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This article Clicking on Canals No 9 is the copyright of Jim Shead - The ninth of a regular series of articles on waterways on the internet. First published in Waterways World September 2001.


 

clicking.on.canals

by Jim Shead


Out to Launch

If you have your sights set on launching your own new boat you may be interested in what the boat builders and boat fitters are offering on the web. Many well known companies are represented including Stoke-on-Trent Boat Building Co. Ltd www.stokeboats.co.uk the award winning builder with a visually pleasing home page, Stephen Goldsbrough Boats www.sgboats.co.uk at Knowle on the Grand Union Canal and MCC Stenson Boatbuilders www.mccboats.co.uk, also known as Midland Canal Centre. In comparison to hire boat firms boat builders have not been so keen to go on line. Selling holidays on line is a more obviously effective marketing tool than selling boats although there are several firms that combine both. Clifton Cruisers www.cliftoncruisers.com, Starline Narrowboats www.starline.demon.co.uk, Kate Boats www.kateboats.co.uk Reading Marine Company www.readingmarine.com, Fox's Marina www.foxboats.co.uk, Jannel Cruisers www.jannel.co.uk and Alvechurch Boat Centres www.alvechurch.com are all companies in this category.

Braidbar Boats http://braidbarboats.co.uk based on the Macclesfield Canal is a small family run business that produces not only attractive boats but also a well designed web site. Other northern builders are Heron Boatbuilders www.heronboatbuilders.co.uk based at Mirfield, West Yorkshire and Northern Marine Services www.northernboats.co.uk Narrowboat builder based in Lymm, Cheshire. On the Grand Union Canal we find Stowe Hill Marine: www.stowehill.co.uk based at Weedon, Peter Nicholls Steel Boats www.steelboats.com at Braunston, Merlin Narrowboats www.braunston.demon.co.uk boat building and painting, also at Braunston, and Weltonfield Narrowboats Ltd www.weltonfield.co.uk based at Welton Hythe on the Leicester Section. Some builders I should have mentioned initially are C and G Narrowboats www.narrowboatfitters.com, JD Boat Services www.jdboats.co.uk, who produce narrowboats to all stages of completion , M G Fabrications www.mgnarrowboats.co.uk based at Roade, Northampton and R & D Fabrications www.randdfabrications.co.uk with a site showing the complete planning and building of an R&D Fabrications fully fitted narrowboat. The Severn Valley Boat Centre www.severnboat.co.uk, like most of the sites mentioned so far, are traditional narrowboat builders but there are some sites that offer different types of boat.

For those wanting a smaller boat there is Sea Otter Boats www.canaljunction.com/otterboats the builders of aluminium hull boats and Mallard Trailable Narrowboats www.mallardboats.co.uk based at Gravesend, Kent. Viking Riverboats (Lincoln) Ltd www.viking-riverboats.co.uk are cruiser builders and Marine Technologies Limited www.marine-technologies.com offer the first aluminium narrowboat. Although Marine Technologies produce light boats their web page is rather heavy on download time. I have found around thirty boat builders on the web and they are all listed on my links pages at www.jim-shead.com.

What's New?

I have only found eight new sites this month, this could be because I have been too busy boating to do much surfing on the web, however I came across the first new site while boating and walking the towpath to Buxworth Basin where the Navigation Inn www.navigationinn.co.uk displays its URL on the bottom of the menu. Checking out the site I found information about the services offered at the pub and information about the historic locality. Steam, Coal and Canal www.steamcoalcanal.co.uk is another site dealing with the historic in the shape of the Bridgewater Canal Linear Industrial Heritage Park. There are two boat builders sites: Sandhills Narrowboats Ltd www.sandhillsnarrowboats.co.uk and Mel Davis Boatbuilders www.meldavis.com. Denham Marina www.denham-marina.co.uk and Boatpaint www.boatpaint.co.uk the paint sales arm of Quay Lane Boatyard Ltd of Gosport, Hampshire offer boating services. The Chesterfield Canal Trust www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk, dedicated to the promotion and restoration of the canal, also have a new site and Folkwise www.folkwise.co.uk give us details of songs of the waterways in a show and on CD.

Site of the month

For the place of honour this month I have chosen the site that I came across while reviewing the boat builders and fitters for this piece. John White Narrowboat Builders, based in Liverpool, is well known for its quality boats and now boasts a web site www.johnwhite-boatbuilders.co.uk which is first rate. Of course it has details of the company, the boats it builds and contacts all presented in a professionally designed site but it has a few extras that a lot of the other sites lack. First a clear, logical and attractive layout without any annoying gimmicks that detract from the real communication between the vendor and the potential customer. Here pictures are used appropriately to enhance the text and don't lead to long download times for pages. Another little extra is the ability to send a picture postcard on the site to someone else, if you haven't seen this web technique used before you can try it out from John White's pages. A more valuable extra for the serious boat buyer is the ability to calculate the cost of a part fitted boat to any stage of completion. This is done by means of an on-line form that will calculate the costs based on the users input.

If you would like to suggest a favourite web site which you think WW readers should know about please mail me at Jim.Shead@btinternet.com.

Please note: the above links were correct when this article was published in the September 2001 issue of Waterways World but for up to date links please see my links page.

  

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List