Tue Oct 9, 2018 at 10:54am
Getting ready to winterise your Narrowboat.
When I left my boat yesterday morning, I noticed a light frost on the hull and my car windscreen was also frosted over. Seeing that Jack Frost was back in town, my thoughts went back to last year and, what a long hard winter that was.
If you intend to live aboard then it’s pretty much business as usual, but take a look at your radiators, engine cooling (keel), central heating systems and fresh water system you may need to add some additional anti-freeze.
fitting an automatic bilge pump float, if any water does get into the bilge you will at least have peace of mind that this water will be removed.
Problem for the interior of a boat that isn’t lived in over the winter period is the soft furnishing becoming damp which then leads to mould. If possible consider storing all removal items like bedding, cushions, towels, clothes food etc to a dry and warm place till you are ready to start using the boat again in the spring.
Check the window drains are also clear. Plumbing Drain down and disconnect the water system also empty your water tanks and calorifiers. Pay attention to your shower remove as much water as possible. Open up your taps allowing all the water to drain away. Also remember to drain the toilet water system as well.
The aim is to remove as much water from the boat to protect the pipes from bursting if it freezes. Lag as many of the hot and cold pipes as you can. Top up anti-freeze in keel cooling and other sealed heating systems like radiators connected to the boiler.
Electrical Remember to turn off the isolators on the battery as well as greasing the terminals to prevent corrosion, leave the batteries fully charged and if possible left on a float charge.
Turn off all electrical appliances and it’s advisable to leave the fridge door slightly a jar for circulation.
Carry out an oil change on the engine and gear box.
Grease the stern tube once the engine is turned off, this is to prevent water getting into the engine room and if this builds up could cause your narrow boat to sink! If possible leave your diesel tank full so that condensation doesn’t build up in the tank also add fuel conditioner (anti diesel bug treatments) which you can purchase at most good chandleriesIt’s advisable to visit your boat once a month so you can run the engine for around an hour this pushes the oil around and prevents rust, it will also help top up the battery. Remember to re grease the stern tube if you do run the engine each month as every time the propellers turn it breaks the seal.
look after the exterior of your boat as well as the interior. wash/remove moos/leaves/clean front and re canopies to stop build up of green mildew.
Hope this help, and if you do venture out for a winter trip keep a watch on the weather forecast for big drops in the temperature. Happy winter cruising from all at Venetian. Marina.
Tue Sep 18, 2018 at 10:44am
Living in the slow lane
Living in the slow lane or, more specifically, Living on a narrowboat. All sorts of romantic notions are conjured up by those words. But, before you rush out and buy one, or give up a land base to live on one, I’ve tried to outline below some of the quirks of a life afloat ALL YEAR ROUND, and in particular, some things to consider before you decide on living on a narrowboat.
Being British, first thing we think about is the toilet.
This small room on a boat is the most talked about of any, and every boater has a horror story they would be only too pleased to recount! Essentially there are a few differing options to contain and dispose of effluence. The Portaloo called a Porta Potti, tends to be the most basic. Often, this self-contained unit is not plumbed in, so is very easy to empty in all weathers (more of this later) at a number of Elsan Points or Sanitary Stations around the canal network.
The ‘half way house’ is the cassette loo. This is plumbed in and often has a conventional looking ceramic bowl, but has a cartridge or cassette that slides out of a housing to be emptied, much in the manner of the Portaloo. Many boaters find carrying two cassettes on board the best option, so as one is being emptied, the other can be in use.
Pump out toilets, the waste is sent from the toilet to a ‘holding tank’. This can last up to three weeks between emptying, but will require being pumped out. The pump out is normally to be found at a boatyard, but in some parts of the country, forward thinking Waterways Regions have installed automated self-use 'pump outs'. You buy a credit card type token from a local chandlery, fuel boat or Waterways Office, and use the pump out as you would at a Marina.
But what if the canal is frozen – and you can’t move the boat? You can buy a ‘self pumpout’ kit.. The self pumpout can be used to pump into containers which are then disposed of in the same way as a Portaloo – at an Elsan Point. A quick trip in the car – or by boat when the canal thaws – can put a smile back on the face of most crews, when the loo has been full!
Heating and Hot Water
We’ve always tried to keep our options open with heating on the boat. As a result, we have a solid fuel stove (a Morso Squirrel) to burn logs – often free fuel is to be found alongside the canal throughout the year – or coal. In addition, we have diesel central heating providing heat through radiators, and as a by-product, we get a storage tank of hot water for showering, washing etc.
