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FutureNarrowboater2026

Anyone Know Good Bespoke Narrowboat Fitters?

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Hello Everyone,

I was just curious, does anyone know any Narrowboat fitters that can do a completely bespoke build, right up to the engine and electrics. They need to use a high quality hull and have high quality interiors, where the future owner can choose what type of paneling, cabinetry, benchtops, ect. They need to be in either England or Wales.

If you've come over from my other post, about what engine and stern I should go with, I have decided, that I will either go with a modern trad with the Beta 43, or the Bukh DV36, or a classic trad with the boatmans cabin & engine room with either the Lister JP2, Gardner 2l2 or Gardner 4L2,

Anyone who responds, thanks for your help. Declan Foley

 

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3 minutes ago, FutureNarrowboater2026 said:

 

If you've come over from my other post, about what engine and stern I should go with, I have decided, that I will either go with a modern trad with the Beta 43, or the Bukh DV36, or a classic trad with the boatmans cabin & engine room with either the Lister JP2, Gardner 2l2 or Gardner 4L2,

 

 

Declan, regarding your possible choice of an older engine: four-cylinder ones are often considered over-powered for narrowboats, which is why the majority of such engines on the cut are two-cylinder models.

   Why would you go for a 2L2 over a 2LW? They look and sound good, but they are not supported by Gardner Parts, so bits could be hard to come by. The 2LW is more "modern" (introduced 1931!) We've had ours 13 years and I'm definitely a happy 2LW owner.. In that time it has blown a starter motor (when newly rebuilt and tight) and failed to start once due to diesel bug. Nothing else has gone wrong.

   However, since 2016 there have been more stringent regulations concerning installing such units (you might also consider a Russell Newbury DM2, which are still built new by the RN Diesel Engine Co.) in new-build boats because of their emissions. I think there are ways round this problem, e.g. declaring that the boat is a "replica". Others will know more than I do on this subject.

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You probably need to find your 2L2 first, then build the boat round it 😃

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3 minutes ago, matty40s said:

You probably need to find your 2L2 first, then build the boat round it 😃

I prefer the Lister over the 2L2, but it would be my second choice... if I can find one

5 minutes ago, Athy said:

Declan, regarding your possible choice of an older engine: four-cylinder ones are often considered over-powered for narrowboats, which is why the majority of such engines on the cut are two-cylinder models.

   Why would you go for a 2L2 over a 2LW? They look and sound good, but they are not supported by Gardner Parts, so bits could be hard to come by. The 2LW is more "modern" (introduced 1931!) We've had ours 13 years and I'm definitely a happy 2LW owner.. In that time it has blown a starter motor (when newly rebuilt and tight) and failed to start once due to diesel bug. Nothing else has gone wrong.

   However, since 2016 there have been more stringent regulations concerning installing such units (you might also consider a Russell Newbury DM2, which are still built new by the RN Diesel Engine Co.) in new-build boats because of their emissions. I think there are ways round this problem, e.g. declaring that the boat is a "replica". Others will know more than I do on this subject.

I would prefer the 2L2 over the 2LW, just because I like the sound better. I have looking into the Russel Newbury DM2, but I am unsure on it, because once again, I prefer the sound of the other 2, I would settle for a DM2 over a 2LW though.

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3 minutes ago, FutureNarrowboater2026 said:

 

I would prefer the 2L2 over the 2LW, just because I like the sound better. I have looking into the Russel Newbury DM2, but I am unsure on it, because once again, I prefer the sound of the other 2, I would settle for a DM2 over a 2LW though.

I admire your pursuit of perfection! It's a lot of money to pay for the right thumping noise - as Mrs. Athy said to me when I forked out eleven grand for a rebuilt 2LW fifteen years ago.

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38 minutes ago, FutureNarrowboater2026 said:

I have decided, that I will either go with a modern trad with the Beta 43, or the Bukh DV36, or a classic trad with the boatmans cabin & engine room with either the Lister JP2, Gardner 2l2 or Gardner 4L2,

Good, that's that settled then! :lol:

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1 hour ago, FutureNarrowboater2026 said:

Hello Everyone,

I was just curious, does anyone know any Narrowboat fitters that can do a completely bespoke build, right up to the engine and electrics. They need to use a high quality hull and have high quality interiors, where the future owner can choose what type of paneling, cabinetry, benchtops, ect. They need to be in either England or Wales.

