2014 03 16 Newsletter – Sharing Your Narrowboat Space
I’ve had Matty Smith here on the boat again this week. He came on Friday afternoon to fit seven LED ceiling domes and my new Smartgauge battery monitor.
The ceiling lights were a mess. I suspect that they were the original lights fitted when the boat was built in 1977. On several, the catches which secured the heavy glass domes to the bases were broken so the domes couldn’t be secured properly. As a result they hung at an angle from the ceiling. As well as looking unsightly, they didn’t provide much in the way of light. The glass had stained over the thirty seven years they had been in place so even with all of the ceiling lights on, Sally and I often collided in the dimly lit interior (that’s our excuse anyway, and we’re sticking to it).
The new lights have made a tremendous difference. We purchased two of them at Crick last year but such is my enthusiasm for DIY and my limited knowledge of electrics that they remained in their boxes until Matty came last week. We liked them so much that we ordered seven more for him to fit on his next visit.
I was a little worried that I might have made the wrong choice with the seven additional lights. The seller, HMS Marine Supplies, offer the 7″ domes in both cool and warm light. The first two we bought were the brighter cool light as they were for the galley and the very dark bathroom where we need plenty of illumination. We were slightly nervous when we ordered more of the same fearing that the inside of the boat would look like Blackpool illuminations. Neither of us are getting any younger though and our eyesight isn’t what it used to be. We decided that brighter was probably better. I’m pleased we did. The lights have transformed the inside of the boat. It’s even prettier than I thought it was.
I’m equally pleased with the Smartgauge battery monitor. I have five batteries; four 135AH for the domestic supply, and one 110AH as a starter. Batteries are so expensive to replace and so easy to damage by flattening them too often that it’s worth investing in something to keep a constant eye on their health.
The new battery monitor is extremely easy to use. Even I can understand it. There are three buttons to press. The first shows the volts for the main (domestic) battery bank, the second shows the battery bank status (% remaining) and the the third displays the volts for the secondary battery bank (starter).
The Smartgauge display unit has been fitted into the ply bulkhead between the engine room and the bedroom with the display in the bedroom. The display turns off after two minutes so the panel is not intrusive at all. Although I haven’t done so yet, it’s possible to set a number of alarms based on either voltage or status. When triggered, the panel will constantly display the current status and voltage until deactivated. The unit can also be used to turn on a generator or to trigger an audio alarm, however the visual alarm display will be enough to trigger me to get off my backside and to start the engine to charge the batteries.
The battery monitor is yet another piece in our nearly complete live aboard narrowboat jigsaw.
After spending so much money ensuring that the boat is fit to cruise, it would be a crime not to test it, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do for the first two weeks of June. We can’t decide where we’re going to do the testing yet though. Below I’ve talked generally about couples getting on together when they live on board and particularly about Sally and I. One of the aspects of life afloat where we currently disagree is how much cruising to do when we go out on the boat.
I’m quite frustrated when I consider the length of time I’ve lived afloat and just how little I’ve seen of the river and canal network. On the few occasions we have the time to cruise, I want to see as much of it as possible. I want to be able to talk knowledgeably about sections of rivers and canals, the best places to moor, spots to avoid and things to do and places to see along the route. I want, like Pearley on the forum, to be able to consult my extensive cruising notes then answer any query quickly and accurately. If we have two weeks to explore the network, I want to make the most of every day.
Unfortunately, Sally doesn’t feel the same way.
She, like me, wants to make the most of the break to get away from it all when we cruise. Unlike me, for Sally “getting away from it all” on the boat doesn’t include travelling all day every day. Our summer cruise last June was perfect for her. We cruised very slowly to the end of the Ashby canal and back. We managed just over 100 miles in fourteen days or just over seven miles a day. (You can read about the cruise here. Just follow the “Next Post” links at the very bottom of the page if you want to read about the whole trip).
This year Sally wants to do something similar, somewhere new but at a very relaxing pace. She told me, probably correctly, that we’ll have all the time in the world to see as much of the network as we want when we’re cruising full time. She’s probably right. I’m just naturally impatient so I’ll have to try to reign in that impatience for now.
Sharing Living Accommodation The Size Of A Large Garden Shed
I was wondering what to write about this week when I received an email from Trevor Ingram. Trevor emails me quite often to point out, in a very useful and much appreciated way, some of the many spelling or grammatical errors I’ve made when I’ve hastily published a newsletter without proofreading it thoroughly first.