But what happens if the Central Heating fails? Well, the hot water storage tank has a dual coil, so by running the engine, you are able to get hot water that way too.
Most boats have a fairly large holding tank for domestic water, usually in the bows of the boat. Some boaters prefer to drink bottled water or boil any they wish to consume. The fill up point should be clearly marked on the boat, and can be filled from one of the many water points to be found dotted around the canal system. Most quality Canal Guides, such as Nicholsons or Pearsons, clearly identify these points, and it is wise to plan ahead. Fill as you cruise, unless you are very sure how long your tank lasts between fill-ups.
In winter – keep an eye on the weather forecast. If sub-zero, icy conditions are predicted in a few days’ time, fill up well before. Cold snaps rarely last more than a week or so, and most boats should be able to last at least that long.
So you can see, almost any problem of living afloat all year round can be overcome with a little forward planning.
Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.
Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 9:04am
It is all about POWER (well, battery power)
Aside from enabling you to maintain your batteries in a way which will prolong its life and keep your costs down, being able to recognise the signs of potential damage in a battery is essential for safety.
The leisure battery
A leisure battery is the power source for the 12V appliances and equipment in a narrow boat. These batteries are designed to provide a steady level of power over a prolonged period of time and are used by the lights, T.V, kettle, oven and similar appliances in some outfits. Basically, they are the part that makes your vessel into comfortable, habitable accommodation.
Is a leisure battery just a different name for a car battery?
No, a leisure battery and a car battery are two very different power sources. It may be possible to use each of the batteries in the other’s place in the short term, but it is not advisable due to the different ways in which they produce energy.
A car battery is designed to provide a burst of energy to start the engine when required, whereas a leisure battery will release a lower level of energy over a prolonged period of time in order to power appliances.
Due to the difference in intended purposes, leisure batteries and car batteries are not constructed in the same way. A car battery has thinner plates and different separators, which mean that it is not as well-equipped to deal with a prolonged period of use for a lower level of energy, and vice versa for leisure batteries. There is a type of battery which can perform well at both functions, an AGM battery, but this is not commonly used.
Types of leisure battery
Most leisure batteries are lead-acid batteries, although we will provide information on some alternatives later in the article. Within the category of lead-acid battery, there are a few different types available:
- Standard starter batteries – also known as calcium or cranking batteries
- Standard leisure batteries – also known as auxiliary or deep-cycling batteries
- Semi traction and traction batteries – also known as deep-cycling batteries
As well as these lead-acid batteries, there are a few alternatives which may be used as leisure batteries in certain circumstances.
- Gel batteries – These are used in vehicles such as jet skis and quad bikes, which have a higher than average risk of crashing. The use of gel inside the battery removes the risk of damage from being tipped over and, therefore, the risk of injury from leaking corrosive acid.
- AGM batteries – We mentioned these briefly in the section about car batteries v leisure batteries. AGM, or Absorbent Glass Mat batteries comprises of lead plates and compressed glass fibre in each cell. Combined with specific manufacturing processes, this makes the battery capable of a much longer lifespan than a lead-acid one. However, it is also more expensive to produce. As well as being able to withstand a greater number of charging cycles, AGM batteries have the advantage of being functional as both starter and leisure batteries.
- Maintenance-free batteries – While conventional batteries have removable caps to allow the acid levels to be checked and topped up with deionised water, some manufacturers are now producing what is described as a maintenance-free battery. This is a sealed unit which cannot be topped up, built due to the fact that batteries which are not charged in excess of 14.6V rarely need this done anyway. If 14.8V or more is used, it is important to regularly check the electrolyte level of a battery and replenish as required.
Why should I use a leisure battery?
You will need a leisure battery in order for most of the 12V appliances in your narrow boat to function but, even if it wasn’t essential, there is a very good reason for choosing to use a leisure battery rather than powering the devices directly from a mains charger or similar. The secondary function of a leisure battery, aside from powering appliances, is to correct any irregularities in the power supply, keeping you and your appliances safe.
Lead-acid battery safe handling
Due to the flammable nature of batteries and the corrosive properties of the acid within, proper safety measures must be followed when handling batteries.
