Profiles: Company profiles

Candle Bridge Fabrication

Men of Steel

We speak to the owners of Candle Bridge Fabrication to find out the do’s and don’ts of canal boat steelwork


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Hydrogen Afloat

Is hydrogen power the future of boating?

Tony Jones met up with Hydrogen Afloat’s Nick Swift at this year’s Crick Boat Show to hear about his plans to develop a domestic fuel which is convenient, socially responsible and environmentally friendly. And there’s a way you could benefit too.


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A P Boatbuilding

A Timber Tradition 

A. P. Boatbuilding is one of the few boatyards in Britain specialising in the conservation of historic wooden narrowboats. Kathryn Clover visit its Tamworth premises

Nestled in a corner of Alvecote Marina in Tamworth, the A. P. Boatbuilding yard is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of heritage wooden narrowboats. The processes and skills used for this are highly specialised and very different to that of a normal boatyard, as the company’s Adrian Polglase (Ade) and Andy Cox will attest. In the yard at the time of our visit were three heritage narrowboats in various stages of restoration: Walton, President and Mendip.

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Riva Insulation

An Energy-Saving Solution For Boats

Riva Insulation specialises in fitting closed-cell spray foam, and has carried out a good deal of work on inland boats. WN speaks to company owner Justin Brason. 

Reducing heat loss and condensation is an ongoing concern for many inland boat owners, and especially so during a period of soaring energy costs. One solution to reduce draughts, reduce heating costs by more than 50%, give added protection, and make your waterways’ home even more comfortable is closed-cell spray-foam insulation.

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Tradline Rope and Fenders

Money for New Rope

Tony Jones speaks to master fender-maker Pete Flockhart to find out how Tradline Rope & Fenders became an established name in the boating world and beyond

Tradline Rope & Fenders began life in the late 1980s as a hobby for owner Pete Flockhart. After establishing a small business aboard his narrowboat Lily Eliza, he moved onto a old work butty but by 1993 Tradline had outgrown its floating home and Pete and his wife Karen set up in the old blacksmith’s forge at Braunston Marina, where it has remained ever since.

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Goodwin Plastics

From Pigs to Plastics

How do you get from livestock farming to manufacturing narrowboat water tanks? Goodwin Plastics owner Jason Goodwin explains the transition

At Goodwin Plastics, we design and manufacture high-quality, customised plastic products for private and commercial customers, including water and waste tanks, from our base in Crewe. Before we moved into plastic manufacture full time, however, my family were pig farmers. The plastics side of things all started in 1992 when my dad designed and built an ad-lib pig feeder – a kind of trickle-down hopper full of food which would replenish the feeder as the pigs ate. 

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Canal Wholesale Supplies

The Wholesale Package

Plaques to Pearson’s guides and mugs to model boats, Canal Wholesale Supplies stocks the full gamut of waterways-themed merchandise. WN talks to owner Andy Gosling

Established in February 2019, Canal Wholesale Supplies (or CWS as it is commonly referred to) is a wholesaler of practical boating items and giftware to canal-related businesses across the network. The Kettering-based company is owned and run by Andy Gosling, a web-developer and entrepreneur with a keen interest in the inland waterways.

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Gallows Bridge Boatyard

Big Boys' Toys

Tony Jones visits Gallows Bridge Boatyard & Moorings in Shipley on the Leeds & Liverpool to find out why the business is building a reputation for the big jobs

“There’s always a crowd!” laughs Aaran Laylor, owner of Gallows Bridge Boatyard & Moorings, as another boat is lifted out of the water onto a waiting truck. Indeed, when I was moored there during the Covid lockdowns, the towpath would always be teeming with gongoozlers every time a boat came out. “We lifted 12 boats out in a single day last week!” exclaimed Bren Snr, as I watched the crane at work. “It was mental busy!”

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Lady Lane Wharf

A Modern Marina

Tony Jones meets Ian Caswell from Lady Lane Wharf on the north Stratford Canal to find out what makes this newly refurbished marina so special

Located at the summit of what is essentially a 50-mile lock pound on the north Stratford Canal near Solihull, Lady Lane Wharf has come a long way in the last five years. Having undergone a major refurbishment at the hands of its parent company Waterpride Estates Ltd, this attractive and unique corner of the network has been described as a ‘boutique’ marina. 

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Under Cover

Tony Jones visits Canvasman owners Chris and Fran Salisbury at their new warehouse just off the Leeds & Liverpool in Baildon, to find out what’s happening in the world of boat covers

“Some might say I was rather naive during the early years of the business,” says Chris Salisbury, managing director of Yorkshire-based boat-cover company Canvasman. “I remember sitting in a meeting at the bank when the company was just a few years old, and them telling me that there was no way I could build a successful business in such a niche market as narrowboats. Thankfully I was both fiercely determined and quite naive back then. I just thought ‘yeah, whatever’, and carried on regardless. I could see we were onto something, and besides, I love a challenge.” 