If you've come over from my other post, about what engine and stern I should go with, I have decided, that I will either go with a modern trad with the Beta 43, or the Bukh DV36, or a classic trad with the boatmans cabin & engine room with either the Lister JP2, Gardner 2l2 or Gardner 4L2,

Anyone who responds, thanks for your help. Declan Foley

 

If you are not building it yourself (ie having someone build it for you) it will come under the RCD (Recreational Craft Directive) which stipulates engines which cannot be used on new builds.

 

It may be worth you investigating the RCD implications before you decide what boat design / engine you spend money on.

 

The RCD has recently (2018) been updated with new conditions on engine installations and the emissions of 'vintage engines' that fail / meet the RCD requirements.

 

Propulsion engines are defined in Article 3(5) of the Directive. 
 
They are subject to requirements of Annex I.A.5 of the Directive with respect to their installation on watercraft and Annex I.B of the Directive with respect to engine's identification, exhaust emission requirements, durability and requirements on owner's manual. 
 
The exhaust emission requirements specify limit values for the quantities of specified exhaust pollutants from propulsion engines that may not be exceeded when these engines are in normal use. The exhaust emission requirements therefore apply only to engines installed or specifically intended for installation for propulsion of the recreational craft or personal watercraft. 
 
An engine installed or intended for installation to be used both for on-board generator and for propulsion purposes, for example diesel electric systems combined for propulsion and general electric generation, falls within the scope of the Directive. 
 
An engine installed or intended for installation to be used exclusively for operating as an on-board generator, is outside of the scope of the Directive provided that there are batteries between the generator and the electric motor then it is only a generator charging the batteries. If the generator serves primarily to supply electricity to the motor, then the generator is in scope.      
 
Whenever a watercraft with an installed propulsion engine is placed on the market or put into service that watercraft only complies with the Directive if it is ensured that its propulsion engine complies with the exhaust emission requirements of the Directive. 

 
 

I'd suggest that you ensure (and get in writing) that your proposed engines complies with the RCD emission requirements.

 

This is an example of many, many pages on the subject :

 

828476527_Screenshot(176).png.3d3136ba5b8f755da483cb852340823f.png

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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3 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

You could save yourself two (or more) years by considering this, and concentrate on the fit-out

 

https://www.apolloduck.com/boat/brinklow-boats-62-tug/620493

That actually doesn't seem like a bad idea

10 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

If you are not building it yourself (ie having someone build it for you) it will come under the RCD (Recreational Craft Directive) which stipulates engines which cannot be used on new builds.

 

It may be worth you investigating the RCD implications before you decide what boat design / engine you spend money on.

 

The RCD has recently (2018) been updated with new conditions on engine installations and the emissions of 'vintage engines' that fail / meet the RCD requirements.

 

Propulsion engines are defined in Article 3(5) of the Directive. 
 
They are subject to requirements of Annex I.A.5 of the Directive with respect to their installation on watercraft and Annex I.B of the Directive with respect to engine's identification, exhaust emission requirements, durability and requirements on owner's manual. 
 
The exhaust emission requirements specify limit values for the quantities of specified exhaust pollutants from propulsion engines that may not be exceeded when these engines are in normal use. The exhaust emission requirements therefore apply only to engines installed or specifically intended for installation for propulsion of the recreational craft or personal watercraft. 
 
An engine installed or intended for installation to be used both for on-board generator and for propulsion purposes, for example diesel electric systems combined for propulsion and general electric generation, falls within the scope of the Directive. 
 
An engine installed or intended for installation to be used exclusively for operating as an on-board generator, is outside of the scope of the Directive provided that there are batteries between the generator and the electric motor then it is only a generator charging the batteries. If the generator serves primarily to supply electricity to the motor, then the generator is in scope.      
 