Trevor’s email this time contained a welcome and useful suggestion for a newsletter topic. Here’s Trevor’s idea…
“Maybe a theme for the future could be ‘partners’. I know that Sally is part of your life and boat, but you could perhaps ‘flesh her out’ in a manner of speaking and at the same time provide some useful help, hints and advice to couples in a similar situation.
Secondary Double Glazing Update
I’ve set up two new blogs for site users in the last week, and there’s another on the way for next week. Many potential or existing narrowboat owners start their own blogs but then are bitterly disappointed when no one appears to be reading their blog posts. What they don’t generally take into account is that people who might me interested in reading their blog don’t know it’s there.
I know from personal experience how difficult it is to attract visitors to a new web site. I’ve just had a look at my site statistics for the last month then compared them to the same period four years ago which was just after I launched the site. For a full month in 2010 I was swamped by visitors to the site… all eight of them. Four years later, and after countless hours of marketing and content writing, the number of unique visitors each month has risen to a very respectable 10,442.
Why am I telling you this? Because blogs on this site get plenty of readers courtesy of the visitors who already visit this site. I often publish links to blog posts if I think that newsletter readers will be interested in them. I’m actively encouraging new bloggers for two reasons; Good blog entries from other contributors mean that I don’t have to come up with so much content myself, and content written by other current and soon-to-be boat owners lend a different view of life afloat to my own.
Here are the two new bloggers for you.
Ian Canham – He’s recently purchased a boat and is finding out, as most new boaters do, that water getting into parts of the boat where it shouldn’t is a daily part of life and that parts of Manchester are frequented by imbeciles who should be locked in cages. Here are his posts to date. Start at the post dated 18th March and work forward from that.
The second new blogger is Laurie St. Lyon. Laurie is actively looking for a boat and wanted to share his experience of the looking/choosing/buying process with other potential boat owners. You can read his first two posts here.
Loans On Boats
New blogger Laurie St, Lyon is a solicitor by trade. I was swapping emails with him on the subject of setting up his blog when he mentioned last week’s newsletter, particularly about buying and selling boats. He’s kindly added a little more information on the subject for us…
“On the matter of Loans on Boats. Your information was not quite correct. A loan CAN be secured on a boat just in the same way that it can be for a car or any other item. It is called Hire Purchase! If they have this type of arrangement it will likely not be with a High Street bank. However there is no register of such debts.
There are also Secured Loans, again not usually with a bank, but available. Here the debt is secured on the boat and the ownership, pending repayment of the loan is with the lender, but there is no register of such debts.
Oh and the reason a solicitor will not (and should not) let you use his Client account if there is no underlying legal work (ie, conveyancing, debt claim,etc) is that to do so is a serious breach of our professional rules for which our beloved regulator will have us before a disciplinary tribunal. Any matter to do with the client account is taken VERY seriously which is why billions of pounds changes hands via UK solicitors accounts every year in terms of Mortgages and UK and International commercial transactions.
Of course you could instruct a solicitor to draw up papers of sale and deal with the monies that way that would be OK. It should not cost that much and obviously if you do not wish to gamble the loss of your funds that is a way to go. Yes he will ID you for money laundring purposes and possibly the otehr side for his own peace of mind. Not a bad thing perhaps.
However, YOU can do the same as long as you have a name and an address. Add a DoB or a spouses details and it gets even better. Just google “tracing a person”. Cost can be £35 for a simple online confirming person exists, address, etc, to more expensive £120+ checks to the full gumshoe routine! Not conclusive but comforting. Unless you have a Mickey Spillane streak and wish to hang about outside his home to see if he really does live there!! (NB. If you get arrested I don’t do Criminal law but can direct you to a chap who does! 🙂 )
Just my two pennies worth.”
Then, just before I was due to publish this newsletter, I had an email from Russell Myers. He’s looking for his own boat at the moment so read last week’s article with great interest. We wanted to share his own experience of the logistics of dealing with substantial quantities of cash during the sales process. This particular sale was one of his cars, but there’s certainly some useful information here if you think that a cash sale is the safest way to go when you buy or sell your boat. Here’s his story…
“Hi Paul, Interesting article about paying for a boat particularly as we are getting closer to that point in our plans to get afloat. I thought you might make use of this anecdote from the sale of one of our cars which resonates with the article. You may find it amusing in its own right although the wider membership of the forum may find it useful too.
I thought I would sell the car privately and save a bob or two (Yorkshireman with short arms and deep pocket) and achieved this to a guy from Northern Ireland! (Not sure about canals over there). Haggling over the phone clinched the deal price but he only wanted to make one trip to check out the car and conclude the purchase before driving back to Northern Ireland. The car was only a year old with less than 10k on the clock so a good bet from his point of view. The problem that arose as highlighted in your article was the purchase point i.e. paying and handing over the car – trust needed on both sides!
