Living on a boat...

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  • I appreciate that these topics often crop up, and that nomadic folks must get tired of answering the same questions from dreaming city-dwellers who long to escape. This is, however, something I'm seriously considering, and I'd love some advice.
    I rent at the moment, and would love a place of my own. I don't have s steady income, so am unlikely to get a mortgage, but I do have the capital to buy a small boat or barge. So I figure that, as long as I maintain it well, the boat won't lose much value over the years, and that even with mooring fees of around £100 a month this is an affordable way of me getting a place on my own.
    So what I would like to know is, have I missed anything glaringly obvious here? Obviously I know there will be upkeep costs, and that I may have to wait a while to find a mooring, but other than that do my thoughts make sense, or am I idealising the experience?
    Would other full-timers recommend boat living for a woman on her own?
    And finally, is there anyone who lives on a boat near-ish to Leeds that would be prepared to meet up for a chat about this way of living?
    I don't want to be take on too much but I also see myself wanting to start a family in three or four years, and figure this may be my last chance to experience this style of living.
    Thanks for your time.

  • boat living is proberbly the most relaxed way of living in the uk ..it all depends on what you think you need my first boat was a floating shead but she seaved me well for 3 years. remember you get showers ect on the water when you dont on the road

  • hey, i'm a single woman and have lived on my boat for the last year. my best mate has just bought a canal barge too, which is a much better idea than my coastal boat. firstly, cos its much warmer on the canal than on the south coast and secondly cos there seems to be more of a community where she is. you'll need to learn the workings of a boat to be able to maintain it and having a friend who knows what there doing is really handy too. look into the cost of moorings as they can be really expensive. i know a mooring near my friends boat on the oxfordshire canal has just gone for £2600 per year.

  • Im interested in your figure of £100 per month. A residential mooting will be much more than that, you may be lucky to get a very rural mooring for less.
    Go have a look at boats within your budget . You don't say what it is but those for sale at the bottom of the price range are usually very poor. You will learn loads just by looking.
    I did it on very little and with a continuous cruising licence and some guile had a happy 5 years afloat. Good luck!

  • Ditto Zenedd about the £100 per month figure.


    Based on a place like this: http://www.barges.co.uk/home.htm I would expect to pay about £150 per month to moor a 30ft yacht there. A typical dutch barge would set you back £300-£400. The main reason is that boat moorings tend to be charged according to the length of the boat. Shorter the boat the less you have to pay. Also I would imagine the more popular spots would tend to be a lot more expensive.


    I asked a fellow sailor at my former sailing club sometime back when I was starting to think about the live aboard lifestyle for some advice. This fellow sailor worked at the local marina, so had quite a bit of insight. His advice was to get the smallest boat you can comfortably live in. The bigger the boat the bigger the cost of everything.


    I am currently doing my research as I also have an interest in living aboard a boat myself. During my research though I have found there are people who are raising families aboard boats: http://www.weliveonaboat.com/
    So I guess nothing is impossible :)

  • Sorry, I probably should have been more specific. The figure was based on the £1345 that a mooring in Skipton (which is where I'd like to be based) went for back in January. It didn't occur to me to check that against other figures...
    I wouldn't be looking for anything larger than 30ft as it is just for me. Budgetwise, I would have somewhere in the region of £25K, which I know won't get me top of the range but hopefully can get something that's not rock bottom either.

  • Quote from Barefoot Surfer

    I have found there are people who are raising families aboard boats:


    Its no different from raising a family on the road,in a caravan or anywhere else,I'm surprised you were surprised :S My sons stepmum raised her daughter on a boat both moored on the coast and sailing around.Its when they get to be teens that it can be an issue because of the lack of space/privacy..but again the same as in vehicles or other small dwellings.


    Boat people (if you catch em in the right mood and respect the fact its their home not an oddity to gawk at,same as hippys/travellers),are often happy to give you info and advice and if you want to live aboard full time thats often gonna be more helpful than talking to boat 'experts' who dont live that lifestyle.

  • Its no different from raising a family on the road,in a caravan or anywhere else,I'm surprised you were surprised :S


    I wasn't surprised, lol. Although I can see by the way it was written that I may of come across that way. I was responding to Sthenno's comment about it being her last chance to live the lifestyle :)


    I profess I am no expert when it comes to living on boats, but I have plans to live on one eventually. I want to build up as much information as possible beforehand plus also share what I have learnt. I am willing to hear from people who have walked the walk and learn from them. Having an idea of what works and what doesn't would put me in better shape to make an informed decision.


    If you want to look for boats, apollo duck is a nice classified ads site purely with boats for sale.

  • I've lived on a couple of narrowboats, the first 30ft and I found that too small, the second was 45ft and that was doable.
    I don't know about mooring fees up in Yorks, they are pretty steep in Oxford, where I have a few friends on the canal and river.
    You should get a half reasonable boat for 20k, if you keep a bit aside for maintenance for a couple of years, refitting bits when you find its all laid out wrong etc
    Though for this sort of figure you will find a more basic boat rather than something flash.


    Don't forget you will need a stove if the boat you buy doesn't have one - any sort of diesel/gas heaters are crap and horrendously expensive to run - and there's folks on here who sell stoves...:whistle:


    How about Hebden Bridge? Lotsa hippies and narrowboats there:D

  • Thanks for all the advice people. There are actually far more boats within my price range than I thought there'd be... nothing too fancy but big enough for me to rattle about in. Think the next step is to visit a few people on boats to get a feel for it, then I guess it's just a case of waiting for the right mooring to come up, which I expect could take years.

  • Living on a boat is piss easy, end of. Just make sure you buy the right one and there is plenty of money to be made also, buy a boat with good steelwork 10/6/4 and classic lines(never a springer) with a long swim, and you can pretty her up, and make a good profit as you move up to the next project.


    we did it for many years, as long as you boat looks "quaint" you shouldnt get any serious hassle.


    25grandshould be plenty if you can wait till winter and buy one thats stuck due to lock closures.


    Our last boat was built by blackcountry narrowboats, and she was close to perfect(highly reccomended) oh and go for a two or three cylinder lister(watercooled) so you dont have to llisten to a van engine whilst you are on the move.


    easy peasy:D

  • There is a couple that, for now I have forgotten the name of, that take people on their boat to let them have a trial period of living on a narrow boat so they can see if it is right for them. I'll try and search down a link for you, if you are interested. They are sure to be able to give you a really good insight into what it's like and probably give you lots of connections to help you on your way if you do decide it's the right choice for you.

  • £100 a month sounds like a lot to me! I certainly wouldnt pay that, but it depends what services you require, if you can be self sufficient & dont mind mud you may be able to find a friendly riverside landowner, if inland the best way is to wander up & down the local rivers, preferably by boat & ask questions. It doesnt neccesarily have to be a residential mooring as you wont be there all of the time, will you!
    im in yorks, pm me if you wish!