Narrowboat Stoves - What you need to know

Many narrowboat and other rivercraft owners use solid fuel stoves to heat up their boat during the winter. Stoves have the power to heat up a boat in a very short period of time and therefore are a very cost effective way for narrowboat owners to keep warm during the colder months. There are several uses of stoves for Narrowboat owners; cooking, heating, hot water and even, drying clothes.

Although solid fuel stoves may keep you warm during the colder months, it is also important to remember that incidents can happen if they are poorly maintained. The Boat Safety Scheme mention that approximately two dozen boat owners were seriously hurt or even killed over the past few years. Some cases, where no-one was injured, it still caused damage to boats and the contents kept within.

There are many safety risks that come to mind when using a solid fuel stove, but the main ones to avoid are:

  • Over-firing which happens when a fire is burning out of control. This can be prevented by being cautious of air control, get to know the right fuel to use and never leave your stove burning if you are not around.
  • Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be caused by poor ventilation in the boat and therefore not allowing the fumes to escape. Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that cannot be seen or smelt and therefore can cause people to lose consciousness and possibly even cause death when exposed to higher fumes.
  • Ensure that any items such as furniture are kept away from the burning stove as they could potentially catch alight.
  • Lack of maintenance can lead to problems in the future, so it’s important to make time to maintain your stove and if any issues arise then seek professional advice and get it fixed.

Installing your stove

Make sure the stove is at least 2 inches away from the wall and that there is a 25mm fire retardant board with a 10mm air gap between the wall and the board.

It is advised that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when fitting a new stove to ensure the stove is installed correctly. Learn how to install a new stove safely with the Boat Safety Scheme’s article:

Another important thing to remember is to get smoke alarms and carbon monoxide meters fitted in an easy accessible place.

How to fuel my stove?           

  • Multi-Fuel stoves can burn wood, coal and even smokeless fuel
  • Smokeless fuel is a much better alternative that does not harm the environment as it doesn’t create smoke.
  • Wood

Narrowboat Insurance

With our narrowboat insurance you are covered for loss or damage including accidental damage. As a narrowboat owner, if you were to experience any damage caused by your narrowboat stove, you may be covered.

Got a question?

Get in touch with the team at Collidge & Partners by calling 01303 290872 or drop us an email on