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 Shepherds Rest

After a stressful high-flying career, Tim now has a much more relaxed life. After building his own boat he now cruises the waterways offering a full solar power fitting service. He’s recently written an excellent and easy to understand article about the effectiveness of solar power and why he thinks every liveaboard boater should make the most of the sun’s free energy.

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

Tim Davis.

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

Tim DavisAfter spending many years in the corporate world, 12 years ago I decided to leave the stress of that world behind to both live on narrowboats and build them for a living.  I now run Onboard Solar specialising in solar power systems for narrowboats.  I continuously cruise, often followed by a rather smokey pirate boat.  Despite the smoke I find Baddie the Pirate very enlightening!

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

My boat is called Shepherd’s Rest.  Baddie the Pirate tells everyone I used to be a shepherd, but this is totally libellous!  Shepherd is a family name.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

No.  However I used to moor at Alvecote on the Coventry and have many friends there so it is still my spiritual home.  I can recommend the fabulous Samuel Barlow pub, a great place for a pint and a superb meal.

What is your boat style and length

60ft BCN tug.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

22 years.

How did you finance your boat?

Earnings from my previous highflying career!

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

Every day.

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

Up until recently I was a time served boat builder.  I now run Onboard Solar which specialises in solar power systems for boats, providing an all-in-one service:  making sure you get the right sized system, supply of all the components, professionally fitted to your boat by myself, all for a fixed price!  I also work in tandem with Baddie the Pirate who is a liveaboard boater who supplies LED lighting for boats.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Emptying the loo cassette.  It’s a crap job, but somebody’s got to do it!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom.

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

Shepherds RestThis is the third boat that I have built for myself and I think I’ve finally got it right.

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

I have a car that I move as well as the boat.  (Though I have had Tesco deliver straight to my side hatch!)

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I have a washing machine powered by my onboard diesel generator.

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

Thetford cassette.  In the winter yes because you can empty it even when frozen in.

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

I have a 3G Android phone, which I use for general email and some browsing and it has a clever wi-fi hotspot facility that allows me to leave it in the window and connect to it from my laptop.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

I have many favourite sections on many different canals, but if I was forced to choose I would probably go for the Macclesfield and Peak Forest.

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

I have 200 Watts of solar panels, which keeps all my day to day needs up and running.  I have a 2.1/2Kw inverter, which I rarely use.  I also have a built-in 6Kw cocooned water cooled diesel generator which I use to run heavy duty appliances like the washing machine.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very.  I have a solid fuel stove, central heating and a solid fuel range in the back cabin!

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

Talk to existing liveaboard owners as most will know everything you need to know about making the life a success.

You can find out more about Tim’s solar power fitting service on his web site. Tim’s excellent article about solar power is 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.

 

reCAPTCHA challenge image

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary
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.