We discussed various methods electronic banking being the favourite on the basis that the money would instantly transfer from one account to the other which we could check through online banking. Not so! My bank would not guarantee the transfer within 24 hrs. So we could be hanging around checking one another’s progress for some time. (Interesting thought – where does the money go in this limbo period? No doubt someone is making a fast buck out of it.) The commercial world does have instantaneous banking but only when set up and paid for – not a practicable option on a one off transaction but see my thoughts later.
Anyway, we decided to do the deal with cash! Scary – very scary in retrospect – the sum in question was £15k + not a sum I have ever held in my hands before or likely to again! Our man was up for it and confirmed he had got the cash and ready to meet up. He was flying into Leeds Bradford Airport – our local and we met up with him there.
In advance of this the thought occurred that the bank notes could be dodgy especially £50 notes and we found a very useful document issued by the Bank of England to help identify forgeries across the £5, £10. £20 and £50 notes – reassuring.
Armed with this we met at the airport – nice chap (but then that is the art of the con man – he turned out to be a vet). He checked out the car and documents and happy with it handed over the cash. I wasn’t sure what to expect – a bundle of 50s in all probability but it was bulkier than anticipated and when I opened the package realised why – a mixture of 10s and 20s all neatly bundled in bank wraps but shock/horror they were “Mickey Mouse “ notes – Northern Ireland issues its own notes and not only that there are five banks issuing their own designs so five permutations of 10s and 20s to conjure with!!!
Bank of England guidance note now a waste of paper.
The airport car park wasn’t the place to start counting the cash, besides the car park charges clock was running (Yorkshireman) – what the security people made of it I don’t know. They must not have been watching their cameras as we exited the airport before we were swooped upon – it must have looked very dodgy! Part of the deal was to give us a lift back so we had a chance to sound the man out – all above board and OK and we parted on good terms although he did ask for some luck money by way of a full tank of fuel – no way as he had driven a hard bargain (and I’m a Yorkshireman).
So off we trundled with a big chunk of cash in a supermarket carrier bag on a gloriously sunny Sunday in July – next problem – no banks open on Sundays to deposit the cash. Got home and had a wild moment on the bed …………………………………………………………………………….counting oodles and oodles of Northern Ireland bank notes!!!! It was spot on.
Spent the night worrying how the bank would react and whether there was an issue handling Northern Ireland notes – there isn’t – it’s a bit like Scottish notes (currently) they are legal currency throughout the UK it’s just that people are naturally suspicious of them.
The following morning stood on the bank doorstep waiting for it to open clutching supermarket carrier bag to look in-cognito actually makes you look like a sitting duck for a bag snatch. I puffed out my chest and threw back my shoulders to look “hard”. Bank opened and I was first to the cashier and the hard man look went out of the window when the cashier gave me a right bollocking for not separating the notes into the respective issuing bank wraps! She complained it was going to take her some time to count it so I offered to go for a coffee and come back. “I’m very efficient young man (I’m a 61 year old Yorkshireman) don’t be ridiculous” she said. Smiling apologetically to the back log of customers behind me she proceeded to balls up the count and get the wrong figure – my knees went wobbly and I’m sure I might have fainted but for being a hard Yorkshireman. She had to draft in a colleague who zipped off the count in no time and declared the figure spot on. My sense of relief was unimaginable and everything had worked out OK.
Electronic transfer must be the way to go and what I’m intending to check out is the instantaneous transfer used by commercial organisations particularly solicitors. I’m sure an arrangement could be made into a client account for transfer when the deal is clinched if this is needed although no doubt there will be a fee involved and money laundering checks to make. I’ll let you know.
Proof of title remains the big issue – we discussed it with a broker yesterday and all the issues raised in your article came to light which we have taken on board. A careful scrutiny of the available documentation is about as good as it gets and then you are down to trust. I suspect the Brokerages could cop for some culpability in the event of a fraud taking place but one for the legal beagles to sort out I think.
Apologies for the ramble but I hope you find the above amusing and if there is some value in posting it on your blog please feel free.”
I’ve been writing regular newsletters for a couple of years now. During the first year they were every two weeks or so. To be honest, the frequency was a bit hit and miss. My New Year’s resolution, and one that I’m delighted to say that I’ve kept, was to send out a newsletter every Sunday, rain or shine. The hardest part of the process isn’t the writing itself, it’s constantly thinking of new content. The trouble is, I don’t know what you want to read. I think I keep the newsletters reasonably interesting but I don’t know for sure. That’s where I need your help.
