If you’re looking for a canal boat for sale, widebeam, narrowboat or barge in London or Hertfordshire you need to know what you are looking for. Last week’s article Don't buy a canal boat! covered size, length and width of boats, types of berth and the great toilet debate. This week we’re going to get technical and electrical.

My family have just spent a week very low on electric because our engine was out of order. Our trusty marine engineer was waiting for an injector pump to be rebuilt. This meant using only the basic electric: lighting and water pump, (running water to the taps is pumped by an electric pump.)
Our domestic batteries are recharged by running the engine.

For occasional holidays your electric set-up may not be important to you: a simple 12 volt system may suffice. However if you plan on an extended cruise or even living aboard there are a number of options to consider.

How many of your land-based mod-cons would you like to have aboard? Boats can accommodate televisions, computers, washing machines, microwaves and vacuum cleaners but you need to consider how these will be powered and how many of them can you run all at once. Some heating systems require a constant electric pump to be running. For 240 volt electricity there are a variety of invertors available at a variety of sizes and prices. A small one to simply run a little lap top may only cost £20. However some can cost hundreds of pounds. Likewise, generators really vary in price depending on how small, quiet, reliable and powerful they are. At the simpler end of the scale many electrical items have 12`volt versions including TVs, phone chargers and even microwaves. You may find a 12 volt hand-held car hoover is sufficient for your needs. Browsing a chandlery can give you an idea of what’s available.

If the boat you’re looking at does not have what you require, make sure you budget for the additional items that are important to you.

Next week:Engines!

Image credit: Narrowboat 57ft Cruiser Stern Live-aboard with Mooring.


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