- Ensure the battery is properly mounted and the gas escape vent correctly fitted at all times
- Safety clothing and eye equipment must always be worn when inspecting a battery
- High quality clamps should always be used to connect a battery to prevent any sparks from occurring and causing fire. Crocodile clips are not suitable for permanent connections
Getting the most from your leisure battery
- Apply a thin layer of Vaseline or grease to the battery’s terminals
- Always use high quality clamps
- If spring-loaded clamps are used, ensure that their steel contact surfaces do not rust
- Regularly check that the electrolyte level covers the lead plates on the battery. If not, top up with deionised water as required. Always wear full safety equipment when inspecting and maintaining the battery
- Check regularly to make sure the gas relief tube remains fitted securely and correctly
- Recharge the battery once it falls below 50% power. Never allow a battery to completely run flat as this can greatly reduce the lifespan
- Remember to care for your battery when your caravan or motorhome is to be unused for a period of time. A trickle charger is a good idea in this situation
- Never leave the battery uncharged. A white deposit, caused by sulphation, will form on the plates, rendering the battery unusable
- Remember that a battery needs a charger with an output of at least 10% of the battery’s capacity. For example, a 90Ah battery will need at least a 9 amp charger. Any less will significantly reduce the capacity
Checking the battery’s charge level
While your boat may have a light or display to show the leisure battery’s charge level, these may not be particularly accurate. It is advisable to invest in a hand-held metre, which can be used to easily obtain an accurate indication of the charge level. The table below can be used as a guideline when carrying out the checks.
| Meter Reading
|| Approximate Charge Level
|12.7V or above
|12V or lower
Prior to using the meter to check the battery’s charge, the following steps should be followed:
- Switch off all electrical appliances, including alarms, fridges and clocks that run off the battery. Failure to do so will result in an inaccurate reading
- Always remove the negative terminal first when disconnecting a battery
- Never smoke near a battery
- Do not use a charger on the battery or drive your motorhome for four hours before testing, as a recently used battery will give a higher reading
An alternative method of checking the charge level of a battery is using a hydrometer to measure the electrolytes in the cells. The reading should be between 1.1 (discharged) and 1.28 (fully charged).
To determine how long the battery can go between charges, check the capacity, which is normally measured in amp hours (Ah). An 110Ah battery will provide considerably more power between charges than a 65Ah one, for example, but will also take longer to recharge.
Always have a window open to allow gases to escape while the battery is charging.
Some users prefer to use a continuous charging system to keep the leisure battery functioning. While this may be perfectly fine, it is advisable to check with the manufacturer before continuously charging any battery.
What affects a battery’s performance?
There are quite a few factors which may affect the performance of a leisure battery, including temperature, age and the size of the battery.
- Temperature – The colder the temperature, the poorer the performance of the battery. The amp hours rating which is stated is based on a temperature of 25C, with each degree lower causing a 1% drop in performance. For example, an 110Ah battery operating in 15C temperature will actually perform as a 100Ah.
- Age – Most batteries will not last more than around five years due to a decrease in performance over time
- Consumption – If a high number of appliances are run from a battery, it will discharge quicker and therefore need to be recharged more often. This frequent recharging will cause the battery to degrade sooner.
- Size – The more appliances you need to run, and the more power-hungry those appliances are, the bigger your leisure battery will need to be. For example, a motor mover will require a large battery. You should also consider the time of year you tend to travel, due to the reduction in performance caused by cold weather.
- Discharge rate – The Ah rating provided by the manufacturers of batteries normally assumes a discharge time of 20 hours. The capacity will normally be provided at two or three different levels, such as 95Ah at a 20 hour rate, 80Ah at a 5 hour rate and 105Ah at a 100 hour rate.
While all of these will influence the performance of the battery, it is important to remember that there are countless other factors at play. It is best to assume you will need to recharge your leisure battery sooner than calculations may suggest.
Hope you are enjoying this seasons cruising, stay safe and if you are passing Venetian Marina, please call in for a brew, the kettle is always on.
Fri Jul 13, 2018 at 9:27am
What should I focus on when selecting a Narrowboat
When looking to start the buying process being armed with the right advice and information will make the process of buying a narrow boat more pleasurable and less stressful.
The temptation to jump in feet first is not a wise move, take a step back and let’s look at what information you should gather before visiting any boats.
•How often you are going to use the boat?
•What are you going to use it for?
•How much cruising are you going to do?
•New or used narrow boat?
•What style will best suit you; traditional, semi trad, cruiser, wide beam?What size do you need?
•How much do you want to spend?
