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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.

Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 11:34am

Entertaining In A Small Space

You may be limited for space on a narrowboat, but that won't limit what you are able to create in your kitchen. You can still be the hostess with the mostest! 

Whether it's serving meals for one, or feeding a crew of people, cooking aboard doesn't have to be a problem. The good news is that today's boats are well equipped to deal with modern day to day life. With long leisurely days and very little else to do you will have plenty of time on your hands to plan, create and serve delicious meals for you and your crew. 

One consideration you may need to bear in mind is where everyone is going to sit! If your boat doesn't have a dinette then meals will undoubtedly be served on trays, or in the summer eaten outside.

If you have a wood burning stove it is a good idea to put a stew on before going out for the day as it will slow cook whilst you are out and about.

You can plug into the 240 volt system and the world’s your oyster, all your appliances will work. When not connected to the mains, the use of your appliances are limited to what power source you are using.

Planning ahead is usually a good idea.

If you suddenly realise that you don't have a key ingredient for your meal and you are in the middle of nowhere, supermarket deliveries are not going to be able to deliver and help you out. Make a list of the meals you plan to serve for the upcoming five days or so and a sub list of all the ingredients you will need. You can always make alterations to your plans slipping in a new idea if you want too. Once you have your list then shop for the planned meals. Unlike when you usually do the weekly shopping at home, it's best not to buy in bulk as storage in cupboards and the fridge/freezer is limited, but try instead to buy just what you need and in smaller sizes. 

What to Pack

As space is at a premium within a narrow boat, you you may find you're not able to have all the gadgets that you normally use at home on board. However this doesn't mean you will be limited to eating sandwiches and beans on toast every day. Quite the opposite, cooking on a boat can be much more complex and interesting than grabbing snacks or ready made meals. 

Most boats will have an oven with a hob with four gas rings and a grill. Smaller boats tend to have just two rings with a small oven. You may be surprised to know that solid fuel range cookers are even sometimes fitted in narrowboats,and they can supply the hot water and heating too! 

Other appliances needed on board that will help you to prepare, cook and serve meals are a fridge, freezer, microwave, toaster, kettle and smaller equipment such as the items listed below; 


  • Various utensils any thing from tea spoons to wooden spoons. (Too many really to list but basically what you have at home)
  • Three saucepans in various sizes
  • Large cooking pot
  • Chopping boards meat/veggies
  • Cheese grater
  • Frying pan
  • Cake tin/Cooling rack (there's plenty of time to bake!)
  • Food bags/Tin Foil (useful for left overs & they take up less space than tuber ware)
  • Dining set
  • Cutlery
  • Glasses various
  • Mugs
  • Teapot (if you like a proper cup of tea!)

It’s important to bring food supplies with you, but don’t go overboard! Having the basics stashed on board is always a good idea, but you never know what you are going to find on your travels, so leave room for some surprises along the way. 

Here are some basics you may wish to have onboard at the start of your journey:

In the larder stock;

Tinned tomatoes 
Beans/ravioli etc
Soft drinks
Long Life Milk
Fresh produce;

Herbs (grow your own in pots on the stern or on the roof)

With the above ingredients you will always be able to make a simple sandwich, salad or pasta meal if you get caught out or don't come across any shops for stocking up. 

Where to Shop

Take advantage of local suppliers and farm shops. Use seasonal foods including fruits and veggies to inspire your meal plans. The joy of boating means you just never know what to expect round the next bend and what delights will be available for you to purchase.

Look out for floating shops too like the cheese company and other floating foodie businesses 

What to Cook

Well obviously things you like, but also try out new recipes that feature seasonal ingredients. Keep it simple and quick, I'm sure you would prefer to spend your time above deck enjoying the views and sipping a cool drink with the crew rather than spending a lot of time on your own slaving over the cooker and working through a complicated recipe! 

