Ovation Boats Open Day 9 July 2022

2nd July 2022

Ovation Open Day Graphic July 2022

With our open day only a week away, you might like to consider putting the 9 July in your diary, so you don’t forget!?

We currently have two 60foot narrowboats under construction, namely: ‘Chatterbox’ and ‘Reprise’ and both are in advanced stages of completion.

We’re hoping ‘Chatterbox’ will be completed and cleaned by 9th July so you’ll get a really good impression of what she’ll look like when handed over to her new owner but the jury’s out as to whether the soft furnishings will be finished and fitted! Fingers crossed though!!

Chatterbox lounge

Whilst ‘Reprise’ still has a few weeks before the interior is completed and the external paintwork needs finishing off, again, there’s plenty to see if you’re actively considering having your own boat built.

So, if you fancy doing something different at the weekend, please consider visiting the Ovation Boats workshop at Redhill Marina NG11 0EB to see ‘Chatterbox’ and ‘Reprise’ on Saturday, 9 July! We're just off Junction 24 of the M1!

You could even have a chat with one of the team about what you’d like for your own narrowboat! Now, there's a thought!!!

Molly's Journey - heading off to new adventures

17th June 2022


Anyone choosing Ovation Boats to build their dream is given as much (or as little) support as they need before and after handover.

Always keen to help new owners understand their boat and using canal networks, advice is always available by phone or, in some cases, more practical help can be given.............and if a day out on a boat is in the offing, you can be sure Darren always has his hand up first!!

In this short video Darren is helping Molly's new owner, Julie, and her dad, as they travel towards an overnight stop at Braunston Bottom Lock following the Crick Boat show. All very exciting!

My, that boy certainly does love his job!!


Pram Covers - to have or have not!

8th June 2022

We've all seen the huge pram covers adorning rear decks and maybe wondered how practical they really are, but if Karen & Rob Bent (FB Boomers On Board) are anything to go by, they really are a must for anyone considering buying a narrowboat.

Charnwood V.jpg
Charnwood V

'There's no way we wouldn't have a pram cover now we've got one, as it's an extra room and so useful.

The pram cover literally takes about 5 minutes to put up and get down.

I know people might think it's a faff, but it's dead easy and we wouldn't be without it.'

Testimonial by Karen Bent

Open Day - 9 July 2022 Redhill Marina

8th June 2022

Ovation Open Day Graphic July 2022

Friday at the Crick Boat Show with Molly 2022

8th June 2022

With a lifetime of narrowboats, and living, breathing & working the UK waterways, the Ovation Team totally understand what's needed and works for a successful narrowboat lifestyle, whether living aboard or leisure.

Every customer is encouraged to share their ideas and remains part of the build process, from beginning to end.

Whilst some days were a little cool this year, everyone received a warm welcome from the Ovation Team and their families.

Meet some of the team

Preview Day & Virtual tour at the Crick Boat Show 2022

8th June 2022

Molly completed

After a wash and brush up, Molly was ready for meeting her public - and what a lot of interest Molly created!

Take a virtual tour around Molly and see what ideas you may like in your own build, but whatever your requirements, you can be assured our time served craftsmen will work with you to create your dream.

Molly's Journey - finished and heading off to Crick 2022

8th June 2022

Even the most experienced boat fitter can't fail to be impressed with a 'finished' product and with each project being individually hand crafted & created, including our stock boats, everyone has a great sense of satisfaction for a job 'well done'.

Molly beginning
Molly completed

Here we have 'Molly' on her first and last day before heading off to Crick for the 2022 Boat show.




Molly's journey - arrival at the workshop

7th June 2022

At Ovation Boats, we build every boat with the care, love and dedication each new owner (and boat) deserves.

When we have a minute, someone will have the foresight to take out their phone and either take a photo or small video of the build, and this was no different with Molly, except Molly started her life as a stock boat being fitted out for the Crick Boat Show, and halfway through, was bought and became a future home for Julie and her pet dwarf rabbit, 'Dapper!'

Over the course of a few blogs we plan to take you through Molly's journey - and as she was named after Julie's late mum, Molly has a special place in all our hearts.

Molly- artwork.jpg
Molly artwork

This short video was taken by young Henry who has a great interest in all things 'boats' but at the time had only recently been bitten by the narrowboat 'bug'.

