Profiles: Company profiles


Boat paint restoration

With new paint jobs costing anything up to £20,000, many owners are looking for ways to rejuvenate their boat’s tired paintwork. Tony Jones looks at Farécla’s impressive solution.

Narrowboat painting is almost as iconic as the boats and canals themselves. Sadly, canal-boat paintwork suffers abysmal treatment at the hands of UV light which attacks from above and below, as pigment-draining sunlight is also refracted back at the boat from the water. Scratches and scrapes from overhanging trees are also sadly inevitable, even for the most careful boaters.

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Crick tickets on the gate


Amazing Glazing

From thermal breaks to prevent condensation to durable coatings that look great, there’s more to windows and portholes than just providing a view outside. Matt and Dave Pearson from boat-window manufacturer Channelglaze take us through the important considerations.

What’s in a window?
You could be forgiven for thinking that boat windows are simply panes of glass but nothing could be further from the truth. “We’ve been producing canal-boat windows since the late 1970s and the technology involved in the process has come on a little in that time,” smiles company director Dave Pearson who runs the family business with his brother and fellow director, Matt.

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River Canal Rescue

Keeping the waterways moving

In the year 2000 a diesel mechanic woke in the night, thanks to a bizarre dream about rescuing a boat that had broken down. The following night he dreamt he ran a business called River Canal Rescue, and that morning a business idea was born.

The business
River Canal Rescue (RCR) is the UK’s largest marine breakdown and emergency assistance company, covering the UK inland waterway network 24/7, 365 days a year. Differing membership levels cover everything from breakdown and recovery services to replacement parts cover, home start, crew relay and annual inspections. 

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Haven Knox Johnston boat insurance

Water Freedom

Water, water everywhere

Liveaboard boater Tony Jones checks out a game-changing new product that could mark the end of many boaters’ water issues and be a major selling point for boat-builders.

Life afloat requires a lot of plate spinning. If we’re not worrying about when our toilet needs emptying, we’re fussing about how much power we’re using and how we’ll replenish it. But it might surprise you that, for many boaters, the most frustrating limiting factor is water. Depending on the size of the water tank, how many people use it and how much time they spend aboard, a typical water tank could need refilling anywhere between every four to 14 days.

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A Boatbuilder's Diary

How spiralling prices are impacting the waterways industry

The ever-rising cost of living has affected us all, and boat-builders have been particularly hard hit. Tiffany Gale-Haynes of Kingsground Narrowboats takes us through last year.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Well, over the last couple of years that saying has been particularly appropriate and prophetic. We began 2022 being glad that Covid was essentially under control and looking forward to a relatively normal year. Needless to say, things didn’t work out quite as we’d planned.

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Talk Away

How marinas and boat yards can support their customers' mental health

With mental-health issues becoming increasingly prevalent, Tiffany Gale-Haynes discusses the launch of the Talk Away project which aims to assist mooring providers when faced with customers with mental-health challenges.

If you were at the recent Crick Boat Show, you will probably have seen our Talk Away stand where we launched the industry-wide initiative to address mental-health issues within the boating community. The prevalence of boaters’ mental-health issues is probably no greater than it is in the general population but boaters are often more isolated and can fall through the gaps in the system.

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Lakeland Leisure

A refreshingly different business model

While many marina operators stick to a tried-and-tested business model, Lakeland Leisure’s emergence and growth have pushed the envelope. Tony Jones speaks to Mark and Louise Morgan from this customer-focused, family-operated business

Lakeland Leisure has been gathering momentum in the boating industry over the last few years. Since expanding from its roots in the caravan-park business, it has acquired several marinas and boat brokerages. And, as well as carving a course in the second-hand boat sector, it has recently entered the new-boat market too.

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Marine Mortgages

Tony Jones talks to Promarine’s Stuart Austin to get the lowdown on boat finance – an essential route into boating for many prospective owners.