Whenever a watercraft with an installed propulsion engine is placed on the market or put into service that watercraft only complies with the Directive if it is ensured that its propulsion engine complies with the exhaust emission requirements of the Directive. 

 
 

I'd suggest that you ensure (and get in writing) that your proposed engines complies with the RCD emission requirements.

 

This is an example of many, many pages on the subject :

 

828476527_Screenshot(176).png.3d3136ba5b8f755da483cb852340823f.png

So what your saying (i've dumbed it down to my level), is that if the boat is being fitted out professionally you need to get a whole bunch of permits, but if you fit it out yourself you bypass all that?

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2 minutes ago, FutureNarrowboater2026 said:

So what your saying (i've dumbed it down to my level), is that if the boat is being fitted out professionally you need to get a whole bunch of permits, but if you fit it out yourself you bypass all that?

 

Basically - yes (but there is a lot more to it than that)

 

If you build  the hull and fit it out yourself, and don't follow the RCD requirements you cannot (by law) sell it for 5 years. Even if you die and your family try and sell it they cannot.

 

The law changed in 2018, prior to that your could by a Hull professionally built and get an annexe "Part III" declaration, but now the Hull must be built and certified as if it were a complete boat.

 

If you are not aware of the RCD then you REALLY do need to take the time to investigate the implications and requirements so that you can make an informed decision.

 

Taking the advice of a couple of 'strange blokes on the internet' (one who will say do it properly, and another who says don't worry you won't be caught' is not the best way forward).

 

Irrespective of a self-build or a professional build you are not allowed to use a non-compliant engine (Emissions and / or noise levels) in a new build.

 

Remember that if you are the 'builder' you take all legal responsibility for any accidents due to building not in accordance with the law - (eg a fire due to gas or fuel leaks, boat tipping over due to no stability tests etc etc etc)

 

A quick paragraph from the Fit Out Pontoon

 

The new Directive has effectively put an end to Sailaway boats (completed to all variety of levels) being supplied with an Annex lll(a) Declaration as was previously possible under Directive 94/25/EU. Under the new Directive (2013/53/EU) Sailaways (including hull only) would need to be supplied as completed craft.

Therefore for anyone purchasing a narrow boat sailaway from 18th January 2017 must ensure you have the necessary paperwork from your boat builder that is required of a ‘completed’ craft up to the current point of completion, this includes:

  • A builders plate – makers details and technical information
  • A CE mark
  • A Craft or Hull Identification Number (CIN or HIN) – it is carried in two places on the boat; one should be hidden for security.
  • An owners manual with information needed to use and maintain the boat safety
  • A declaration of conformity (DoC)

A CE marked craft shows the craft is compliant when it was placed on the market for the first time. It remains valid unless a major alteration to the craft takes place which would require a re-assessment of the craft.

‘Major Craft Conversion’ would be applicable to the fit out of the majority of sailaway boats, and needs to be factored in when planning your fit out. Once you have completed the fit out of your sailway boat, the boat would require a Post Construction Assessment and the documentation, builders plate and CE markings all need to be updated. Although a self assessment is possible, it is not recommended as the fitter would resume all responsibility as the manufacturer and it is also a lengthy and involved process. In the worse case scenario, it could mean you are held criminally responsible if the boat sank and there was loss of life. It is recommended that you appoint a professional to complete the post construction assessment, this would be at of cost of around £2000.

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Basically - yes (but there is a lot more to it than that)

 

If you build  the hull and fit it out yourself, and don't follow the RCD requirements you cannot (by law) sell it for 5 years. Even if you die and your family try and sell it they cannot.

 

The law changed in 2018, prior to that your could by a Hull professionally built and get an annexe "Part III" declaration, but now the Hull must be built and certified as if it were a complete boat.

 

If you are not aware of the RCD then you REALLY do need to take the time to investigate the implications and requirements so that you can make an informed decision.

 

Taking the advice of a couple of 'strange blokes on the internet' (one who will say do it properly, and another who says don't worry you won't be caught' is not the best way forward).

