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Tue Jan 16, 2018 at 10:38am

Winterisation of Marine Toilets

Proper winterisation of marine toilets is extremely important and is essential to save mess, money and masses of work which may be caused by the damage inflicted on plumbing and toilet mechanisms by freezing, so, a few generalisations to start.

It’s a little difficult to separate toilets from the plumbing generally. The higher pipes and fittings are at most risk over winter, those installed lower benefit from the above freezing temperature in the water underneath the boat.

When considering holding tanks, it is almost unheard of for water to freeze in any way that will damage these unless the tank is filled to the point where water is in the tank vent. There is a school of thought that maintains it is better to leave the freshwater tank nearly filled to maintain its cleanliness. If you would rather drain the tank, ideally close the breather in some way, but be sure it is opened before re-commissioning the system.

WARNING: Do not use normal vehicle antifreeze in a domestic plumbing system, it is poisonous.

Winterising your Toilet:

First, you will need to establish if the toilet flushing water is provided from the boat’s freshwater system or from the outside flotation water.

Typical method for treating systems flushed with flotation water.

Winterising your toilet

In these cases winterization of the toilet is entirely separate from winterising the boat’s domestic water system.

Close the inlet seacock and disconnect the hose from it.

Make sure to re-connect this hose before re-opening the seacock.

Make up a mixture of anti-scale solution. This can be vinegar based or a proprietary product such as LeeScale. Draw this solution through the system by pumping the toilet. Leave in system for 24 hours. Block the pipe to contain the solution.

A fresh Water Flushing kit such as a LeeSan Flush-it kit makes this extremely simple.

Next, flush this solution out of system with a strong mixture of water and soft washing up liquid.

Now drain the system where possible following the guidelines for your type of toilet shown later in this article. Reconnect the hose to the seacock and leave with sea cocks closed.

Chemical type:

Chemical toilet

Not much to do with these, make sure they are completely empty, give them a good washing out, dry them thoroughly and perhaps put a small amount of a “fragrant” chemical in the tank to guard against smells. Depending on age and use, (the toilet not the owner!) some chemical toilets have replacement service parts and these should be replaced if they have been malfunctioning or leaking.

Macerator type - Sanimarin

Macerator type toilet

Turn off water supply.

Remove water supply pipe (in this case by pulling from porcelain as shown)

(For other macerator toilets check manufacturer’s instructions)

Hold this pipe over a container at floor level to drain water.

Operate the toilet to open the valve and allow all residual water to drain out.

Dump through type - Traveller

Dump through type toilet

(This toilet is sometimes called a Mansfield and is similar, for winterisation purposes, to the foot operated Vacuflush)

Note: Pedal cover removed for clarity!

Turn off water supply.

Put a shallow tray or cloth underneath the foot pedal.

Remove water pipe by unscrewing from the bottom of the foot pedal mechanism as shown.

Depress foot pedal to empty fresh water.

Hand pump type - Jabsco

Hand pump toilet

Operate the hand pump in “dry bowl” mode to empty bowl as much as possible.

Then close seacock to turn off water supply.

Put a cloth under the drain plug at the base of the toilet to catch residual water.

Remove the drain plug as shown by turning quarter of a turn anti-clockwise.

Operate the pump again to clear any remaining water

Electric Vacuflush type - Dometic

Electric vacuflush type toilet

Turn off water.

Disconnect inlet water hose from supply and hold over a shallow container at floor level to drain.

Operate toilet to fully empty water.

Note: after working on any of the above toilets make certain that all pipes are re-connected. Don’t forget to turn water supply back on before use.

General notes:

Rubber components and seals etc in marine toilets and pumps benefit from not being left dry. A simple way to ensure this is to occasionally flush with a soapy solution.

Over winter ensure that the water pump is switched off.

Check all hose connections for leaks.

Check and tighten all hose clips.

This is also a great time to consider fitting a service kit, new seals or to replace any worn pipes or hoses.

Please remember that just because a hose is “white” it isn’t necessarily Sanitation Grade. Poor quality or non Sanitation Grade hose will almost certainly result in smells permeating through the hose walls.

Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.




Tue Jan 16, 2018 at 10:05am

Happy New Year!

