Living on a Boat....

Discussion in 'Travel' started by PandaLOVE, Apr 26, 2008.

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  1. Has anyone on ARRSE ever lived on a boat, large yacht, narrow boat, two oil drums tied together with rope or anything else that doesn't sink?

    What is the general cost of living, i.e. insurance, mooring, maintenance, weir tolls, pros and cons etc.? Do boats require an MOT equivalent? Can one live on a boat all year rond? What about security, vandalism, theft etc? I am going to look into this but wondered if any of you had first hand experience.

    I read that boats under 25 feet are a cheaper class than any vessel longer than 25 feet. This kind of info is what I'm after. Oh, and did you enjoy/do you enjoy living on a boat?

    I've looked at Ebay and Autotrader but is there a boat buying heaven in Europe that I should know about?

    Thanks in advance......

  2. This site is quite good. Used it to buy a barge - but not to live on permanently.
  3. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Try that link, very useful, I use it a lot.

    I have a very good mate who lives on a wide-beam canal cruiser. Luxury indeed, wireless broadband, sky tv etc. Expect to pay around £1000 a foot for a boat (fitted out). Yearly costs are far less than normal house. My boat costs me £600 a year at a marina just to keep it there. narrow boat owners and other live-aboards may pay a little more, but reckon on about £10000 a year for mooring fees and electricity.
    It's a terrific life, and I'm exploring the option of selling up and doing the same thing myself. All year round is no problem, the boats are very warm in winter, and cool in summer.

    Go for it!
  4. Thanks TangoFlowerAlpha, that's an excellent site. I will spend the weekend on that one.

    And thanks Old fat And Hairy, was £10,000 a typo, an extra naught?!!! Do you mean £1,000 a year?

    Do you have a boat at the moment?

    You say £1,000 a foot fitted out but I've seen what seems like excellent boats in excess of 20ft for nearer to £10k (though some might be early 80s boats but still look nice). 'Fitted out', what do this mean exactly?

  5. I half live on a yacht. When it's closer to being finished I'll sell my house and move in to her full time.

    Insurance for boats is typically between £150 and £500 a year, depending on type, size, age, value, usage, etc.
    Mooring fees could be just about anything starting at free and going up to too big for your bank balance, you'd need to be more specific about the type of vessel and what sort of mooring you are looking for.
    Maintenance is relative on vessel type, construction materials and what not. If lifts and surveys are done as part of a job lot with other local owners, the cost is negligible.
    By weir tolls I assume you mean to pass through locks? Passage along waterways is inclusive with the relevent license. Costs depend on length of vessel, whether it's for use on rivers only or canals and rivers, and which waterway authorities you are dealing with.
    Boats on inland waterways require a Boat Safety Certificate and third party insurance in order to get a licence. Boats using inshore water don't require anything although marina owners may as part of the contract.
    You certainly can live on a boat year round.
    Security is generally much better than that of a house - canals are generally out of the way of the feral youth, marinas are usually gated and at anchor a potential vandal would have to swim/use a tender.
    Despite my boat not yet being weather tight, I still prefer it to living in a house.

    -peace and quiet
    -don't like the view? Move
    -floods? I shit 'em
    -better quality of neighbours

    -getting mail can be a pain in the arrse
    -can make car use difficult
    -some marina owners are cnuts

    It means it has insides. A boat - narrowboats in particular - can be bought hull only, which is as it sounds - just a tub; sailaway - hull with engine, etc.; fitted out - hull, engine, windows and portholes, insulation, sanitation, panelling, deck, bulkheads, elastictrickery, galley, some furniture.
    £1,000 a foot would be for a new, bespoke, fully fitted narrowboat.
  6. Yes

    Very cheap - especially the booze. Free clothes and food were an added bonus.

    West European ports are absolutely hoaching with them but rates tend to be reasonable .... err oh I see what you mean. See foreign places and collide with them.

    Sharing a mess the size of a Ford Fiesta with up to 5 flatulent matelots and/or barfing junior officers. Radiation hazard on submarines. Electrocution hazard if you throw up on the radar in a force 9.

    Only if you're really unlucky and get deployed somewhere like the Falklands and all available relief vessels get deployed on Gulf War 1/Hurricane assistance/chasing Somalian pirates.

    When alongside, a couple of junior rates brandishing SMGs on the gangway usually does the trick. If you're in a rough port, a thunderflash, scare charge or hand grenade over the side every 15 minutes will kill anybody in the water who gets close enough to scratch your paintwork.

    Oh yes.
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  7. Very funny stuff! :lol:

    Thanks ottar and Ancient Mariner. What I have in mind Ancient is more sedate than what you seem to be used to but it's all been noted, thanks!

    £1000 a foot for top end bespoke crafsmanship seems reasonable when you look at some of the floating palaces for sale on They are of a higher quality finish than a new home and half the price. Very bespoke indeed.

    The skeleton-like empty barges look a mess and too big a project for me despite the savings of DIY. I'd be looking for a 'walk in'.


  8. What is more comfy as a home. Barge, cruiser, yacht etc?
  9. Used to go out with a guy who lived on a peniche underneath the Pont des Arts in Paris, very nice lifestyle. His was rather cramped and washing facilities left a lot to be desired but some of the others were very spacious, beautifully done out, even saw a grand piano in one. I visited a few for sale when I had a brief desire to buy one myself and prices seem good value for money, but that's a long time ago.

    Only downside I recall was when the giant bateaux mouches went past at night and you were dazzled by the floodlights. Still have fond memories of endless drinks outside with all the other neighbours.
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  10. old_fat_and_hairy

    old_fat_and_hairy LE Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Yes, sorry. Was a typo. Big fat fingers!

    I have a small boat, a 23ft coastal cruiser, a Cleopatra. Nice tub, but a lot of work still to be done on it. Had twin engines, Volvo Penta 2.5 petrol jobs on twin outdrives. Top speed of around 30 knots but since it is now on a river with a speed limit of 4mph, bit over engined. Anyway. one engine is -to use a marine technical term - knackered.
    Someone else has answered what fitted out means, there are some bargains about.
    Security, as previously stated can be good or terrible, depending on where the boat is. Mine is in a small and very private marina.
    BSS (Boat safety scheme cert) is similar in some ways to an M.O.t, but lasts for 4 years, and covers purely safety and enviromental areas. Gas safety, fuel safety and prevention of spillage, sewerage etc. Not a requirement to even have engines working or lights either.
    River licence and insurance the only other requirements.

    Go for it, a great way to live.

    incidentally, anyone any good with electrics? Mine need sorting and I'm a technical moron.
  11. Ottar & Ancient Mariner have just about covered all the answers in their replies, a great life and you meet a nice variety of people. Lived aboard a few years till an accident prevented me from getting on and off the boat safely. If the boat is big enough you can have the same mod cons you have in a house, nowadays a lot of electrical equipment has been downsized and can be 12v DC thus no problems if away from mains electrics. One thing I did find is that a boat is a babe magnet!!
  12. Thanks for those replies. I noticed that some of those barges are like floating houses with beautiful finishes, even the top spec. are a third the price of a nice house. And a decent one comes in at under £20k (at least I think they're decent). One I saw that is perfect is £69k.

    If I was able I'd like to buy a 'sailaway' and build to my spec but I'd only fcuk it up. There's so much choice too.

    Babe magnet? :lol:
  13. Where is the matelot?
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