Springer Narrowboats
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Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 4:07pm

Springer built steel canal boats from the late 1960's until the early 1990's. They were one of the most prolific builders of narrow boats  and there are still many Springer built boats on the Inland Waterways today. 

The majority of the boats that were built were between forty and fifty feet in length.  Springer were based in Market Harborough and the company changed ownership several times before folding in approximately 1992.

Springer narrowboat hulls were produced using thinner steel and were built in a V shape to create a stronger structure. Their Water Bugs were built using a 3mm steel hull and the larger boats were built with 5mm steel hulls. The Water Bug was developed as a trailerable version of the narrowboat and they were built in two sizes, twenty and twenty three feet in length. They were aimed at the smaller boat market so that they could be transported on a trailer easily.

Springer boats offer a good budget option when buying a boat. The fact that there are still so many Springer narrowboats on the canal system today proves that they were one of the most produced boats until their demise, and proves that even though the hulls were manufactured using thinner steel, Springers are often still very serviceable and reliable after more than twenty years on the waterways. We would always recommend that you get a hull survey done on any boat of this age to make sure that the hull is sound before buying. 

See our You Tube video about Springer Narrowboat Hulls for more information.

If you want to buy a narrow boat on a small budget we usually have a selection of used Springer boats for sale and at the moment we have three which are listed below:

Teddy B is a 31ft narrowboat built by Springer in 1990 for sale priced at £12,950

Barney is a 45ft cruiser style narrowboat built by Springer in 1981 for sale priced at £23,950.

Romany is a 45ft traditional style narrowboat built by Springer in 1989 for sale priced at £23,500


bill mcclure | Sat Mar 8, 2014 at 9:16am
have had the offer of a 45 foot springer that needs anew base plate &over platting to above the water line she has the old box stern &wood top nothing in side been stripped would like to fetch hr back to life would this be worth it
Whilton Marina | Wed Apr 2, 2014 at 3:28pm
Hello Bill, apologies for the delay in replying to you. Yes, replating an old boat gives it a new lease of life and will make it serviceable for another 10 to 15 years if done professionally. As long as you are not spending more than the boat would be worth once refurbished, it's worth doing!
John Dymond | Fri Jun 3, 2016 at 5:24pm
How can the age of a springer narrow boat be. Determined.please?
Whilton Marina | Wed Jun 8, 2016 at 2:50pm
Hello John, Boats can sometimes be dated from their registration Index number, which can identify the date of first registration. However a boat may be older than its registration for several reasons. For example, the system lumps all craft built before registration came into force as older than 1980/81. Craft that began life on other authorities’ waterways can only be dated to their first year of registration with the Canal and River Trust (Formerly British Waterways)However Springer narrowboats were only built until the early 1990’s.
Stuart | Tue Jan 3, 2017 at 8:40pm
Any idea of the weight of a 23 ft waterbug?
Whilton Marina | Wed Jan 4, 2017 at 12:03pm
Hello Stuart,There isn't a way to calculate the weight of a boat that we are aware of, without asking the original builder which may not be possible with an older boat like a waterbug. A narrowboat haulier such as Tuckeys in Stockton Warwickshire may be able to give you an idea of a standard 23ft narrowboat weight, they can be contacted on 01926812134.
james | Wed May 3, 2017 at 9:43pm
Hi, we are thinking of buying a 23ft springer, but are unsure if its capacity given its shorter than average length. How do we determine how many people can be onboard (safely) at a time?Many thanks
Rachael | Mon May 8, 2017 at 2:01pm
Stuart, our 23 foot springer waterbug weighed 4.3 tonnes when we had her lifted last month for blacking.
Whilton Marina | Tue May 16, 2017 at 11:11am
Hello James,The passenger capacity is usually displayed on the manufacturers identification plate on the boat. However if there is no plate, best to be safe and go on the number of berths in the boat.
Allen | Tue May 26, 2020 at 7:40pm
have you a rough idea of the weight of a springer 23ft Many thanks
Whilton Marina | Wed Jun 3, 2020 at 10:52am
Hello Allen, The approximate weight of a 23ft Springer narrowboat is 7 Ton.
Nick booth | Wed Aug 12, 2020 at 11:00pm
Well my 23 ft water bug weighs 2800 kg. And that’s with a 3 cyclinder in board ,Kubota and a Enfield leg trailer is 700 kg and tow it with a hilux
Whilton Marina | Mon Aug 17, 2020 at 3:20pm
Hi Nick, Wow thats light for all that! Thanks for your comment.
Huw Gibby | Mon Aug 24, 2020 at 4:55pm
Hi, could you settle an argument I’m having with an elderly lady called Davina Hockin who claims that her Springer narrow boat had a V-shaped keel. I said that narrowboats all have shallow 2-3 ft draft with flat bottoms! Who is correct? Thanks!
Whilton Marina | Thu Aug 27, 2020 at 2:19pm
Hi Huw Gibby, Springer narrowboats do have a V shaped hull. Thanks
Andy Stone | Wed Oct 28, 2020 at 5:48pm
Does the Springer V shaped hull mean it needs deeper water than a flat bottomed narrow boat?
Whilton Marina | Mon Nov 9, 2020 at 2:56pm
Hello Andy, a V hull means that it has a deeper draught overall than the equivalent flat bottomed boat. But in terms of low water, you can get into the side much more easily even when water levels are low with a v shaped hull, so there shouldn't be an issue.
Mina Martinez | Fri Jun 11, 2021 at 3:47pm
Is it possible to moor a23ft narrowboat on the Thames?
Whilton Marina | Fri Jun 25, 2021 at 11:28am
Hi Mina, Yes it is possible. Thanks

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