Free Foods

When possible take advantage of the free foods along the towpath there are all kinds of different berries – blackberries, sloe berries, crabapples to name but a few. Greens like dandelion, wild garlic, rosemary, sage, chickweed and nettles, even sticky weed, can be put to good use

On the Hertford Union Canal as it passes through Hackney Wick in London, look out for the twenty-metre long ‘edible wall’ that’s been created on the towpath. There you will find strawberries, lettuces, herbs and other edibles for passers-by to pick. The hope is to work with schools and community groups in other areas to create similar resources, so your luck could be in on other waterways too.

Take A Break

And for the days when you just want a break from the kitchen (and we all deserve some time off) hang up your apron and explore the pubs and restaurants along the canal side. Be selective in your choice there's plenty of eateries around so make sure you choose the very best from the fine British dining on offer.

If you have any recipes or ideas using food which grows wild on the canals, please let us know.

Happy cruising. 

Thu Jun 1, 2017 at 8:57am

Bacterial Contamination

Diesel Bug as it is more commonly known is becoming a much more common problem particularly in BULK storage tanks, marine craft and agricultural equipment. 

It’s impossible to prevent microbes entering fuel tanks and systems. However, the presence of water is a key factor in determining the rate and extent of microbial growth.

Condensation or free water suspended in the fuel clings to the tank walls or slowly sinks to the bottom of the tank, and microbes will grow at the fuel/water interface. They feed off dissolved oxygen and nutrients in the fuel, and their growth creates more water as they break down the hydrocarbons. Slime is formed, which blocks filters and restricts fuel lines. The resulting sludge is acidic, and can corrode vital engine components such as fuel pumps and injectors. 

Symptoms of fuel contamination

Engines can function with a surprisingly high amount of microbial growth in the fuel, so the chances are you’ll see the warning signs before it gets to the point that the engine actually fails. Symptoms include poor starting, fuel starvation, erratic running and black smoke from the exhaust. Even at this point, changing the filter should be enough to get you home. But that won’t solve the problem. You’ll need to eradicate the bug and, if necessary, have the tank and all the associated pipe work flushed, cleaned and treated with biocide. For bulk storage tanks the fuel would need biocide treatment with flushing of all pipework and external filtration to remove all contamination.   

There has been much discussion and misunderstanding of algae in diesel fuel. Algae need light to live and grow. As there is no sunlight in a closed fuel tank, no algae can survive, but some microbes can survive and feed on the diesel fuel.

These microbes form a colony that lives at the interface of fuel and water. They grow quite fast in warmer temperatures. They can even grow in cold weather when fuel tank heaters are installed. Parts of the colony can break off and clog the fuel lines and fuel filters.

Water in fuel can damage a fuel injection pump; some diesel fuel filters also trap water. Water contamination in diesel fuel can lead to freezing while in the fuel tank. The freezing water that saturates the fuel will sometimes clog the fuel injector pump. Once the water inside the fuel tank has started to freeze, gelling is more likely to occur. When the fuel is gelled it is not effective until the temperature is raised and the fuel returns to a liquid state.

There are companies and marine engineers available who will clean the fuel in a process called "Fuel Polishing" Fuel polishing is designed to eradicate the bugs and bacteria which accumulate in stored diesel and oil.

Sun May 14, 2017 at 10:36am

Top tips for using a wood-burning stove this winter.

Don’t burn water

This is the most fundamental thing to get right when you’re burning wood. It might be surprising, but green wood is around 50 per cent water. That means that for every kg of green wood you add to the fire, you’re effectively adding around 500ml (a pint) of water. This means that you will need to make sure that your fuel has been dried properly. There are a few ways of doing this, but the simplest are:

• Find green wood and dry it yourself – probably the cheapest option, if you’ve got the space to dry your logs properly, but do bear in mind that it will take a while. As a minimum, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve given your logs at least one summer to dry properly (two is better).

• Find a good supplier. The best way of finding a good log supplier is to go through an accreditation scheme such as Wood sure. This is an audit of whether the logs really are as dry as the supplier claims, which gives you some peace of mind that you’re not being ripped off.

