Learn about life afloat the easy way

Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.

Find out more

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Doublefracture

Mick and Marlene are committed to their life afloat. They burned their bridges and sold their house to fund the purchase of their liveaboard narrowboat Doublefracture. Wierd name, lovely boat!

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

We are Mick and Marlene Masters. I am a retired civil servant and Marlene is a retired housewife(she may not agree with that). Originally we were from Yorkshire but lived in Cambridgeshire for 21yrs up to retirement.

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

We have three children(two boys one girl). They are all grown up and left home with families of their own now. When the boys were younger we did a lot of camping, including backpacking along the Leeds and Liverpool canal. We lived near to the Aire and Calder.  While visiting a nearby marina we were speaking to the owner who told us he had boated round most of the system. The seed was sewn. Then in 2005 we decided to buy a boat so we could do the same when we retired. Which we did in 2009.

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

We named our boat Doublefracture. This name was chosen because in 2002 we both fractured two bones in a road accident. As you can imagine we explain this quite a lot.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

We have had a permanent mooring at Sawley Bridge Marina since last July. Prior to this we cruised all summer and over wintered at Barton Turns Marina. We decided to have a permanent mooring at Sawley because of the easy transport links to Derby and Nottingham, so on the dark winter nights we can go to the theatre and get home on the 24hr Skylink bus. The Marina has all the facilities we need and the staff are great.

What is your boat style and length

Narrowboat DoublefractureOur boat is a 57ft traditional  style narrowboat.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

We have owned our boat since 2005.

How did you finance your boat?

We made the full commitment and sold our house to finance the boat.

How much time do you spend on your boat each year?

The only time we are not on the boat is when we visit family or take a winter holiday.

Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)

No as I said we are both retired.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

The maintenance.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The freedom.

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Marlene says she would put in a side hatch near the kitchen.

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

We find quite a few supermarkets within walking distance of the canal. Failing this we use our bus passes on the local buses.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We use a small camping twin tub and a rotary dryer.

What type of toilet do you have on board and are you happy with it?

We have both a pump out and a chemical toilet, so the best of both worlds.

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

We use our iPad with a Vodaphone 3G connection. It is ok most of the time but there are dead areas on the canal network.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

If we have to pick one, probably the Macclesfield and Peak Forest(I know that’s two but they seem to go together) or where we happen to be at the time.

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

We have three domestic batteries which charge of the engine and go through a 1800 inverter. We also have two 60kw solar panels.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Up to this year very warm,however these cold winds seem to have caused some drafts. For the first time we have used the central heating as well as the wood burner.

What advice can you offer someone considering living on a narrowboat?

Make sure you are both committed to the life.

What obvious questions have I missed from this list?

he only thing I can think of is how we get any repeat perceptions when cruising. To answer we usually get a three month supply from our Doctor, then cruise back to our home area t re stock. Alternatively call at any practice we are near and
explain the situation.

You can read about life on board Doublefracture here.

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or website.



Useful Information
Paul Smith

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia now wander Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 32' Dutch motor cruiser.