If you are buying or selling a boat you may want to use a boat brokerage service. For inland waterways boaters there are about a dozen companies with web sites where you can check out the boats available. One of the latest entrants to this field is Narrowcraft Limited www.narrowcraft.co.uk who at present have a limited number of boats on offer. Longport Brokerage www.stokeboats.freeserve.co.uk has a longer list of boats on-line, each with prices and a brief description. If you want more information on a boat you can fill in an a form on the screen and the details will be posted to you. Braunston Marina Ltd www.braunstonmarina.co.uk also lists its boats on offer and includes a picture of each boat. Devizes Marina www.devizesbrokerage.co.uk also has a list with spaces allocated for pictures but at the time of writing there were no photographs available for any of the boats. On the Sawley Marina site www.sawleymarina.com only one narrowboat had pictures but there were five good quality shots covering both the interior and exterior of the boat.
Some sites give more information than others. Walton Marine www.waltonmarine.co.uk displays an individual page of details about each boat, including a photograph, as does Harral Brokerage Services Ltd www.harralbrokerage.co.uk who have some excellent exterior shots of boats. They also provide a search facility, based on price and style of boat, to pick a boat that meets your requirements from their database. Canal Craft (Brokerage) Ltd www.canalcraft.co.uk is another site with individual pages for each boat and they generally include one or two interior shots in addition to the external photo. They have a search facility based on seven criteria. Narrow Escape www.Narrow-escape.co.uk is not a broker but a site advertising boats for sale. Details are supplied by the boat owner and some of the pages give very full details of each cabin and several good quality photographs.
Virginia Currer Marine www.vcmarine.co.uk displays brief details of each boat but adds a boat layout plan to the usual photographs. Whilton Marina www.whiltonmarina.co.uk has the lot, very full details, plenty of photos and a boat plan. The final mention must go to ABNB Andy Burnett Narrowboat Brokerage www.abnb.demon.co.uk which is a really attractive looking site which includes not only a plan of the boat but also a side elevation drawing as well as some consistently high quality photographs.
Plenty of new sites of various types this month. Waterways Holidays.com www.waterwaysholidays.com offers a database of hire boats which you can search to check the availability for preferred holiday dates and Canal Search www.canalsearch.net is a new website which enables you to search the UK waterways to find services. Robert Humm & Co www.roberthumm.co.uk of Stamford, Lincs, specialises in books about railways and other transport, including waterways. Keepers Lock www.keeperslock.com are a group who sing songs and tell stories about the great era of the canals in England.
As usual, boat builders and hire feature in the ever expanding list of web sites. The Droitwich Boat Centre www.droitwichboats.co.uk offer boat building, brokerage and boatyard services, Crown Narrowboats Ltd www.crownnarrowboats.co.uk are a new company fitting out narrowboats and Bath Narrowboats www.bath-narrowboats.co.uk offer cruises on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Community boating is represented by the Tideway Adventurers Narrowboat Project www.aldbec.plus.com an independent nautical youth organisation, based in South London, who are the owners and operators of the narrowboat Michael.
Kevin and Ann Warrington's web site http://freespace.virgin.net/kj.warrington/ is a personal site that includes "Stuff About Boats" and canals and Jannock Homepage http://website.lineone.net/~familykeens/ is the Keens family site. Canal World www.canalworld.net lets you vote in the web poll on a current boating issue, ask questions in the Canal World forums, or you can visit other related sites on the new Canal World Web Ring. Bargeware www.bargeware.co.uk has information on barge painting (sic) and the opportunity to commission a painting of your own Narrowboat
Site of the month
Another new site is Inland Navigation Photography www.1waterways.freeserve.co.uk compiled by Bill Chambers, a waterway enthusiast and photographer, who has extensively travelled the waterways. At the time of writing this site is under construction and many pages still need more work. This statement may prompt you to wonder why I have given it the accolade of site of the month - the answer is the quality of the photography. The site covers many waterways from Scotland down to Cornwall and the finished pages have brief but informative text plus photographs that are not only technically excellent but also well composed and capture the beauty of scenes that is so often lost in less skilled hands. Perhaps my penchant for photography (and the fact that a picture of my boat is included on the Huddersfield Canal page) may have clouded my judgement but I was impressed by the site and have every hope that it will be even better by the time this article is published. Have a look and see what you think.
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.