Trying to get in trim
QWe have purchased a second-hand boat and are fitting our personal items and white appliances to it. However, it’s currently tilting towards the starboard side, how do we ballast it to correct this?
AThe answer is simple on paper but more difficult in practice because the floor of a narrowboat is usually fitted first with the bulkheads and fixed furniture built on top. So it’s not easy to lift areas of floor.
You also need to think about where the gas bottles and any toilet tanks are located because a full toilet holding tank will often make the boat list until it is emptied. If the gas bottles are offset from the centreline they could contribute to a list, too. Most narrowboat fuel and water tanks are on the centreline so will not make the boat list. They will, however, alter the fore-aft trim of the boat.
Once you are sure any list is being caused by what you have put into the boat, you have two choices; remove some ballast from below the floor on the starboard side, or add ballast to the port side.
In an ideal world you would remove ballast to compensate for the extra weight, but it is usually easier to add ballast on the other side. You will often see steel or lead trimming ballast on one side of the engine compartment, ideally on the Uxter (swim) plate but otherwise on the baseplate. Fit it as far to the port side as you can.