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Monthly Archives: September 2015

  • Narrowboat security: How to keep you, your boat and your possessions safe


    This article is going to outline the many ways you can keep secure whether you’re on the water or away from your narrowboat.

    While we suggest you take on board all the advice below, the number one tip is, as always, to get a comprehensive insurance policy. You can safeguard all you wish but accidents do happen, and they can be costly. Always remember to shop around to get the best deal for you.


    narrowboat boat canal security

    Keeping your boat safe

    • Chain your narrowboat to its mooring, rather than using ropes. There’s been an increase of incidents where boats have been set afloat after ropes have been hacked through or knots undone.
    • Fit your boat with a GPS (like these ones) and alarm system (like this one!). Hopefully the alarm system will scare off any intruders before too much damage is done, but should someone successfully commandeer your boat, the GPS will allow you to track them down, as well as informing you and the police the moment your boat moves.
    • Fit your engine with an immobiliser – this means no one other than you will be able to start the engine of your narrowboat.
    • If you are worried about people smashing windows you can fit them with secure shutters. This is definitely a good idea if you plan on being away from your boat for a long period.
    • All access points to your narrowboat (doors, hatches, windows) should have a heavy weight locking system to ensure they are as impenetrable as possible.


    Keeping your possessions safe

    • Ensure all your valuables have your name and contact details written on them in UV pen. While this won’t deter thieves, it will help you recover your items.
    • Don’t leave anything on display even if you’re on the boat, and shut your curtains when you’re on the towpath. You only need to turn your back for a second for some chancer to lean on to your narrowboat and take what they can get.
    • If you keep anything on the roof of your boat overnight or when you are away, make sure they are securely attached to your boat, or you have someone keeping a very watchful eye over them. You could also invest in secure roof boxes - but do be careful of low bridges!
    • Fuel is expensive, and canals are filled with people looking to siphon off a can or two so make sure yours is kept safe with a lockable filler cap.


    narrowboat security canal

    Keeping you safe

    • Try and let someone know where you are going and when you think you’ll be back at all times – this is especially important at night and in the winter when there is chance of slipping on ice. However, accidents happen on canals and you should apply this rule even if it’s a summer’s day.
    • If you’re living or staying alone on a narrowboat it might be an idea to have the local police on speed dial if a situation should arise where you could be vulnerable.
    • Keep your ropes tidy to avoid tripping, and be careful when walking on a wet deck.
    • If you’re cruising alone, always where a lifejacket on board. It might seem inconvenient, but it’s just not worth the risk not to.


    SHOP NOW: We’ve got a great range of lifejackets, GPS systems, alarms and locks in store.

  • Get Your Narrowboat Ready for Winter


    narrowboat boat winterIt may only just be autumn, but with the threat of one of the coldest winters on record coming up, it can never be too soon to start getting your narrowboat ready for dropping temperatures.

    If you are planning on staying on your boat over winter, it is still worthwhile reading through the below tips, as certain wintery activities (like trying to move your boat in a frozen canal!) can cause serious damage.

    Let us help you avoid making some expensive repairs come spring with the following tips:



    1) Keep an eye on it

    Be sure also to regularly check up your boat (or arrange for someone else to do it) even if you’re keeping it in a super-secure yard.  This is especially important if you are planning on leaving expensive bits of kit on board (like your generator) which might be a target for thieves.

    On top of that, ensure your insurance is up to date and you have a decent lock and / or other security measures in place.

    It’s also recommended that once a month you visit your boat to run the engine for half an hour or so to reduce rust and boost the battery life.



    2) Avoid mould

    As well as removing expensive items from your narrowboat such as the generator and electrical goods (if practical) – it is also a good idea to take out all soft furnishings.

    If left over winter these can get damp and start to get mouldy, making for an unpleasant return in the spring. Instead, give a good wash and keep in a warm, dry place until you need them again.

    On top of that, it’s a good idea to give the whole interior a good clean, just in case there are any nasties waiting to grow in your absence. We recommend our Campermate Cleaning range.


    narrowboat boats canal

    3) Lag your pipes

    Burst water pipes are a nightmare at the best of times, even worse if not dealt with for a long period of time so make sure you lag all your pipes and ensure you have at least 30% of anti-freeze in your water and heating systems.

    If you know for sure you won’t be back in the boat for a while it can be worth it to drain all water out of the boat and disconnect all pumps.

    Leave the taps turned on and the shower head removed.


    4) Store your generator safely

    You must store your generator in a gas-tight locker, whether it’s LPG or petrol.

    To get the best out of your generator, also read our Essential Generator Maintenance Guide.


    5) Service the engine

    The best thing to do here is read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow accordingly, as service instructions may vary.

    In most cases the oil should be changed, engine antifreeze topped up and WD-40 sprayed liberally to keep the damp away.

    As mentioned above, be sure to give the engine a quick run once a month to limit problems in the spring.

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