Use the internet to do your homework there are plenty of useful websites and forums that will help answer any questions you may have. If you are unsure what style and size boat will best suit your needs then check out brokerage websites to see the different styles.
It’s also a good idea to talk to people who already own a narrow boat as they will be able to guide you and help you.
Look at as many boats you can. Now you know what you are looking for it’s time to start looking for that dream boat. By visiting marinas you will have easy access to a lot of boats all in one place.
Make a list of the boats you would like to view, this way you will be prepared and will save time on the day you visit, giving you more time to spend on the boats and talking to the staff.
It’s also a good idea to have a list of questions you may want to ask the broker written down. If you think you are going to need an hour or so to go over things, try ringing the marina first to see if they will make an appointment for you.
Finances and budget, knowing how much money you have to spend is always a good thing. There are specialist marine mortgage companies who can help and advise you, as well as the high street banks if you need to borrow money to make your purchase. A marine mortgage works in the same way as when you purchase a mortgage for a house, and you will need a deposit of roughly 20% of the boats purchase price.
If you have your finances in place you will be in a good position when you make an offer. Most brokers will ask you how you intend to finance your purchase. If you are using a marine mortgage company they will be able to produce a letter of intent, and if you are in the process of selling a property, your solicitor will be able to supply a letter when you are close to completion.
Where to keep it. Knowing where you are going to keep your new purchase is a must. if you buy from a marina they will more than likely allow you to stay a few days whilst you get your belongings on board and sort yourself out, but then it will be time to move on. If you are going to be continuously cruising this isn’t going to be a problem, you just need to decide which way you are going to go!
But for those of you that need moorings, looking into this before your purchase is a good idea. Types of mooring options are explained on the Canal and River Trust website, this is where you will also need to obtain your mooring licence from.
Survey. Just like when you buy a property, you should have a survey carried out. This will give you as the buyer a clear indication of the boats condition and if there is something wrong you may be able to get the seller to put it right or to reduce the price. If working with a brokerage company they will be able to handle this for you.
Wow, after all this, hopefully you will now be in a good position to go out and buy yourself a new narrow boat. Remember it’s a large financial investment and should be carefully thought out.
Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.
Wed Jun 20, 2018 at 11:00am
Different types of Stern Gear
The stern gear is located in the rear of the hull below the water line. The propeller shaft links the propeller via the stern gear and bearings, so that the rotating motion of the engine via the gear box can be converted into thrust to propel the boat. The propeller shaft is supported by a bearing arrangement which acts as an intermediate phase between the canal water and the boat.
The stern tube passes through the lower part of the hull of the vessel so carrying the shaft, and connecting it to the propeller and bearings. The lubrication arrangement and most importantly the sealing arrangements can vary in different types of narrowboat sterns. The stern tube bearing arrangement and sealing plays a vital part in the vessel's operation.
Conventional Stern Gear.
These consist of a Stuffing box, central tube (also called the centre bearing) are used around the propeller shaft at the point where the boat's hull is underwater. Rings of soft packing material are placed in the stuffing box around the shaft. When the gland nuts are tightened up on the stuffing box the packing forms a water tight seal, while allowing the propeller shaft to rotate. Various materials can be used for the packing, flax, hemp and cotton. More modern materials are now used which have graphite or Teflon in. Packing rope are often impregnated with grease or PTFE lubricants.
This is probably the simplest of the seal designs. It consists of a rubber ring, with a lipped profile supported by a spring, contained in a housing. The rubber lip seal runs on the shaft to form the seal.This seal is generally used on:
Pleasure craft. Light duty, low pressure sealing, where low cost is required.It requires little attention other than ensuring that a water supply is maintained during operation. It only requires a very small amount of special grease applying via the grease nipple every 300 hours.
There is generally no back up for the seal in case of failure. there is no requirement for an additional "back-up" seal. The seal needs replacing at shorter intervals than the other seals to be safe and, prevent a "drippy" stern gear.
The disadvantage is the ring gradually wears a groove in the shaft and so a replaceable liner sleeve is recommended.
The rear bearing on the drive shaft which goes through the hull of a vessel, is usually made of brass with an inner grooved rubber lining that is lubricated by the surrounding water entering the grooves as it rotates.
When you replace a drive shaft on your boat, it is also a good idea to replace the cutlass bearing and lip seal.
Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.
Sat Jun 2, 2018 at 12:00pm
LPG Bubble Tester.