Can you let me know what you would like to read in the future? Are there any areas of narrowboat life you don’t think I’ve covered enough or areas which I’ve missed completely? Please let me know what you want to read about. Thanks for your help.
I created the site just over three years ago to provide a source of information for anyone interested in narrowboats and the possibility of living on one full time. The site has grown to encompass a comprehensive listing of inland marinas in England and Wales, dozens of articles, a forum and regular newsletters. I’ve already created (below) indexes of the site articles and the more popular forum posts. I thought it was about time I created an easy to use index of the newsletter content. Here’s the index so far.
Paying for a narrowboat – What practical steps can you take to ensure you’ve established legal ownership and how do you deal with the transfer of monies between buyer and seller?
Narrowboat Knots – At my first lock on my first cruise I watched my boat drift into the centre of the canal along with my twelve year old son. If you want to avoid the same embarrassment and potential damage to both your boat and your self esteem, you need to know how to tie your boat securely in a number of different situations.
Toilets is a subject often discussed by narrowboat owners but they usually talk about either pump out or cassette toilets. There is a third type though and it’s one which is both environmentally friendly and cheap to run. Here’s all you need to know about composting toilets.
Boat owners who live on board are considered to have a pretty simple and basic life by many living in bricks and mortar homes. Compared with the lifestyle of the farmers I’ve been staying with in the Philippines though, my UK life seems overly materialistic and expensive. Cou
Here’s an account of my very first winter on board and that of one of the site’s subscribers, Nigel Buttery. They’re very different experiences. My first winter was the coldest on record. Nigel’s is one of the mildest winters we’ve had for a long time.
I’ve also included to links to my Philippines blog. I spent the whole of February living in a rural farming community on the island of Negros.
Have you ever wondered how a narowboat is built. Here are the first two parts of a very detailed account of the building of a Sea Otter aluminium narrowboat. You’ll be particularly interested in Sea Otters if you don’t fancy the constant battle with rust that you have with traditional steel narrowboats.
Condensation is something all boat owners have to deal with. Here’s an explanation of why it occurs and what to do about it. I also tested a remote boat monitoring application in this issue.
Cold floors, cold air above the floors and cold hull sides. It’s a combination which can cause your bottom half quite a bit of discomfort. Here’s what I do to deal with the problem.
Weil’s disease – It’s an often talked about and often feared aspect of living, working or playing close to inland waterways but just how dangerous is it and what can you do to keep yourself safe?
If you’re on a budget maybe a self fit our sailaway is the way to go for you. Here’s the story of a wide beam self fit out to give you inspiration (or put you off completely)
Planning for the year ahead – Written plans and goals have always been important to me. They help me see into the future. Here’s what we’ve planned for our lovely floating home in 2014.
The practicality of hosting Christmas afloat – How do you achieve a floating festive event (and do you really want to)?
Liveaboard case study, The Pearl – Tony and Jane Robinson believe in forward planning. They stated their narrowboat fund thirty years before buying their own boat. Now the two retired education workers moor in a marina for the winter then explore the waterways during the warmer months.
Narrowboat Storage Space – How much space is there to store your worldly goods on board a narrowboat? Here’s a video walk-through of my own boat James.
Roses and Castles Canal Art – What is it and why do boaters spend so much money decorating their boats with it?
Fitting secondary double glazing – Fitting the panels is a simple operation for those with the most basic DIY skills, something which I sadly haven’t developed. As you might expect then, the fitting didn’t go as well as it should.
Narrowboat videos – I launched the Living On A Narrowboat YouTube channel
Secondary double glazing for your boat – The pros and cons of double glazing on a boat and why secondary double glazing is a much better bet and a fraction of the cost.
Living on a narrowboat vidoes – My first hesitant steps into the world of video production for site content
Can you either live or holiday on a narrowboat if you have a disability? – Here’s what you need to know.
Winter fuel allowance – Do you qualify for one if you live on a boat?
Case Study – NB Progress. Kim Wainwright recorded her journey on the forum from nervous anticipation to current liveaboard boat owner. Here’s her story.
Narrowboat central heating – I don’t have any. All that is about to change. Here’s the system I’m going to install and why I’ve chosen it.
Narrowboat running costs – I compare my own running costs to those of a prominent YouTube video blogger and detail my exact costs for October 2013
Popular narrowboat terminology – Hundreds or words or phrases used to describe parts of boats and the waterways they cruise through.
The wind chill factor – How strong the wind is blowing and which direction it’s coming from can determine how difficult it is to heat your boat. Here’s what you need to know.
