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Canal boat, Narrow boat or Barge what do you call your boat?

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Mon Apr 8, 2013 at 3:04pm

We were discussing this the other day at our marina in Cheshire and wondered which was the most popular term used to describe this type of boat. There’s no right or wrong here it’s just personal choice which term you use, we hear people use all sorts of variations. However most people would say a canal boat and narrow boat is the same thing and a barge is slightly different.

Some would also say it is "incorrect" to refer to a narrow boat/canal boat as a barge on any European inland water ways; this is due to the size of a barge compared to a narrow boat. A barge also called a wide beam is wider than a narrow/canal boat.

This then lead the conversation onto the names people choose for their canal boats and the superstitions supposedly connected to changing a boats name.

Would you change your boats name?

So what happens if you find your dream canal boat, but you just hate the name? Well as long as you are not superstitious you can change the name quite easily. It is said by some that it is unlucky to change a boats name whilst the boat is in the water. So a great way around this is to change the name whilst you are having the boats blacking undertaken or other repairs that require the boat to be out of the water.

Some people go as far as having a renaming ceremony. Is this something you have done?

How to change the name of your canal boat

You need to inform the CRT (British waterways) that you want to change the boats name, they will require the boats current name, registration number and the new name you want for your boat.

If the boat currently hasn’t got a licence make it clear that you are changing the name when making the application, again quoting the old name and reg number.

You also need to inform your insurance company quoting your policy number.
Have a look at Jim Shead for the most popular names for boats.

Narrow boat signage

If you do change your boats name you may require a sign writer. Andy Russell offers this service using the old fashioned traditional method of painting. On his website you can view his gallery of some of the narrow boats he has worked on.
Narrow Boat signage

We would love to hear your experiences of changing a canal boats name.
» Categories: General

1 Comment

Kathy Mitchell | Sat Sep 20, 2014 at 9:20am
we are in the process of buying a boat and quite like the name but it is the name of a village which has no assosiation with us. I think the renaming ceremony out of the water sounds good, because I am a bit superstitious. Its also a good excuse to have a naming party. I would love to call my boat The Lady of the Lock.

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