Gas can be the most dangerous substance likely to be on a boat, you'd may be shocked how far down the list most people place the safety of their gas system.
Many vessels have dangerously old and outdated instillation, but it is clear most owners do not wish to replace them. the priority seems to be given to other maintenance jobs such as blacking the hull or polishing the outside of the boat. Many insurers require at least a Gas Certificate, however CRT require an in date BSS Certificate when licensing your vessel.
The gas check is the basis for the standard which is adhered to and governed by the 'Boat Safety Scheme', which is designed for vessel on the inland waterways. In a marina, you may cause considerable damage with a gas explosion. So, to make it easier to detect gas leaks fit a bubble tester.
The Bubble tester is a GAS leak detector and is intended for in-line installation, and should be connected into the gas system close to the outlet side of the regulator.
It provides an instant visible check on gas soundness from the outlet side to each installed appliance, a leaking system being positively indicated by bubbles appearing in the glass-sighting chamber. The Boat Safety Scheme and the new British Standard both recommend that one be fitted in an installation.
This Gas leak detector is a very simple but highly effective unit, It is designed to be connected into the gas pipe supply after the gas bottle regulator in the gas locker.
Once plumbed in, all the gas appliances are turned off and the gas turned on, you then simpley push and hold the red knob down for about 10 seconds and check the glass sight glass for bubbles. If you get any bubbles after about 2 seconds you have a leak and should turn the gas off. No bubbles mean no leaks and it is safe to use the gas.
Please remember gas should be treated with respect! if you are not sure turn it off at the bottle and vent the boat DO NOT turn on lights or anything electrical, start the engine or have a naked flame or cigarette. Gas should be checked and fitted by a Corgi Gas Safe fitter.
Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.
Mon May 7, 2018 at 9:44am
Crick Boat Show 2018
With more than 50 narrowboats, wide-beams, heritage vessels and budget craft on display, there are more boats at Crick this year than ever before. Find out more about these boats in the Boats on Show feature of the May 2018 Canal Boating Times. The colourful boats set the scene at Crick Boat Show. With several dozen boats on the water in the marina, and more to view on land in the centre of the Show Village.
As well as being the canal world’s biggest marketplace, showcasing the inland waterways industry with 300 exhibitors, the Show offers a fantastic day out for all the family with dozens of boats to look round, free boat trips, live music, children’s activities, a real ale marquee, and a large variety of food and drink stalls.
Peter Johns, Publisher of Waterways World and Show Director, says: "We are looking forward to welcoming people to our 2018 Crick Boat show, the UK’s largest inland waterways festival.
"Whether people are boating enthusiasts wanting to buy boating products and services, or just looking for a great family day out by the water, there’s lots to see and do at Crick Boat Show.
Crick is proud to be Britain's biggest inland waterways festival, but the Crick experience wouldn't be complete without the full weekend of music entertainment. Enjoy a wide selection of music performed live in the Wheatsheaf Marquee from noon 'til night and this year.
Buy your tickets to Crick Boat Show, the biggest of its kind on the network. Last year was the busiest one yet, with over 27,000 visitors, so it’s worth securing tickets to the 2018 event early.
Advance tickets holders save 15% on the entry price and children aged 16 years and under receive free entry on all three days of the show. Weekend tickets, camping pitches and moorings are also available to book.
Entry for the evening entertainment is included in the price of your ticket - making a trip to Crick incredible value for money.
Come and see us at the Crick Boat show this year 26th - 28th May 2018,
We will be exhibiting with our sister companies Whilton Marina and Cosgrove Park, be sure to visit us in the Waterways World Boating Marquee on stand WW 8-15.
If you are thinking of buying a Narrow Boat, or maybe you are thinking of trading in your current vessel, Crick is a great place to start looking. The show offers you the opportunity to look at boats currently on the market and discuss your options with boat builders and sellers, to the new and second-hand markets.
This year at the show, we are going to have a competition to 'name the crane' for everyone to enter. This is our new boat lift out crane based at Whilton Marina. We have some great prizes to win, see below for details on how to enter.
How To Enter Our Boat Show Competition
There's lots of fabulous prizes to win! To enter either email your suggestion for the name of our new crane to:
or enter by uploading on our social media accounts facebook or twitter making sure to give your name, telephone number and email address so that we can contact the winners!
