Engine Selection for Canal Boats

This table is to be used as a guide only!

  • Beta Marine Limited do not accept any responsibility for incorrect engine selection.
  • Please use this table as a rough guide to select the engine size you need for your canal boat (both narrow boats and wide beamers).
  • This guide is based upon cruising in still water canals at a relaxed engine speed. If you are using flowing rivers and/or tidal estuaries then a slightly larger engine size may be more suitable.
  • Most of our canals and rivers in the UK are limited to 4 mph (3.5 knots) and do not need much power to achieve this; however you should consider safety and manoeuvrability where it is preferable to be able to stop your 10 tons to 30 tons of canal boat in its length.
  • You should talk to the boat builder (as they should know the boats designed performance) - the propeller specialist can specify a suitable propeller (based upon engine horse power and rpm) - we then supply the required engine. (The recommended propellers detailed below are based upon 3 fixed blades and a 2:1 reduction gearbox).
  • Beta Marine Limited do not accept any responsibility for incorrect engine selection.
Beta 14 13.3 bhp at 3,600 rpm 20' - 25' 6 tons   12” x 8” 6 hp
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Beta 16 16 bhp at 3,600 rpm 20' - 30' 7 tons   12” x 8” 6 hp
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Beta 20 20 bhp at 3,600 rpm 20' - 35' 8 tons   13” x 8” 6 hp
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Beta 25 25 bhp at 3,600 rpm 25' - 40' 10 tons   14” x 8” 6 hp
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Beta 30 30 bhp at 3,600 rpm 30' - 40' 12 tons   15” x 9” 6 hp
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Beta 38 35 bhp at 2,800 rpm 40' - 50' 14 tons   16” x 10” 6 hp
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Beta 43 43 bhp at 2,800 rpm 50' - 70' 18 tons   18” x 12” 6 hp
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Beta 50 50 bhp at 2,800 rpm 60' - 70' 18 tons 45' - 50' 22 tons 19” x 12” 6 hp
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Beta 60 56 bhp at 2,700 rpm   50' - 55' 22 tons 20” x 12” 10 hp
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Beta 75 75 bhp at 2,600 rpm   55' - 60' 28 tons 20” x 14” 10 hp
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Beta 90 90 bhp at 2,600 rpm   60' - 70' 28 tons Please Ask 10 hp
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Beta 105 99 bhp at 2,600 rpm   65' - 75' 30 tons Please Ask 10 hp
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Beta 150 147 bhp at 2,800 rpm   70' - 100' 40 tons Please Ask 10 - 15 hp
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JD3 Tug 30 bhp at 1,200 rpm 60' - 70' Tug 18 tons   20" x 20"  
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With the longer Narrowboats – say 50 to 70 feet on the Inland Waterways, we generally look at two different applications (power requirements):

a) The canal system where it is recommended that you can stop your vessel / boat within a boat length.
b) More the inland river system and estuaries where the tides and rivers can flow at up to 8 knots at different times of the year.

One of our dealers / marine engineers has said the he can go anywhere on the UK canals with a Beta 38; We guess he always allows for the changing tides and does not venture out after heavy rains and fast flowing rivers.

Another experienced marine engineer uses 1hp per foot, and he says that he has never been caught out wanting on engine power. Technically, a propeller specialist states the propeller required and the power required to drive it.

As an engine manufacturer we will always err on the side of caution with a small safety margin (we try to avoid being undersized).