5 popular destinations for travelling where disease is still rife Chased by sheep – Little Bedwyn Taking a long walk…. Great Bedwyn -> Little Bedwyn Sunday on the canal Crofton Meadows -> Great Bedwyn Wolf Hall -> Crofton Meadows Brimslade -> Wolf Hall My first Zander Wotton Rivers -> Brimslade Most visited sites on the internet ABS LP110 Leisure battery for a narrowboat Burbage wharf Mooring in Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire Sunday in Pewsey Measuring the draft Looking for moorings around Wootton River/Clench New button fitted! Milkhouse Water, Wiltshire Now in Pewsey, CRT mooring rules Get into Stonehenge free Flaperon from MH370; no story – 1 month on Skyrim V Connect/’sign in’ to ‘open network’ wifi on Windows 10 My personal Strava movie – 2016 The biggest hacks of 2016 – A year in hacking US vs Bullying China Russian Google and Reddit misdirects skewing Google Analytics First complaint Winter electricity usage Devizes The fight for freedom, Not In My Back Yard Donald Trump – Puppet masters, Parody to victory, and the march to nationalism US Presidential elections 2016 Taking a narrowboat on the Thames Giles Wood – Melksham Bonny Journey List of dead bankers 2016 – conspiracy update Day 38 – Taunton to Exeter Day 37 – Seend Park to Taunton Day 36 – Seend Park to Bradford on Avon Day 49 – Caen Hill Marina to Seend Park Bleeding a BMC 1800 marine engine 3 Reasons you won’t ever tell me 9/11 was not an inside job Day 48 – Caen Hill Locks Day 47 – Devizes – Caen Hill Locks Day 47 – Honey Street to Devizes Day 46 – Great Bedwyn to Honey Street Day 45 – Newbury to Great Bedwyn Day 43 – Theale to Newbury Day 42 – Goring to Theale Day 41 – Oxford to Goring Day 40 – Aynho to Oxford Day 39 – Claydon to Aynho Day 38 – Flecknoe to Claydon Day 37 – Ansty to Flecknoe Day 36 – Alvecote to Ansty Day 35 – Kings Bromley to Alvecote Day 34 – Little Haywood to Kings Bromley News Winter moorings Day 33 – Stone to Little Haywood Day 32 – Kidsgrove to Stone Day 31 – Wheelock to Kidsgrove Cask ale week – Use your mobile to claim free beer Chimney repairs Day 30 – Marston to Wheelock Day 29 – Dunham Massey to Marston Viewranger mapping app Day 28 – Plank Lane to Dunham Massey Day 27 – Crooke to Plank Lane The anti-Blair cometh…. Day 26 – Rufford to Crooke Day 25 – Morecambe to Rufford – 1,000th post eva! Six companies are about to merge into the biggest farm-business oligopoly in history Day 25 – Hawes to Morecambe Day 24 – Durham to Hawes Day 23 – Newcastle to Durham Day 22 – Norham to Newcastle Day 21 – Edinburgh to Norham Day 20 – Dundee to Edinburgh Day 19 – Aberdeen to Dundee Day 18 – Buckie to Aberdeen Day 17 – Inverness to Buckie Day 16 – Helmsdale to Inverness Day 15 – Helmsdale Day 14 – John O’Groats to Helmsdale Inverness and over the border Travelling by train with a bike UNESCO PLACES OF WORSHIP Day 11 – Tarleton to St. Mary’s Marina, Rufford Day 10 – Tarleton lock Day 9 – Crooke to Tarleton Day 8 – Plank Lane to Crooke Day 7 – Grappenhall to Leigh Day 6 – Marston to Grapplington Bonny Journey – Day 5 – Church Minshull to Marston Bonny Journey – Day 4 – Audlem to Church Minshull Bonny Journey – Day 3 – Gnosall to Audlem Bonny Journey – Day 2 – Calf Heath to Gnosall
Narrowboat watertank rust

Painting a narrowboat water-tank

Michael Tyler


Owner and main contributor to the site.

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This little story is about how to paint a narrowboat water-tank:

There’s 5 steps

  1. Strip the loose and decayed metal
  2. Work surfaces down to bare metal or non-corroded paint
  3. Apply Iron Oxide paint to areas still rusting
  4. Apply bitumen blacking paint
  5. Remove paint residue


Stripping and prepping (rusty tank) – 2days
Painting (1 primer and 1 top) – 2 days

Total – 4-5 Days

*This is doing it fast. If you want to paint the tank in two halves it’s going to add a day.


