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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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Anti -freeze

What anti-freeze should I put in my lister 3 cyl canal star engine? Is Bluecol ok?

Asked by: Colin Bradshaw  | Monday 25 September, 3.58pm | 1 answer

Frequency of blacking

There's lots of conflicting advice about this, but how often should my narrowboat be blacked? It was last done in summer 2014 with bitumen.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Saturday 23 September, 5.51pm | 1 answer

Battery voltage

What sort of reading should my gauge on the instrument panel show when turning on the ignition? It's reading 10 now and jumps to 14 when the engine is running. Battery performance seems poor hence the question.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Monday 18 September, 4.14pm | 3 answers

seating foam

the seating foam in my springer 23 is not very comfortable after a couple of hours watching tv.i suspect the foam is original cheap? stuff.any alternatives or more supportive foam/filling available?

Asked by: s gurney  | Tuesday 12 September, 4.44pm | 1 answer

Can we take a wide beam Dutch Barge from Worcester to River Thames

Dear Sirs, we are looking at purchasing a 1905 Dutch Barge currently located in Worcester to the River Thames, we would like to know if she is able to come down the River Severn to Bristol and inland from there through the Kennet & Avon Canal. She is 49.54 ft long x 9.842 ft Beam with a draft of 3.1167 ft. We can see on your widebeam map that this may be possible but just want to double check before buying and having to take her by road as we would love to spend a few weeks getting used to her and take her ourselves. thank you

Asked by: Richard Evans  | Tuesday 12 September, 12.33pm | 2 answers


hello experts , i have a 15year old barrus shire 1200 diesel engine on my 46ft narrowboat, in the manual it says that come the time of replacing the the fuel and oil filter i should use a RDG 3026 fuel filter and a 129150-35151 oil filter , after trying online with barrus shire webpage i have had no luck finding them they seem to sell every other spare parts but filters. all other chandleries have filters but nothing that corresponds with the ones i need, sorry if i am being stpid but am i missing out on something ??. i also see equivalent for this and that but not for the ones i need . any help would be gratefully appreciated, thank you all, and please excuse my ignorance.

Asked by: jean-marc bedos  | Monday 11 September, 7.10pm | 2 answers

Rudder Packing

Hi, I accidentally unshipped the bottom of rudder stock from the skegg cup while changing the rudder top bearing on my narrowboat. I replaced the rudder back into the cup but it now squeaks and vibrates and seems loose as if I have lost some packing. Can you recommend what I should repack the cup bearing with? Many thanks Peter Heath

Asked by: Peter Heath  | Thursday 7 September, 8.28pm | 3 answers

Battery Discharge

My Starter Battery [In excellent order], charges nicely when my Barrus Shire engine is running, but discharges overnight. Advice please!

Asked by: Michael Clement  | Thursday 7 September, 3.31pm | 6 answers

Watertank paint

what paint do I need to paint inside the water tank?

Asked by: Colin Bradshaw  | Monday 4 September, 8.54pm | 2 answers

Bow thruster for single handed boating

The narrowboat would be 50-60 ft.

Asked by: Martin jenkins  | Thursday 31 August, 9.42pm | no answers yet - add one

Bow thrusters for single handed boating

Hello. Myself and a good friend are considering jointly buying a narrowboat.I have done a considerable amount of boating in the past but now I would mostly be travelling single handed. I would appreciate fellow boaters thoughts on whether a bow thruster would be a necessity/a big help and if so about how much are the to buy and fit?

