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Top Tips for Living on the Canal




Lots of us consider what it would be like swapping the land for the sea / water, it always sounds a lazy (back-to-nature existence) and peaceful lifestyle, but is it all that it's made out to be?


"Conservative estimates suggest that more than 15,000 people now live on the UK's waterways." source UK Boats


Holidaying on boats is of course far more popular, but many people permanently reside on a boat / barge and it has been something people have done for centuries. Today, much of the waterways of England are protected and very well maintained, living on them will not be without costs and responsibilities.


You can have houseboats / canal / narrow boats or some take to living on a smaller birth boat such as a small yacht. On waterways within England you can not simply roll up and moor anyway indefinitely, there are set rules and regs to abide by and you have to keep on the move. There are though places to stay in one place for longer such as on of the 3,600 long-term moorings which will have set fees and costs. You will also be required to hold a boat licence (around £500 to £1,000 per year and gives you permission to use the waterways).


Fixed costs to enjoy a house boat:


  • Moorings

  • Licence Fees

  • Insurance Fees

  • Utility Fees (Heating / Cooking /Electrics)

  • Engine Fuel

  • Water / Toilet (pumping)

  • Engine / vessel maintenance


"To give a rough guide, annual costs for running a 54’ boat for approximately 3000 miles per year and mooring on a “premium site”.

Fixed costs - £3500 (moorings, insurance, CRT Licence)

Variable costs - £1250 (diesel, blacking, engine oil, heating fuel, gas, pump-out and repair fund etc. - or variable costs per mile 0.40pence)." source ABC Boat Sales


Top Tips when live on a Boat:


  • Research what responsibilities and costs you will have when you live on boat. Decide if it is the life for you by reading and watching those who have already done so and shared their experiences. Try and start off with a short term let / holiday on a boat.

  • Take your time to decide on the correct purchase of boat in size / amenities / maintenance and more. Will you be able to accept guests / can you work from home / are you fit and healthy enough to maintain it / is it waterways or the sea for you?

  • Get to know your local community first - Look at our support groups on social media / websites that might be dedicated to living on the water, introduce yourself and get to know people before you start off your new life.

  • Prepare yourself for the downsizing and do your best to take few possessions with you are you will clutter up your boat fast! Think long term storage for valuable possession your might have.

  • No fixed abode - Remember that unlike land, you might be frequently on the move so you will not have a fixed address anymore, work out this solution first ie any bills / statements you receive normal to be advised. Remember that you might not be close to your local GP or dentist anymore!

  • Work on relationships as you will likely be on top of each other more now so it will test who strong you are together as you’ll have a lack of personal space!

  • Open to the elements more - It is likely you will notice the weather more on a boat and mostly due to water movement. Rain and winds will effect you more such as temperature and sounds.

Title image: Pixabay


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