As you can see, Molly was manoeuvred into the yard using a boat lift and then carefully winched into place using 'skates', giving a slow, but safe & precise, delivery.

Whilst Molly was mostly 'open to the elements' during her fit-out, the rear section was covered by a perspex roof, and tarpaulin which hung either side and could be raised or lowered depending on what was needed at the time. This simple arrangement was designed and built by our older, and amazingly resourceful, fit-out team, allowing a comfortable working environment for all and access, on & off, without exposure to the elements.

Molly at the workshop



Crick 2022 - final preparations

1st June 2022

With just hours to go, the final preparations are being made to 'Molly' - the latest creation from Ovation Boats!


'Moonwater' - testimonial by Chris & Sue Cook

1st June 2022

“We took delivery of our beautiful 58ft Semi-traditional Narrowboat named ‘Moonwater’ in March 2022.

The boat was built by Chris Williams and his Ovation Boat Services team.

Throughout the entire build and fit-out process we have formed an excellent relationship with Chris, Darren and the rest of the Ovation team. They were always happy to incorporate our additional requirements as the fit-out progressed, such as “Chris we would like a freezer built into the dinette” and a number of other in-flight design changes, in fact nothing was too much trouble.

Chris has a team of highly skilled craftsmen who have created the custom-built narrowboat of our dreams.

Based upon our experience we would highly recommend Ovation Boat Services.”

Chris & Sue Cook


Charnwood IV

26th May 2022

Always willing to try something new, Charnwood IV was bought as a fully painted, 'lined sailaway' but fitted out by Ovation Boats.

Her galley is bespoke, being hand built in oak, giving a wonderfully 'warm' and welcoming feel on entry.

Charnwood IV was sold through New and Used Boat Co at Mercia Marina.

Lined and ready for fitting out
Fully painted lined sail away

We think you'll agree, she looks very special!

Charnwood III

26th May 2022

Some of the boats fitted out by Ovation Boats are built as stock boats (Charnwood Edge) and are known by numbers until a name is chosen by their new owners.

Whilst our stock boats are generally built as 60foot, semi cruiser stern, reverse layouts, we always try to change part of the design or materials to ensure each customer enjoys an individuially built boat, and of course, a rear pram cover can really finish the look!

Charnwood III
Charnwood III pram cover


Charnwood III was sold through the New and Used Boat Co at Mercia Marina.


'Carrie Louise'

26th May 2022

'Carrie Louise'

In August 2021, Ovation Boats took two boats to the Crick Boat show - 'Carrie Louise' and 'Grace' - and what eye turners they proved to be!

After Covid-19 had kept everyone isolated for 18months, Crick really was a 'welcome breath of fresh air', and I think you'll agree, 'Carrie Louise' really was a 'sight for sore eyes!'

Apologies for all the cliches..........but let's remind ourselves what 'Carrie Louise' looked like!


A dream come true

18th May 2022

A dream realised
   Everyone dreams of having something nice in their lives and once in a while those dreams can be realised! This was certainly the case for Aaron & Lil!

With firm ideas as to what they wanted they booked an appointment with Chris Williams to share their ideas, and what wonderful ideas they had!

Composite worktop with incorporated galley sink
Three burner hob

If you're planning to commission a boat it's always a good idea to do some research beforehand, even if it's pictures from a catalogue, and present your ideas to your chosen boat builder. That way a lot of time can be saved for both parties and the boat builder can have a clear idea as to what's inside your head, which is a 'win, win' for everyone!

Pullman dinette
Porcelain basin with mixer tap and under gunnel lighting throughout


Shower with quarter doors
Mirrored double wardrobe


Off we go!
It's a thumbs up from Aaron and Lil!


Take a tour around Charnwood Edge!

17th May 2022

All the narrowboats fitted out by Ovation Boats are individuals, and that includes those boats we refer to as 'stock boats'.


This 60foot semi cruiser stern has a centrally sited solid fuel stove and a door through to the shower room set to port!


The layout in the shower room is slightly different to our standard boats too but have a look and see if there are any features you may like in your boat!

Shower room



Fit-out by slide show!