Don't let another 12 months go sailing by. This year could be the time to realise your dream of buying a narrowboat, or selling/ upgrading your narrowboat!

Here at Venetian Marina we provide high quality boat sale and brokerage services, which includes free canal boat valuations for owners anywhere on the canal system, and free moorings at our purpose built marina for the narrow boats whilst they are for sale with us..

When you come to buy or sell your narrow boat ,you want to get the most desirable deal, and this is where Venetian can help. You can of course buy or sell your boat privately but, using our boat brokerage services has many benefits such as:

1. We offer maximum buyer visibility through our website. Sellers can use the website to send us details of their boat. See our narrow boat brokerage form on our web site.

2. Expert support from start to finish.

3. We offer free, no-obligation valuations so you know your boats value before you commit to selling it.

4. Venetian Marina is a sister company with Whilton Marina in Northampton, and handle around 120 narrow boats for sale at any one time, so we know how much your boat is worth, and what buyers will pay for it.

5. We’ve got more than 8,000 genuine people on our database looking for narrow boats from between £9,000 to £90,000 in price range.

So if you’re looking to advertise a boat for sale, or looking to purchase in north-west England, you’ll find Venetian Marina professional, friendly and ready to help
. Check out our web site and Social Media for our customer's testimonials.

Please do not hesitate to call us on 01270 528251 or email us at or fill in our online form here and we'll contact you!

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Fri Dec 1, 2017 at 9:35am

Keeping your clothes and linen clean whilst living aboard is a necessity, unless of course you want to be the next Stig of the dump! So how do live aboards cope?  

There are a few options available, which one you choose is down to you;  

1. Using the local laundrette.

Many boaters decide they are happy to take loads of washing to the local laundrette. The beauty of using a laundrette especially in the winter is that you won’t have to turn your boat into a Chinese laundrette over night whilst you try and dry all your washing.

The downside is the distance you may have to travel to get to and from the laundrette and the amount of time you have to set aside to carry out this task. Use this link to find laundrettes and other amenities on the canal system, its broken down into areas for easy use.  

2. Using the laundry room in a marina.

Lots of marinas do have their own facilities like we do at Venetian.  But be warned that these facilities may only be for residential boats and even if you moor there the laundry facilities may NOT be covered in your mooring fees.   

3. Fitting a automatic washing machine on board your boat.

Yes you can actually have a washing machine on your boat. BUT you can’t run the washing machine the same way, as you would do offshore.  Modern automatic washing machines are cold-water filled and therefore draw water off the cold water supply. They then need to heat the water up, so even when washing at low temperatures 20 -30 degrees the washing machines heater needs to heat up the water.

The washing machine heater draws a huge amount of energy, so a 2 – 3 kilo watt heater is going to pull 200 -300 amps of your battery bank, and this will drain your battery bank very quickly. So unless you have a huge battery bank and huge invertor you are not going to be able to use your batteries to run your washing machine.  

So what solutions do we have? Because its true many boaters do have automatic washing machines on board but how they run them varies.  

Option 1.
Many boats have a generator built into the engine, so as long as the engine is running this will give you power to run the washing machine.  

Option 2. Is to go into a marina and pay for over night moorings and use the mains power within the marina. Doing maybe a week or twos washing in one go.

Option 3. Stop for the night in or near a town which has a laundrette, and use the facilities as many people who do not have a washing machine in their home.

In fine weather you may wish to use a small rotary washing line to dry your washing if your washing machine is not a washer/condenser dryer. You can attach this to a Brolley Mate. A Brolley Mate can be used to hold a lightweight rotary washing line onto the tiller so you can dry your washing outside on a fine day. Do make sure that you peg your washing down well as you may be victim to the wind carrying away your items if they are not secured well!  

If you don’t have the space or want to purchase an automatic washing machine you still have another two options when it comes to cleaning your washing.  

The alternative method from an automatic washing machine would be a small portable twin tub machine. Be warned though this will require a lot of input, as it is very much reliant on manual operation, however if you have the time and inculcation this option does work just as well.  

And finally the old-fashioned way; Hand washing in the sink! May be ok for smaller items but not recommended for doing the weekly bedding and towels!  

