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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.


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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Free Spirit

Dave and Alison are living the dream. They need to work to support their lifestyle but because they’re the clever techie types, they can work from the comfort of their boat for just a day a week and enjoy their lifestyle as true continuous cruisers for the rest of the week. What a life!

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

Allison (51) Dave (47) and the dog Charlie (7). Charlie is a rescue dog and slightly bonkers. We like to think that we are less bonkers but people who know us may disagree. Dave and I have been together since 1997.  He’s clearly quite mad as he took on me and my three daughters 17 years ago when they were just 4, 8 and 10. He is the best step father ever and has the patience of several saints having gone through ridiculous quantities of PMT.

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

rosie and jim cropped

Allison and Dave enjoying the view

My Dad and my Uncle both have narrow boats and I’d been on boating holidays in my younger days. After Dave and I married we did a few hire boat holidays with friends and really enjoyed them. My Uncle took his boat to France and cruised around there for several years and then some friends of ours decided to buy a boat and live on it up at Sawley.

After a few more boating holidays and chatting with friends and relatives with boats we started thinking about possibilities for the future. We had very stressful careers and we decided that a change of pace would be a good idea after Dave was diagnosed with Crohns disease. It wasn’t possible short term as we had the three girls and my Mum who lived near us had terminal cancer and needed our help.

We decided it was a viable long term plan and in 2007 we bought a boat suitable as a future live aboard. We spent the next 5 years driving from Kent where we lived to the boat, near Daventry, almost every weekend and holiday. We loved it and after my Mum died in 2011 and the girls were all gone or planning on leaving home we decided to move onto the boat full time in June 2012. Our house in Kent is now rented out which pays the mortgage and gives us a little bit of extra money.

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

dave charlie boat

We couldn’t afford a new boat so we bought one that was 10 years old and came with the name ‘Free Spirit’. We loved the name when we got the boat but the regular shouts from the towpath of ‘I’ll have a whiskey’ and our standard reply of ‘we only have gin’ is wearing thin.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

We had a permanent mooring at Weltonfield when we got the boat until we left in June 2012. We thought we would return to Weltonfield each winter but it hasn’t proved practical. We now moor up in whatever marina we can find if we need to go away for any reason and find a marina for Winter wherever we decide we need to be October/November.

I’d love to have a permanent residential mooring with a postal address and a bit of land but they are difficult to find and the CRT ones we have seen have been very expensive. Eventually I think we will sell the house in Kent and see if we can afford a house with a canal mooring in the midlands.

What is you boat length and style?

A 55ft Liverpool Boats Cruiser – we almost bought a 62 ft semi trad but we decided that was just a bit too long and it needed a lot of work considering it was £10,000 more.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

7 years

How did you finance your boat?

We had lots of equity in our house so we re-mortgaged and paid £38000 for Free Spirit

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

All of our time other than when we’re visiting friends and family. This year I think we will have left the boat in a  marina and gone away for about 8 weeks in total.

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

We were and still are IT Solutions Architects. We design IT systems for a  very large Insurance company. We were extremely lucky that when we resigned in 2012 they were so desperate not to lose us (yes we both worked at the same place doing the same job) that they were happy for us to work part time from the boat. We work 1 day each a week and that keeps us in relative luxury.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Not having an address is tricky. We have relatives in Kent that manage our post for us and we are still registered with doctors in Kent. We keep our post to an absolute minimum but there are some that still require a postal address. Winter can be difficult but that’s mostly down to a lack of going anywhere and the constant mud. I volunteered for Age UK last winter and did two days a week all winter. It was great fun and really worthwhile.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Moving on to new places nearly every day and being able to explore the UK from a new perspective. Our lives are much simpler, less stressful and we have less stuff. Stuff is over rated and despite being our only home our boat is very uncluttered. We have got storage well and truly sorted. Living on the boat has also made it easier to be places we need to be even if it takes a bit longer to get there. My Dad is now ill so we were able to spend last winter in a marina on the Macclesfield to be near him.

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

The boat is perfect as it is for the two of us but when we have visitors a little more seating space would be helpful.
It would be great if the boat were just a bit longer, maybe 60 FT, and there was room for a diner between the kitchen and saloon.

Dave would like a semi trad stern but Charlie is not convinced.

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

We walk to the nearest shop or occasionally get a supermarket to deliver to us if we can find a suitable location. It means we live on chicken a lot of the time (Roast Chicken, Garlic Chicken and Thai Green curry are our favourites). We usually manage to get to a decent sized shop or town at least once a month to stock up. In winter we do a lot of casseroles on the stove as its so easy to do and it saves on gas.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine on board and washing usually dries quite quickly hung about the boat with the windows open.

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

Traveller drop through pump out which is fine. They can get a bit smelly on flushing if its nearly pump out time but some extra blue usually sorts that out. Last winter we got a cassette toilet and used the Elsan point to save moving to the pump out station every two weeks. Luckily the cassette toilet slotted in nicely next to the pump out toilet and Dave didn’t seem to mind emptying it every 3/4 days.

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

We have a 3 wireless modem which gives us 15 GB of data a month. It’s essential for our work and having travelled quite a lot on the UK river and canal system we can say that there are very few places we don’t get a signal. Our office gave us a Vodaphone dongle – it was useless. We rarely had a signal so we gave it back to them. 15 GB used to be loads of data for a month but we are noticing that as apps and gadgets become more data intensive we are starting to get very close to our 15GB limit each month. No watching catch up TV on the internet these days.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

consall forge

We loved the Llangollen but we also loved the Kennet and Avon from Bradford-on-Avon to Bath. When we did the Thames from Oxford to Reading last year we decided rivers were our thing but I think our absolute favourite so far is the Caldon Canal down to Froghall – especially the bit around Consall Forge where the steam train runs alongside.