• Buy kiln dried logs or briquettes. There can be sustainability issues with this sort of material, as energy has been added to dry the fuel before it reaches you, though some (but not all) suppliers use wood-fired kilns. This is usually the most expensive (but simplest) way of fueling a stove.


Manage the air

As far as your stove is concerned, air comes in two flavours. Primary air feeds the bed of the fire, and secondary air feeds the flames above it. Nearly all the energy from wood comes from burning gases released when it is heated – which means that secondary air is much more important than primary. The golden rules are:

• Never completely close the secondary air vent. Never (I really mean it). It’s the easiest way to create soot and tar and completely coat the glass on the front of your stove with gunk (a technical term).

• Don’t leave the stove door open, unless you have been specifically instructed to by the manual when lighting the fire. You are crippling your stove’s efficiency and allowing all the lovely warm air in the room to shoot off straight up the chimney.

• Remember you’re always looking for a hot, fast burn, as this will be the cleanest, most efficient way of running the stove. A small hot fire is much more efficient than a large slow-burning one.

5 ways to clean the glass on your wood burning stove

There is nothing more frustrating than lighting your stove, closing your door and not being able to see the fire through the glass.

Glass on a wood burning stove gets dirty from one of two ways – burning wet wood or wood with a lot of resin in it. Over time, if not cleaned, you won’t be able to see through it. Glass should be cleaned regularly to prevent build up of soot and tar.

Fear not, with these five useful tips we will have your stove door sparkling again!

  1. DON’T BURN WET LOGS. It’s the number way to keep your door clean. Wet logs produce more smoke, therefore more soot and tar and a blacker glass. The drier the wood, the cleaner your class will stay.
  2. Use crunched up newspaper, dip it in water and then in the ash from your fire and scrub gently until the glass clears up. You may need to wipe with a damp cloth when done to remove and remaining residue. Be careful when using this method that you don’t scratch the glass with any bits in the ash.
  3. Use a ceramic cooker cleaner, such as Hob Brite, with a non scratch sponge. Remove and blackened soot/tar then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  4. Lemon juice or vinegar, again with crunched up newspaper is also said to help remove stains from your glass.
  5. If all else fails, go for good old elbow grease! If you have left your glass uncleaned for too long you may find you will just need to keep scrubbing until it is clean again.

Don’t forget, if your stove glass isn’t clean, your chimney won’t be clean either. We recommend you get your chimney cleaned at least once a year to prevent any build up. If left uncleaned you run the risk of a chimney fire and damage to your home.

The key point here is burn dry wood. Wet logs may appear cheaper and may seem like you are getting more for your money but you will do damage to your stove and chimney in the long run.

Happy cruising from all the team at Venetian Marina.


Mon May 1, 2017 at 2:34pm

Crick Boat Show 2017

The Crick Boat Show is an event which has been held annually at Crick Marina in Northamptonshire since 2000. The Marina is situated on the Grand Union Canal, which is close to junction 18 on the M1.

Our Stand

Come and see us at the Crick Boat show this year 27th - 29th May 2017,

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  WW8-15

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 be running a Photography Competition for everyone to enter, we have some great prizes to win, see below for details on how to enter.

How To Enter Our Boat Show Competition

To enter send us your photograph of anything narrowboat or waterways related. It can be anything from wild life, a natural scene or you on your boat, absolutely anything related to canals and waterways! There's lots of fabulous prizes to win! To enter either email your picture 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!

Competition closes 5th June 2017, more details or to see our entry rules

Prizes include:

Three course meal for 2 with a bottle of wine (The Hay Hurst Arms Middlewich)

Engine service at Venetian Marina.

Full English Breakfast (for 2) with tea/coffee

£25 voucher to spend in Venetian Marine Chandlery.

Day boat hire for up to 10 people.

Narrowboat survey.

Boat Safety Scheme examination.

Virgin Balloon ride from Cosgrove Park.

