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Home » Product & Planning Guide » Design Process » Identifying your Needs on a Canal Boat & Narrowboat


This chapter provides information, helpful hints and tips on identifying your needs, some of which you may not yet be aware of!

Identifying your needs and uncovering the implications / considerations of those needs is a vital foundation of the design process.

Structuring the design process logically is the the key to success.

A great boat design solution is not just about how it performs visually, it should first and foremost meet the needs of the boat owners. Developing a list of requirements is easier for some than others much depending on boating experience and equipment knowledge. In the next chapter ‘Requirements Checklist’ we have created a FREE 4 page document to help you create and narrow down you boat requirements. If you haven’t downloaded this document you can download it through the following hyperlink Canal Boat Requirements Checklist.

Once you filled out this questionnaire style document with or without realising it you will have developed a great foundation to start designing from. The secret is to look for the implications of your requirements list; these will vary hugely for each individual. For example if you decided to go for a pumpout toilet you will need to consider where the holding tank will be located and what the preferred pipe work configuration is from the manufacturer and this then poses the question of how to hide the pipe work. Equally if you opt for a cassette toilet you will need to consider its location allowing access to cassette for removal and emptying purposes. Another example would be if you opt for central heating, this will the require bare under gunwale space to mount the radiators and consideration of where to locate the calorifier/hot water tank.

These considerations / implications should help you begin to visualise the boat and start to develop some initial ideas. These ideas are the beginning of the design process. Ruling out one idea from another at the initial stages can often simply be decided by analysing them on a practical level, do they accommodate the boat requirements and cater for any associated implications/considerations.

If you start your design process with a consistent eye to your boat requirements and considerations you shouldn't go far wrong creating a practical solution and solving the problems early on.... There's nothing worse than getting part way through the build process and thinking to yourself 'Why didn't  I consider that when designed the boats layout?' Time spent on the design process should not only create you a great looking and practical boat but also eliminate any build problems or installation issues, which will in the long run save you time, money and stress.
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