A couple of years ago (gee, has it been that long?) we pointed out Nick’s Canal Route Planner. A recent comment points out the new site, which I have enjoyed looking around.


Not only do they seem to have a detailed route planning tool, there is also an extensive gallery of British canal pictures, and (for the boat-builders/designers among us) a very neat, interactive narrowboat layout tool.

Narrowboats are great for an amateur doing interior design, since they are much more "house-like" than many boats. A constant width, fairly square cross section, and extensible to various lenghts, you have a lot of lee-way on interior layout. This tool let’s you drag and drop various common interior features together into your plan, then download the PDF of your masterpiece.

Welcome to a site that is dedicated to the canals and narrow boats in the United Kingdom. This is a new site offering access to a huge database of canal related information.

The canal planner alone uses more than 10,000 canal points digitised from the Google maps of our canal network; these are used to produce a personalized downloadable PDF document of your planned canal journey.

Movable Bridges in the British Isles

>>> Movable Bridges in the British Isles

Jason King at the Bristol Fashion: life afloat blog points us to this neat site… something I hadn’t considered is all of the various bridge designs in the British canal system.

If it’s a swing bridge, lift bridge, drawbridge, bascule bridge, sliding bridge, retractable bridge, curling bridge, rolling bridge, telescopic bridge, transporter bridge, counterweight bridge, boat lift or any other sort of movable bridge and is in the British Isles it belongs on this website, whether it is on a canal or river, in a dock or marina, or over the moat of a castle or fort. In time we intend to create a comprehensive historical and photographic record of movable bridges in the British Isles, with the help of supporters and contributors.

British Waterways

>>> British Waterways

British Waterways has a couple of websites covering their organization (they maintain the British Canal system) and a "leisure" site that provides information such as cruising guides, boaters information and other things geared around the use and enjoyment of the canals themselves.

British Waterways is the organisation responsible for maintaining 2,200 miles (3,540km) of this inland waterway network today so that people can use it for a wide range of leisure activities. This is British Waterways’ website, explaining who we are and what we do. For more detailed information on the waterways themselves, and the many ways you can enjoy them, please visit our leisure website

The Waterscape site has some good guides to beginner use of the canals, cycling information and walking trips. It’s a big site.

The Thames Electric Launch Company

>>> The Thames Electric Launch Company

Another British site dealing with electric boats. They have an interesting website with various boats and electric boating supplies (batteries, chargers, etc.). Might be worth a look. Seems like the British with their canal and river system are well along with their electric boat designs.

Based on the River Thames at Goring, we are the longest established British firm dealing solely with electric boats and electric drive systems, and we have been at the forefront of many developments in this field. Our customers include the three major navigation authorities – British Waterways, the Environment Agency, and the Broads Authority – together with commercial operators, canal societies, and of course a huge family of private boat owners. We pride ourselves on our service, and always aim to supply the customer with the best equipment for their needs.

Our products range from the smallest electric outboard, up to electric propulsion packages for the largest canal or river boats. We also supply a range of electric boats, from skiffs up to 27ft launches. We work with the leading boatbuilders, and can supply them with electric drive systems for your boat. We specialise in electric packages for traditional launches, replacing worn out, unsafe petrol engines, and giving you silent, reliable power.

We use only the best equipment, from leading suppliers of motors, batteries, controllers and chargers, to ensure you get a package that is correctly matched and will give you years of reliable service.

Electric Boat Association

>>> Electric Boat Association

The Electric Boat Association is a U.K. based, non-profit organization that any of us interested in electric power/electric boats should check out. They have a nice web site with vendor information (mostly geared around European suppliers, but in this internet age that’s easy to deal with), technical hints, member pages, information on solar installations, picture galleries, etc.

The technical section includes a couple of spreadsheets that you can download and use to help estimate electric power requirements for your boats.

The member’s section is definitely worth a look… some beautiful, classic craft shown here. Many turn of the century (we’re talking 1900’s not 2000’s :-)) boats. We often don’t remember the history of electric boating on the Thames.

The Solar Boat Company, Ltd.

>>> The Solar Boat Company, Ltd.

A British firm that specializes in supplying solar systems (on-board and propulsion power) for canal cruisers (narrow boats and wider).

There are apparently quite a few electric powered narrowboats cruising the U.K. canals now… slick. 

Thanks to a post on the Electric Boats mailing list for the pointer and some ballpark info:

Ball park figures are about 3Kwatts to drive a 40 foot boat at the canal speed limit of 4mph. about 8 Kwatts for river use. Reckoning on about 1K watt hour from a 100Amp hour battery its easy to calculate how many batteries you need for a given range.

Chris S

Oxford England



Solar Power books available from Amazon.

Nick’s Canal Route Planner – Canalplan AC

>>> Nick’s Canal Route Planner – Canalplan AC

Jason King over on the Bristol Fashion: life afloat site points out this great U.K. canal cruise planning software… worth a look if you are going to be using those waterways, or just want to dream about it 🙂

Welcome to Nick’s Canal Route Planner – Canalplan AC. A comprehensive guide to the UK’s inland waterways, it plans journeys, calculates the length (distance, number of locks, time taken etc) of your trip and shows gazetteer information on places along the way (pubs, shops and museums). Canalside events you might pass are listed. If you have never used the software before, I recommend that you read the introduction before going any further.


Books related to this topic.