engines and propulsion

marine engines and propulsion

Our Boat engines and propulsion page includes diesel electric and petrol types. Find bow thrusters propellers and more. Fuel additives lubricants and spares. Do you need a new engine for your narrowboat? Or are you looking for a rebuild, reconditioned engine, or engine parts? From vintage engines to the latest in modern marine diesel engines, or electric engines if you prefer, our list of narrowboat engine suppliers & installers will help you make the right choice.

We have also included filterspropellers, bow thrusters and gear boxes for narrowboats, wide-beams and other boats

Fuel Guard

propeller cleaning

Vetus Systems Solutions

Diesel engines

Diesels are the commonest type of engine on canal boats, especially narrowboats and widebeams. This is because they are robust and easy to maintain. They are also safer and longer lasting than petrol engines.

Diesel engines come in a range of styles and sizes, from the early vintage engines such as Lister, to the ultra modern ones.

Key Diesels

Electric engines

Electric narrowboat motors are becoming common place, they are safe, green, reliable and wonderfully quiet. There is even a discount in licence fees if you have an electric motor.

Unfortunately there is nowhere really to charge electric engines for servicing leisure batteries, so unless you are in a marina or elsewhere with electric supply, the electric engine has to be used in conjunction with another power source. This can be a diesel engine, or a diesel powered generator. It is not generally desirable to have a petrol generator as this involves storing petrol aboard. Then the electric engine would be used to drive the boat and the generator used to charge the batteries.

Gear boxes

Gear boxes on boats tend to be straightforward – a forward gear, a reverse gear and neutral. There is no clutch, simply operate the gear lever.


A bow thruster is a device often (but not always) fitted into narrowboats and wide beams. It is used to help manoeuvre the boat, especially when in reverse gear. It is usually in the bow of the boat. For many, the barge pole is the first choice when trying to manoeuvre into or out of a tight spot, but for others, a bowthruster is an irreplaceable piece of kit.


The most common types of propeller found on narrowboats are the three bladed ones, although you can get four bladed ones if you prefer. They are easily damaged, and it is advisable to keep well away from them when the engine is running!

ARS Anglian Diesels Ltd (Wakefield)

Diesel engines & bow thrusters for narrowboats and widebeams. Specialists in Hydraulic Solutions.

01924 332493 


Shire Engine Kits.

01869 363682

Beta Marine

10 -150 hp Marine Propulsion Engines

01452 723 492 

Calcutt Boats (Southam, Warwickshire)

Specialists in BCM 1.5 & 1.8 Diesel Engines. Service/rebuild/parts

01926 813 757 


Canaline Canal Boat Marine Engines 25-70 BHP. Quedgeley, Glocs

01452 729 707

Castle Marine Ltd

Propeller repair specialists. Also gearbox repair & propeller sales

01286 674 322

Fuel Guard

Protect your engine by installing a fuel guard filter - saves money

01908 230 579

Kings Lock Chandlery (Middlewich, Cheshire)

Webasto marine heating & air con. Vetus parts and systems.

01606 737 564


Systems Solutions.

023 8045 4507