Case study – Another couple from down under living the dream on the inland waterways.
20th October 2013Condensation. It’s a common problem on boats. Here are a few suggestions how to keep your boat’s interior dry.
A new organisation for liveaboard boaters
On demand water heater problems – Discover a common fault with these water heaters and what you can do to resolve the problem.
Know your firewood – Not all timber burns well. Find out which is best and which to avoid.
Managing your boat’s water supply. You can use your water supply as and when you need it when you live in a house with all mod cons. You can pretty much do the same when you’re on a marina mooring with a water supply just a hose length away. It’s a different kettle of fish when you’re on an online mooring.
Liveaboard case study – A prime example of mooring without a water supply on tap.
The folly of using unseasoned wood as a fuel – Here’s essential information if you plan to use logs you find to heat your boat for free
Creating lasting memories of your cruises – Slightly off topic, but please bear with me. You’ll have some wonderful adventures as you travel throughout the network. They’ll be adventures worth remembering but will you remember them? I have a very poor memory but instant and total recall of all my cruises is just a click away.
A tragedy at Calcutt. Sudden Oak Dieback hits our 1,500 twenty year old oak trees
Forum private messaging – Now you can email other forum users from within the site
Managing your water supply
An American blogs about his travels
Solving engine room leaks – A simple solution to a dripping stern tube
All about the weed hatch – Removing debris from your propeller
A disaster – I inadvertently deleted this week’s newsletter and there wasn’t a backup on the server. What a shame. It was all about the damage you can do to your boat if you don’t watch what you’re doing in a lock. You would have loved it!
Effective fly killers for boats
The downside to living on a narrowboat
Liveaboard Case Study – American Richard Varnes has taken a year out from work to cruise the canal network and write about his adventure. Here’s his case study and a few stories from his journey so far.
CART Guide Approval – The waterways’ governing body is now promoting the information packages available from this site. Yippee!
Narrowboat Insurance – A summary of insurance quotes from the major narrowboat insurers
Liveaboard Case Study – Keith and Nicky downsized their property in Jersey, used the released capital to buy their 57? “go anywhere” narrowboat and now live on their boat full time while they continuously cruise the canal network. They’re ridiculously young to retire, and I’m very, very jealous
Downsizing from a 3 bed semi to a narrowboat – What do you do with a lifetime’s accumulated possessions?
A free download – Living On A Narrowboat: 101 Essential Narrowboat Articles
Narrowboat tips – Handy hints from experienced narrowboat owners
The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How one liveaboard boater manages on a shoestring
The perfect narrowboat washing machine? – It’s low cost and doesn’t need plumbing in, but does it actually clean clothes?
The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How much does living the life of a water gypsy really cost?
The cost of living on a narrowboat – An article in the Daily Mail… and why most boaters disagree with what they said.
Hire boat expectations – Fully understanding what facilities will be available to you is essential if you’re going to enjoy a narrowboat holiday. Here’s what not to do.
Fenland river cruising – Another boater’s maiden voyage to whet your appetite.
Anticipating winter weather – You may well be enjoying unusually warm winter weather but the winter will be with us all too soon. Now is the time that you need to plan for the cold weather ahead.
Keeping your stove glass clean – Maybe you think it’s an odd subject for the summer but you can’t trust the English weather. Late June and the stove was still on now and again. At least now I have a crystal clear view of the fire I shouldn’t need to light.
Traffic chaos caused by Braunston’s historic boat rally – On a day with high winds and a canal full of working boats returning home after the rally, I had the pleasure of taking some very nervous hirers out on the cut.
23rd June 2013 – The cost of a two week cruise. If you live on your own boat, what’s the real cost of taking it away for a two week break?
Case Study – Mary Anne swapped dry land home rental for floating home ownership. Now she loves life afloat and works from home.
Life as a continuous cruiser – The Holy Grail of narrowboat ownership. The ability to travel where and when you like. Peter Early tells all.
The Ashby canal cruise part two – We spent a bit more time on the Ashby before heading south again, joining the Coventry canal, this time following it into Coventry’s rather depressing and disappointing city centre, then retracing our steps back to Calcutt
Most popular narrowboat names – Here’s the definitive list of the top 200 most popular narrowboat names and a resource you can use to find out if any other boat has the same name as yours
Considerate boating – An article prompted after a near head on collision with another boat trying to avoid a fallen oak.
I was on holiday for the first two weeks of June. Sally and I cruised from Calcutt to Braunston, north along the north Oxford where we joined the Coventry canal briefly before taking a very sharp right turn onto the Ashby canal. Here’s a daily report of the first week of our holiday.