17th May 2022

Over the course of fitting out one of our narrowboats, we took daily photos of how the fit-out was progressing! It makes a change to the videos we do, but what do you think?!




Touring the workshop and meeting the team

16th May 2022

Take a tour around our current boats and workshop - and meet our team!!

Ovation Boats


Painting 'Chatterbox'

16th May 2022

Just like any painting job, the key to getting it right is good preparation - and that means getting into all those difficult to reach places too, whether under the gunnels or the underside of lockers!

Under gunnel before paint applied
Under gunnel complete with primer and undercoat

'Chatterbox' was grit blasted to remove as much scale from the milling process as possible which was followed by a coat of primer.

Three coats of International Perfection Pro two pack epoxy undercoat came next, with a light sanding down between applications and a wipe over with a 'tack cloth' to remove as many particles as possible prior to application.

Prepared front deck
Prepared cabin side and top

Tack cloths remove fine particles
Henry giving 'Chatterbox' a first top coat

Giving the first of two layers of International Perfection Pro top coat, is always an exciting time but before the final coat is applied great care is taken to again prepare the surface by sanding, wiping down with 'panel wipe' and a final clean with 'tack cloth'. The surface is also continually wiped down with a clean 'tack cloth' which ensures as perfect a finish as possible and provides a durable and glossy finish, standing you in good stead for all aspects of boating to come.

Although International Perfection Pro comes at an increased cost over some other paint systems we’ve used, the encouraging results and feedback from this ‘two pack epoxy’ product makes it our ‘go to’ paint system.

First top coat will be sanded down hard
Final top coat taped off and protected ready for second colour

'Chatterbox' having a first coat of grey top coat
'Chatterbox' first top coat of grey



Crick Boat Show 2022

3rd May 2022

The Crick Boat Show will be held Friday 3 - Sunday 5 June this year although there will be a preview day (with a centralised booking system) on Thursday 2 June for preview day ticket holders.

Ovation Boats visit us at the 2022 Crick Boat Show

Ovation Boats was priveledged to show two narrowboats at the Crick Boat Show last year:

'Grace' a Charnwood Choice and 'Carrie Louise' a Charnwood Edge.

When new owners Karen & Rob Bent, kindly agreed to allow their dream boat 'Grace' to be shown at Crick, no-one could have imagined the response she got. She certainly caused a stir as so many people instantly 'fell in love' with Karen & Rob's creation and, who could have imagined 'Grace' would secure second favourite boat in show!? A truly amazing achievement, and a 'feather in the cap' for the Ovation Boats team!


Not to be outdone, 'Carrie Louise' a Charnwood Edge, was also given a raptuous welcome at Crick, and gained a large following of admirers for her modern & stylish interior and quality fit-out, but once again, Ovation Boats could not have shown 'Carrie Louise' without the permission of her new (and proud) owner, Mike Reid! 

'Carrie Louise'

We at Ovation Boats do our best to fulfil the dreams of so many who are increasingly, like Karen & Rob Bent (FB Boomers on Board) and Mike Reid, making that decision to either take a leap of faith and move onto the inland waterways & canal systems of the United Kingdom permanently, or buy a narrowboat for pleasure.

If you're planning on coming to the Crick Boat Show this year and would like to book a viewing of our latest 'Charnwood Choice' (Molly) why not phone Chris Williams direct on 07963974793 or book online to see her on the preview day!

Crick Boat Show 2022: Introducing Molly

3rd May 2022

With only a few weeks to go before the Crick Boat Show, it's 'all hands to the pump' to get 'Molly' finished for her big reveal!

This year's show boat from Ovation Boats is a little different, with some features you probably wouldn't expect to find on a narrowboat! These include a 'safe area' for a miniature 'house' rabbit (or is that 'boat rabbit') who will be moving in with the new owner following the show.

Bunny stand in

Although there's a few areas that still need completing, supply of materials should all come good, and in good time.

Have a sneak preview, and we will post a finished video soon!

If you're coming to the Crick Boat Show and looking to buy a narrow boat, why not contact Chris Williams direct and book yourself a viewing: 07963 974793.


Securing batteries

3rd May 2022

It's always important to ensure batteries are safely secured from unintentional movement whether engine start, domestic or bow thruster batteries, and at Ovation Boats each battery box is built specifically for a dedicated boat.