Photo credit: TR/ Fotolia

So as you can see there are plenty of ways of getting your washing done when you are cruising, and you may use all the options at some point depending on your circumstances.  

NOTE: When using detergents on board please make sure they are environmentally friendly, as the dirty water from the machine will be dispensed into the canal system and this could endanger the wildlife.  


Tue Oct 24, 2017 at 9:15am

Inverters  - Pure Sign Wave Vs Quasi

A power inverter, or inverter, is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

The input voltage, output voltage and frequency, and overall power handling depend on the design of the specific device or circuitry. The inverter does not produce any power; the power is provided by the DC source.

A power inverter can be entirely electronic or may be a combination of mechanical effects (such as a rotary apparatus) and electronic circuitry. Static inverters do not use moving parts in the conversion process.

Input voltage

 A typical power inverter device or circuit requires a relatively stable DC power source capable of supplying enough current for the intended power demands of the system. The input voltage depends on the design and purpose of the inverter. Examples include:

  • 12 VDC, for smaller consumer and commercial inverters that typically run from a rechargeable 12 V lead acid battery or automotive electrical outlet.
  • 24, 36 and 48 VDC, which are common standards for home energy systems.
  • 200 to 400 VDC, when power is from photovoltaic solar panels.
  • 300 to 450 VDC, when power is from electric vehicle battery packs in vehicle-to-grid systems.
  • Hundreds of thousands of volts, where the inverter is part of a high-voltage direct current power transmission system.

Output waveform

An inverter can produce a square wave, modified sine wave, pulsed sine wave, pulse width modulated wave (PWM) or sine wave depending on circuit design. The two dominant commercialized waveform types of inverters as of 2007 are modified sine wave and sine wave.

There are two basic designs for producing household plug-in voltage from a lower-voltage DC source, the first of which uses a switching boost converter to produce a higher-voltage DC and then converts to AC. The second method converts DC to AC at battery level and uses a line-frequency transformer to create the output voltage.

Square wave

This is one of the simplest waveforms an inverter design can produce and is best suited to low-sensitivity applications such as lighting and heating. Square wave output can produce "humming" when connected to audio equipment and is generally unsuitable for sensitive electronics.

Sine wave

A power inverter device which produces a multiple step sinusoidal AC waveform is referred to as a sine wave inverter. To more clearly distinguish the inverters with outputs of much less distortion than the modified sine wave (three step) inverter designs, the manufacturers often use the phrase pure sine wave inverter. Almost all consumer grade inverters that are sold as a "pure sine wave inverter" do not produce a smooth sine wave output at all, just a less choppy output than the square wave (two step) and modified sine wave (three step) inverters. However, this is not critical for most electronics as they deal with the output quite well.

Where power inverter devices substitute for standard line power, a sine wave output is desirable because many electrical products are engineered to work best with a sine wave AC power source. The standard electric utility provides a sine wave, typically with minor imperfections but sometimes with significant distortion.

Sine wave inverters with more than three steps in the wave output are more complex and have significantly higher cost than a modified sine wave, with only three steps, or square wave (one step) types of the same power handling. Switch-mode power supply (SMPS) devices, such as personal computers or DVD players, function on quality modified sine wave power. AC motors directly operated on non-sinusoidal power may produce extra heat, may have different speed-torque characteristics, or may produce more audible noise than when running on sinusoidal power.


Modified sine wave

 The modified sine wave output of such an inverter is the sum of two square waves one of which is phase shifted 90 degrees relative to the other. The result is three level waveform with equal intervals of zero volts; peak positive volts; zero volts; peak negative volts and then zero volts. This sequence is repeated. The resultant wave very roughly resembles the shape of a sine wave. Most inexpensive consumer power inverters produce a modified sine wave rather than a pure sine wave.

The waveform in commercially available modified-sine-wave inverters resembles a square wave but with a pause during the polarity reversal. Switching states are developed for positive, negative and zero voltages. Generally, the peak voltage to RMS voltage ratio does not maintain the same relationship as for a sine wave. The DC bus voltage may be actively regulated, or the "on" and "off" times can be modified to maintain the same RMS value output up to the DC bus voltage to compensate for DC bus voltage variations.