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

The engine generates a fair bit of electricity and we move for around 3 hours most days but we also have 2 x 100W solar panels that are amazing. We had the batteries replaced last winter with 3 x 140 amp batteries and that made a huge difference to how long we can keep ourselves in electric without running the engine. We use quite a lot of electricity with all of the gadgets but we don’t have a freezer (except the little compartment in the 12v fridge), microwave or some of the other electricity guzzling appliances we see on other boats. We also only use high power appliances like the washing machine while the engine is running. I have learned to live without hair dryers and straighteners unless its a very special occasion.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very warm. If we are moving we have a heat exchanger that runs the central heating. We also have an Eberspacher that will run the central heating but we rarely use that. If we’re stationary we have a Morso squirrel stove that we can keep going continuously on 2 bags of coal a week.

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

Don’t under estimate the costs. Boats are expensive to maintain and there always seems to be something that needs doing. Since we bought the boat its been blacked 4 times, had a repaint, new stove, numerous engine repairs and eventually a new engine. On average we spend around £2000 a year just keeping the boat in good condition. Buying food in local shops can be expensive and diesel and pump out costs add up. I reckon we end up spending around £400 a month on food, pump out and diesel. Having said that its cheaper than living in a house and much more fun. We could spend less by moving less.

We knew that moving onto a boat from a house involved getting rid of a lot of accumulated possessions. We had to clear a 4 bedroom house and move into a 55ft narrowboat. This took us around 2 months of going to charity shops, the tip and selling anything we could. We kept some really important sentimental stuff (again relatives with spare cupboard space) but the majority of what we owned had to go. We got rid of all of our CD’s, records and books and most photos went in favour of kindles, ipods and hard drives. Once we’d managed it we found it was incredibly freeing but it was really really hard to do. The local hospice and British Heart Foundation made a fortune from our donations and we don’t miss any of it.

Beware if you are not used to spending lots of time with your other half. We already worked and lived together before we moved onto the boat but we still found that we were spending even more time together on the boat. We make sure that we have our own space (we have a settee and TV each end of the boat for football/rugby/Grand Prix days) and we see other people as often as we can. Some times we get to large cities and realise that we have forgotten how to operate in normal society. Its easy to accidentally become a bit of a recluse if your a natural introvert and spend all your time with someone you know really well.

What obvious questions have I missed from this list?

Family reaction. Our families have been very supportive and help us out with the ongoing issue of needing a postal address and storage of the few things we couldn’t let go of. Our three daughters had grown up and left home (27. 25 and 21) and thought it was a great idea. I do worry that they don’t have a family home to return to if things go wrong but so far so good. They have their Dad and he has a beautiful home if they need a place to stay. We’ve had a family crisis or two in the last few years but we have the money to rent places to stay and hire cars if necessary. We’re very lucky and we know it but I do sometimes feel guilty that we aren’t around to help out more with Dave’s parents who are getting on. At some point I think we will end up back in Kent helping out.Its a shame that there is nowhere near them to moor the boat. Maybe we can low load the boat to their back garden.

What’s the link back to your blog/web site?

Dave writes a blog. Its not like most boat blogs as Dave has  a very well developed sense of humour and loves music. You’ll see what I mean if you read a few entries. Its a great way of making sure family and friends can keep up with what we are up to and Dave seems to like doing it.

 

____________________________________________________________________

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.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Manouche

Paul and Pei work in London and live on their boat on the nearby river Lee. Decent London residential moorings are as rare as hens’ teeth but this newly married couple have found one. In fact, they like the mooring so much that they rarely move their boat off it.

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

Hi there, my name is Paul 34 and my wife is Pei 30, we don’t own a dog but we do have a neighbour’s cat that wonders in and out now and again.

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

Paul Manouche2
Pei and I met several years ago, after our relationship became more serious we decided that we wanted our own place. London house prices being out of our grasp yet both of our jobs being linked to the city meant that buying a boat would at least be a step in the right direction into the property market. Despite us living on a narrowboat there is ironically more floor space than some places we have lived in over the years!

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

Our boat is called Manouche (French for Gypsy), the man we bought her from named her we are not sure why he settled on Manouche, he certainly wasn’t French or a Gypsy. He was a plumber from Kent, pretty sure he didn’t speak French either.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

We are lucky enough to have found a permanent residential mooring on the River Lee north London. We are very fortunate in that we are located a 5 minute walk from a main line train station that is a short 20 minute journey into Liverpool Street station. We are also lucky in that we have access to all facilities including coal and gas and more recently the marina has invested in a pump out machine. The marina is very well run and the owners are easy going and really look after the boaters here.

What is you boat length and style?

62’ Tug Boat.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

About 4 years now.

How did you finance your boat?

Combination of savings, partial loan from my very understanding boss and equally understanding parents, the remainder of the money came in the form of a Marine Loan.

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

Being full time liveaboards we are on the boat pretty much all year round.

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

Yes we both work full time. I work as a Self Employed Cabinet Maker. my main client is working for a small company based in Shoreditch London, who specialise in bespoke furniture. Pei works in marketing for a fancy clothes shop in West London providing ridiculously expensive clothes and accessories for ridiculously wealthy people.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Hmmm aside from insects 😉 for me it would be the limited fridge/ freezer space, for Pei it would be the odour from the pump out toilet from time to time.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Without hesitation the peacefulness of living on the river, we both lived in central London for years and it is very nice to be away from the constant bustle and noise.

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

The width. we would like to start a family soon. We love our boat and it would be great if we could stretch her. We want to stay afloat so we are starting to look at Wide beams now.

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

This is quite embarrassing but as permanent live aboard boaters we have always treated our boat like a floating flat. The truth of the matter is that we have a lot of experience living afloat, but we have only taken Manouche out a handful of times for an afternoon. Consequently we have never been cruising long enough to need to stop for supplies.

However, we took the car of the road for a couple of years and we tried Tesco home delivery but they kept giving us the bruised fruit so we gave up on them and started going ourselves using our push bikes with rucksacks on our backs. Have to admit it was nice to put the car back on the road.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

To be honest we have not cruised long enough for this to be an issue for us, given the length of our trips out on the boat we would be back on the mooring before the spin cycle finished! That said, we do have a washing machine aboard which can be powered by our 3Kw generator when not on Shore power. The washer has a tumble dryer built in but we do not use it, we can dry a whole rack of clothes in front of the stove in just a few hours, we think the washing smells better if we avoid tumble drying.

