A life on the British waterways.

Fancy a life on the canals and rivers of the UK, where you can wake up to be close to nature and have a river view like no other.

You can live on a narrowboat on the British waterways like many thousands of people do, but first there are a few things that you need to know and understand.

To live on a narrowboat, you first need to decide if you want the security of a residential mooring or if you prefer the freedom that narrowboating can give you and move to a new location on a regular basis. If you don’t secure a residential mooring it can be an insecure lifestyle and you will need to regularly move on before being asked. When you are asked to move on, make sure you move far enough away and without a residential mooring you will be required to move frequently or you could be refused a license, fined or at the last resort have your boat taken away.

Narrowboats can moor along side most canal towpaths, but these do tend to be for short period of time. This can be anything from 48 hours to a fortnight.

On the waterways, there are many people living on their boats who choose to move around the canal system regularly and they are referred to as 'Continuous Cruisers'.This means that they won’t be paying for a 'home mooring' within a marina or canal side. Instead, they can use short term moorings around the canals. They will therefore need to move on within 14 days or whatever the restriction where they moor their boat and must be cruising on a journey of some distance and not just be navigating within a small area.

After you have decided what sort of license suits your needs it is then important to ensure that your boat runs efficiently throughout the year, especially within the winter months. You would be surprised how many people get caught out in the coldest months. Follow the below points to look after yourself and your boat over the worst of the weather.

1. Ensure that you have enough fuel – fill up your diesel tank;

2. Look at having about 30% anti-freeze in your water and heating system;

3. Always make sure you have enough solid fuel for your on-board stove;

4. Pipes need to be well insulated to prevent any of them bursting;

5. Check that your batteries are all working properly.

The question that we are frequently asked is living aboard a narrowboat cheaper than living in a traditional house or apartment?

Well, you need to consider the initial expense of buying the boat and then making sure that it is habitable. Although, when you compare the costs with owning a home, living aboard a narrowboat can be cost effective.

There is the cost of buying the boat and doing any required work to it. You then need to insure your boat and pay for the annual cruising license. There is then your mooring costs to be taken into consideration, which vary depending on where you choose to moor your boat. Overall though people do tend to find that living on a narrowboat is a cheaper alternative.

If you are seriously thinking of moving to a narrowboat you need to be committed to the lifestyle and the community that you will become apart of when living on a narrowboat on the waterways. Don’t just look at it from a cost point of view. You need to take to the lifestyle and when you do your likely to have a life of contentment which many celebrities have also found while living on narrowboats on the UK waterways. With a thriving community, unbeatable views and the freedom if you want it. What more could any of us really want from life.

If this article has wetted your appetite to live aboard a narrowboator to own one and make use of it for various reasons, then Boatshed Suffolk has a splendid example of a canal boat currently for sale. Currently being refurbished by a professional! The detailed build is to a very high specification and will offer all the modern comfort that is a credit to the present owner. Currently still under completion but early viewing is highly recommended! Take a look at our website for more information: http://suffolk.boatshed.com/canal_boat_k_page-boat-232501.html