Numerous items of electric equipment will operate quite well on modified sine wave power inverter devices, especially loads that are resistive in nature such as traditional incandescent light bulbs. Items with a switch-mode power supply operate almost entirely without problems, but if the item has a mains transformer, this can overheat depending on how marginally it is rated.

However, the load may operate less efficiently owing to the harmonics associated with a modified sine wave and produce a humming noise during operation. This also affects the efficiency of the system as a whole, since the manufacturer's nominal conversion efficiency does not account for harmonics. Therefore, pure sine wave inverters may provide significantly higher efficiency than modified sine wave inverters.

A common modified sine wave inverter topology found in consumer power inverters is as follows: An onboard microcontroller rapidly switches on and off power MOSFETs at high frequency like 50 kHz. The MOSFETs directly pull from a low voltage DC source (such as a battery). This signal then goes through step-up transformers (generally many smaller transformers are placed in parallel to reduce the overall size of the inverter) to produce a higher voltage signal. The output of the step-up transformers then gets filtered by capacitors to produce a high voltage DC supply. Finally, this DC supply is pulsed with additional power MOSFETs by the microcontroller to produce the final modified sine wave signal.

Hope this put a little more light on a complex subject for you.

Happy cruising from all the team at Venetian Marina.

Tue Oct 3, 2017 at 9:32am

Life Aboard Made Easy!

If you are in the process of moving onto your narrow boat full time, or considering a full time life on the waterways, we can show you ways to make your move aboard as simple and comfortable as possible.

Adapting your boat to meet your basics needs will make life on the water as stress free and simple as it can be.

There is definitely more work and thought needed when living on the waterways, but if you are prepared to give it ago and learn by your mistakes (and we've all made them) then you will reap the benefits that living on your boat will provide.

Having the RIGHT Narrowboat!

A small 45 foot narrowboat is ok for long weekends and holidays, but living aboard a smaller boat full time really does have its down sides, especially if there is more than one of you living on the boat.

Not only will you not have a permanent place to sleep/sit as you will be changing the sitting area into a bed room and vice versa each day, there will be a huge lack of storage. This way of living will undoubtably lead to quite a stressful and unpractical way of life.

Therefore if you can afford a larger boat bearing in mind the additional costs associated with a longer boat, such as mooring fees, licences and maintenance costs, then this is the best option for living aboard as the extra space will make day to day living so much more comfortable.

The style of the boat is a tricky one but really theres no right or wrong stern, however the traditional stern does tend to be the most popular choice for liveaboards as the internal space is larger than the other options. Having more internal space will making LIVING on your boat more comfortable and practical. 

Other features to consider;

  • Dinettes can be a waste of space especially in smaller vessels
  • Small bathrooms will eventually take their toll 
  • Look for a boat with large windows and lots of doors providing additional light and easy access
  • Remember boats that are painted in dark paint i.e black or navy blue will ultimately be very warm in the summer!

Getting The Basics Right.

If you can get the basics right i.e. have somewhere to sleep, eat, wash and be warm you will be on the right track to a simple and comfortable life on your narrowboat. Get these things wrong and life is going to be rather difficult!.

Sleeping: Ideally have a separate sleeping area as mentioned before, having to change your seating area into a bedroom and back again every day is going to become very tiresome. Also having a bedroom gives you some additional privacy when you want to escape the main living area of your boat.

Cooking: Most boats have gas cookers as electric ones are not practical unless you are always hooked up. Agas and other range cookers can be installed and are delightful in the winter, but rather unmanageable in the summer months when the warmer weather is with us. However the newer Agas can be controlled pretty much like a conventional oven so if you are wanting the look of a Aga but the convenience of a conventional oven then one of the dual control Agas would be suitable. A microwave is also a good investment for heating up meals and for making simple suppers.

Bathrooms: You don't need to have a bath aboard, but a descent size shower is definitely a must. Within the bathroom there is also going to be your toilet and this is a much discussed topic between boaters.

For liveaboards we would suggest the pump out option, this will best suit your living arrangements. The job of emptying a cassette toilet will soon become a very loathed chore. More information on the Big Loo Debate can be found here

Heating: Having two modes of heating is a good plan, so consider a stove that will be attractive and reliable and also a diesel heater, these are much more reliable nowadays.