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

We have a trusty Sealand Traveler 911 Drop Through toilet and both the wife and I are absolutely delighted with it, there is nothing this little puppy can’t handle despite its compact size. However, we are slightly less pleased with the volume of the holding tank at a questionable 75 litres, we try to extend our pump out requirements by skipping strong coffee and orange juice at breakfast time.

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

Hmmm, yes again we have to own up and admit that we have a phone line connection to the boat which we installed shortly after moving in. So we are fortunate in that we do not have the usual internet connection problems although our mobiles seem to work pretty well inside the boat despite the steel hull. Consequently we are very pleased with the internet which is fortunate as our TV aerial is not the best so we download a lot of TV shows direct to our laptops.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Without question it has to be the river Lee

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

We have a 3Kw generator fitted to the engine so as long as the engine is running we can run most things on the boat, just not at the same time…. even with shore power we have to be aware of how many appliances are running as its quite easy to blow fuses on the main board which is a real pain to get to buried at the bottom of the engine bay. In terms of shore power we use around £40/ month that we top up a meter using tokens bought from the marina office.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

We were amazed when we first moved aboard because the boat is cosier than most flats we have lived in over the years. We use a solid fuel stove which keeps the boat toasty and dry, we actually leave the bedroom door closed to stop the bedroom getting to hot. It is great to open the bedroom door on a freezing winter morning and be hit with a wall of hot air.

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

Our main piece of advice would be to really think carefully about how you can make owning a boat work for you. We spent almost half a year searching for a residential mooring before we bought the boat and it was a conscious decision that we made early that if we were unable to find a residential mooring then we would not buy a boat. Both of us working full time and pretty long hours means constant cruising would not work for us.

We were very clear about the reasons for buying on a boat, our work is very much linked to London but the idea of owning a property in the city is a pipe dream. The boat is our home, it has provided us with a place to call our own enabling us to move away from rented accommodation and invest in ourselves. To be honest our initial reasons were totally money driven, but after several years of living afloat on our little narrowboat on the river and having swans as neighbours the idea of living in one of those things on land made of bricks brings of waves of claustrophobia.

A final piece of advice to any would be boaters is that once you own your dream boat, invest in some self-adhesive backed plastic shower curtain clips, and of course some Bugsout rings they work a treat!

Paul and Pei don’t like creepy crawlies in their boat. They couldn’t find a decent solution for keeping unwanted crawling visitors out of their boat so they have designed an effective barrier for their porthole windows. You can find out more about their products 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.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Morialta 11

Here’s another couple who have sensibly decided to retire early to enjoy life in the slow lane. They keep their boat at the bottom of their riverside home when they aren’t cruising, which doesn’t appear to be very often. I particularly like the iconic photo’s they sent me to include with their case study.

We are Mark 55yrs and Helen Meopham (confidential! ). We took early retirement from Police Force/Optician after deciding too many folks never get to enjoy retirement because they put it off for too long.

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Like many people we headed to the sun, and rented in Ibiza, Spain. Now whilst its a great fun island, for a holiday, we did start to suffer from island fever even though the social side was great with wonderful street cafes etc. Looking back, perhaps we were just too young to sit in the sun all day.

We returned to UK late 2011, and decided we would like a home on a river or canal and having spent a few years after school working on Phobus, a converted narrowboat, we decided one option was to buy a narrowboat and commence our search from the water.  We purchased Morialta 11, a 2006 55ft semi trad, and off house hunting we went. The search took longer than we had initially thought mainly due to the high prices of water front homes.

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It had never been our intention to remain on the boat in the depths of winter. We are far too soft for that, so the first winter saw us travel to Florida to follow up reports on very cheap waterside property, and boy were we in for a pleasant surprise. For the price of a one bed flat in Ibiza, you could buy a 3 bed villa, with pool and dock with direct Gulf of Mexico boat access.  It needed a tidy up but painting in the Florida winter sun was not too much of a hardship. Spring of 2012 saw us back on Morialta 11 and in the August we cruised by a river front home in Evesham on the River Avon, so after 3000 miles and 2000 locks we had a home.

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The fact of being on a River means we don’t have to pay mooring fees, and when the river Floods Morialta 11 just rises and falls on her 5 metre tall mooring posts kindly constructed by the Avon Navigation Trust. So at last we had a home but rather missed our nomadic existence so in spring 2013 we set sail again. We advertised the Avon house on a web site for weekly vacations and much to our surprise received lots of interest. We shall never get rich from the income but it does give you a warm glow, when you know the house is helping to pay for its self. Initially we had concerns about arranging the cleaning on change over days, but Enterprise with there cheap weekend rates came to the rescue, they actually pick us up from where ever we are, we drive back to Evesham clean and check the house,see in the new renters and have a car to use till Monday morning.

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We purchased Morialta 11 as a 4 year old boat, and have to say the saving against a brand new boat are even better than buying a second hand car. The Hospital silencer and extra engine room insulation make for an extremely quiet passage. In fact on the Thames were they like you to stop engines in Locks, the Lock keepers all ways assume we have complied !!!!!!!

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We have a Washer/Dryer which if used with the engine running is no different to a house. Shopping is a breeze as many supermarkets have set up in canal side locations and if we can’t see one from the towpath then we have the excellent “First Mates” guide which kindly points out shops etc, often just out of sight from the towpath.

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Internet comes and goes. We have a dongle from 3 which works well. The TV has always been hit and miss so this winter we called an engineer, bought a cheap aerial ( Ours loves to headbutt bridges) and an even cheaper booster.  Now, for the first time, we can get a great signal. We have a Cassette toilet with two cassettes which has worked great.

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Things I would change on the boat would be lower cabin windows so we could see out whilst sitting in Saloon and a larger front deck so we could sit out in comfort on those summer evenings.

The thing we most enjoy living afloat is the other boaters we meet on our travels. Our favorite waterway is the Thames. We love the way they do all the locks for you! The thing we like least is muddy, wet towpaths.