Music Headliners 2018
Saturday 26 May
Tribute band Dizzy Lizzy will be performing the ’70s and ’80s rock classics of Thin Lizzy. Sing along and stomp your feet to The Boys are Back in Town, Whiskey in the Jar and Black Rose and more.
Sunday 27 May
The UK's top ABBA tribute band, ABBA Revival, will take to the stage on Sunday evening to deliver a high-energy stage show that includes faithful choreography, authentic costumes and, of course, accurate renditions of the Swedish group's numerous hit records.
Revival's renowned ABBA stage show has proved a hit time and time again in the UK and the world over, wowing audiences from Europe to the Middle East and just recently the band has been invited to perform a 5 day tour in ABBA's homeland of Sweden.
Described as 'outstanding' and 'electric', ABBA Revival take their audience on a musical journey back to those pop-tastic disco days when ABBA ruled the dance floor - they'll guarantee to get everybody on their feet!
Join to hear some of ABBA's most iconic tunes, such as Waterloo, Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia and many, many more - you'll be sure to hear your favourites!
Going to come? It's a good idea to buy your tickets for the Crick Boat Show in advance, as they cost more on the door.
We Look forward to seeing you there!
Sat Apr 21, 2018 at 9:20am
Types of insulation found in narrowboats
Spray on polyurethane foam is an ideal way to insulate narrow boats. The foam is sprayed directly onto the inside of the hull and adheres well to steel hulls and most surfaces. As the polyurethane foam is sprayed it expands which makes it perfect for getting into voids and under battens.
Spray applied polyurethane foam insulation differs from traditional insulation (sheet insulation and rock wool) in several ways. Firstly the speed of application of sprayed foam insulation is a major advantage over sheet insulation and rock wool. Spray foam is sprayed onto the inside of the boat whereas sheet insulation and rock wool have to be accurately cut to size and fitted. Polyurethane foam also has a far better insulation value than rock wool, and this translates to thinner insulation.
Rock wool Insulation is made from stone, with a non-directional fibre orientation and a higher density, which means not only good levels of insulation, it traps sound waves and dampens vibration.
Easy to cut to fit around cables, pipes, sockets and services, Insulation is quick and easy to friction fit without leaving gaps or cracks, which can significantly reduce performance.
Good quality rockwool insulation repels water and is vapour permeable, and resists rot and mould.
Being made from stone also means exceptional fire performance again, good quality rock wool is capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 1,177C and achieving the highest Euroclass A1 fire resistance classification. rock wool insulation is ideal for use not only in boats, but in residential applications such as home offices, studies, bedrooms and bathrooms, and TV media and gaming rooms.
Early narrow boats for leisure were insulated by big sheets of expanded polystyrene. This material is still used today by some converters and it has its place in terms of cost and ease of use. There are potential issues though.
PVC wiring reacts with polystyrene insulation. Polystyrene causes plasticisers used in the manufacture of older cabling to migrate thus causing the insulation to go brittle. The potential issue is where there is direct contact of the styrene and PVC sheath close to metal parts that may cause a short circuit if the cable breaks or the insulation cracks. Boat builders are aware of this now and so will run services via conduit if they are using polystyrene sheet.
If you are the owner of an older narrowboat it may be worth checking the integrity of the wiring where it is in contact with polystyrene sheeting. It is good to know that there is polystyrene resistant cabling available for repairs and upgrades. Polystyrene sheets must also be fire retardant.
The other issue is efficiency. It is impossible to completely cover the steel shell with sheets of polystyrene. The sheets have to be meticulously sealed to form a vapour barrier and this barrier can be breached over time. When this happens warm air from the interior gets around the polystyrene sheeting and condenses on the cold steel of the outer shell. This condensation can be considerable. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that over 10L of water could be produced in a very cold month. The only place this condensation can go is into the bilges. Many owners just don’t know it’s there. Come spring and summer, the bilges dry out and there is no issue. However, over time this wetting and drying will cause corrosion. The last place an owner needs corrosion is in a cabin bilge where it is often impossible to see. We would highly recommend making an access hole into the cabin bilge at the rear of the narrowboat so any build up of condensation can be removed as soon as possible.
Mon Apr 2, 2018 at 11:47am
Getting ready for the season's cruising
With over 3,000 miles of canals and navigable rivers to explore in Britain alone (and over 28,000 miles of navigable in Europe), cruising the inland waterways with friends and family is one of the most relaxing ways you can spend time on the water. Meander at your own pace through the countryside and past towns, embracing the unique lifestyle of the waterways and their fascinating history and heritage.