Electricity: Electricity is needed to pump water, provide light and run the appliances onboard. When moored at a marina you will be able to hook up to the mains, when out cruising you will need to rely on your batteries.

Storage: If only the narrowboat was like a Tardis once you got inside, alass this is not the case and storage is always limited, even to those who consider themselves minimalists. Look for clever storage ideas and use even the space under the bed to gain as much storage as possible. Store things you don't use very often in places that are harder to access like under your bow deck.


So we now address the hardest issue facing livaboards, moorings! First option is to continuously cruise the system staying no longer than 2 weeks in each place before having to move on. This is ok if you have no commitments i.e work, school, family etc but for those with permanent commitments this is not a viable option. 

So what other options are there?

  • Marinas; Can be expensive and hard to come across, but if you have the funds and are able to find a long term mooring this is a great choice providing a comfortable, secure, hassle free facility to live.
  • Boat Yards; Cheaper than marinas but can tend to be noisy.
  • Stop - Start cruising; This is where you cruise around the network, mooring at different marinas or boat yards for a few days at a time then moving on.
  • Small private moorings; Again hard to find but sometimes available with a small area for a washing line or to sit.
  • Winter moorings; Continuously cruising over the summer, then mooring somewhere with good facilities over the winter months.

Our Top Tips To Getting It Right!!

Just a few other ideas to consider when thinking about a full time life on the waterways;

  • Canvas covers provide an additional storage area outside the boat. for wellies, wet coats and other bulky items that can't be kept within the boat. But remember this is not a secure area so items left here are open to opportunists. Casual burglaries are unfortunately part and parcel of life even on the waterways.
  • Have spares of as many things possible. Practical items such as a spare water pump incase yours breaks down, extra kindling and fuel this includes gas! Keep the larder stocked up for times when you aren't near any shops and the family are wanting to know whats for supper!
  • Flatter roofs are safer and better for walking on. Also useful for storage.
  • If the thought of getting rid of possessions is proving difficult when you are downsizing from a house to a narrow boat, then consider self storage for a short period of time. It might not be viable long term, but short term it might help you over the initial adjustment period of leaving a house and moving onto boat. By putting items into storage for a while, it gives you the time to come to terms with not having these things around and eventually letting them go.

If you have just moved onto a narrowboat to live on, please tell us your story and how you are getting on?

Sat Sep 16, 2017 at 1:27pm


They come in four basic formulations.Chemical treatments are the most popular because they provide the best odor control. Some include chemicals that kill bacteria, but the best chemical treatments deodorize using chemical reactions with odor-causing molecules. They are relatively inexpensive compared to other treatments.

Some contain additives that dissolve waste. They can be added to tanks that contain other treatments without cleaning the tank.


Enzyme treatments accelerate the digestion of organic materials in waste and neutralize odors at the same time. Their toxicity is extremely low, they’re environmentally friendly. Some help to emulsify paper and sewage. They must be added regularly, work best in well-ventilated systems, but do not work well in hot or cold climates. Enzymes require a tank free of residuals of other treatment products.

Nitrate treatments provide an interesting alternative. Oxygen is vital to bacteria in the process of breaking down organic waste. When little air is present (as in most holding tanks), bacteria derives the oxygen from sulfates in the waste, which produces hydrogen sulfide (stinky!) gas. When nitrates are introduced, they act as nutrients for the bacteria, providing an alternative source of oxygen, which results in the production of nitrogen (odorless) gas.

Nitrates are environmentally friendly, and are ideal for systems with less ventilation. They speed up the breakdown process and reduce odors. The tank must be free of residuals from other products.

Bio-active treatments contain live aerobic bacteria which break down waste, reproduce and crowd out anaerobic (odor-producing) bacteria. They, too, are environmentally friendly. Like enzymes, bio-active treatments can help in breaking down sewage. Unlike other treatments, they multiply and continue to work long after treatment is complete. However, the microbes require a well-ventilated and residual free holding tank to survive. Although initially expensive, bio-active treatments become more cost effective over time because of bacteria propagation. 

If you have or use other alternatives please let us know.

Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.