An encounter with two poorly prepared holiday boaters and my own impending two week cruise encouraged me to put together a pre cruise check list
Laptop hacking – An update on the problems I encountered after buying a brand new laptop which I suspect was tampered with before I bought it.
Diary of a new narrowboat owner – Frequent forum poster “Our Nige” finally moved on to his new floating home. Here’s his story
My comments about an encounter on the Oxford/GU section between Napton and Braunston sparked a debate about the pros and cons of wide beams on the cut.
Keeping dry – You don’t really need to limit your cruising to sunny summer days. There’s something very special about standing on the back deck in the pouring ran protected by a set of bomb proof waterproofs.
Do you really need a car? Living on a narrowboat is all about enjoying a simple and stress free life. Sally and I had a car each. Mine cost £2,000 to run in the previous 12 months so I decided to get rid of mine to see if I could manage without one.
An encounter with a wide beam boat and why they aren’t suitable for much of the canal network
An interview with the Trust’s head of boating. Sally Ash talks about the Trust’s approach to the thorny issue of residential moorings
Narrowboat fuel tanks – How much do they hold
Meet one of your legless canal side companions
The canal network’s largest floating hotel
Narrowboat blogs – My own first cruise, Our Nige takes his new home on its maiden voyage and a chance for you to have your very own blog section on this site.
The Trust target illegal moorers but just what does the Trust consider to an illegal mooring?
Identity theft – The ongoing saga of my hacked laptop
RCR engine servicing – River Canal Rescue (RCR) are well known as the waterways equivalent of the AA but did you know that they will also come to your mooring to service your boat?
The perils of exceeding your monthly broadband data allowance. Learn from my mistakes.
Narrowboat security – A spate of burglaries from boats and a break in at my former family home encouraged me to write this article
Case study – You need to committed to sell your home to fund the purchase of your narrowboat. That’s what Mick and Marlene have done.
Case study – Sarah lives on wide beam Antioch on the Leeds Liverpool canal. She can do man things with her hands. Here’s her story.
Be inspired – There are always reasons why you don’t make the move from bricks and mortar to steel and water. Here’s an anecdote which demonstrates once and for all that there really aren’t any worthwhile excuses.
Here’s an example of what happens when you really don’t understand how your narrowboat works.
Essential boating equipment – Here’s a low cost item which has paid for itself over and over again.
Whilton marina boat sales – Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This alleged fact about the boat sales at Whilton has come to me from several different sources.
Where can you find residential moorings? Here’s a great place to start
Getting rid of unwelcome visitors – Geese used to regularly disturb a peaceful night’s sleep where I moor. Not any more. Here’s my solution
Know your narrowboat costs – Detailed costs for my own boat for February 2013
Half a dozen boaters now have access to their own blog section on the site. You can too. Here’s how.
James’ upgrade – Adding solar panels and replacing carpets with oak effect laminate flooring
Stove fuel test – What works best; coal, wood, briquettes or something else entirely – Here’s my own take on a Waterways World test
Essential stove maintenance – Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your stove always performs well.
Internet connectivity – I use the internet four or more hours every day. This is the setup I have on my boat to make sure that I’m always connected.
Detailed running costs for my own boat for January 2013
The real cost of going cheap. An in depth look at the cost of my 36 year old boat, and how much I spent (and still need to spend) before it will be a comfortable full time cruising boat.
Case Studies – I put together 21 of the best case studies and analysed and summarised the data in this low cost guide. If you want ton save yourself hundreds of hours of research and costly mistakes, you need to read this guide.
Case Study – Mike’s circumstances are similar to my own. He moved onto his boat after a failed marriage. He’s upgraded from a 27? GRP cruiser to a 50? narrowboat
Narrowboat electrics part 2 – The concluding article from Tim Davis
I asked newsletter subscribers to send me detailed breakdowns of their bricks and mortar expenses so I could compare them with the cost of running a narrowboat. Quite a few subscribers obliged. I added the breakdowns to my narrowboat costs guide and the budgeting application.
