marine engines & propulsion

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.


vetus systems solutionsDiesel 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.

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 bowthruster is a device often (but not always) fitted into narrowboats and widebeams. It is used to help manoevre 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!

key diesels, remanufactured engines

ARS Anglian Diesels Ltd (Wakefield)
Specialists in Hydraulic Solutions. Engines/Bow-thrusters
Tel: 01924 332493 

Shire Engine Kits.
Tel: 01869 363682  

Beta Marine
10-150 HP Marine Propulsion Engines
Tel: 01452 723 492 

Calcutt Boats (Southam, Warwickshire)
Specialists in BCM 1.5 & 1.8 Diesel Engines. Service/rebuild/parts
Tel: 01926 813 757 

Canal Boat Marine Engines 25-70 BHP. Quedgeley, Glocs
Tel: 01452 729 707

Castle Marine Ltd
Propeller Repair Specialists. Also gearbox repair & propeller sales
Tel: 01286 674 322

Cheshire Marine Equipment
Nantwich, Cheshire
Tel: 01270 522 000

Fuel Guard
protects fuel, stops diesel bug, passes BSS regulations
Tel: 01908 230 579

Gardner Vintage Engines
Tel: 07969 129 568


Key Diesels (Nationwide)
New/Second-hand/reconditioned engines. 48 hr courier 
Tel: 01283 537 958

Marine 16
eradicates diesel bug, removes injector deposits, maintains fuel 
Tel: 01666 817 577

Marine Engine Services (Midlands)
Lister Petter Parts Specialists. Rebuilds, repairs, parts, advice
Tel:  01926 356 200 Sue/Richard

Thorn Marine (Warrington, Cheshire)
Engine Servicing Kits & Filters. 
Tel: 01925 265 129

Complete packages available for new build, refit & repowering
Tel: 023 8045 4507

Vintage Diesels (Daventry, Northants) 
Restoration & marinisation of quality vintage diesel engines
Tel: 01327 700 219 Tony Redshaw


Hybrid Marine
Electric Drive/Diesel power for adverse conditions. Cook Electric
Tel: 01983 403 236  

Lynch Marine
Electric Powered, Zero Emmissions, Quiet & Vibration Free
Tel: 01404 892 940 


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