 

Irrespective of a self-build or a professional build you are not allowed to use a non-compliant engine (Emissions and / or noise levels) in a new build.

 

Remember that if you are the 'builder' you take all legal responsibility for any accidents due to building not in accordance with the law - (eg a fire due to gas or fuel leaks, boat tipping over due to no stability tests etc etc etc)

 

A quick paragraph from the Fit Out Pontoon

 

The new Directive has effectively put an end to Sailaway boats (completed to all variety of levels) being supplied with an Annex lll(a) Declaration as was previously possible under Directive 94/25/EU. Under the new Directive (2013/53/EU) Sailaways (including hull only) would need to be supplied as completed craft.

Therefore for anyone purchasing a narrow boat sailaway from 18th January 2017 must ensure you have the necessary paperwork from your boat builder that is required of a ‘completed’ craft up to the current point of completion, this includes:

  • A builders plate – makers details and technical information
  • A CE mark
  • A Craft or Hull Identification Number (CIN or HIN) – it is carried in two places on the boat; one should be hidden for security.
  • An owners manual with information needed to use and maintain the boat safety
  • A declaration of conformity (DoC)

A CE marked craft shows the craft is compliant when it was placed on the market for the first time. It remains valid unless a major alteration to the craft takes place which would require a re-assessment of the craft.

‘Major Craft Conversion’ would be applicable to the fit out of the majority of sailaway boats, and needs to be factored in when planning your fit out. Once you have completed the fit out of your sailway boat, the boat would require a Post Construction Assessment and the documentation, builders plate and CE markings all need to be updated. Although a self assessment is possible, it is not recommended as the fitter would resume all responsibility as the manufacturer and it is also a lengthy and involved process. In the worse case scenario, it could mean you are held criminally responsible if the boat sank and there was loss of life. It is recommended that you appoint a professional to complete the post construction assessment, this would be at of cost of around £2000.

Okay, thankyou, I will start looking into it right away.

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One way to get a new boat with an antiquated engine sound would be to have a modern engine hidden in a sound proof cocoon somewhere, then fit a big bass speaker playing thump-thump-thump-thump-thump in time with the throttle opening. You could even install a non-working bit of ironmongery in an engine room with plenty of brass to polish and admire through the side hatches. Pour some vaping fluid down the dummy exhaust stack on to a heated coil with a valve timed to the thump for the full effect. It is only a progression from non-functional washer rivets.

 

Jen, almost serious.

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2 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

One way to get a new boat with an antiquated engine sound would be to have a modern engine hidden in a sound proof cocoon somewhere, then fit a big bass speaker playing thump-thump-thump-thump-thump in time with the throttle opening. You could even install a non-working bit of ironmongery in an engine room with plenty of brass to polish and admire through the side hatches. Pour some vaping fluid down the dummy exhaust stack on to a heated coil with a valve timed to the thump for the full effect. It is only a progression from non-functional washer rivets.

 

Jen, almost serious.

Maybe, but someone might realize that the fake engine doesn't move when its running

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1 minute ago, FutureNarrowboater2026 said:

Maybe, but someone might realize that the fake engine doesn't move when its running

Drive the fake engine from the real one!

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19 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

One way to get a new boat with an antiquated engine sound would be to have a modern engine hidden in a sound proof cocoon somewhere, then fit a big bass speaker playing thump-thump-thump-thump-thump in time with the throttle opening. You could even install a non-working bit of ironmongery in an engine room with plenty of brass to polish and admire through the side hatches. Pour some vaping fluid down the dummy exhaust stack on to a heated coil with a valve timed to the thump for the full effect. It is only a progression from non-functional washer rivets.

 

Jen, almost serious.

You've been imbibing Bizzard's juice, haven't you?

  • Greenie 1

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Although all that Alan says is true, he misses out the bit that you CAN use an old clunker if building a replica of a historic vessel. 

How accurate the replica is.....probably hasnt been tested in a court yet.

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1 minute ago, matty40s said:

How accurate the replica is.....probably hasnt been tested in a court yet.

But I'm pretty sure that it is defined in the RCD - I'll see if I can find it.