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12 Volt Planet

Totally wired

Online electrical component store 12 Volt Planet offers an integrated product and information service for trade and DIY customers. WN finds out more…

Created as a one-stop shop for off-grid wiring projects for both trade and DIY customers, 12 Volt Planet stocks a huge range of 12V and 24V electrical supplies for the boating, leisure and vehicle sectors. Operating entirely online, the company features an easy-to-use webshop plus a comprehensive Knowledge Centre providing hints and tips on all things electrical, and has developed a global presence since it was established eight years ago. 

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Broom Boats

Broad-ly speaking

Historic Broom Boats is taking a modern approach to boating on the Norfolk Broads. WN speaks to managing director Antony Howell about the company’s recent developments

Occupying an enviable position on the River Yare at Brundall, Broom Boats has been an established name on the southern Norfolk Broads for over 120 years. Formed in 1898, initially to build wooden cruisers for the global market, the business is now a luxury hire-fleet operator, mooring facility and marine repair centre headed up by a new director with a passion for the environment. 

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Sofabed Barn

Are you sitting comfortably?

Finding furniture to fit narrowboats can be a chore but Sofabed Barn makes easy work of it, providing sit-sleep solutions that combine comfort and style

Sofabed Barn is a family-run business based in Bradford, where its large selection of compact, easy-to-use sofabeds and chair-beds are handmade to order. The firm was established over 20 years ago and first entered the inland waterways sector at the 2012 Crick Boat Show.

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SML Marine Paints

New formula

Coatings specialist SML Marine Paints tells WN how its own-brand products were developed to meet the needs of the inland waterways market 

SML Marine Paints offers a broad range of paint-systems, primers, topcoats and varnishes for every type of inland waterways craft, available from its dedicated webpage, as well as decorative and protective coatings from its sister sites. 

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Leoch Battery UK

Coming into Power

WN profiles battery manufacturer Leoch, just over a year since it established its UK subsidiary

Founded in 1999, Leoch is one of the largest multi-range battery manufacturers in the world, supplying to more than 100 countries. The international company currently employs more than 12,000 people in factories in an area covering over one million square miles. It has 105 production lines and related testing equipment, plus three dedicated battery research and development centres where it is constantly pushing the boundaries of energy storage capabilities for a wide range of applications and looking for greener, more environmentally conscious battery solutions.

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Wessex Chemical Factors

Chemical Pros

WN talks product development, greening supply chains and responding to the pandemic with Wessex Chemical Factors’ general manager Hannah Borowski

Family-run company Wessex Chemical Factors has been developing cleaning and treatment solutions for industrial, commercial and domestic applications for over 35 years. The UK-manufactured products are distributed across the globe, and the company has a dedicated website for its marine range, which brings together items designed specifically for cleaning, treating and preserving all types of boats.

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Symphony Narrowboat Paint

A fresh coat

Symphony Coatings is relaunching its Narrowboat Paint range with an updated look and revamped colour chart. WN finds out more…

Symphony Narrowboat Paint is an established name in the inland waterways sector, supplying specialist paint products for commercial applications and retail sale. Its comprehensive range of boat-based paints is set to be relaunched this summer and will include extra colour options for the modern boater, along with new branding.

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Kings Lock Chandlery

Shop small, think big

Operating from tiny premises on the Trent & Mersey Canal, Kings Lock Chandlery is supplier to some of the biggest boat-builders in the country. WN talks to director Steve Wedgwood

Positioned on the Trent & Mersey close to the junction with the Shropshire Union’s Middlewich Branch, Kings Lock Chandlery occupies prime canalside real estate, serving passing retail customers and supplying boat-builders across the country. So why, then, does it occupy such a small shopfront? It’s a deliberate move, says owner and director Steve Wedgwood, who steadfastly believes “big doesn’t mean beautiful”.

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HMG Paints

A Helping Hand

As we continue in another national lockdown, WN profiles the narrowboat paint firm that’s turned its alcohol stocks to hand sanitiser to prevent shortages

Manchester-based company HMG Paints might not be well known to the average inland boater, but its products will be familiar under many other brands, such as Craftmaster.

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Engines Plus

Powering Through

WN talks to Engines Plus director Hedley Beavis about the evolution of his business and what the future holds for the sector

Based in Gloucester, Engines Plus has been supplying marine and industrial engines since 2009. Having started with just one marinised engine on its books, the company now supplies a wide range suitable for inland waterways use under the Canaline name, as well as from Solé Diesel and Hyundai Seasall. It also sells diesel and petrol engines, and generators for industrial use from Isuzu, Kioti, Kirloskar and Suburu, and prides itself on being able to provide packages suited to diverse applications across the country.

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E P Barrus

Shire Determination

E.P. Barrus has been supporting the marine sector for 100 years and inland waterways boaters since 1998 with quality engines that are built to last

Established in 1917, E.P. Barrus imports and supplies engines and engine-powered equipment for the marine, garden, industrial and vehicle industries. The company’s roots are in the distribution of precision hand and machine tools, but it quickly expanded into the marine sector in the 1920s following the racing successes of its US imported outboard engines. Over the last 100 years, Barrus has become the largest custom builder of marine and industrial engines in Europe.

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