Portable Generators for Narrowboat Owners

The need for electricity is huge for many narrowboat owners, whether it be for television, laptops, mobile phones or even power tools. Portable Generators can be a useful way to gain more power on your narrowboat, however you should be aware of the dangers. The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) have three simple points that should always be remembered when using a portable generator.

  • Never permanently install a portable generator or make unauthorised modifications which are not supported by the manufacturer.
  • Never run the generator on the boat, or on a bank which is near windows, hatches or doors as this could lead to the boat filling with carbon monoxide which is highly toxic.
  • Never refill the generator on the boat, be sure to refuel on the bank away from any potential ignition source.

Petrol fuelled generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can make you very unwell and potentially even kill if exposed to extreme levels. It is advised that you have a CO detector on board to be able to identify if there are any fumes in the air as carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless. For petrol fuelled generators, it is far safer to use a propane conversion kit which makes it easier to comply with the BSS regulations for storing gas on board. Boaters should choose to run generators away from other boats in busy marinas especially when there is no wind to help remove the fumes from the air.

Refuelling a generator

Before you run a generator, it is important to check the surrounding area for any signs of leaked fuel, as this is a hazard that could lead to a fire and cause severe damage. When refuelling your generator, you should ensure it is switched off and then refuel on an open pontoon or deck as this will avoid any fuel spillages on your narrowboat. Additionally, if you keep petrol containers on board, you should be sure that these are stowed well away from any potential ignition.

Please note our insurance only covers the theft of portable generators following forcible entry into the vessel, or conveyance or place of storage ashore. If you would like to discuss more about our narrowboat insurance, please do get in touch with our team today.

Get in touch

For information on our narrowboat insurance check out our dedicated canal and narrowboat insurance page or call 01303 290872 to speak to a specialist adviser.