Friday, June 17, 2011

Narrow Boat Engine Hours

I was just going through my weekly check on the ABNB brokerage site and they have a very nice boat for sale NB Kingfisher
What caught my attention however was the engine hours 9,954!
I have been working on boats and selling boat parts and engines here in Sydney for the last 30 years. The majority of diesel motors in the 40hp range are lucky to reach 2,500 hours. Very occasionally they get up to the 5000 hour mark but are well and truly scrap value!
And the reason for in Australia they are running in a saltwater environment , sucking in salty air really does stuff them very quickly no matter how many air filter systems you put on them, plus sucking up salt water through the cooling system. Another reason is they are running at much higher revs 3000-4000 RPM.
Whereas  the average narrow boat diesel plodding along at 1500rpm or charging batteries and running a closed fresh water system is going to last a lifetime. It would be interesting to know how many hours some of the long term continuous cruisers are up to?    


  1. Narrowboats with high engine hours usually come from one of three types of use, live aboard and continuously cruised, shared, or hire. As this boat is from a high end builder, I would discount hire in this case. As you say, narrowboats usually operate on a closed water system, so a boat with high hours, as long as it has a regular documented service history is not always a bad thing. It is much better to have an engine with high hours that have been gained under stress, i.e. cruised, and serviced regularly, than one that has sat on its mooring just running at tick over to charge batteries over a shorter time. If you think about it, a 10 year old boat that has been cruised as a live aboard, say 200 days use in a year, and 4 hours per day will have gathered 8000 hours on the engine. As you will already know, it is how it has been cared for that matters. By the way ABNB are noted for being brokers of only top quality boats. Regards, Peter

  2. I have to smile at the image of all these Aussie narrowboat dreamers checking each week for what has come up for sale. We do this every Saturday morning! And yes, we saw this one too. The other thing we noticed with this boat is that it doesn't have spray foam insulation.
    I'm going to do a little survey of how many miles some of the continuous cruisers have done!