Overview of a Boat

Rose Narrowboats Collage

Overview of a Boat

Fanfare Dining to Galley
Sunset Shower room
Joey double converts to 2 single beds

Overview of a Boat

These days we are so used to everything being on-hand, as in when you flick a switch you expect a light or appliance to work or when you open a tap you expect water to flow. Obviously, these things still apply on boats but less obvious may be the way things operate, so with this overview we hope it will make things a little clearer.


There is a holding tank for water on the front of everyone of the Rose Narrowboats hire boats with a capacity of about 100 gallons (450 litres). This holding tank feeds the complete water system in the boat which works on a pumped system. When you open a tap, the drop in pressure automatically switches a pump on and the water comes out of the tap.

The water tank is filled by ourselves before you take the boat over but you will need to top it up whilst you are out. There are water points about every hour or 2 alongside the canal. These deliver fresh safe drinking water and are all free of charge so you just use the hose on the boat to attach to these water points and fill your boat up. We recommend that this is done every 2 days to avoid running out of water at an inconvenient time.

Hot water is heated via the engine as you are cruising or via the central heating system within the boat (see Heating below for how this works). Water, once heated, is held in a tank which is insulated to store until it is used but would be continually heated whilst the engine is running or the heating system is on.


Each one of our boats has a flush toilet with 6-berth boats and above having 2 toilets on board.

We have 2 types of toilet on our boats 1) Traditional and 2) Mascerator

The traditional toilet works by using a foot pedal. When the foot pedal is pressed it opens the bottom of the toilet and everything falls through into the holding tank below. At the same time and whilst the foot pedal is still held down it releases water to flush the toilet.

The mascerator toilet is basically all electric. When you press the flush button it runs through a cycle, initially letting a small amount of water in, then pumping all the waste through into the holding tank followed by letting a small amount of water in again at the end.

The holding tanks on each boat are designed to take sufficient waste for a whole week for the number of people for that boat. Boats with 2 toilets have a separate holding tank for each.


Most electrical items on each boat use a 12 volt battery system. This operates the lighting, water and shower pumps, central heating controls, fridge etc.

There are 2 battery systems on each of our boats. 1 battery is purely for starting the engine and the other batteries are used for all the domestics (lights etc.) in the boat. Whilst the engine is running it is charging both systems so even if the domestics run those batteries down the engine will still start and once it has started it will charge both battery systems. However we recommend that the engine is run for a minimum of 5 hours per day which then will be sufficient for the charge in the domestic batteries to last until the following day when you will be cruising once again and charging the batteries again.

On all our boats there is an invertor. This converts 12 volt battery power to 230 volt ac power to operate the TV as well as supplying power to the 230 volt sockets on the boat. Depending on the class of boat depends on the size of the invertor and what it is capable of running. On some of our boats it has sufficient capacity to operate a hairdryer or toaster whereas on some boats it is only sufficient to run the TV and for charging mobile phones, laptops or camera batteries.


We have 2 types of heating systems on our boats depending on which boat you hire. One system works using gas whilst the other system is diesel operated but whichever system is on your boat it heats up conventional radiators within the boat just as it would in a normal house.


All our boats have sufficient full gas bottles on board for a full week. They are used to fuel the cooker (on all boats) and the heating system (on some boats).


Each diesel tank on all our boats has a capacity of about 200 litres which gives them a cruising time of about 3 to 4 weeks which reduces to about 2.5 to 3.5 weeks if the heating system is diesel. We always fill this tank before it leaves on hire so there is ample fuel for the average short break, week or 2 weekly trip.

The fuel is included within your boat hire price therefore there is no need to fill up whilst you are away, we will fill it up again when you return.  We will make other arrangements for anyone taking a holiday longer than 2 weeks.

All these systems on the boat will be explained thoroughly during the Boat Handover Procedure at the beginning of your holiday on board. Please see the New to Boating page.