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____________________________________________________________________

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.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Joanie M

Peter Early (Pearley on the forum) and his wife Jeanette live a nomadic life as genuine continuous cruisers. They’ve been cruising the network non stop since their new boat was launched in 2007. It’s a lifestyle many boaters aspire to.

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

Peter and Jeanette Earley

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

About 10 years ago a good friend died. He was only a year older than me and it made us think that there were other things we wanted to do rather than working. An opportunity came to sell our business and in 2007 with no family ties we had Joanie M built for us and sold our house.

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

‘Joanie M’. We wanted to call the boat after Jeannette’s mum. There were several Joans on the register, 2 or 3 Joanies so we added the M, for Maurice, Jeannettes dad, to make the name unique.

Narrowboat Joanie M

Do you have a permanent mooring?

Continuous Cruisers although we have sometimes taken a winter mooring, on one occasion taking and paying for it then getting stuck in the ice about 5 miles from getting there!

What is your boat style and length

57 ft 6 ins trad.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

20 years of hiring, 7 years of shared ownership then Joanie M since 2007

How did you finance your boat?

From the sale of house.

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

Live on board all time

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

No. Retired vehicle electrician so at least I know how to look after my batteries.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Nothing

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom. We get to see different parts of the country, if we don’t like the view we can move, if we don’t like our neighbours we can move.

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

Second bathroom

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

Walk but often use supermarket delivery services for wine! When your stuck in the ice you tend to drink more!

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Washing machine & tumble dryer on board

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

Dometic vacuum cassette. Gives conventional style bowl at normal height. Yes very happy although like every other boat toilet it has its peculiarities. If it is going to play up it will be when we have visitors.

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

T Mobile wireless pointer. Makes inside of boat wireless.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Mine is Calder & Hebble but Jeannette is not keen on rivers so next would be BCN

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

Joanie M is gas free so have a 7 kVa diesel generator built in.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Solid fuel stove and Ecofan makes it very warm. Cannot rely on Webasto for long term heating

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

Try it out before committing, not just in the summer but during the winter months.

____________________________________________________________________

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.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Victoria Plum

Here’s a story with a happy ending. Don Wilkinson was made redundant at the tender age of fifty three (my age). Since then he’s spent seventeen years cruising the canal and river network on his own boat. He’s still cruising and still enjoying every minute of it.

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

I am a 70year old male Don Wilkinson. No significant other or pets. ie Single handed boater.

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

I had a 4 day holiday on an Anglo Welsh hire boat about 30years ago and loved it. Set my stall out to leave work at 55, buy a
boat and live on it cruising the canals. Luckily I got made redundant at age 53 and have been happy ever since.

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

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My boat is called “Victoria Plum” and I also push a small 13ft butty called Victoria Plum`s Garage. Initially the garage held a
Vespa scooter and sidecar. For the last few years it has held an electric mobility scooter plus junk I don`t want in the boat. The     name was on the second hand boat I had 10 happy years on. Rather than pay a signwriter to put the name on I invested in a pair of cast aluminium nameplates. When I got my new boat 7 years ago I transferred the nameplates.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

I have a permanent mooring at Viking marina in Goole (East Yorkshire) right at the Eastern end of the Aire & Calder canal. This is my 3rd marina, previously at Blue Water Marina for 10 years and Stanilands Marina for 5 years. Both located on the  Stainforth and Keadby canal in Thorne South Yorkshire. I moved marinas only to find a cheaper mooring and save money. ( I     am Yorkshire man with a reputation to uphold.)

What is your boat style and length

My boat is 57 feet long by 6ft 10″. She is a narrowboat but with a fixed wheelhouse putting my air-draft up to 6ft 6″. This      prevents me transiting the tunnel on the Huddersfield narrow canal as their max height is 6ft 2″. When I asked about putting  45 gall drums of water on the back deck to get the air draft down BW  said I would then be too deep. ( I normally draw 3ft 2″). So far on my travels this has been the only place I could not access although I do often touch bottom while cruising.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

17 years

How did you finance your boat?

Luckily by being made redundant the Redundancy pay plus a lump sum payment from my pension enabled me to buy my first  vessel for cash without having to sell my bungalow in Kingston upon Hull. Renting this out has replaced the pension I lost by  leaving work so early. Using all my savings, max out 2 credit cards and selling the old boat financed the new one.

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

I have slept off the boat about 6 times in 17 years when visiting friends, and changing the tenant in the bungalow.

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

Luckily no.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

People on “posh” cruisers looking down on me. eg. Last year on the River Thames 4 big cruisers on a visitor mooring with about 30 ft between them. When I approached the owner of the last vessel I asked if he would mind moving closer to the boat ahead of him so that I could moor up astern of him. His answer- I have already washed my hands ready for dinner. When I offered to move it for him he went a funny colour and used language I am not prepared to repeat. I found another mooring.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Meeting such lovely people on narrowboats, offering advice or just a chat, helping where needed. Also being able to have a    different view out the window each time I do the washing up!!

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

Reduce the draft so I would spend less time rubbing the bottom of the cut.

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

If I can`t moor directly outside or within a couple of hundred yards of a supermarket the mobility scooter comes out. For a big     shop I tow a shopping trolley. Alternatively use the bus pass.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Full sized washer drier on board powered by a Travel Power 240 generator.

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

Vetus macerator toilet “feeding” a massive 24 cubic foot tank under the bed. Needs pumping out usually 3 times a year so
delighted with it. ( It does influence the draft when getting full)

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

A dongle from “3”. On a 4 month voyage to Bath last year there were maybe 6 nights when I got no service. Much better than the television reception!! My mobile is also with 3 which also gives good coverage throughout the country, so yes very happy.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Difficult one to answer. I love most of them. If I have to choose just one it has to be the Llangollen. Second the village of    Willington on the Trent & Mersey canal.