Mon Aug 21, 2017 at 11:25am

Narrow boat Solar power

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are one of the many types of renewable energy available to us. We can use the sun's energy to operate solar panels to drive gadgets which can be used on a narrow boat, as well installing them on the roofs of our homes and businesses. They don't produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions or use up valuable fossil fuels.

Solar PV panels work very simply by converting light energy from the sun into electricity. It can even be a cloudy day and the panels don't even need to be positioned in direct sunlight. When fitted to our homes, PV can supply us with green energy and any surplus electricity produced can be returned back to the grid, known as ‘on-grid' systems. Or we can use ‘off-grid' systems, which store electrical power generated in batteries that can be used later when needed.

There are a number of specialist adapted solar PV panels that can be used both outdoors and indoors to power household gadgets such as mobiles, cameras, laptops, notebooks and to keep the batteries charged up.

However, the biggest challenge of specially designed solar panels is getting the right power output. Too little and you'll be half way through surfing the Internet for the following day's adventure and the power goes off; too much and you will have spent a fortune on something the capacity of which you'll use only a tiny proportion.

 There are a number of advantages worth considering when it comes to solar energy and everything that it offers:

  • It is a completely renewable resource
  • Solar systems make absolutely no noise at all
  • Solar energy creates absolutely no pollution so does not further damage the ozone layer
  • Very little maintenance is required to keep solar panels

Choosing the correct solar panels for your boat

Solar panels have varing amounts of different output depending on: Construction, quality polycrystalline or Monocrystalline. 

Power output, a single 100w high efficiency panel with Monocrystalline cells will produce circa 600-750Wh on a summer day.

Then we come to the controllers. there are 2 main types, PWM  which means Pulse Width Modulation, and MPPT Maximum Power Point Tracking.  With panel that have a higher voltage MPPT controllers are recommended. It is an advantage to fit a controller which has additional capacity, so more panels can be fitted at a later date if required.

Hope you find this article informative, and happy cruising from all the team at Venetian Marina.


Sat Aug 12, 2017 at 11:35am

Here are 7 reasons to quit your job and live on your narrow boat  

This article is for anyone contemplating a life on the UK waterways, away from their office job, boring day to day routine, wanting to jump out of the rat race and go where you can do what you love best - cruise every day! 

Apart from maybe living near the ocean, nothing quite compares to a life on the UK waterways. 

7. It beats working every day for a living:

So there maybe some sacrifices and you may need to take on a less glamorous and lower paid job, but knowing you are living the dream on your narrow boat everyday will more than make up for being tied to your desk job week in week out. There’s more to life than going to work and paying the bills!  

6. It’ll make all your friends jealous:

Think how your friends will feel as they start their working day doing the same routine day in day out and you will be starting your day in a new location with a new adventure just around the next bend. Feels good doesn't it?  Don’t forget to share your new adventures via social media so they can see just how good life is on the waterways.I wonder how long it will be until they quit their jobs too?  

5. Living for now, being in the moment:

You want to do it and you enjoy doing it so why wait till you are old and grey? Live life for now, don't wait for the future, stop making excuses or allowing others to talk you out of it. You love cruising and want the simple life style boating offers, so go for it. There’s nothing stopping you but YOU.  

4. The picture says it all:  

Really, we could have pursued you to do it with just this picture.....   

3. You get to be that person you want to be:

With the freedom of having no ties you are able to live a more simple and care free life. Material things become less important and your quality of life improves by embracing the simplicity of life on the waterways. There’s so still so much pressure on us all to have the latest gadget, new car, 5 star holiday and designer gear, but on the waterways none of this matters. Imagine not having to keep up with the Joneses and just doing what you love.   

2. Who knows what's around the next corner:

The thing is, none of us know what lies ahead of us so why wait? If you want to do it then grab it by both hands and go for it. Life's too short not to do what makes you happy, we only get one chance at life so make the most of it.

Yes it might seem a bit scary and radical but what's the worst that could happen? You do it for six months to a year and then IF it doesn't work out (and it will) you can go back to your old life. At least you can say you did it and you won't sit there in the future saying "I really wish I'd given it ago"  

1. You get to cruise every day:

Come on, you have to agree that has to be the best reason ever.  Just live your dream and head to the waterways. Don't daydream it, do it! With over 2000 miles of canals to explore there’s plenty of adventures to be had. Come and join the thousands of over boaters who have taken the plunge, there's room for more of you.  