Although countless people aspire to narrowboat ownership, a good number of these lack the finances to make their dream a reality and those who can raise funds often realise that their ideal boat will cost slightly more than their budget allows. It’s a situation that Stuart Austin, the managing director of boat-finance provider Promarine, understands well: “Buying a boat is both a practical and emotional experience, so it’s better to buy a boat they’ll be happy with, rather than disappointed. That’s where we can help..”

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Lightning Craft

Electric boating innovations

Lightning Craft founder Josh Masters provides a breakdown of the electric boating sector and his company’s innovations and products.

The birth of Lightning Craft 
Lightning Craft was born from necessity in early 2020 when I began to question the longevity of my career in the marine diesel trade. Sensing a shift towards electric, I began my odyssey in search of alternative propulsion solutions. This proved difficult initially. Electric motors exist in almost every industry, so sourcing them wasn’t a problem. However, finding motors that matched the performance of a diesel engine wasn’t so straightforward, and applying the technology to a marine situation was testing again. 

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Fischer Panda

The Electric Future

Tony Jones speaks to Chris Fower, Fischer Panda UK Sales & Marketing Director, about the future of electric boating on the inland waterways and how boat-builders can get ahead of the curve to become key players in this electrified future.

Electric boating is moving at a frantic pace as the push for sustainability grows, and few companies have been in the field of electric innovation for as long as Fischer Panda UK. Over the last 25 years, it has developed a range of electric propulsion solutions to replace or provide alternatives to diesel engines, including inboard motors, outboard motors, pod motors and hybrid drive systems. “The coastal boating world has been on board with electric propulsion for decades. We supplied our first electric propulsion system in a coastal vessel over 25 years ago, so it’s no surprise that inland boating has followed suit,” says Chris. “Indeed, electric propulsion could be said to be more suited to the inland waterways market as the boating demands are easier to satisfy. Despite the later uptake, the demand for electric boats is taking off quickly. People visiting the recent Crick Boat Show events have come to the Fischer Panda stand wanting to learn about electric boating, whereas just five or six years ago it wasn’t on the agenda.”

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Lee Sanitation

Cinderella has arrived

With a retail purchase price of around £4,000 and a 60p average cost per flush, the Cinderella incinerating toilet isn’t for everyone. But for many new and discerning boaters it is the only choice – and they’re more than willing to pay for it. Karl Sutcliffe from LeeSan explains more.

The future of boat toilets
There’s a lot to commend the Cinderella toilet to the boating market. Instead of collecting toilet waste as other systems do, the Cinderella incinerates it, thereby removing the need to rely on external services – so no more trips to Elsan points or pump-out facilities, and no need to find ways to properly dispose of separation toilet waste. Instead, the result is just a small amount of biodegradable ash which is perfect for fertilising gardens.

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The uWatch Cube

Boat-related crime can be expensive and distressing for the victim, which is why onboard security features are becoming popular among owners.

The uWatch Cube entered the boat security market in 2022, and the system is already becoming popular with boaters and boat-builders. “The Cube approaches boat security from a different angle,” says UWatch Business Development Manager, Craig Geerthsen.

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Feeling the Heat

When we heard that the Recoheat system could double the efficiency of a solid-fuel stove and halve the cost of fuel, we were intrigued.

With inflation rising and the cost of living increasing daily, saving money on fuel is something everyone is thinking about. So perhaps the Recoheat system for solid-fuel stoves is one way for boaters and businesses to address that problem? Recoheat’s Managing Director Will Burrows was keen to answer our questions and explain how this revolutionary new product works.

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Marineware – The boat paint specialists

Boat painting is one of the most passionately debated topics on the waterways. We spoke to Simon Crawford at Marineware to separate boat-painting facts from fiction, and to hear about the latest developments in this sector


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A.B. Tuckey

Doing the heavy lifting

A.B. Tuckey has been craning and transporting inland boats since the 1980s. Company boss Barry Tuckey provides insights into the work


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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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Crick tickets on the gate


Haven Knox Johnston boat insurance