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

I have a 45amp & 95 amp alternators feeding a charging system filling 5×120 ah domestic plus a 120ah engine start battery.Also I have a 3.5kw Travel Power which supplies the boat with mains power while the engine is running. Having a 240 volt fridge and 240 volt full size freezer, large microwave, big tv, disc players etc, plus a 240 volt lighting circuit usage is very high.I decided to go the mains route as I use a night time breathing machine due to sleep apnoea so have to use the inverter all night so saved money by buying big equipment 240 volt rather than 12 volt models. With hindsight I should have gone the 12volt route. Night time usage usually about 150amp hours takes about 3 to 4 hours engine running to fill batteries up again.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

At the marina I use electric radiators and are very happy with them. I have a Hurricane diesel heater feeding 6 radiators which I use while cruising. As the heater uses about 10 litres a day to heat the boat and a 25 gallon calorifier it is much cheaper to use electric heating whilst connected to the mains.

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

Have a holiday on a boat during the early or late part of the year when the weather is cooler. If you enjoy the trip while it`s not bright sunshine then you are going to be delighted when it is. Don`t buy a boat to find cheap accommodation. You have to  enjoy the views and wildlife.

____________________________________________________________________

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.

Tony & Jane Robinson.

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Wide Beam Julynian

Julian Cox is one of those clever fellows who can do things with his hands which mystify me. He purchased a bare steel shell and transformed it himself into a comfortable floating home. There’s a link to his build blog at the bottom of this post.

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

We are Lynn & Julian + 2 cats Zig and Zag

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

We initially became interested in boats about 11 years ago. My brother purchased a narrowboat and after talking to him about it, we thought, yep we like it, let’s get one. So we did. Initially a 3 to 4 year project ended up taking 9 years. Many reasons for this including the recession of course. Fitting out a boat is a lot more difficult than meets the eye, the major delays in the project though were more to do with family issues and some unexpected bereavements. We’ve made now though, although we did have 2 years on the water in 2005 to 2007, fitting out a boat on the canal side though just makes a tricky task even more difficult. We decided to put the boat on dry land to finish the project.

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

The boats name in a mix of Julian and Lynn JULYNIAN

Do you have a permanent mooring?

No we are continuous cruisers.

What is your boat style and length

he boat is a 60′ X 10’6″ wide beam with a traditional stern made by R&D fabrications in 2004. The boat also has a Slipper stern, a design of stern designed by R&D We fitted the 2.5L Perkins Diesel engine.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

10 years

How did you finance your boat?

Initially from a divorce settlement.

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

We live aboard so almost all.

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

We are semi retired. Owning a boat and the reduced costs enable us to live a comfortable lifestyle on a low income.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

I can’t think of anything.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom of movement and independence.

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

Fitting of flexible solar panels to roof. Too expensive at the moment though, so we have 740w of standard panels.

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

We have a van, when we cruise I cycle back and pick up the van. We have oil and gas delivered to the boat, we can also order chandlery items and have them delivered in the same way.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a standard washing machine but a very economical model. We do washing whilst the engine is running it is supplied with power from a 3kw pure sine inverter.

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

We have a composting toilet, it works really well. Not to every ones taste but we done have emptying fees and we only need to empty a small amount of waste partially composted every 6 weeks or so.

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

We have a 3 MIFI which can run 5 things from such as lap tops game consoles. The MIFI sits in a porthole window and is rechargeable.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

We have only experienced the Western K&A so far, favourite area so far is Seend Melksham

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

From March to end October Solar panels supply all of our electrical energy, cruising gives more energy and we do things like washing in the washing machine to use any additional power. Engine running also heats water in our calorifier. We use around 80ah per day.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very warm, it’s been a mild winter, with the stove on lowest setting it’s too hot, we have to open hatches and doors to cool down. I ensured our boat was well insulated. Most spray foamed boats do not have sufficient thickness, we used Rockwool covered in 10mm Celotex.

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

We’ve only lived aboard full time for 4 months, it’s been a breeze so far, but that’s due to good planning and understanding of what can happen when living afloat.

A lot of people proposing to live on boats work full time. If they intend to continuously cruise they might find it difficult complying with CC cruising rules and working at the same time so a full understanding of the mooring and cruising rules is essential.

You can read about Julian’s epic wide beam fit out 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.

Tony & Jane Robinson.

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat 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.

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

Tony & Jane Robinson.

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

Narrowboat The Pearl

We are both retired, having worked in Libraries & Community Education. We have been interested in canals since the mid 1970s and regularly hired canal boats for holidays. As soon as we married in 1976 we had the “Boat Fund” – a future amount of money to purchase our own boat. Of course, in reality, the fund never reached 3 figures and we always held on to the belief that one day… Fast forward to 2006 when we were fortunate to have the funds to have our own boat built. Having spent more and more hours afloat on the boat we decided in 2011 to down size – empty our 3 bed roomed house, and move onto the boat permanently. We decided that whilst we are fit & active – lets go for it + most people we met and spoke to who live aboard felt they had never looked back.

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

The Pearl – The boat was built and launched following our Pearl wedding anniversary in 2006. Since we had got married in 1976 and always wanted our own boat – the name seemed a perfect confirmation of a future on the water.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

We moor presently in a large purpose built marina with all facilities and lots of other boaters – a great place to make new friends and share interests in life afloat. However it is not a residential mooring and we have a different postal address.

What is your boat style and length

The Pearl is 60’ – we decided we needed an extra 2 feet for living aboard! It is a semi-trad, with large hatch at the back, Beta Marine engine, diesel central heating and a lovely stove! We like to have light, so we decided to have lots of windows + a hatch on the side which is great in the summer.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Previous to 2006 we had a share boat for five years. This was the first stage in realising we still loved canals after all those years and gave us ideas of what we wanted & didn’t want on a boat of our own.

How did you finance your boat?

Don’t sell your house – but rent it out! This is what we have done and so far this has worked well. We are renting to a young family who need the space and love our large garden. The income from the house rent is paid into our “sinking fund” to pay for all the costs of repairs, maintenance, mooring fees, fuel etc.

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

All the time. We stay moored in the marina over winter and then chug off in the spring to explore the waterways throughout the country.