Meal for two at Brinjol Indian restaurant in Weedon

River Canal Rescue 12 months bronze membership

Waterways World Magazine 12 months subscription

Towpath Talk Newspaper 12 months subscription

Set of mooring ropes from Whilton Chandlery.

Boat Handling Taster Courses

If you have been hankering to own or hire a boat, but are nervous about how to navigate the waterways, then the new taster sessions at the show are an ideal way to build confidence and get a feel for what’s involved. The sessions will be expertly led by The Narrowboat Skills Centre, Willow Wren Training and Watercraft.The boat trainers will talk you through the basics of casting off, mooring up, boat etiquette, rope handling, breaking down boat jargon as well as the dreaded lock navigation! You’ll get the chance to steer the boat under the supervision of an experienced boater. Each session can accommodate up to 4 people at once making it an ideal experience for the whole family. For more information about the course see this link to the Boat Handler Taster Course page on the Crick Boat Show website.

What's On

There is much fun for all the family including fun fairs, seminars and market stalls, not forgetting the ice cream vans and beer tent.

The show organisers have lots of new and exciting things lined up this year, with plenty of amusements for adults and children alike. The Waterways World Boating Marquee is where you will find all things boating including Marina’s like ourselves, boat hire, boat insurance, anodes, electrics and all things essential for narrow boating.

There will be lots of boats in the marina basin for you to climb aboard and look around, an ideal way of getting a feel for narrowboats if you are new to narrowboating.

Music Headliners

Music entertainment is always a feature of Crick Boat Show. Every year, we have a wide selection of great music and high quality performers on the stage in our large Wheatsheaf Bar Marquee, so you can enjoy the music come rain or shine.


the world’s only official live tribute band dedicated to Marc Bolan & T-Rex, will be headlining at Crick Boat Show on Saturday evening, 27 May. Witness the recreation of those outrageous glam-rock days with their energetic live performances, described as ‘beyond the boundaries of tribute’. Hear some of Bolan’s biggest hits such as Ride a White Swan, Jeepster, Telegram Sam, Teenage Dream, The Groover, 20th Century Boy, Get it On, and of course I Love to Boogie.



Murphy's Marbles

Murphy’s Marbles will be bringing their celtic-based music to Crick for the third time, having toured the length and breadth of Europe delivering charismatic and dynamic performances

Murphy's Marbles


Fleetwood Bac

Endorsed by Mick Fleetwood himself for their perfected look, sound and on-stage chemistry, Fleetwood Bac are the UK’s most authentic Fleetwood Mac Tribute Show.All evening entertainment is included in the price of your day/weekend ticket, making Crick excellent value for money.


Fleetwood Bac

Crick Favourites Night Following highly-popular performances at Crick, as well as success from their own widely toured shows, Sunday 28 May sees the return of well-loved artists, Fleetwood Bac and Murphy’s Marbles, for Crick Favourites Night.

Childrens Entertainment

There’s masses of stuff going on for children.

For the first time ever at Crick Boat Show, all children receive free entry on all 3 days of the show! You can now bring along the whole family on any day of the show, or all weekend, and only pay for the adults, providing excellent value for parents, grandparents and carers. The funfair at Crick will be bigger and better in 2017 and there will be plenty of hands-on, exciting activities to keep children busy.

Take a look at the children's entertainment page on the Crick Boat Show website for more information. This is just a snap shot of what you’ll find at the show, there’s lots more going on both under cover and outside, it really is a great place to take the family for a day out over the May Bank Holiday weekend!

Crick Show Dates & Venue: 27th - 29th May 2017.

Crick Marina,West Haddon Road Crick,Northants NN6 7SQ.


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!

Mon Apr 17, 2017 at 9:00am

Insuring your boat.

In reality the only obligation you have to canal boat insurance is the conditional requirement by the Canal & River Trust to insure powered boats to cover third party liabilities for at least £2 million.

