If the boat fits...
QI’m thinking of buying a 35ft cruisersterned boat with a fixed wheelhouse/ cabin. This is a very unusual design, is there any major problem with having a fixed wheelhouse/cabin. NICK REPLIES... I’ve seen a few boats like this before and I’m assuming you mean a narrowboat. Generally, it can give you extra useful inside space in the wheelhouse which is handy, however, you do need to be careful about where you are going to use the boat because of its increased airdraft – the height of the top of the wheelhouse from the waterline.
Most narrowboats (which tend to have an airdraft of 6ft or under) will squeeze through most bridges and tunnels on the system (and some really can be a squeeze) but if you have a fixed wheelhouse that’s higher than a normal narrowboat cabin roof, you will be restricted by many, if not all, tunnels and, most importantly, some bridges.
The profile of the boat is also important when you talk of airdraft because, as I’m sure you know, most tunnels and bridges have arches that drop down at the sides so the shape of the boat, and in your case the wheelhouse, affects the clearance. A boat with vertical cabin (wheelhouse) sides would need a greater airdraft than one with sharply inwardly inclined cabin sides.
You must find out the airdraft and ensure you would have enough room under bridges (even on rivers, remember their levels rise and fall) where you plan to cruise.
If you want to cruise the canal system widely, this might not be the boat for you.
Fixed wheelhouses offer more space but have limitations