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

Depends what you mean by working! We are presently retired from paid work but do regular voluntary work to keep us occupied during winter. Considering returning to some form of part time work next year to put into the sinking fund!..

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Emptying the Elsan – in winter! But it’s a simple process and it just comes to be a routine. Not having space for a large hi-fi system to listen to all my vinyl records. Gales in winter making it a challenge to manoeuvre our boat into a tight mooring space without ramming the neighbours!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

  • Being able to untie the ropes and cruise away on our home where we want and when we want.
  • Being adventurous.
  • Meeting and getting to know other boaters – we know more people at our moorings than we ever did by living for 25 years in a house! Boaters are mostly a friendly lot.
  • Being out in the fresh air – even in winter.
  • Spectacular sunrises and sunsets
  • Having a cosy coal fire and listening to the rain and wind hammering outside.

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

We have a good shower but a bath would be great! However- we periodically treat ourselves to a night in a motel to have a good long soak and laugh at the size of the king size beds – usually wider than our boat!

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

We have a fold up bike for the times we are moored away from supplies. We also have a wheeled shopping bag – hauling heavy bags along a towpath is difficult. We have occasionally got a taxi back to the mooring.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a small washing machine which is good for small washes – usually when we are cruising. We also make use of launderettes when we are out and about – some are very close to canal moorings. If we are moored for a few days we occasionally have a service wash – all washed and ironed!

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

Elsan – Economical – not much to go wrong. We have 3 spare cassettes for when we can’t get to a sanitary stop for a few days.

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

We connect to the marina broadband when we are moored in winter. When we are cruising, we use a dongle on the laptop and this is ok – but the download speeds can be slow and we don’t access music and movie websites.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Shropshire Union – lots of interesting things to see, well maintained and the Shropshire Union Canal Society do a fabulous job in providing good overnight moorings. We also like the BCN – ignored by a lots of boaters as not safe – but some really interesting parts to visit and do complete rings in a few days.

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

We have a plug in landline in winter for which we have a pay card. When we are cruising, we use the battery power – but have very low voltage LED lights and an inverter to power the t.v. and laptop. We only use the washer when we are cruising or connected to a land line.

Remember – you use more electric in winter than summer – those long long cold dark nights!

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Great – we have just had a Little Wenlock fitted and it’s excellent – it’s been alight now for about a month and I have mastered keeping the fire going overnight. We also have diesel central heating radiators which are on a timer to come on in the morning and keeps the back cabin warm before going to bed.

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

Speak to as many live aboards as you can – we are mostly a friendly lot. There is no standard boat or typical mooring or typical persons living  aboard. Don’t buy a boat and expect it to be a cheap way of living.

We have found living on a boat can be expensive in terms of maintenance and upkeep – there’s always a list of repairs and improvements and living on water requires regular maintenance throughout the year.

It’s worth hiring a boat in the middle of winter to see how you cope with bad weather.

 What obvious questions have I missed from this list?

What do you do about Drs and medical matters?

I am a type 1 Diabetic and require regular prescriptions. We are both registered at the local GP surgery – but have to call back to the surgery periodically in the summer to restock with supplies. Ensure that you think ahead and plan how you are going to access and pick up any regular medications. Most GP surgeries are understanding, particularly if you need urgent medical treatment whilst cruising – you can register as a temporary patient – but ensure you have your NI No!

What do you do about TV?

We are now experienced in getting a TV signal in most places we moor. We have an Easyfinder sat dish to get freesat and this is the first task when we moor up at the end of a cruising day i.e finding the satellite signal.! When we can’t get a sat signal we have a small digi aerial and re-scan the t.v to get digital tv. When all this fails – we have a good supply of dvds + there’s also Radio 4!

_____________________________________________________________________

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.

Tony & Jane Robinson.

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Progress

After being made redundant from her call centre management job, Kim persuaded husband Jim to give up his high pressure position in the corporate world and enjoy the simple life on board their own 59′ cruiser stern narrowboat with their five dogs. Here’s what Kim has to say about their new life.

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

My name is Kim. I live with my husband, Jim and our 5 dogs. Our eldest dog is Paige, she is a Patterdale Terrier and is 16.5 years old. Then there are our Border Terrier sisters, Jess and Fern at 5 years, Bart, Jack Russell, he is 4 and Ruby, German Shepherd at 3 yrs.

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

Inside NB ProgressI used to work in Customer Service, I have managed large call centres, written and delivered training programmes for 1st line and Middle Management.  I was made redundant about 4 years ago and with the support of Jim, took the decision to come out of full time work and to find something that I could do for myself.

We moved to a bungalow that was needing complete refurbishment and I project managed this for 8 months.

Jim had a very high pressured job for an oil company which was taking its toll on our life balance and his stress levels. I had seen some narrow boats moored up in the little village close by our home and mentioned one day that I thought it looked such a nice way of living. 2 weeks later, Jim came home and asked if I was serious about the boating thing as he had had enough in the corporate world, nights out, meetings, emails, phone calls, customers etc etc. We talked about it for a week, trying to weigh up good points and maybe not so good and then went boat hunting…  Here we are.

On a personal level, we have 4 children between us (youngest 20 and oldest 32) 2 gorgeous grand-daughters (aged 5 and 3) and another on the way.

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

Our boat is called Progress.  Jim has a Dog Training business called Progress DTS. This is something that he used to do as a hobby but has now decided to pursue this further. We decided to name the boat Progress as we felt it sort of fell in with his business, because we were making progress in the next stage of our life and because we felt the word progress is a positive word and this is what we both wanted to feel.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

We have a years mooring in Mercia Marina in Willington, Derbyshire.  We felt that, as relatively new to living on a boat, that we needed some stability initially and with winter approaching (as we have only just gone onto the water), that we needed to get used to what life is like as a live-aboard, during winter, in the safety of a marina.  We intend to get out there cruising come the break of the winter months and explore the canal network but have the marina to come back to.

