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.


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How To Collect Snail Mail When You Live Afloat


Most of the mail you receive at home may be a nuisance – bills, junk mail, reminder notices for eye tests, hearing tests, doctor and hospital appointments etc – but at least you can throw it away when you don’t want it. But how do you deal with this necessary evil when you’re living afloat or cruising for extended periods?

mail forwarding for liveaboard boaters

mail forwarding for liveaboard boaters

If you are living afloat and moored at a marina, there’s a chance that the marina will agree to accept post on your behalf. Of course, if you’re moored on the cut this isn’t an option. In this situation, you can ask a friend or relative to accept mail on your behalf. Of course this won’t help you if you’re cruising or moored far from the address where your post is.

If the post is important to you and you don’t mind whoever has received it reading the contents, you can ask them to scan the letters and then email them to you as attachments to emails. If you would rather keep the contents of the envelopes for your eyes only you can use a Post Office service called Post Restante (French: Post Remaining). Simply pick a post office on your route, call them to make sure that they run the service, then ask whoever is holding your post to send it on to that address.

The final option is to use a mail forwarding service. Boatmail is such a service. They will hold your mail, forward it to a post office or an other address you nominate or scan and email your post to you. They will even allow you to type a letter on your boat and email it to them where they will print and mail it for you. They will also provide you with a UK postal address for occasions when a PO box isn’t acceptable (e.g. opening bank accounts)

So there you go. There’s no need to go without your junk mail ever again!

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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.

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