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Home » Product & Planning Guide » Painting & Protection » Paint Specification on Canal Boats & Narrowboats


Choosing the paint manufacturer and colour for your canal boat / narrowboat is a decision to be thoroughly researched.

There are a number of different manufacturers of marine enamels. Their use often comes down to personal preference. A good place to start is the towpath or local marina. Ask around, gather opinion. If you are having the job done professionally make sure you see examples of the painters work before you commit.

Get written confirmation of any ”extras” you require. For example, panels, stripes, extra colours, mouse ears, harlequin cratch decoration and bow and stern detailing will all be extras.

Canal boat paint is based on coach enamel. It is hard wearing and comes in a huge range of colours and shades. Visit the web sites of specialist manufacturers listed in our Products and Services guide and go to you local chandlery to see the products displayed. You local chandler may be able to provide you with colour cards if you ask.

You may notice, however, that there are a disproportionate number of blue and green boats on the system. This is not because boat owners generally relate to blue and green but because of the colour spectrum and the way colours absorb light.

Blues and greens are seem more stable in sunlight, with reds and yellows at the other end fading quicker. With the amount of money spent on the “average” (of which there’s no such thing) paint job, it’s only human nature to want it to look good for as long as possible.
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