Bow thruster battery boxes

Today Henry has been building two bow thruster battery boxes which, for this particular boat, will each hold one battery in the forward bow thruster locker, although most battery boxes are built to hold both batteries in one box.


Meet the team: training, hard work and fun!

7th April 2022




A hive of activity in the workshop
Checking a delivery

The emphasis will always be on building a quality product but there's always time for a bit of light hearted, on site training!

On site training programme

Painting Your Narrowboat

2nd April 2022

Preparing your narrowboat for painting should always begin with grit blasting and is standard practice at Ovation Boats. This process helps remove residue on the plate from the steel milling process and provides as clean as possible a foundation for the subsequent layers of paint.

Narrowboat awaiting grit blasting
Narrowboat awaiting grit blasting
Grit blasting removes residue left from the steel making process
Grit blasting removes residue left from the steel making process

Following grit blasting the steel is sprayed with a primer coat before three coats of International Perfection Pro undercoat are applied, with the surface lightly sanded between each coat.

Following grit blasting the vessel is prepared for painting
Following grit blasting the vessel is prepared for painting
Messenger Chatterbox

Two coats of International Perfection Pro top coat, sanded down between each coat, completes the process and provides a durable and glossy finish, which will stand you in good stead for all aspects of boating.

Although International Perfection Pro comes at an increased cost over some other paint systems we’ve used, the encouraging results and feedback from this ‘two pack epoxy’ product makes it our ‘go to’ paint system.



'Moonwater' - a semi trad, launched 21 March 2022

21st March 2022

A new narrowboat fit-out is always exciting but, coupled with a customers own artistic flair, the finished result can be pretty amazing!

Canaline engine

'Moonwater' was different right from the start: the shell was semi trad as opposed to semi cruiser, and instead of a reverse layout, the customer favoured the more traditional style, with bedroom at the rear and lounge (or saloon) at the front.

If you're looking for ideas as to how you would like your own narrowboat to look then take a sneak preview of 'Moonwater' - there's plenty to choose from!

Floor coverings: shower and galley

10th March 2022

Whilst carpets and wooden floors look great in narrowboats, it’s probably best to steer away from these materials when considering a sole covering for your shower-room.

Linoleum, vinyl and vinyl ‘click’ floor tiling/ boards are far better, in fact vinyl is more suited to high moisture areas and requires little maintenance, but all can be sourced from many outlets selling floor coverings. 

Vinyl tile

With the many different designs mimicking wood, tile and slate, there's lots to choose from, and these coverings could also be considered for the galley, and be one of those early decisions you can make.

To prevent any disappointment should a design be coming to the point of being ‘discontinued’, floor coverings can be bought in and safely stored at the beginning of your narrowboat fit-out journey.

Here are a few examples from our previous boat builds:

