Survey Result: The Downside To Living On A Narrowboat

As a result of Pauline Roberts article about the problems she has experienced as a liveaboard narrowboat owner, I created a survey and asked the boat owners who subscribe to this site to give me their point of view. There were eight questions in the survey. The questions and their answers are below.

Question 1: Is your boat ever cold in the winter?

Is your boat cold in winter

“Other” Responses

“No, but it is frquently b****y hot”

“warm if my fire stays in, cold if it goes out”

“It is unless the fire is going and the heat never really warms up the bedroom”

“Only when I am not there to keep the stove in. Gets warm quickly and can always keep coat on.”

“only if I have been away a while”

“Pengalanty is always warm, comfortable & cosy, as I have a diesel fired “Bubble” corner stove that is fully controllable. Changes are noticed with a 15-minute period”

“Only very occasionally, if heating off and fire goes out”

“Webaso takes 10 mins”

Question2: Does your boat have any cold spots?

Does your boat have any cold spots

“Other” Responses

“We do not heat the bedroom”

“Only get cold areas if companion ways closed preventing warm air circulating.”

“near the front vents”

“My engine is sited in the back cabin area and near to the inner bulkhead and to one side. After the engine is run, it is like a “Giant” storgage heater, so my boat is warmer than most”

“Stern cabin can be cold due to draughts – can be fixed”

“Much better since we got an Ecofan”

“yes – of course”

Question 3: Do you have any problems emptying your toilet in the winter?

Winter toilet emptying

“Other” Responses”

“pump out toilet we pump out into containers if we are frozen in”

“I have a pump out but when frozen in, I use a bucket and dispose of contents down the elsan point.”

“We purchased self pump out and house owner kindly lets us empty in manhole in garden by where we are moored”

“Porta potti and pump out for emergency use only if the PP is full and can’t be emptied.”

“With my composting loo, I can survive almost 4-months without toilet maintenance (Emptying)”

“bucket and chuckit”

“i think that there isn’t enough space to add what I really want to write”


Question 4: Do you think dog muck on the towpath is a problem?

Is dog muck a problem

“Other” Responses

“Yes it is a problem. I wouldn’t shoot the dog though, I would shoot the owner”

“I love dogs, but I just wish owners would be considerate and clear up after them, there is nothing worse than stepping off you boat into a slimy pile of poo!!”

“Yes, but if I see owners not clearing up after their dogs I just offer them a plastic bag. No point getting angry.”

“The dog is not the problem. It’s the owner who does not pick up!”

“yes, often”

“it’s not the dogs – it’s the owners who should be shot!”

“no I pick mine up and tell others to as well”

“One has to be careful and yes, there are too many lazy, selfish owners.”

“Yes! In some places, this is a severe problem (I use nappy bags for our dog poo!)”

“it’s the owners not the dogs I’d shoot”


“It’s not the dogs that are a problem it’s the owners that don’t clean up after them”

“Yes there’s dog pooh but it’s the owners fault for not picking it up”

“it’s not the dogs fault, it’s the lazy owners who should be shot”

“I have 2 dogs so cleaning up is enevitable. If im moored, why not keep everywhere clean.”

“Don’t blame the dog. Blame the owner.”

“Its the owners that should be shot!!”


Question 5: How much of a problem is obtaining and managing your water supply?

managing water supply

“Other” Responses

“I’m on the Thames and getting water depends on the flow strength”

“Connected to water supply. Never had a problem.”

Question 6: How do you deal with your narrowboat’s lack of space?

managing storage space

“Other” Responses

“have always lived on a boat”

“plenty of space but you have to be eruthless with junk”

“I am a hoarder! – Need I say more? (I have an excess of tradesman tools, this is a problem)”

“If you can’t store it you probably don’t need it!!!!”

“i have sufficient space in the boat – and beautiful outside the boat”

Question 7: How much vandalism do you experience on the cut?

Vandalism on the cut

“Other” Responses

“Have only been living on boat 5months so have not experienced any yet”

“So far I have only been on the rivers”

“I was in the merchant navy for 26 years – this country is a haven – you need to see the rest.”


Question 8: Does the use or the condition of the towpath cause you any concern?

Towpath use

“Other” Responses

“I’d sooner have a muddy towpath than a tarmac one. Tarmac only encourages the cyclists.”


“As 1 but I would rather it was not muddy. Too many cyclists and motorcycles churning it up”

“More maintenance is required in heavy use areas; eg when lots of cyclists and walkers.”

“It has good and bad spots which is to be expected.”

“Towpath is behind a gated fence so no problems.”

Useful Information
Paul Smith

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia wandered Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 35' Dutch motor cruiser. However, the pull of England's muddy ditches proved too much for them. Now they're back where they belong, constantly stuck in mud in a beautiful traditional narrowboat.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments
thameslock - Sunday,1 April, 2012

have you tried reading thee results!! They are not legible


    admin - Monday,2 April, 2012

    I’m sorry you can’t see them John but I (and a couple of other people) have had a look at the results in three different browsers. We can see them clearly each time we look. Maybe you are using a browser other than Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome or maybe you have a slow internet connection?


pantramp - Monday,2 April, 2012

just read them and every bit was clear, must be you im afraid


waxy136 - Tuesday,3 April, 2012

very clear to understand.


DeeArr - Tuesday,3 April, 2012

Did I have a problem reading the results?

Absolutely no problem whatsoever 75%
Completely illegible, thee results be 25%


Essgeebee - Wednesday,11 April, 2012

I can read everything but the ‘Other’ responses. When i click ‘Show Responses’ most of my screen goes black and no responses show. Shame as I’m very interested.


Pengalanty - Friday,11 May, 2012

Re: View other responses -Unable to view, so I presume the link is broken ~Allan~


admin - Saturday,12 May, 2012

The “Other” responses are now visible. Enjoy!


johnculpan - Thursday,17 May, 2012



hache2 - Sunday,20 May, 2012

excellent survey , however the ‘other’ stuff sort of makes me think flat smoth soles might be the order of the day when negotiating dog doo



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