Daily Life

How to Save Money by Living on the Water Using Narrowboats

Have you ever thought about replacing bricks and plaster for life on a canal boat in the open waterway? Read on to make your dreams come true.

Having a solid foundation for a house or apartment is a wish of many people in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the idea of living on a boat on the canal sounds absurd. But is it because of the fear of the unknown?

We discuss mortgage loans and property values on a daily basis. However, it turns out that alternative lifestyles can be much cheaper, but people tend to ignore them.

It is difficult to estimate precisely how many people have embarked on this drastic lifestyle change. However, according to a survey of houseboat owners’ associations and participants in water sports, only 15,000 people in the UK enjoy living in narrowboats.

If you are passionate about life on the water but do not know where to start, consider the following points when purchasing a foldable boat.

House or Boat?

The biggest question that comes to one’s mind is whether the idyllic life of swimming and castles is cheaper than living in a house on the land.

According to Towergate Insurance, a new boat’s price is approximately £1,000 per foot, so owning a 50-meter yacht (medium in size) will cost around £50,000. This is equivalent to paying a 20% house deposit of £250,000!

For used vessels of the same size, the price can even be lower, starting at £30,000. Check it out for a massive collection of narrow boats.


If you are not fond of small spaces, you may be claustrophobic on the most basic canal boat.

When buying, you should consider the boat you want to use – if it is a recreational boat, you will need 30 to 40 feet long, but if you are going to live in a boat, you need 50 feet or more.

Please note that the length will affect the cruising range of the boat.


If you have never taken responsibility for a boat, life in the open waters can sound a little scary.

When sailing, your yacht must be safe. To start the training, you will need the following things to enroll in the Royal Yacht Association’s inland helmsman course.

  • basic knowledge of safety, 
  • driving license, 
  • locks and tunnels, 
  • collision avoidance and 
  • engine maintenance.

It only takes a few days. If you are a complete newbie, you will find it very handy.

The Finances

If you have limited funds for buying the boat, it can make things difficult.

Even if you plan to live on a boat, you can think of it as a tool more consistent with buying a car for the lender. This investment is risky as the ship’s life will not be as long as that of a house.

While there are offshore mortgages or personal loans, there are other options.

Ship mortgages can be obtained from professional firms. However, they can only provide a loan for a short period of 10 years while real estate mortgages are usually 25 years. Some mortgages have longer terms, but anyway, the interest rate is higher than 3%. Depending on what you borrow, this can mean higher transaction costs for most standard mortgages over a shorter time period.

Ongoing Costs

The overall expenses you will incur, according to experts, includes:

  • Gas
  • Diesel
  • Telephone
  • Water
  • Boat Licenses
  • Council Tax
  • Insurance
  • Mooring fees
  • Docking fees
  • LPG
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Surveys
  • Electricity
  • Boat Safety Certificate

Perhaps the most expensive item on the list is the Residential Mooring Equipment Fee, which typically ranges from £1,900 to £3,000, depending on the vessel and location. It sounds a lot, but consider the fact that it is still cheaper than the six-month rent.

If you do not need to be tied to a specific location, you can choose a cruise. The current rule is that if you move every two weeks, you do not need to purchase permanent mooring equipment, so there is no payment for city taxes or water charges.

Some of the unfamiliar items on the list might make you reluctant about the decision. Even so, the expenses of certification and servicing are inexpensive than you assume.

Every four years, the boat’s safety qualification will cost around £ 200. The cost of a vessel license is around £550. The price of a full investigation is around £450. Insurance can go up to £450, and maintenance costs are approximately £250. 

Try Before You Buy

Of course, an excellent way to find out if you are fit for life on a boat is to try it out before buying. During your boat vacation, you can get a taste of life on the boat. You can also chat with other rowers about how they manage things.

Be sure to organize a short break in summer and winter to fully understand how life on a boat is!


Living on a boat isn’t for everybody, mostly because the boat doesn’t provide enough room for everyone!

If your job requires living in one place, you have a large family, or you hate cramped spaces, then boats may not be for you. However, this is one of several exciting opportunities for shopping. You can check out a variety of remote jobs here if you do choose to live on a boat!

Also, check out awesome tips to save money during flights if you are thinking about tourism.

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