Vinyl tile






Vinyl tiling



Vinyl-click- boarding.jpg
Vinyl click boarding
Vinyl wood effect


'Living the dream' with Boomers on Board

5th March 2022

After a 3month winter 'stop over' with NBGrace at Brinklow Marina, Karen & Rob Bent are now continuing their adventures around the waterways of the UK.
'Boomers On Board' (Karen & Rob) have catalogued their own journey from traditional brick built home to narrowboat in a facebook blog which is becoming increasingly popular, and they continue to inspire others to take their own 'leap of faith.'
Below is a sample of life as viewed by Karen. Such wise words and her 'nothing in life is guaranteed' are words we would all do best to heed, afterall, 'Carpe Diem' has been a popular narrowboat name for 'yonks' and that's no surprise considering it means 'Sieze the day!'
We hope you enjoy reading Karen's words, and please, check out 'Boomers on Board' yourselves, and 'Sieze the day!'
“We need, in love to practice only this; letting each other go. For holding on comes easily, we do not need to learn it” Rainer Maria Rilke.
I’ve just read a book by Russell Brand (love him or hate him) and this is a quote from the introduction:
“Here in our glistening citadel of limitless reflecting screens, we live on the outside. Today we may awaken and instantly and unthinkingly reach for our phone, it’s glow reaching our eyes before the light of dawn, it’s bulletins dart into our minds before even a moment of acknowledgment of this unbending and unending fact; you are going to die".
I know you must be thinking that this blog post doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, but bear with me. Dying is a subject Rob and I have talked about as we’ve got older; not in a negative, ‘woe is me’ way, but if there are dreams we want to pursue, we’d better get on with fulfilling them whilst we’re both alive and well.
Every decision we make in life has consequences and although it might appear that we’re ‘living the dream’, doing so comes with consequences. Having just spent 3 months living close by to family and friends, it feels tough to move away (albeit very slowly) and not to be able to see them as regularly as we have been able to since the end of November.
We speak to so many people our age who just couldn’t contemplate doing what we’ve chosen to do because they’re so attached to their loved ones. Although we totally understand this, if not now, when?
There’s a saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” and although it’s necessary and appropriate to make plans, we also need to keep in mind that just because we’re planning the ‘perfect retirement’ doesn’t mean that we’ll be guaranteed a long enough life to see it come to fruition quite so perfectly.
There are obviously benefits and disadvantages to every life decision we make and we all try to make the best choices, but later life throws up all sorts of dilemma’s for us. We don’t know how long we’re going to live for, how long we’ll be in good health, whether we’ll have enough money to remain independent, whether we’ll die before our partner and at what age and so on?
If this all sounds a bit morbid, these are the questions that we’re aware of when making decisions about our lives. Thus, we’re not motivated by negativity, but by a strong sense of gratitude and thankfulness that we are alive, well, happily together and having an adventure.
People our age are often juggling responsibilities for ageing parents, work, children and grandchildren and don’t have the time or opportunity to think about what they’d really like to do with their later years; if they have dreams they wish to fulfill, they might need to wait a while for all sorts of reasons.
Living on a narrow boat simplifies life in many ways; you simply can’t rush around as the boat travels so slowly. Life centres on keeping the water tank full, having enough food (and wine!) on board, being able to get rid of rubbish and finding somewhere safe and pleasant to moor.
After our first day’s cruising yesterday, we decided to stay put at Hawkesbury Junction as it’s raining and there’s no need for us to travel in the rain. I made a cake this morning, we had coffee with our friends Karen and Drew (who are travelling with us on NB LarkRise) around lunchtime and Rob is now making bread; the simple joys of narrow boat life!
We’re not restricted to a travel timetable and we’ll make decisions about where to stay and for how long along the way. We did laugh at ourselves this morning as we only left the marina yesterday and we’ve already stopped for a day! But that’s boating life; the plan is no plan.
Rather than dwelling on the sadness of leaving family and friends, we’ll make every effort to jump on a train to visit them as often as we can and hope they’ll visit us too.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to be grateful for every day we wake up with the freedom to roam around the UK waterways on NB Grace; nothing in life is guaranteed and for us, for now, we’ll continue to take each day as it comes and enjoy each and every moment.
Karen Bent
Karen living the dream

So, You want to Buy a Boat: Sterns for you to consider!

2nd March 2022

It's amazing how many people think they know what they want in their narrowboat and yet they've only really considered what they'd like in the inside of their boat!

Before anyone picks up the phone there's a lot of things they need to consider, starting with the shell!

Shell builders can create any design you want but, unless you're looking for something particularly 'quirky', narrowboats are a pretty standard shape.

What you may need to consider though is the design of the stern, and the three most popular are: Traditional where there's only a small back deck on which to stand whilst steering, Semi trad which gives a 'closed in' section between rear cabin doors and a pair of outer doors (ideal if you have pets or children you wish to keep secured but with you) and Cruiser stern/ Semi cruiser stern which are very similar, by giving a large communal rear space on which to socialise whilst cruising along the waterways.

Have a look at the photos below for some examples of sterns!


Semi cruiser stern

Cuiser stern

Traditional stern

Semi trad stern




Karen Bent - Testimonial

26th February 2022

"We commissioned a narrow boat from Ovation Boats in 2020. We looked at a lot of second hand boats and other boat builders, but we knew Ovation was the company we wanted to build our new home. 

