to consider living in a canal boat?

(90 Posts)

OH and I are saving and saving to buy land and build (and maybe for me to set up a business) and he would like to move from our rented house to a canal boat (we live near a lot of canals).
It would definitely save money though there would be certain sacrifices but I can't help but think that it would be a bit of a laugh...
We're in our mid-twenties and don't have any responsibilities, it could be a lot of fun (?)
AIBU to seriously think about it or have I got some extremely rose-tinted glasses on?

fedupandknackered Fri 11-Apr-14 21:53:53

pm'd you

Radigund Fri 11-Apr-14 21:49:37

I'm a single mum looking to change life and live on a canal boat with my 12 year old son. My only concern is how would my son go to school as though he is in Secondary School year 7 we need to move 30 miles to start this new lifestyle and will have no permanent address to register, can any one offer advice on this .....

ivykaty44 Sat 16-Mar-13 14:05:23

if you don't have a residentail mooring - which cost a bit - then you will be of no fixed abode, this is fine but for things like driving licence, insurance and banking it can be a problem not have a fixed abode.

If you can get someone else to say you live at their place and use their address you will be fine

VerySmallSqueak Sat 16-Mar-13 14:00:27

That is encouraging to know Xiaoxiong.

Now I just need to somehow get the money....

Xiaoxiong Sat 16-Mar-13 13:18:00

Yes seeker she is a beaut - now I want to put pictures of mine up too and have a beauty contest wink ours has a black hull, red uppers, hammerite silver rails and wooden decking on the stern deck. Skylights so it's lovely and bright inside.

We don't have an aga, just a woodburner and electric heaters on timers. Our neighbours have diesel central heating and it wasn't insulated well and stank to high heaven.

Maintenance and costs are nothing compared to a real house...since moving onto dry land I think our expenses have tripled!

Selks Sat 16-Mar-13 02:33:52

Seeker your boat is amazing! smile

cumfy Sat 16-Mar-13 01:14:55

Seeker, that's a fucking ship! Cooool.grin

edam Sat 16-Mar-13 00:12:42

(maybe they have somehow managed to confuse 'canal' and 'camping'?)

edam Sat 16-Mar-13 00:12:10

ooh, I'd love to live on a narrowboat. Spent many a happy holiday on them. My little sister and I had big plans that when we grew up we'd have a narrowboat and butty with a craft shop in the butty and the boat just for us. Only thing is an actual narrowboat is just that, only 6'10" wide - OK for a holiday but would take some adjusting to for a long term option. A barge on a river or wide canal might be a better option.

I wonder where people get these bizarre ideas about communal showers and similar nonsense from?

VerySmallSqueak Sat 16-Mar-13 00:02:38

There's something lovely about woodburners though seeker (though I agree they are bloody hard work). Can't say I'd turn my nose up at an oil fired aga,mind you.

You hum,I'll chop grin

seeker Fri 15-Mar-13 23:57:17

Not a wood burner if you can help it- too much like hqrd work. An oil fired Aga is the way to go. You just have to shut your eyes and hum while you pay the oil man!

MsWetherwax Fri 15-Mar-13 23:53:40

I work at a marina with residential moorings. We also have a brokerage department if you're interested - feel free to pm me if I can help OP.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 15-Mar-13 22:37:33

I agree with Saggy in that I would need to know the maintenance costs involved.

And I would definitely not consider it without a woodburner - a house without heating is cold and damp enough so I imagine a boat would be very hard going.

Theas18 Fri 15-Mar-13 22:32:41

My friend does. She's got no heating and has been freezing all winter. It's also perpetually damp. I think she's bonkers - well she always has been but I loves her anyway! ( disclaimer I've not been to her boat and she only over here in the autumn. She's saving for a wood burning stove!)

Raebeech Fri 15-Mar-13 22:21:46

The idea sounds lovely, but you need to consider the practicalities of it. Contact the Canal & River Trust to find out about moorings in your area and the cost of them. Many places you can only stay for certain periods of time would you want a permanent mooring or to be a 'continuous cruiser' moving every week or so. They will be able to give you costings of boat licences, mooring etc and possibly some marinas where you can moor on a longer term. Also details of where sanitary stations are for the fun jobs of pumping out the loo tank etc...

Some boats are positively luxurious, others well, not so much. Think how you would cope with a winter like the last one on a boat. Personally I'd love to have a nosey round one with a nice little wood burner.

Another idea is to check out the boating publications, Towpath Talk, Canal Boat World, Waterway World etc, they should give you an insight into the living on a boat. is probably a good starter on research.

Hope that helps some.

As for rats - a cat!

MrsSparkles Fri 15-Mar-13 22:17:51

Do it, do it! My parents have a canal boat (not to live on though) and we have spent so many happy holidays on it.

Have never seen a rat, and the boat is warmer and cosier than my house - too hot at times. Also never had to use a communual shower, and the loos are much improved.

I would happily live on one if I didn't have so much stuff thats taken over a 3 bedroom house

VerySmallSqueak Fri 15-Mar-13 21:51:25

I would absolutely do it if I had the money.
I would happily raise my children on a boat - what a great way to grow up.

seeker Fri 15-Mar-13 08:37:51

You can have a shower or a bath on ours too. And cook hot food on the Aga. Oh, and if it gets chilly, you can turn up the central heating. You can also go to the loo.

Don't you just love a Humber Keel? So incredibly british looking-none of this fancy foreign looking pretty nonesense!

Xiaoxiong Fri 15-Mar-13 08:14:51

Agree with seeker - we bought a boat that came with its mooring, found it through apolloduck though it was also listed on riverhomes. The mooring lease approximately doubles the value of the boat.

And you can have a hot shower OR bath on our barge. We do try and use as little toilet paper as possible but that's just common sense wink

seeker Fri 15-Mar-13 07:25:48

If anyone is thinking of doing it though, remember that lovely boats are two a penny. Moorings, particularly secure, residential moorings, are like hen's teeth.

seeker Fri 15-Mar-13 07:24:33

There are nasty, cramped, cold and dirty houses too- presumably that doesn't put you off houses!

BeCool Fri 15-Mar-13 00:14:12

My colleague lives on one. It's a lifestyle choice and there is a lot of work involved with it. He has a lovely barge - but he doesn't use the loo except in an emergency and never for # 2s shock. He showers etc in gym. If you aren't plumbed into the mains dealing with waste is a pain.

I've never heard him mention rats though and the community of river dwellers seems v nice and interesting.

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Fri 15-Mar-13 00:05:21

Id love to live on a boat. Ive been to Whilton Lock and looked round the yard. Its lovely. Rats dont bother me.
What does concern me is maintenance costs. How often doe a canal boat need its hull scraping and repainting/rustproofing? Theres a smallish lightship moored near us, and they said every 5 years and about £50k! Its a lovely boat though, the cabins are beautiful. All fitted out in teak!

Bit worrying if you were in the Thames grin

Can't find anything for residential moorings really, nothing at a reasonable price anyway!
I'm giving up and going to bed for now - I will dream of boats and rats!

Xiaoxiong Thu 14-Mar-13 23:59:28

*on the Thames, not in hmm

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