Asked by: Martin jenkins  | Thursday 31 August, 9.40pm | 2 answers

over tight stern gland ??

hello all, wondered if all you wonderful people could advise me .
we have just bought a lovely 46ft narrowboat , the stern gland is dripping a little which i understand is normal, but after about 32 hours cruising over 4 days and regularly giving it a little turn of grease each evening i have noticed the drip being more frequent , so i tightened up the stern gland by about half a turn both sides but now the prop does not turn as freely by hand as it used to before, should i worry about it and maybe loosen it a little or not , any opinion would be greatly appreciated. happy cruising

Asked by: jean-marc bedos  | Wednesday 30 August, 5.39pm | 3 answers

Plumbing basics

Hi Mark
I'm just looking into plumbing a 57ft narrowboat we are fitting out after it had been completely stripped out apart from engine (Beta Marine 43) we have now Webasto heater, 375lt (roughly) water tank and a 55lt calorifier (new) horizontal, are there any helpful articles, diagrams, books or even videos to get me going as I've not done this before? There seems to bits of information around but I haven't yet gathered enough to think I could confidently make a start. I'm thinking of mostly plastic pipe and copper where needed, around engine and calorifier. Cindy's question in a previous post is a good one as we're thinking of putting the Calorifier under the bow next to the water tank but I'm not sure it'll be right, people say it needs to be near the engine?
We'd like to do some of the work but would get a plumber in to do the important bits - any advise would be welcome.

Asked by: Martin Parker  | Tuesday 22 August, 7.16pm | 1 answer

Location of Calorifiers

Hi Guys, I'm trying design the layout of a narrowboat as I would like to buy a sailaway and fit it out myself. I would like to place the Calorifier under the fixed inline double berth MIDSHIP! - which will be approx 15-18 foot from the engine. Would this cause a problem being so far from the engine? And if so, is there a solution, such as an extra pump to speed up the flow of water from the engine and, therefore, lessen the loss of heat? Thanks Cindy

Asked by: C Holton  | Friday 18 August, 1.02am | 3 answers

20+ year old boat

Thanks for previous response Graham. I will indeed order the book. Although the boat appears to have been well maintained, am I right to be cautious that on a +20yr old boat,the engine for example might be nearing end of life? It's an Isuzu 42, regularly serviced apparently. Although quite a bit under budget, I'm cautious - being somewhat mechanically challenged! - that it could turn into an expensive buy?

Asked by: Graham Jones  | Wednesday 16 August, 10.29am | 1 answer

Buying advice for a newcomer!

We are going to see a 68ft Mike Greation cruiser stern narrowboat, built 1995 by Stone Canal Carrying Company. It's a private sale.I've noted various comments re ownership, slightly concerned about loans etc that may be secured on the boat as no way of telling, but also it has a BSS to 08/2021 with no advisories but last survey available is 2013. Would it be naive to buy without a survey - can a lot happen to a boat in 4 yrs? Also, anything we should be wary of when buying a +20yr old boat? Comments greatly appreciated.

Asked by: Graham Jones  | Tuesday 15 August, 3.16pm | 4 answers


hello all, i am in the process of buying a 46ft fully fitted second hand narrowboat and need to know the approximate weight of it , it has a draft of 2 feet and wondered if anyone here may be able to give me an estimate weight, thank you all , happy cruising

Asked by: jean-marc bedos  | Friday 11 August, 4.39pm | 2 answers


Hello experts, i'm reading the barrus shire canal boat 14 35 engine manual, and it says , DO NOT USE BIO DIESEL, is that the same as red diesel ???, a bit confused with all the types of diesels with have these days,and would that apply for a Barrus Shire 1202 engine too?? excuse my ignorance please and thank you

Asked by: jean-marc bedos  | Thursday 10 August, 3.29am | 2 answers

What licence is needed

Could someone answer the following questions please.
What licences etc are needed to be in place when you move onto a boat?
What do you do about registering with doctors and dentists?
What do you do about a postal address/post?

Asked by: Dawn & Keith Bell  | Wednesday 9 August, 8.06am | 1 answer

cost of narrow boat living

Could someone please give me details of what monthly bills would have to be paid whilst living on a narrow boat and travelling up and down the canals

Asked by: Dawn & Keith Bell  | Friday 4 August, 7.26pm | 2 answers

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