If you need help realising your dream come and see us today!

Please do not hesitste to contact our office on 01270 528251 or visit our website:

Happy cruising.


Tue Jul 25, 2017 at 9:10am

Ready for summer cruising.

Boating Equipment


Checked items to include: 1KG hammer, mooring pins and ropes (with spares). Also, consider purchasing  a couple of  lightweight spare windlasses. There may not be a chandlery nearby to buy replacements. Torches are a must as the tow path can be very dark on the way back to the boat from the pub.

You may also wish to consider having life jackets on board for guest who may feel uncomfortable on the waterways.

A fully stocked first-aid kit, augmented for accidents and pain,

Handy to have at least one umbrella is handy.


Check your rudder bearing and Swan Neck Bolt and you're rudder's overall health.  Also make sure that your steering system is in good shape if your vessel is equipped with a wheel steering. Lubricate the stern glan and tighten the wire cables, rope, chain, or gears and familiarize yourself with how they work and how you'll fix them if they break.

Check your engine, and all the levels (coolant, LPG gas and oils) you need to keep an eye on should also be easily accessible. Possibly consider having your engine and gear box serviced before the summer cruising season starts. Test the condition of your starter and domestic batteries. Check the alternator output and charging systems. Charging your electronics is absolutely key. Make sure you have spare drive belts for your water pump and alternator(s).

Don't forget to check the operation of the central heating system and the 12V/240V inverter.

Pack Carefully

For personal gear everyone should have these essentials: A good set of breathable foul weather gear, a warm mid layer, as you may end up cold, wet, and miserable, you won't be able to enjoy the cruise. Everyone may also have a good pair of waterproof gloves for line handling, and for cold weather. A warm hat, a sunshade hat, a good pair of shoes, a good pair of sneakers, and plenty of sunscreen.


Other considerations

Clean and repair dangerous places which can be slippy walkways including the roof of the vessel. A full spare gas bottle, BWB key. Check the needles are in the green of all fire extinguishers, and you have spare electrical fuses.


BSS Cert /Insurance/CRT Licence, in date???

Happy cruising from all the team at Venetian Marina.

Sat Jul 1, 2017 at 10:17am

Should I turn my narrowboat into a WIFI "Hot Spot"


Wi-Fi hotspots are usually available in marinas, bars, cafes or even a neighbouring boat, however the low power of devices such as mobile phones and tablets do not always allow connection due to range limitations.

To connect over longer distances or to get a strong signal from all over a narrowboat, a Wi-Fi range extender can greatly help. Range extenders can come in two forms:

1. Smart booster antennas: These have the software built into the antenna unit with a cable that uses a simple Ethernet connector.

2. Wi-Fi antenna and smart box: These systems have their software fitted in a box usually mounted below deck, rather than in the antenna itself.


Advantages of using Wi-Fi on board

  • Only one Wi-Fi connection to make

  • Usually unlimited data

  • Speeds are quite fast

  • Usually free or very low cost

Disadvantages of using Wi-Fi on board

  • Very short range – less than a mile without booster

  • Inconsistent availability

  • Not secure


Mobile phone data

Another way to get Internet access is to use an existing mobile plan. Depending on your needs or the need of the Narrowboat, the money spent on an antenna/smart box could be spent on purchasing a higher data allowance.

The problem with this is ‘dead spots’. To avoid a dead spot additional equipment will be needed such as a signal booster.


To make this option even more expansive and connect other devices, you can also usually set the phone up as a hotspot. 

Advantages of using mobile phone data on board

  • Medium range up to 15 miles

  • Can be fast

  • Can use the same phone plan ashore 

Disadvantages of using mobile phone data on board

  • Most data plans are capped

Combined Wi-Fi and mobile connections

If affordable, the key is to go for a system that gives the widest range of internet connection possibilities and a system that is easily upgradeable. The better the quality of components, the lower the risk of lost transmissions.

If you have a Wifi system on your boat, please let us know ?

Happy cruising from Venetian Marina.

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