Engines for Narrowboats, Wide Beams & Dutch Barges

Beta Marine specialise in 10 – 115 hp propulsion engines for displacement hulls typically but not exclusively used in; Seagoing Yachts, Motorsailors, Fishing & Work Boats, Inland Waterway Narrowboats, Wide Beams and Dutch Barges.

Keel Cooling

Due to the silty and sedimentary nature of UK canal water along with debris such as discarded plastic bags/wrappings, most Narrowboats, Wide Beams & Dutch Barges are keel cooled. Seagoing craft may also require keel cooling when they are operating in very shallow water or off a beach and in these applications a grid cooler is often used.

Keel cooling for canal boats is a double skin of steel that is boxed onto the side of a steel hull and uses the cool canal, river, estuary or sea water to dissipate the heat from the engine cooling system though the hull. The design and size of these tanks is very important due to the amount of heat generated that needs to be cooled.

For more detailed information on keel cooling visit Keel Cooling Calculator & Tank Design.

Engine Selection

On most canals in the UK, speed is limited to 4 mph (3.5 knots) and as a consequence propulsion engines do not need to be overly powerful, however there are factors that should be additionally considered to ensure that there is a surplus of power/thrust available if needed.

If the Narrowboat, Wide Beam or Dutch Barge is to be used in rivers with fast flows or estuaries with strong tides, the power/trust would need to be able to exceed a greater speed than that of the flow or tide to enable headway to be made.

Safety and manoeuvrability, the combined performance of the engine, gearbox and propeller should be capable of stopping the Narrowboat, Wide Beam or Dutch Barge within its own length.

Engine speed (RPM) power, gearbox reduction ratio, propeller diameter and pitch are all variables that will affect a Narrowboat, Wide Beam or Dutch Barge hull performance and as a consequence is a specialist subject that for new builds, the hull designer should be consulted.

For Narrowboats, Wide Beams or Dutch Barges which require repowering, the existing engine, gearbox reduction ratio and propeller performance will be a good indicator on whether the performance is acceptable or needs to be improved upon.

The following engine guide is based on Beta Marines many years of experience learning which engine is the most appropriate for a given Narrowboat, Wide Beam or Dutch Barge hull size and displacement that will be used in normal canal and river conditions.

For guidance on rivers with fast flows or estuaries with strong tides or a specific recommendation please contact the Beta Marine Help Desk.

EnginePower (HP)NarrowboatWide Beam
& Dutch Barge
PropellerBow Thruster
Beta 1413.5 bhp @ 3,600 rpm20' - 25' 6 tons-12” x 8”6 hp
Beta 1616 bhp @ 3,600 rpm20' - 30' 7 tons-12” x 8”6 hp
Beta 2020 bhp @ 3,600 rpm20' - 35' 8 tons-13” x 8”6 hp
Beta 2525 bhp @ 3,600 rpm25' - 40' 10 tons-14” x 8”6 hp
Beta 3030 bhp @ 3,600 rpm30' - 45' 12 tons-15” x 9”6 hp
Beta 3835 bhp @ 2,800 rpm40' - 60' 14 tons-16” x 10”6 hp
Beta 4343 bhp @ 2,800 rpm55' - 70' 18 tons-18” x 12”6 hp
Beta 5050 bhp @ 2,800 rpm60' - 70' 18 tons45' - 50' 22 tons19” x 12”6 hp
Beta 6056 bhp @ 2,700 rpm-50' - 55' 22 tons20” x 12”10 hp
Beta 7575 bhp @ 2,600 rpm-55' - 60' 28 tons20” x 14”10 hp
Beta 90T90 bhp @ 2,600 rpm-60' - 70' 28 tonsPlease Ask10 hp
Beta 105T98 bhp @ 2,600 rpm-65' - 75' 30 tonsPlease Ask10 hp
Beta 115T98 bhp @ 2,600 rpm-65' - 75' 33 tonsPlease Ask10 hp

As a responsible engine manufacturer, we would always recommend selecting an engine with more power than the minimum required to ensure an adequate safety factor is always available.

Beta Marine Limited do not accept any responsibility for any incorrect engine selection, based solely on the information from within this page.