Whether you love tinkering with machines, or find the prospect of opening an engine somewhat daunting, it is essential that you maintain and service your narrowboat. Repairs or replacements for your boat can be costly, and are often caused by lack of engine knowledge or simply from using the wrong battery. Other times, it could be an alternator failure, water contamination or a broken cable.
Narrowboat maintenance checklist
It's recommended that you regularly carry out the following tasks for your canal boat:
Check your oil levels
Clean the boat's engine and check it's in good condition
Plug any leaks
Check the bilge pumps are working
Inspect the battery and top-up with de-ionised water
Look for any loose bolts or pipes
Check drive belts for tension and condition
Inspect the cables and control equipment for signs of wear and tear
Common engine issues
Carrying out regular preventative maintenance on the following engine components could save you from a costly repair call-out.
If your bilges are full of oil and water, this dangerous mixture could get into the engine with potentially disastrous consequences. It is important that you do not discharge the oil with the bilge pumps into the waterway but to manually dispose safely ashore.
If you hit an underwater object, the drive plate is usually the first victim. As canal boats don't have a clutch arrangement, gear boxes tend to receive a fair bit of abuse, so go easy and regularly service them.
Always carry a spare alternator belt, and check its condition before setting off. Simply twist the belt and if there are cracks, or the edges are starting to look ragged it's time for a new belt. If you hear 'squealing' from an old belt, it probably needs replacing. If it's from a new belt, an adjustment is required.
If the bolts connecting the propeller shaft to the engine are loose, any movement will either sheer them off, which can result in loss of propulsion. Eventually the coupling will need replacing, and you may even have to change your prop shaft if the coupling has damaged it.
Narrowboat hull inspection
The hull of your narrowboat will take the brute force of the elements. This means it should undergo regular inspection to avoid leaks and other damage. It’s best to keep an eye on rust, corrosion and pitting, and don’t forget to have the inside of the hull checked over too.
Since the hull is normally out of view, you will need to organise regular inspections by a professional. You will be required to take the boat out of the water in order for a marine surveyor to carry out a review of the state of the hull. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every three to four years – or more often if you’ve sustained any accidents.
Blacking the hull helps to maintain the condition of your narrowboat by minimising the risk of rust and corrosion. Hull blacking involves extensively repainting the hull, and this should normally be done every two to three years.
It is entirely possible for you to black your boat's hull yourself. However, you will, of course, need the means to take the boat out of the water, and the time to paint it – meaning most boaters get it done by professionals at a marina. Blacking the hull will take up to three days and involves cleaning the hull of muck and grime then applying a couple of coats of hard-wearing paint, before drying and returning to water.
Preparing for the long haul
By taking the time to keep your narrowboat maintained, you will save yourself considerable money involved in repairs, replacements and call-outs. Keep our guide handy and follow the steps to ensure you stay cruising for years to come.
Now, just the shopping list to do,...Bacon, wine, beer.........
Happy Cruising from all at Venetian Marina.
Sun Mar 18, 2018 at 8:50am
Three boating knots you may find useful:
The reef knot is used to tie the two ends of a single line together such that they will secure something, for example a bundle of objects, that is unlikely to move much. In addition to being used by sailors for reefing and furling sails, it is also one of the key knots of macrame textiles.
The Bowline Knot
This knot is used to make a loop or eye that will not slip but is easy to untie. However much load is put on it the loop will not close but is easily released when the load is taken off. This is why it is the only knot used by climbers for tying a rope around themselves. On boats it can be used for putting an eye in a mooring rope so that it can be quickly put over a cleat or bollard on board, or it can be used for joining two ropes securely; a bowline is tied in the end of each, the second one through the first. This is useful if you need to tow someone, the mooring lines can be used to make a longer line. This knot needs lots of practice as its not the easiest to tie. See how to make this knot below:
Is used to join two ropes together or a rope to itself. If done correctly a knot will hold shape regardless of it being fixed to something else. A hitch is used to fix a rope to another object, such as a carabiner or pole, and relies on that object to hold. You can see this easily by tying an eight follow-thru onto a carabiner. Do the same with a clove hitch. Now take the carabiner away and see what happens – it will fall apart. Some sources classify a hitch as a class of knot but the general distinction remains the same
A simple overhand knot, where the working end of a line is brought over and under the straight part.
A clove hitch is two successive half-hitches around an object.