23 August 2023

IWA has recently published a new guide: ‘An Introduction to Electric-Drive Narrowboats’. 

IWA believes that it is vital for the inland waterways community to make their contribution to a more sustainable environment and the IWA’s Sustainable Boating Group has been looking at how inland waterways leisure boating can become more sustainable since 2019. They published their Vision Paper in 2020, covering propulsion, the existing fleet and domestic energy on boats. 

IWA is delighted to see that an increasing number of new boats are now being built with some form of electric drive and most boatbuilders are now offering electric drive options. The technologies associated with this form of propulsion are not only unfamiliar to most boaters but are rapidly changing as electric road vehicle technologies develop. 

This new guide is not intended to be a ‘design and build’ manual for electric narrowboats but hopefully will help boaters who are not experts in the technologies to understand the issues involved and make appropriate decisions when specifying their new (or converted!) boat, in consultation with their builder. 

Malcolm Bridge, the principal author of the guide and a member of the Sustainable Boating Group, has owned an electric narrowboat for some years. The guide has been written in consultation with other electric boat owners and members of the Group, who are all experienced boaters owning boats ranging from historic ex working boats to modern leisure craft. 

Download the guide at