Understanding narrowboat electrics – Another excellent article from Tim Davis
Satellite television for narrowboats – Information from a system installer
Low cost narrowboat ownership – A low cost solution to the problem of funding your first narrowboat
Solar power – All you need to know about installing solar panels on your boat. Written by the inland waterways most popular solar system installer
Case Study – Mr. Solar Panel Tim Davis writes about life on board his own narrowboat
First tests and reviews of the budgeting application
The best aerial for a narrowboat television
The first release of the new spreadsheet based narrowboat budgeting application
An unscheduled dip in the marina prompted me to write about safety on the waterways
Living on a narrowboat – Through the eyes of a young lady who would clearly prefer to be somewhere else
I started to develop the narrowboat budgeting software. This newsletter detailed the concept and the progress to date
Practical flooring for narrowboat dogs
Case study – Mike and Mags use a double redundancy payment to pay for their new floating home
The best tip for a wannabe narrowboat owner – Advice from existing boat owners
I published my guide Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat. When this newsletter was published it was only available as a Kindle edition. Now it’s available in both Kindle and PDF format and is bundled with Narrowbudget, the site’s bespoke narrowboat budgeting application.
VAT on narrowboat sales
Dealing with pests on a narrowboat – spiders and swans
Posh boats – My personal favourite: S.M. Hudson
Repeat prescriptions, diesel heating systems and solar panels
Survey – Do you want a forum on the site? (You already know the answer to that!)
How to clean your stove glass – One of the real pleasures of a living fire is watching the flames on a cold winter’s eve. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can actually see the fire.
Smoking on board – An alternative to smelly smoke
DIY narrowboat painting – I’ve broken down the complete cost of painting your own boat and
Dealing with wind on the river – A guest article from liveaboard narrowboat owner Alan Cazaly
DIY narrowboat painting – I spent three weeks in April painting my boat. Here’s the first of my progress reports
Life on the river Cam – A guest article on the pleasures of river life by wide beam liveaboard Luther Phillips
Case Study – Freelance writer Anne and her South African farmer partner John reveal all
Case Study – Toni cruises constantly with ex husband Allan. They cruise together but they live apart… on separate boats
As a result of the article about the downside of living on a narrowboat published in the 18th March newsletter, I asked liveaboard narrowboat owners to complete a survey to give a balanced view of the issues raised by Pauline. Here are the survey results and a much more positive article by liveaboard narrowboat owner and frequent forum contributer Peter Early.
The downside of living on a narrowboat – This was a very controversial post. Liveaboard Pauline Roberts wrote about the less pleasant aspects of life afloat… and attracted a storm of comments
Case study: The Woodsman – Pauline Roberts again giving an insight into the life that you may think she doesn’t like.
Reviewed: The Liveaboard Guide by Tony Jones. A great guide to living afloat
eBay Narrowboat scam (and a little bit of flack for me from another forum)
Case Study: Author Toby Jones on his own liveaboard narrowboat
A review of Debdale Wharf marina
Two more case studies. One of them waxed lyrical about life on the waterways and enjoyed every minute of her life afloat. Now (April 2013) she’s selling up to follow another dream in Spain.
The first four narrowboat case studies published
I’ll start with myself; Paul Smith, living on my own, moored in a marina and working full time. Narrowboat James case study
Meet Peggy. She has a husband and two small children, works full time and cruises the network during the summer months. Narrowboat Violet Mae case study
Fancy spending your retirement cruising the waterways of England and Wales? Meet Barry and Sue Horne. They’re living the dream! Narrowboat Adagio Case Study
Here are another working couple. Lina and Warren cruise the cut with their two cats.Narrowboat Olive Rose case study.
Article – Living on a narrowboat in winter
Dealing with the coldest winter on record
Digital reading – A detailed review of the Kindle, the perfect solution for book loving boat owners
Comprehensive Site Article Listing
There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.
Popular Forum Posts
There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.
- Aluminium Boats – They don’t rust so why don’t you see more of them on the inland waterways?
- Ironing Board On Board – How do boaters manage a crease free life?
- Freezing Water – How to stop your pipes and pumps from freezing in the winter
- CRT & Continuous Cruising – The Trust and their enforcement of the rules
- Heat – Advice for the owner of a cold boat
- GPS Devices and Canal Mapping – Are there any decent ones available for your narrowboat and do you need them anyway?
- Battery Monitors – Replacing your leisure batteries is one of your more expensive maintenance costs. Here’s some detailed information about a device for looking after your batteries
- Survey Costs – How much should you pay to have your boat removed from the water for a survey?
- Battery monitors – Gimmick or essential boating equipment?
- Engine size and performance – Most engines are suitable for pottering about on the canal but what size engine do you need if you plan to cruise on rivers?
- A Big Inverter Or A Suitcase Generator – What are the pros and cons of either option?
- Who Owns Your Boat? – How do you find out if there’s still finance attached to your boat when you buy it.
- Boat Shares – A low cost alternative to outright narrowboat ownership. Advice from a current share owner
- Plumbing In A Back Boiler – Advice Offered
- Inverter Installation – What do you need and can you fit one yourself?
