The idea of owning a boat is becoming more and more popular. There are many benefits to owning a boat, one being that it can be used as a second home.
There are many reasons why people choose to buy an inland narrowboat or coastal boat: for leisure, for business, or as an investment property.
Some people might even choose to live on their boat full-time!
But if you’re not sure about whether it’s for you, then this FAQ should help.
One thing to bear in mind; the longer the boat, the more expensive many of the running costs will be.
It is always advisable to get a survey done when buying your boat to determine its condition. There are three types of survey:
Traditional Stern is a narrowboat with the smallest external area at the back of the boat used only for steering. Allows more internal space on the boat, very useful for liveaboards.
Cruiser Stern narrowboats offer the most external space. Ideal for holiday boats or those who would like an outside social area for cruising or sitting out on the back of the boat with a nice cup of tea when you’ve found a nice spot to moor!
Semi-Trad narrowboats lie somewhere in between the two. They look more like a traditional style boat but usually have some fixed external seating with storage under.
Canals and rivers have visitor mooring spots along the network. In most areas you can moor for up to 14 days.
Note: some areas have permanent moorings, which are reserved for those who pay a fee to stay there for extended periods. There will be notices advising if an area is permanent mooring only.
Most boats have either a pump out or cassette toilet.
A pump out toilet has a waste holding tank within the boat so that when the toilet is flushed, the waste goes into the tank. Tanks are usually large, so the time between having to empty them is much longer than a cassette toilet. There are pump out stations along the network and in most marinas. A fee is charged, usually between £15 – £20.
A cassette toilet is the same principle as a toilet in a camper van, although some modern types have a direct water feed and electric flush. The bottom cartridge is removed when full, which you then take to an Elsan point to empty and clean.
There’s also a new arrival on the scene that’s becoming increasingly popular: the eco-friendly composting toilet. It’s quite an expensive alternative but kinder to the environment.
Opinion is divided amongst boaters over which is the best option. Choose the one that suits you best!
There are various ways to have hot water on a boat.
Some have gas boilers such as Alde, Morco, and Rinnai. Some have diesel heating systems such as Webasto, Eberspacher, or Mikuni. Some also have a back boiler from a multi-fuel stove, which feeds radiators and heats the hot water tank or calorifier.
Most boats have a calorifier, which heats up the water when the engine is run. Some boats also have an immersion heater which is useful when in a marina as the shoreline electric power heats the water. It’s always ideal to find a boat with at least two methods for heating water.
There are several ways to heat a boat.
Many boats have a multi-fuel stove, which uses coal and/or wood. Some stoves have a back boiler which is a closed water system. The hot water passes through the piping to radiators, which heat the full length of the boat.
Other options include:
Boats generally use approx. 1 litre of diesel per hour when cruising.
Some boats also have diesel central heating systems. Consumption varies depending on usage. When buying diesel, you will need to declare what percentage is for domestic (heating) and what percentage is used for propulsion (cruising). Domestic use diesel is cheaper than propulsion.
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