We had a lot of design input into our boat and visited the workshop regularly throughout the build to see the build progress. 
The service we received before, during and after the build has been exemplary and our relationship with the company has been excellent throughout. 
We cannot recommend Ovation Boats highly enough; they are all highly experienced and knowledgeable and their craftsmanship is first class. 
Our boat is our home and thanks to Ovation Boats, we have the home we'd always dreamed of. " 
Karent Bent
Chris-with-Karen-&-Rob-Bent Crick-2021.jpg
Chris with Karen & Rob Bent Crick 2021

Almost completed Semi Trad narrowboat 2022

25th February 2022

Check out this partially completed, semi trad, traditional interior, narrowboat, for a few ideas as to what you could have in your own narrowboat!

Crick Boat Show 2022 - 60ft reverse layout

25th February 2022

Check out this 60foot narrowboat which will be shown at the Crick Boat Show 2022. As you can see, this boat is in the process of being fitted out.



Launch of the first reverse layout for 2022

25th February 2022

Introducing the latest reverse layout, built on commsion, by Ovation Boats. Have a look at what's inside and see if there are any features you would like in your narrowboat.









New narrowboat shell just delivered

25th February 2022

Why not take a look around this new narrowboat shell, fabricated by HT Fabrications of Thurmaston to customer specifications, and all ready to be grit blasted, prior painting.





'Grace' Living the Dream

25th February 2022

For most people the idea of having a boat built purely for leisure or ‘selling up’ and moving onto the waterways permanently, is just a dream, but for more and more people nowadays, that dream is becoming a reality!

When Rob and Karen initially started their journey it was after months, if not years, of contemplation and planning, and by their own admission, their ultimate decision of selling up and taking a ‘leap of faith’ is something they maintain is the best thing they’ve ever done.

At Ovation Boats our aim is to help you create your dream, by listening, offering advice & guidance (where necessary), and helping you create your perfect boat!

Take a look at the video of ‘Grace’ being launched. Doesn’t she look amazing!!!


Chris with Rob & Karen


Just A Dream

25th February 2022


Take a tour around this beautiful, 60ft narrowboat 'Just a Dream'

and see what you might like in your own ‘Charnwood Choice’ creation!

Note the acrylic worktop with moulded sink, separating (or composting) toilet and thermal break double-glazed windows.

John Letter Knight

Crick Boat Show 2021

24th February 2022

With the Covid-19 pandemic starting in 2020, no-one could’ve imagined the detrimental effect it would have on our everyday life for the next two years.

The Crick Boat Show was cancelled until 2021, when exhibiters were encouraged to take part in an online, ‘Virtual Boat Show’, and although Ovation Boats took part, it wasn’t until a second date during August (Bank Holiday 2021) they were able to show off their two latest boat builds:

‘Grace’ (runner up favourite in show) and ‘Carrie Louise’

The Crick Boat Show was a fantastic experience for everyone, and the team can’t wait for the next one!

On our way to Crick with Carrie Louise Foxton Locks
Setting Up
A final spruce up!
Chris with Rob & Karen
All systems go!

Meet the Team

24th February 2022













Meet the Team

24th February 2022


- Meet-theTeam.jpg
Meet theTeam

As schoolboys, Chris Williams, Darren Cross and Ian Shephard were bitten by ‘the boating bug’ and have subsequently spent their lives living & breathing narrowboats (including liveaboard) and together, there’s no-one better to pass on their experience and knowledge!

Joshua Kenway and Henry Jones joined the Ovation Boats’ Team in 2021 through an apprenticeship scheme and are currently dividing their time between an Architectural Joinery course at Derby College and Ovation Boats.

Although Joshua has a Masters’ Degree in Molecular Biology he decided early on this was not something he wanted to pursue as a career, choosing instead to experience the satisfaction of creating something with his own hands.

Henry may be the youngest of the team but has a wealth of experience & knowledge. He bought and refurbished his first engine at the age of 11 years and has never looked back! Henry has an interest in all things ‘boats’ and is the proud owner of a 21ft fiberglass sailboat which he refurbished himself. Although Henry still has a passion for sailboats, his interests have now expanded to include narrowboats

Julia Mason began working for Chris Williams in 2013 (Ovation Boat Surveys) and they quickly became known as the only surveying team on the circuit. With a working background in ‘local authority’ Julia had no previous experience of narrowboats or the canal system, and so working with narrowboats was a massive learning curve. However, Julia has embraced the boating world with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the Ovation Boats’ Team.