- Getting Rid Of Space Wasting CD’s & DVD’s – The solution is to digitise your collection. Here’s how to do it.
- Depreciation – How much does a new narrowboat lose in value as the years go by?
- The Cost Of Continuous Cruising – How much does the nomadic lifestyle really cost?
- 12v Narrowboat Washing Machines – Is there any such animal?
- “Chiggers” – It’s a mite you can pick up from the ever growing population of Canada Geese. Beware!
- Post & Postal Addresses For Continuous Cruisers – You need an address in order to receive post and open bank accounts, register for doctors and hospitals etc. How do continuous cruisers with no fixed abode manage it.
- Keeping Cool On A Narrowboat – How to keep people and pets cool in the summer
- It’s Official: There’s No Need To Pay Mooring Fees – Or so this Daily Mail article claims. You may disagree. I do.
- Overcrowded Waterways – More and more people are choosing a life afloat. Are the waterways becoming congested?
- VAT On New Narrowboats – Can you knock 20% off the cost of your new narrowboat?
- Lock Techniques – How do you handle a narrowboat in a lock on your own?
- Narrowboat Burglary – Two boats burgled at the same location. Where is it and what can you do to minimise the risk of theft from your own boat wherever you are?
- Insuring Your Car When You Live On A Boat – A boat owner had his car insurance cancelled when he told them he lives on a narrowboat. How does he approach other insurance companies?
- Remedies For Sooty Stove Glass – For me, one of the great pleasures of living on a narrowboat is a winter evening in front of a flickering fire. Here’s how you can keep your stove glass clear so you can see the fire in all its glory
- Visitor Moorings With Shore Power – Sometimes you need to hook up to the mains when you moor for the night. Where can you find these moorings?
- Steam Power – Are there any steam powered narrowboats on the network?
- Lightning – Is there a risk of your narrowboat being struck by lightning?
- Overplating/Replating – What’s the difference between the two and what’s involved in having the work done?
- The Logistics Of Buying A Boat – A fascinating account from a potential narrowboat owner as he tried to get a boat out of the water so that it can be suryeyed.
- Winter Stoppages 2013/2014 – The Trust carry out essential scheduled repairs during the quieter, cooler months. Here’s their planned stoppages for the coming winter.
- A New Narrowboat Dog – Alan recently moved on board his own floating home. He loved his new boat but something was missing. Now he has a new best friend and he’s in love, although his new best friend has proven a bit of a challenge.
- Electric Boats – What do they cost to run? Why would you want one? There’s a huge amount of information for you here if you’ve ever considered an alternative to a diesel narrowboat engine.
- Pram Covers – “Pram cover” is the term for a cover over the rear deck, usually on a cruiser stern narrowboat. Here are the pros and cons.
- The difference between cruising on canalas and rivers – This is a very popular thread for very good reason. It’s packed with advice if you’re new to river cruising.
- Checklists – What do you need to check before you set off on a cruise? There’s some very detailed information including a very useful post by fellow Calcutt moorer Graham who has issues with his mobility after an RTA many years ago.
- Television Aerials – If you can’t live without your Corrie, you’ll need a decent aerial for your boat.
- My New Life – I urge you to read this forum thread. If you dream of living on your own narrowboat one day, reading this post, written by a new liveaboard boater, may well prove the catalyst you need. It’s essential reading for any aspiring narrowboat owner.
- Narrowboat Ownership – How do you prove that the person offering a narrowboat for sale is the real owner?
- Tips For Continuous Cruisers – He’s making a bit of a habit of it; Pearley’s back with some great cruising tips
- The Llangollen Canal – One of the country’s most beautiful canals discussed
- Deliveries to your boat – Excellent information from regular forum contributor Pearley
- Mobile Broadband – All you need to know about internet connectivity on board
- Internet Data Theft – Did you know that fellow boaters can steal your internet data allowance?
- Boat Planning & Design – Is there any free software available to hel you plan your dream boat?
- A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
- Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
- Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
- Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
- Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
- Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
- Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
- Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
- Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
- Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
- Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
- Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
- Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
- Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
- Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
- Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
- Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
- Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
- Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
- Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
- Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
- Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
- Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
- Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
- Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
- Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
- Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
- Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
- Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
- Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
- Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
- Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
- Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
- Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
- The best flooring for a narrowboat pets – What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
- The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
- The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
- ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
- Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
- Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
- Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
- Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
- Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
- Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
- Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
- VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
- Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
- Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
- How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
- Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
- Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
- Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
- Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
- Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
- Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
- Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed
Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
CRT (Canal & River Trust) maintain the waterways. Here’s their site.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.
Find out more about narrowboat central heating costs here.
|vaccines||Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.|