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Diesel Marine Propulsion Engines & Marine Generating Sets

Engine Selection for Canal Boats

This table is to be used as a guide only!

  • Beta Marine Limited do not accept any responsibility for incorrect engine selection.
  • Please use this table as a rough guide to select the engine size you need for your canal boat (both narrow boats and wide beamers).
  • This guide is based upon cruising in still water canals at a relaxed engine speed. If you are using flowing rivers and/or tidal estuaries then a slightly larger engine size may be more suitable.
  • Most of our canals and rivers in the UK are limited to 4 mph (3.5 knots) and do not need much power to achieve this; however you should consider safety and manoeuvrability where it is preferable to be able to stop your 10 tons to 30 tons of canal boat in its length.
  • You should talk to the boat builder (as they should know the boats designed performance) – the propeller specialist can specify a suitable propeller (based upon engine horse power and rpm) – we then supply the required engine. (The recommended propellers detailed below are based upon 3 fixed blades and a 2:1 reduction gearbox).
  • Beta Marine Limited do not accept any responsibility for incorrect engine selection.
EnginePowerNarrowboatWide Beam & Dutch BargePropellerBow Thruster
Beta 1413.5 bhp at 3,600 rpm20' - 25' 6 tons-12” x 8”6 hp
Beta 1616 bhp at 3,600 rpm20' - 30' 7 tons-12” x 8”6 hp
Beta 2020 bhp at 3,600 rpm20' - 35' 8 tons-13” x 8”6 hp
Beta 2525 bhp at 3,600 rpm25' - 40' 10 tons-14” x 8”6 hp
Beta 3030 bhp at 3,600 rpm30' - 40' 12 tons-15” x 9”6 hp
Beta 3835 bhp at 2,800 rpm40' - 50' 14 tons-16” x 10”6 hp
Beta 4343 bhp at 2,800 rpm50' - 70' 18 tons-18” x 12”6 hp
Beta 5050 bhp at 2,800 rpm60' - 70' 18 tons45' - 50' 22 tons19” x 12”6 hp
Beta 6056 bhp at 2,700 rpm-50' - 55' 22 tons20” x 12”10 hp
Beta 7575 bhp at 2,600 rpm-55' - 60' 28 tons20” x 14”10 hp
Beta 9090 bhp at 2,600 rpm-60' - 70' 28 tonsPlease Ask10 hp
Beta 10599 bhp at 2,600 rpm-65' - 75' 30 tonsPlease Ask10 hp

With the longer Narrowboats – say 50 to 70 feet on the Inland Waterways, we generally look at two different applications (power requirements):

  • The canal system where it is recommended that you can stop your vessel / boat within a boat length.
  • More the inland river system and estuaries where the tides and rivers can flow at up to 8 knots at different times of the year.

One of our dealers / marine engineers has said the he can go anywhere on the UK canals with a Beta 38; We guess he always allows for the changing tides and does not venture out after heavy rains and fast flowing rivers.

Another experienced marine engineer uses 1hp per foot, and he says that he has never been caught out wanting on engine power. Beta Marine would suggest that about 0.75hp per foot will cover almost every situation. Technically, if you talk to a propeller specialist he can suggest the propeller required and the power required to drive it.

As an engine manufacturer we will always err on the side of caution with a small safety margin (we try to avoid being undersized).

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