Keeping Your Narrowboat Warm in Winter

When people think about living aboard a narrowboat, they probably picture warm summer evenings, barbeques, and cute little ducklings swimming past. Well, once the sun goes down, the days get darker and the wind picks up, those warm evenings suddenly become rather chilly and the best way to beat the cold is to be prepared!

 A plus to narrowboating in winter is the peace and quiet of the waterways, but remember to be safe and keep warm this winter. Follow our top tips for keeping you and your narrowboat warm throughout those colder months...


Avoid breaking ice

If the weather has turned particularly cold and your surrounding areas have frozen over, it’s best for you to stay where you are and wait it out. Trying to force your boat through the ice could cause long lasting damage to your engine as well as creating bumps to the exterior! Pushing through ice could also damage fellow neighbours’ boats and you’ll want to keep them on your side during the winter - you never know when you’ll need to borrow an extra blanket!


Keep your surroundings familiar

Whether this is obvious or not, keeping your surrounding area familiar is key to a safe and secure winter. Mooring where shops are closeby can really be a lifeline for if the weather conditions take a turn for the worst and you need urgent supplies. Or if it comes to the point where you no longer feel safe, having a hotel nearby to escape to for a night is ideal.


Avoid burst pipes

When temperatures hit freezing, pipes can burst causing a stoppage in running water and all sorts of other issues. The best way to prevent this from happening is to top up all your hot and cold water pipes with antifreeze.



When it comes to heating your narrowboat, you have three options:

  1. Multi-fuel stoves - available in a range of prices, these multi-fuel stoves are simple to install and easy to use, making them most popular. The multi-fuel stove works through dry heat using wood or coal.  

  2. Diesel-fired central heating - simple to use and works with a timer, a diesel-fired central heater works the same as a boiler in a house.

  3. Gas central heating - similar to diesel-fired central heating, gas central heating allows you to heat radiators and will provide hot water, all running from a gas bottle.

Remember, points 2 & 3 must have a yearly service by a qualified engineer.

Keep up to date with your boat with MyBoat, an online portal powered by GJW Direct, which will give you an insight into all things boating!


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