What is your boat style and length

nbProgress is a 59ft Cruiser style narrow boat.  We designed her from scratch. She is very modern in comparison to some boats out on the waterway network. I have seen some absolutely lovely boats, some very traditional, but, on a personal note,find the wood that you get in more traditional boats,very dark.  I know that our boat would not suit everyone as we really have gone away from the traditional but we love the modern feel and can also soak up the tradition by seeing other boats go past.

We have a large stern, which is gated and meshed (this is for the safety of the dogs and ourselves).

We have no access to the bow other than from the outside because we have utilised the whole bow area in a large bed. On the bow, we have a large storage box, which also is a super seat for the summer.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

We have owned nbProgress since the middle of October 2013, so not very long.

How did you finance your boat?

The sale of our property will pay for our boat.

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

As we are new on the boat, we have no history answer to this question, however, we will be 100% on board as soon as our property is sold.  At the moment, we are here for about 5 days out of 7. We nip back, sometimes stopping overnight at the house, depending upon what we have to do. We are doing a few viewings at the moment so bit of running back and forth.

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

NB Progress is introduced to the waterNeither of us are working now. I finished full time work about 4 years ago. I have had a couple of part time jobs in that time whilst I was trying to find the right interest.  Jim does not work now having given up his job to concentrate on his Dog Training business. We will get some work when we need to (which we will to keep the coffers topped up).  Jim has his HGV Class 1 licence and a vast amount of experience at senior management level.  I would not want to go back to full time work so anything part time would suit me when I have to.  I am also studying Reflexology at the moment and would hope to turn my hand to this once I have passed my exams.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

At the moment, there is nothing that we have come across that we do not like.  We had quite a stressful introduction to boating with three breakdowns in the first three days of being on the water (one of which was the boat builders fault and two which were a fault with the brand new engine, which Barrus have actually been out and corrected).  Jim has also taken a tumble into Stenson Lock, which was also a bit hair raising. For him, the biggest loss was his new iphone 5. Luckily replaced through insurance, so he has got over that now.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Living on a narrow boat has offered us the way of life that we have always wanted. It is peaceful. We can be in our boat away from everything if we want to but there is a community out there around us, if and when we want to be a part of it. We love the fact that we now do not have the space that we had before, which we filled with stuff that really, we just do not need.  We also really like the fact that we have to think about what food to buy, how much we can actually fit in the freezer compartment, or in the cupboards.  We used to waste so much just because we did not need to think about what we actually needed.

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

The only thing I would change is to have double glazing.

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

We have a car here in the marina so at the moment, we shop at a supermarket.  We do intend to shop as we go along at local shops when we do get out there on the canal.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine.

Here at the marina, there are washing machines and dryers in a block close by.  I have done some washing and then took it to the dryer to get it dried.  Whilst in the marina I will continue to do this, especially through the winter as I do not want to have washing lying about. In the summer, I will put the washing on an airer on the stern to dry in the sun.

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

We have a Thetford Cassette toilet. We are happy with this. (Thought that this might be the thing that we would like least but we have coped with this without problem). We only like the blue stuff though. There is no smell with the blue stuff and it works quickly on the contents. We tried some green stuff once and did not like that.

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

We have 3mifi.  We have a small aerial on the roof plugged into a little credit card size box located in a cupboard.  We have a monthly allowance of 15gb which we pay £15.99 per month for.  We also have a standby on Mercia Marina wifi which is a years usage, 60gb, or whichever runs out first, £95.  We took this out because last week, our allowance on 3 suddenly ran out 2 days before the new month started. This only happened because Jim had to get his new iphone up and running, had to download the new update which ate up 9gb of our allowance.  We did not realise this at the time but 3 confirmed where the usage had gone when Jim phoned to query.  The only thing was, because we are on a monthly allowance, we could not have any allowance until the new month started.  Jim decided to buy some from Mercia Marina to keep for just such moments, or at times when 3 goes down.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

We have not really explored much yet. We are on the Trent and Mersey Canal here at the marina.  I have previously been down to Oxford from Coventry and this was lovely. This was a fortnights holiday.  Jim and I have also had a week through Foxton Locks and again this was great.  Will update on this after we have done a bit of exploring.

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

Via our diesel engine, Barrus 40. Bank of 5 batteries.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

VERY. We have central heating although so far we have not used it.  We have a multi fuel burner.  We have had this going night and day when we have been on the boat. We also have an ecofan although whilst I like to see it spinning around, I am not sure how effective it really is. We have the doors open(only 2 through bathroom into bedroom) and the heat flows quite nicely down the boat.  Time will tell whether I am still saying the same thing once we get into those real winter days when it is really cold. The coldest we have had so far is minus 3.

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

I don’t think I would give advice as such but I would suggest they ask themselves some realistic, honest questions.

1. Space – can you live in the space that the boat offers.
2. Belongings – can you honestly do without 70% of the stuff that you currently have in your house.
3. Discipline – can you honestly be disciplined regarding housekeeping, cleaning, washing because if not, you will end up living in a mess.
4. Cold – when you open the door on a boat, the cold is there. If you have dogs, you will have to get the lead and walk them, not just let them out into the garden.
5. Finally (or I will just keep going), think carefully about how the boat layout suits YOUR lifestyle. No-one but you, can say what is best. There are options but whether traditional, semi trad, cruiser, narrow or wide or Dutch, its what suits you that is most important and to find this out, you need to look at boats.

You can find out more about Kim, Jim and NB Progress 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.

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Moon Shadow

Retired Aussie couple Peter & Meagan O’Sullivan have spent the last two and a half years continuously cruising the canals and rivers of England and Wales. Here’s their story.

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

Peter & Meagan O’Sullivan

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

Liveaboard narrowboat Moon ShadowRetired Aussie couple in early 60’s who did a trip on the Ashby in 1992 and in Burgundy in 1996. Always thought it would be a great lifestyle. Thanks to my last employer, they gave me a chance to finish work on favourable terms and we grabbed the chance to buy our boat in June 2011 after having come over in Feb 2011 to research the market for a week ( a lot of driving in a very short timeframe but certainly gave us an idea of requirements/ wants)

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

Moon Shadow…..love at first sight for Meagan, a devout Cat Stevens fan ( we marched down the aisle nearly 40 years ago to ‘Morning had broken’)

Do you have a permanent mooring?

