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Airdraft of boats

I am thinking of buying a narrowboat with an airdraft of 6 feet 1 inch. We want to see the system, and would like to know how many canals this airdraft would rule out.
Ben Mitchell

Asked by: Ben Mitchell  | 1.37pm, Wednesday 7 March

WW says:

It is not simply the absolute air draft, but it also depends on the profile of the boat. If the profile is overly square without much tumblehome, it will tend to scrape more bridges than a boat of similar total air draft having nicely angled cabin sides. Look also at the profile of the front edge of the cabin in relation to the bow shape, and consider whether the hull or the cabin will be first to hit canal structures.
A height above water of 73 inches (1.85m) does seem rather high and there are places on the canal network that have suffered from mining subsidence. This usually has the effect of lowering the bridges, because the banks have to be built up to keep the water in the canal, which of course remains at the same level. The Caldon Canal is a much admired canal, but has a trio of low bridges near its connection to the Trent & Mersey in Stoke on Trent, which also has a notoriously low lock tail bridge. Froghall tunnel is notoriously low with headroom of 5ft for a boat with a cabin top width of 5ft, more if it is narrower. This is one of the lowest places on the waterways.
Better to choose a boat with a greater draught, by having more below the waterline the height above water can be reduced, and still have the same cabin headroom.

Rupert Smedley  | 4.33PM, Wednesday 7 March

Readers say:

Thanks very much for a swift respone - much appreciated...

Ben Mitchell  | 8.28AM, Thursday 8 March

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