This is simply because as a licence holder, you are responsible for injury or damage caused by you or the boat. Due to the nature of our chosen activity whereby we are navigating locks, negotiating bridges and cruising past moored boats, these damages could be considerable so it makes sense that other peoples property is protected from accidental damage.

What is optional, and therefore left for you to decide, is the insurance protection of your own property. When thinking about the level of investment we make it seems obvious that most of us would wish to protect not only our boat but also the contents as well

Compare the best boat insurance online, look for the best deals, seek out as many quotes from as many brokers as possible. Especially consult those who offer specialist insurance that meet your needs. If your boat sinks, will it be recovered? If there’s a fire while it’s on the trailer, does the car insurance cover for the accident or the trailer insurance? Do you need both or less cover?

Whether you’re seeking out jet ski insurance or laser insurance or simply a little more cover for your kayaking activities while out on the river. Peruse the details below and select the best insurance coverage for your sport, hobby or pursuit. It’s always beneficial to look for the cheapest premiums but not if the payouts don’t match the requirement in the event of a claim.

Fully Comprehensive Or Third Party

Don’t go anywhere before you’ve decided if you’re going for fully comp or 3rd party marine insurance.

By law most large boats like yachts or narrow boats need to have proof of third party insurance before you can set sail on canals, estuaries, inland rivers and moor at harbours. This is handled via license from the Canal and Rivers Trust, Environment Agency and the Broads Authority. Simply put, at the very basic level you need to have third party insurance in place for your vessel.

Now many people get confused as to the difference between fully comprehensive and third party insurance, especially once they find out about the parts that make it different. Simply put, third party insurance is a requirement as it covers the third person and offers you liability protection. If you are at fault in an accident, it covers repairs and personal injury to the opposing party.

Here’s the catch. It doesn’t offer you any cover whatsoever when it comes to your own needs or your own boat’s repairs. So what’s the point of third party insurance over fully comprehensive? Well if you have a boat that is old or on its last legs, or a lower valued item that you use as a fishing boat, you may not be too concerned at losing several hundred pounds compared to the insurance premiums you would need to pay.

So in these instances it’s perfect, you get to abide by the law and save loads by not paying out on cover you don’t need. It’s worth remembering however that should your boat sink, you are legally obliged to pay for salvage costs or there would be boats strewn in waterways all over the place. There is, like car insurance an option for an additional insurance policy for your boat which covers theft and fire.

Buying this will ensure should the worst happen and your vessel is stolen or catches fire, that the third person involved in the incident is covered as well as repairs or replacement is insured against. The most popular and of course the most convenient is however the most expensive. Fully comprehensive insurance against all eventualities while you are at the helm and when you’re not.

So when you drill down all the parts. If you have a boat that isn’t worth much or can be easily replaced or salvaged and the costs absorbed, only buy the insurance you’re legally obliged to. Don’t fall into a trap of buying content insurance or small vessel insurance for a tenner a year when it’s just a token gesture like mobile phone insurance when it is on contract.

Before you purchase third party insurance, check with the local authority as to whether you firstly need a licence or you’re exempt and whether you need insurance before you apply. Then if you do and your boat is worth much more than ten years worth of monthly premiums, consider a fully comprehensive boat policy to cover all the bases and eventualities.

Happy Boating.

Sun Apr 2, 2017 at 9:26am

Prepare Your Narrowboat Ready For The Boating Season Ahead

Spring is most definitely here now, and if you own a narrowboat you'll be thinking about starting to make preparations for your summer cruising.

A good place to start is to get your narrow boat ready, so that it's in tip top condition and all stocked up ready for the season ahead.

Engine Service

If you haven't already, service the engine. Replace the oil filters, change the oil and check all connections and hoses for wear and replace if necessary. Check fan belts and cables. Consider adding a fuel conditioner, top up antifreeze. Check the engine mounts are clean and serviceable.


Check your batteries to make sure that they are holding a charge. If you need to replace one battery, make sure that you replace the whole bank at the same time. Unreliable batteries are a common reason for breakdowns. Clean the battery terminals and connectors.

Check fuses in your 12 volt systems and inverters.

Weed Hatch

Check your weed hatch and check the propeller for debris and check the weed hatch is secure and the seals are satisfactory.


Leaks are common after the winter when boats have been moored up in frosty weather, even if you have winterised the boat it is still at risk. So check the plumbing and water systems for any leaks. Disinfect the water tank to prevent any bacteria which could upset your tummy.


Check gas connection for wear and tear and replace if necessary. Get a qualified gas engineer to service gas appliances. This should be done every year. 

Stock up on gas for your next trip so that you don't run the risk of running out halfway through.

Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace if necessary. 

Check that your toilet is clean and working. If you have a pump out toilet you may want to flush the tank out by jet washing. If you have a cassette toilet you may also want to carry out a deep clean and check the seals and valves to avoid any nasty smells. Stock up with toilet chemicals so that you are ready!

Other essential Items to Check are Working

Make sure that your horns and headlights are in working order. You might need to use these if navigating through any long dark tunnels or during low light during the season.

Check your bilge pumps and bowthrusters are working.

Cruising kit to check

  • Make sure all ropes and fenders are in good order
  • Check the deck boards are sound and safe
  • Check engine covers
  • Check your torch works
  • Check boat poles, hooks and planks are sound.

Now you're ready to make your travelling plans and plot your route, fill up your boat with food, clothing and other essentials. Fill up with fuel and water and you'll be ready to explore the canals and waterways of the UK.

Wherever you cruise this summer, be sure to enjoy yourself.

Happy cruising!

Tue Mar 28, 2017 at 12:00pm

Do I need a galvanic isolator?


1. Whenever you connect to shore power mains supplies. An isolator offers reduced corrosion & extended life of anodes.

2.  Leave your shore power connected enabling use of frost heaters & battery charging without the risk of added corrosion associated with shore power connections.

3.  Essential in the marina environment to control both stray & galvanic currents.

4. * When you need to stop other vessels using your anodes!



When you plug into mains shore power the cable you use 3 internal cables: A live, a neutral & an earth wire. The earth wire goes to the shore power pedestal where it is physically connected to the ground. This is a safety wire and protects you in the case of an electrical problem.

Your neighbouring boats also use the same earth connection. This effectively connects all the boats together via the earth cables in the shore power leads. In your boat the shore power earth lead goes to your electrical consumer unit & then to all metal components such as the engine block, fuel tanks, shafts/ propellers etc & then finally connects to your anodes. Unfortunately as all the boats (and metal pontoons) are now interconnected via the earth cables any voltage leaks or "galvanically" generated voltages have an easy path between the boats. This often results in rapid loss of sacrificial anodes & increased corrosion of all underwater metals. If the boat next to you does not have anodes he won't worry: He is using yours!

To control this problem we install a galvanic isolator in the earth wire as it comes to your boat. The isolator is an electronic switch which is "Turned off " (open circuit). This stops any low level damaging voltages from entering your vessel & protects your anodes and underwater metals. In the rare case of an electrical short circuit on board your vessel the isolator immediately "turns on" (short circuits) connecting you to earth for safety. The isolator works in perfect conjunction with fuses, circuit breakers and RCD safety devices. It is a solid state device & resets itself once the electrical fault has been rectified.

A galvanic isolator does not replace your sacrificial anodes which are essential to protect your underwater metals from interaction of metals.

A galvanic isolator does offer protection from stray currents & galvanic currents which attack your boat via the shore power earth cable. These currents can transmit from other boats, metal pontoons & leaks on the 240 volt systems in the marina. Serious leaks can devastate your props / shafts/ anodes etc in a matter of weeks. Surveyors & boat inspectors will usually recommend fitting a galvanic isolator in the marina environment (They see the effects of unprotected boats all too often).

Happy Cruising from all at Venetian Marina. 

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