Have continuous cruised since the beginning with Winter layovers at Sherborne Wharf, Birmingham ( 2011 – we went back for a few drinks last night) and Lyme View Marina, 2012 ( recommended by some fellow boaters/ now good friends). About to take up a permanent annual mooring at Penkridge from November 1 as we travel a fair bit with cheap airfares available and feel this will be more secure over time.

What is your boat style and length

57′ reverse layout.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

2 years 9 months

How did you finance your boat?

Mr. C Ash

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

Continuous cruiser and loving it even as it cools down.

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

Retired…..let those who have been less fortunate get the jobs! Not easy when you are of a certain age…..

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Power/poo/water/garbage management with CRT facilities sometimes appearing random and poorly spaced.

Mediocre 3G coverage at times.

Loosing hours of my life trying to orient my satellite dish…why is there always a tree between where I moor and the satellite?

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The view out of the kitchen window is always changing. The banter with fellow boaters.

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

Not a fan of the ‘swallowtail’ stern. Have had major issues with our pram cover sticking out resulting in bending/ breakage of support frame ( aluminium tubing)

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

Generally by foot or fold up bike. Always rely on Pearsons who provide clear position of supermarkets. Also, keep eye out for market days to get Narrowboat Moon Shadowbetter quality fruit/ veg.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

3.5kg twin tub that cost £99 on Amazon delivered canalside to the Trading Post on the Macclesfield ( good fella, Andy). Fits neatly in our shower enclosure (Quadrant ) on wash day and under end of dinette table .Previously had a small 1kg twin tub but parts became an issue after a spin dryer timer died. Larger machine better / quicker. Use a Dry Buddy (1.5 kw motor )from Argos £59 to dry when weather does not permit. Does the job within 3/4 hours (cruising generally)and dissembles nicely to fit under dinette bench. Cheap but effective and we didn’t want to lose rear stairwell cupboard space (used for wet weather gear) for a full washing machine.

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

We have both. A small Kampa 10 litre cassette which lasts a couple of days and a pumpout for emergencies or when we have guests aboard. Being continuous cruisers, a £15/18 pumpout every 10/14 days is not economically viable and would start to compete with diesel expense.

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

use 3g through 3 using 3g Ipad 2 normally. Has proven generally brilliant compared to initial dongle and Netbook. Occasionally use MiFi for other hardware but is dongle-based and fairly slow. iPad generally wins most of the time

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Would be a toss up between Llangollen, Leeds and Liverpool (especially through God’s country, Yorkshire!). Also River Soar but there are highlights on every canal we have cruised so far.

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

Principally reliant on main diesel supplemented by 80 watt solar cell ( kept batteries charged over last winter nicely).

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very warm. Have fitted a couple of computer fans venting from back of solid fuel stove behind shower bulkhead to blow into bedroom. Seems to be effective in moving air albeit a little slow. Walk through bathroom hinders circulation of air into bedroom so this is my solution. Will have to wait until it gets a little colder to ascertain whether this is a fully satisfactory solution but better than nothing.

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

Research before you commit. Subscribe to a good magazine such as WW or Canal Boat for 12 months before buying. Research the web for sites like livingonanarrowboat.co.uk and owner blogs.

If you don’t like camping, don’t do it!

If you don’t like getting wet and cold, think again.

It can be expensive if you are not practical and able to do simple handyman tasks. It’s a lifestyle, not a holiday but has many rewards if you embrace it.

_____________________________________________________________________

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.

 

 

12v sockets. Something I’m hoping to resolve pdq.

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Summary

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Miss George

After testing the lifestyle by taking a narrowboat holiday in the depths of winter, Jaks and Andy have now lived on their own narrowboat for four years on a rustic farm mooring on the cut with no facilities.

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

Jaks & Andy , with Bruno 9 and Freddie 4, the 2 mad staffies who bark at most boats who cruise past our mooring on the Ashby.

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

We were caravaners to start with, then had a boating holiday in February cheap off ebay. It was cold with cat ice on the cut but we loved it, a few years later we found Miss George on eBay not far from our house and with the kids doing there own thing we did it.

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

George on the north OxfordShe was called Miss George when we bought her, we would like to know why!

Do you have a permanent mooring?

A farm non towpath linear mooring which came with the boat. we have no facilities.

What is your boat style and length

A 1984 62 ft Peter Nichols trad, with a very unusual offside engine with lots of pulleys to the prop. we would love to know more about her!

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

4 years

How did you finance your boat?

A loan

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

More than we do in a house

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

Both work for a agency have done so for a year, but planning to cruise some of the network next year!(we work 6 days 6am- 2pm) in a warehouse, we go to bed early which saves on electric!

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

This year has quite bad our engine ceased and we had to buy and fit a second hand one, the gear box coupling is broken at the minute,which Andy is hopefully going to fix next week as we are on holiday. condensation in the winter, no long lingering hot baths.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The out doors and simple life,  the boating community take you back to a time gone by when you could leave your back door open and borrow a cup of sugar!

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

Nothing really, we are easy to please and have a cosy cottage style boat!

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

Plan ahead, walk you are never far away from a shop.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a full size washing machine, as we have a generator, powered by the engine.

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

Pump out with macerator, and back up Porta Potti.

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

Orange dongle, yes and no, would like better.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Anywhere. when we not a work, home is nice.

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

When be bought the boat it had been upgraded by rose narrowboats, we have 4 leisure batteries,inverter, mastervolt charger, and a on board generator, we are sensible we only use high power equipment when the engine is running,we plug in phones laptop etc only when we put engine on, we try and be organised with rechargeable stuff. we do have 2 old small solar panels and are planning to upgrade. we also have some led lights which help.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

In the last few very cold winters we were warmer than in our house, and it was cheaper as we burn anything and everything.

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

Try before you buy in cold weather, go to boating pubs or chat to boaters

_____________________________________________________________________

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.

 

 

12v sockets. Something I’m hoping to resolve pdq.

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary