Do you want to live on a narrowboat because you think it's a low cost alternative to living in a house? Living on a narrowboat is a fantastic lifestyle choice but the cost is smokeless coal for sale possibly a little more than you expected. In this article ALL of the costs are detailed and explained.
Below, I have detailed the general narrowboat costs that you will incur followed by some specific costs that I have faced since moving onto narrowboat James in April 2010.
NARROWBOAT PURCHASE COST
Your narrowboat will probably be your largest financial investment after your dry land home. If you want a brand new narrowboat designed and fitted out to your own specifications you can pay in excess of £100,000. You will be able to pick up a decent second hand boat of about 60′ suitable for living aboard for about £40,000.
The majority of narrowboat owners have a boat in addition to a house. Some though fund the cost of their boat from the sale of their house. Whichever way you choose to fund your boast purchase, make sure you include any monthly finance repayment amounts in your calculations.
I provide a link to the very best place to research narrowboat prices and specifications in this article on my web site. Last time I looked, there were eight hundred narrowboats for sale.
Insurance for your boat is a legal requirement. You can find a list of narrowboat insurers on the site. Please note that your intention to live on your narrowboat and the age of the boat will have an impact on the insurance cost so must be declared.
BOAT SAFETY CERTIFICATE
Your car needs an MOT both as a legal requirement and as a regular check to make sure that it is safe to use. Your narrowboat needs a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Certificate when it is four years old and every four years after that. Again, tHere's some very good information about the examination, the likely cost and what you need to do to prepare for it on my site.
BRITISH WATERWAYS LICENSE
You have to buy a British Waterways license if your narrowboat uses the canals of England and Wales. The fee is dependant on the length of your boat. At the time of writing (November 2010), the annual fee for 62′ long James is £804.48 with an £80 discount for prompt payment. You also need to pay a fee to use the rivers that connect some of the canals (e.g. the Thames). British Waterways is responsible for river Avon, Soar, Ouse, Severn and Ure. The Environment Agency controls river Thames, Medway, Nene, Great Ouse, Ancholme, Glen, Welland and Stour. British Waterways offer their Gold License which allows you to travel on all the waterways controlled by British Waterways and the Enviroment Agency. The 2010 fee for a 62′ narrowboat is £967 for payment in full or £1,039 if paid by direct debit installments. You can find more details about British Waterways licenses here
THE AA OF THE WATERWAYS
River Canal Rescue offer breakdown cover for boat owners. They offer three levels of cover; bronze, silver and gold ranging in cost from £55 to £160 a year.
Bronze cover simply registers your boat on their database. You pay additional fees for call outs and for towing you to the closest marina if they can't easily repair your boat. Silver and Gold membership give you additional services and benefits such as an annual engine inspection (rather than a service).
It's essential cover for you if you don't like to get too close to your engine or if your craft is a little long in the tooth.
Mooring fees vary enormously but you can get an idea of the likely fees by the mooring location and the facilities on offer. A bankside mooring with no water or electricity is going to cost far less than a spacious mooring in a picturesque marina with all mod cons. At Calcutt Boats the fee for the older Locks marina is roughly £2,090 for a 60′ boat. In the newer more spacious Meadows marina the standard piers are £2,300 or £2,683 for the 70′ moorings.
Mooring fees are usually based on a single advance payment. There are often options to pay quarterly or monthly but they ill cost you more. Please note that many marinas also charge an additional amount for "high usage" so make sure you check the small print before you commit yourself.
DIESEL - HEATING
I don't use diesel heating so don't have any first hand experience. Work colleague and fellow moorer Anthony on his posh boat Second Sister does. He claims that he uses an average of 1/4 litre per hour over a 24 hour period or six litres per day. Diesel for heating is currently 78p per litre at Calcutt Boats.
DIESEL - PROPULSION
I don't get out much so use very little propulsion duel. I am reliably informed though that, when cruising, you will use 1 - 1.5 litres of diesel per hour. Propulsion diesel is currently about £1.30 per litre
Please note that when you pay for your diesel, you will be asked to sign a declaration. Not all boats have separate tanks for propulsion and heating so the boatyard doesn't know which part of your boat will use the fuel. Propulsion and heating diesel are identical but attract different levels of duty. The accepted split is 60% propulsion, 40% heating. So, if you put 100 litres into your tank, you will be charged 60 litres at the propulsion rate (about £1.30 per litre) and 40 litres at the heating rate (78p per litre). However, some boatyards allow you to declare a different split. In theory, you can declare 100% for heating and pay for all of your fuel at the lower rate. In case of a government inspection though you need to be able to justify it.
Every two to three years you will need to take your boat out of the water to "black" the hull. Blacking is a term used for the process of applying several coats of bitumen or other coal tar based paint to prevent rust. You can paint the hull yourself or ask a boatyard to do it for you. Either way, your boat will need to be removed from the water so that the work can be done. You should budget £400 - £500 for both removing your boat and having the work done for you.
Just like your car, your boat needs to be serviced. And just like your car, the cost of those services can vary enormously. Here at Calcutt Boats, the cost of a smokeless coal for sale service ranges from £60 - £160 plus parts.
SPECIFIC COSTS INCURRED BY ME ON NARROWBOAT JAMES
The costs detailed below are real costs. Every narrowboat related expense has been recorded by me since moving aboard narrowboat James. Each narrowboat's day to day running costs will vary depending on the boat's age, condition and equipment on board and equipment usage so let me tell you a little about James.
In boating terms, James is an old girl. Built in 1975 with a steel hull and composite top, she's 62' long and has seen better days. James hadn't been used more than two or three times in the previous ten years before I started to live on board full time in April 2010. Consequently she was in need of some TLC and was very damp.