Paint – £15-£20
Brushes – £15 -£20

Total – £40

Step #1:Strip loose and decayed metal


Shave-hook – Triangular headed scraper

Triangular headed scraper
Triangular headed scraper

Water pump

rule il280p pump
rule il280p pump


Narrowboat watertank rust
Removed a few shovel-fulls of rust.

Located right at the front of the boat, the water-tank has been rusting for a while. The paint has come off over time leading to corrosion and a build up of sediment at the bottom of the tank.

Using the triangular headed scraper, or shave-hook, (as it’s officially known), I stripped the inner tank of any of this loose material.

There was perhaps 3kg.

I also had to DRY THE TANK OUT and remove ALL OF THE WATER.

This I did with some sponges, then left it to dry.

Rusted narrowboat water tank
A rusty water-tank

Step #2: Work surfaces down to bare metal or non-corroded paint

Narrowboat watertank
Preparing watertank for painting


Small wire brushes

Small wire brushes
Small wire brushes

Bosch PSB 680 Compact Drill

Bosch PSB 680 compact drill

Crimped wire brushes

Crimped wire brush
Crimped wire brush

Mask + Goggles + Plugs


Actually getting down into the tank.

Ensuring that all the rust is removed from the seems, where the welds are made.

All areas where the paint has come off is reduced to bare metal.

This took a period of about 9 hours in total.

It’s no small job.

You will find you and your tools are covered in sticky grime, I would recommend covering up, I’ve featured the bare minimum of PPE you’re going to require.

Step #3: Apply Iron Oxide paint to areas still rusting

Red oxide coating watertank
Red oxide coating watertank


Iron oxide paint

Iron oxide primer
Iron oxide primer

Getting back into the tank.

Vacuum out with a small handheld 12v Bosch vac, I also wiped the walls down with a damp cloth.

The red oxide is essential to prevent further corrosion. Don’t use any other type of primer.

Priming the area where metal is showing.

Takes about 2-3 hours.

Step #4: Apply bitumen blacking paint

Blacking narrowboat watertank
Blacking narrowboat watertank


Rylard watertank coating.

The regulations concerning water-tank paint coating have changed…

Into the future, all bitumen based coatings are to be phased out.

If you have bitumen ALREADY in your tank, this is the only coating you can apply under current EU health regulations.

Narrowboat watertank coating
Rylard watertank coating

Climbing into the  tank with a large 4″ paintbrush.

I actually poured the paint into an old Fray Bentos pie tin, something you may or may not have lying around….

Initially, I would have said 1-2 hours, but to get full coverage. Working into all the pits and seems. Takes about 4 hours.

I’ve applied two coats.

The best way, if you’re not able to do it in one go,which will involve some physically demanding work, would be to paint one half, leave to dry, then paint the other.

You need two coats. One will not do.

Step #5: Clean residue.

This isn’t one I expected.

There is, however, a fair amount of small paint particles and residue that need to be removed before the water is drinkable.

Simply a case of filling the water tank, mopping down all the sides with a clean mop.

Emptying leaves the particles on the side of the tank which can then be wiped off with a damp towel.

You can use Milton solution.

You may have to do this routinely, if you want to use your water tank for potable water.

Leaving the milton solution to soak for the recommended period, 4 hours, then emptying the tank after flushing round your system thoroughly.

Job done….


Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Michael Tyler Sailor's Almanac: Further Narrowboat Adventures
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  1. Oh my you have been busy. The water tank look a million times better…..very pleased g. I guess they managed to fix the disel leak in the pipe when they serviced her.
    We’ll done

  2. Wow…..impressive you will have an excellent water tank good for years…..good piece of work….

  3. I have just caught up with your blog.

    This entry looks good, and the tanks itself certainly did, yesterday. I only glimpsed into the gas compartment when you showed me it a couple of weeks back, but that looks an interesting challenge, with it being so much smaller.

  4. After our chat about painting yesterday I had a bit of a read around. Just out of interest, then, here are three pages (probably of many) that might help us all get our thoughts together before August. And I see that there are quite a few courses on painting narrowbaots, would you believe!

    see Bondi Blue – https://www.boatpaint.co.uk/acatalog/International-Toplac-Paint-p1.html

    Did my Trip Advisor entry on the Middle Bell just now.

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