, so now it will be properly pressurised. However, the dealer asks if maybe my skin tank is too small, since he says the coolant shouldn't expand so much in normal use.
My previous engine was a BMC 1.8, which never had any problems with overheating in normal use.

Asked by: Andrew Denny  | Tuesday 27 November, 12.14pm | 2 answers

Power Audit

I know that this question regularly does the rounds, but what is the best way to do a power audit?

Asked by: Fiona  | Sunday 25 November, 11.00am | 2 answers

Air gap behing thermal insulation panels

In a recent article you referred to a recommendation for an 'air gap' behind thermal insulation panels fitted close to on board stove, this being backed up by a detailed sketch from the Solid Fuel Technology Institute. This is recommended as otherwise the boat wall will get hot. I accept this.
I write to ask if this best advice gas been re-assessed in the light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. That fire had issues over air gaps and cladding. Metal boats flex and seals easily beak going undetected which could easily result in untamed flames hunting oxygen and causing further fire spread for example into the roof lining. I my day job I am a Chartered Surveyor specialising in residential property, and I can clearly see a very uncomfortable parallel here.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Many Thanks
Chris Marriott FRICS

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | Sunday 18 November, 7.51pm | 1 answer

noise from narrowboat prop shaft

I have a wining noise on my Isuzu engined (hours 2800) 8 year old narrowboat only in forward gear nothing in neuteral or in reverse.I have had the propeller repaired has it was slightly damaged also tried a borrowed prop but still have the wining squeeling noise,I have been advised its your engine mounts, gearbox, cutlass bearing, which does not seem to have any play in it on dry dock inspection.Any idea's on what to try next I may change engine mounts 4X £50.50 seem a bit expensive.

Asked by: mike farmer  | Wednesday 14 November, 8.10pm | 4 answers

Black particals in diesel tank

Hi just put the boat to bed for the winter, I sampled the bottom of the diesel tank, no sludge and a good clear diesel but did find small black and soft particles which I picked up from the bottom of the aluminium tank,I treat the diesel with marine 16 DBT any thoughts appreciated.

Asked by: doug  | Tuesday 13 November, 8.01pm | 3 answers

Mushroom Vents to let light in?

I am looking at ways to get more light in to my soon-to-be-purchased narrowboat that only has small portholes and no roof lights. Can I replace the current metal Mushroom Vents with ones that will light through? If so where will I be able to obtain them from please?

Asked by: Neil Murfitt  | Monday 12 November, 1.49pm | 5 answers

Multi fuel stove

We want a multifuel stove installing in our sailaway narrowboat, does the chimney have to be double skinned as I've heard new boat fires have to be double skinned .

Asked by: Vince Sherlock  | Wednesday 7 November, 4.41pm | 3 answers

Problems with domestic power

I have a long story but please bear with me. My narrowboat has an Eberspacher 5 dwsc water heater with a mini timer control unit. Also a Sterling 1250 50amp battery charger and 3 Superbatt 110ah domestic batteries. Yesterday I pressed the button on the timer start the Eberspacher for 60mins of water heating. The unit would not fire up and the display on the timer was flashing, as it would when the battery isolater switch is turned off, and I had to reset the clock. I tried this several times with the same result. This has happened in the past but with a bit of fiddling (turn battery charger of and wait a while, then back on again) I have managed to get it to fire up. This time it did not work so I decided to switch the engine on and heat the heat up (I turned charger off). I ran the engine for 1 1/2 hours (I have 70amp alternators) switched the charger back on (forgot to mention I am connected via landline and keep charger on constantly) and took a shower. while in the shower I noticed Whale Gulper was running very slowly and seemed to be labouring but after a couple of minutes it sped up to normal operating speed!. After the shower I decided to try the Eberspacher again and it fired up straight away. I obviously suspect some kind of power problem but do not want to purchase expensive batteries (only 7months old), Charger etc. without knowing what the problem is. I would appreciate any advice on how to isolate the problem and thereby fix it. Thanks in anticipation Paul

Asked by: Paul Jones  | Thursday 1 November, 12.19pm | 4 answers

Ball Park figure on a 50 ft narrow boat weight.

Hi all
Before I start I know it's a bit of a guess but am just after a guide.
We are looking at buying a 50ft traditional style narrow boat.
Iron riveted Hull the draft of the boat is approximately 2' 2".
We have in the past looked at similar steel Hull boat that was weighing in at 25tons.
My question is and I think I am right in thinking a riveted boat is going to come in slightly heavier.
Would like your views and input please on the best way to get to as close a weight as possible to plan a lift.
Thanks in advance.

Asked by: Tim Gilbert  | Wednesday 24 October, 10.44am | 3 answers

Failing Leisure Batteries?

The boat we have owned for a year has 3 x 120ah leisure batteries charged from solar panels via an MPT controller, a 55 amp alternator or from a charger when on shore power. The batteries are of indeterminate age.
Our 12 volt system runs led lighting, water pump, a LEC 12 volt fridge and a Webasto heatre (though only rarely). We have recently fitted a 2000 watt inverter but this is rarely switched on.
Recently it appears the batteries are acting very strangely. Over the course of a sunny day, they charge to 14.4 volts. They then rapidly lose charge to 12.8 volts and seem to sit at that voltage overnight with the fridge running. However, if any load is put on them, say the Webasto or the inverter, the voltage immediately drops to below 11 volts and has dropped below 10. When the load is switched off it slowly recovers to about 12.5 volts.
I have disconnected each battery in turn when fully charged; the charge on a multi-meter shows as about 12.7 volts and matches the voltage shown on the solar controller. All three batteries show about the same voltage so it doesn't seem to indicate one particular battery has failed.
We have just changed the starter battery as this had obviously failed; voltage dropped to below 8 volts, wouldn't charge at all. The starter and leisure batteries were probably fitted to the boat at the same time.
Do you think the leisure batteries have lived out their useful life and need replacing? If so, I'm inclined to replace them with 4 x 100ah lead / carbon batteries. Thanks.

Asked by: Darryl Cunnington.  | Wednesday 17 October, 12.00pm | 2 answers

Watermota exhaust

I have nauticus 27 with ford watermota 1100 petrol engine. The exhaust is straight through, water cooled the outlet stops about 100km above that water so is noisy. Can I extend the outlet to under the water surface or would there be too much back pressure

Asked by: laurence  | Saturday 13 October, 1.15pm | 6 answers

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