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4 minutes ago, WotEver said:

You've been imbibing Bizzard's juice, haven't you?

He is my mentor yes, but I strike my own path. You'll note no mention of string, or meccano. 😁

 

  • Greenie 2
  • Haha 1

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5 minutes ago, matty40s said:

Although all that Alan says is true, he misses out the bit that you CAN use an old clunker if building a replica of a historic vessel. 

How accurate the replica is.....probably hasnt been tested in a court yet.

Yeah, I heard that somewhere

4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

But I'm pretty sure that it is defined in the RCD - I'll see if I can find it.

Thanks

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54 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

You could save yourself two (or more) years by considering this, and concentrate on the fit-out

 

https://www.apolloduck.com/boat/brinklow-boats-62-tug/620493

I think that would be a really good option. You know what you are getting and you can get a fit out to suit you. Trying to go from scratch with little experience could lead to some serious and expensive mistakes.

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31 minutes ago, matty40s said:

Although all that Alan says is true, he misses out the bit that you CAN use an old clunker if building a replica of a historic vessel. 

How accurate the replica is.....probably hasnt been tested in a court yet.

The guidelines to the directive expand this with the following: 
"The exclusion in (e) is intended to exclude from the scope of the Directive craft designed before 1950. In addition this exclusion is also intended to exclude craft and/or types or classes of craft which were designed or developed before 1950 and which are individually constructed predominantly but not exclusively using the original materials. Builders of historical craft are able to build the same authentic bygone design, one boat after another. 
These boats are still unique and individual, when built using methods and materials consistent with the original design, and retain their aesthetic charm and characteristics. In this respect, predominantly means using the original material for both the hull and the deck, but allowing contemporary use of materials e.g. plywood instead of solid timber, laminated frames, modern adhesives, paints, sealant and fastenings. Series production by means of moulds (e.g. GRP production) shall not be possible in these cases. 
It is noted that some classes of boat that were designed before 1950 that were originally made exclusively of wood are now produced of modern plastics. These contemporary constructions are considered to fall within the scope of the Directive as the criteria regarding ?predominantly of original materials? is not fulfilled. 

 

 

A craft is exempted from the RCD if is one of the following:

  • watercraft intended solely for racing, including rowing racing boats and training rowing boats labelled as such by the manufacturer; or
  • canoe and kayak, gondola or pedalo designed to be propelled solely by human power; or
  • surfboards designed solely to be propelled by wind and to be operated by a person or persons standing; or
  • surfboards; or
  • original, and individual replica of a historical craft designed before 1950, built predominantly with the original materials and labelled as such by the manufacturer; or
  • experimental watercraft, provided it is not subsequently placed on the Community market; or
  • watercraft built for own use, provided it is not subsequently placed on the Community market during a period of five years; or
  • watercraft specifically intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial purposes, regardless of the number of passengers; or
  • submersible; or
  • air cushion vehicle; or
  • hydrofoil; or
  • external combustion steam powered watercraft, fuelled by coal, coke, wood, oil or gas; or
  • amphibious vehicle, i.e. wheeled or track-laying motor vehicle, which is able to operate both on water and on solid land. 
Edited by Alan de Enfield

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Steel working narrowboats were available before 1950.  Had the modern leisure narrow boat been available before 1950?

I know Rolt had Cressy before 1950, but that was a wooden hull(?).

 

Bod.

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14 minutes ago, Bod said:

Steel working narrowboats were available before 1950.  Had the modern leisure narrow boat been available before 1950?

I know Rolt had Cressy before 1950, but that was a wooden hull(?).

 

Bod.

Chapter 4 'I commissioned the Tooleys to caulk and tar the hull..' 

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26 minutes ago, Bod said:

Steel working narrowboats were available before 1950.  Had the modern leisure narrow boat been available before 1950?

I know Rolt had Cressy before 1950, but that was a wooden hull(?).

 

Bod.

Definitely wood. He had to take a plane to the sides to try and get it to fit through the Grindley Brook locks at a time when no one had navigated them for ages.  The boat itself was bought off his uncle and converted to live on.

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies

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