How Much Does It Cost To Live On A Narrowboat?

During the summer season, many people opt for a narrowboat hire to enjoy the wholly unique sights, sounds and experiences that can only be found on the water.

However, some people fall so head-over-heels in love with the waterway life that they want to buy a narrowboat and use it as their primary home, in a sea-based version of living in a campervan.

The first important point to note, however, is that owning a narrowboat is a special commitment that can fundamentally change your daily life, and it is worth renting a few times or opting for a boat sharing scheme at first to ensure that this is the life for you.

The narrowboat life requires you to be comfortable on the water, to be fine with relatively small spaces, be willing to trade privacy for the beauty of the outdoors, be willing to brave the elements and be willing to dispense with a few creature comforts.

The first and arguably most variable cost is the price of the narrowboat itself, which can range from as little as £30,000 for an exceptionally well-loved small second-hand canal boat to as much as £300,000 for a top-of-the-range new boat.

However, the cost of the boat itself is not the end of the costs necessarily, as you will need to pay for the following on a regular basis:

  • Canal & River Trust License,
  • Boat Safety Scheme Payments,
  • Special Narrowboat Insurance,
  • Engine and Pump maintenance,
  • Blacking the hull (coating the bottom of the hull in bitumen to protect it from rust and other damage),
  • TV licence (even being on the water does not make you exempt if you watch television or iPlayer)
  • Internet,
  • Diesel fuel (typically a narrowboat uses a litre of fuel per mile),
  • Gas and electric (the former in the form of gas tanks for cooking, the latter in the form of batteries unless you plan on home mooring)
  • Mooring (depends on length; if you only stay up to a certain time in some locations, mooring can be free),
  • Bathroom facilities,
  • Fresh water.

As well as this, if you have a permanent mooring, you will need to also pay council tax and mooring fees depending on your location to use their electricity supply.

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