Gransnet forums



(29 Posts)
Luckygirl Sun 28-Jul-19 17:01:51

I believe there is a gran here who lives/has lived on a narrowboat. My DD and family are thinking of getting one. They live in the top flat of a Victorian woollen mill on the banks of a canal; and buying a property in their area is prohibitively expensive - hence the idea of spreading out into a narrow boat.

Any advice out there?

Whitewavemark2 Sun 28-Jul-19 17:04:55

lucky that’s one of my dreams.

Gonegirl Sun 28-Jul-19 17:30:15

They do have nice cosy little stoves for the winter months. But all that water would put me off. I would need at least five anchorage points.

Supoose it depends too on ages of children.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 17:36:11

Lots of views and help on Google. Here are two sites.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 17:37:15

This didn't send first time.

merlotgran Sun 28-Jul-19 17:39:19

There's a lot to consider - Marina fees, insurance, maintenance etc., not to mention safety if you have children but we know families who live or have lived very happily on narrowboats.

We live between two rivers and used to own a cabin cruiser and joked that it was like Coronation Street on the water. Great community spirit.

I wouldn't rule out living on one if I were much younger but space is definitely an issue if you have children.

Charleygirl5 Sun 28-Jul-19 17:54:39

I believe I read somewhere that one cannot moor anywhere permanently- one is continually on the move- not good if one has children.

merlotgran Sun 28-Jul-19 18:00:41

You can moor permanently in a marina. It's the same as owning a static caravan on a campsite. It's the only option really if you have children.

boat Sun 28-Jul-19 18:03:33

I have lived on a narrow boat for over two years now. I think there are others on Gransnet in similar circumstances.

Boats are cheaper than houses but I don't know if you can get a mortgage on one.

My first boat cost me £42,000. It was 63 feet long but very badly fitted out inside.

I have just moved onto a shorter (47 ft) boat. It is well fitted out. It cost me £40,000 plus half what I get for the previous boat.

I'm assuming your family want to live on a narrow boat.. To do this you have to pay for a licence from The Canal and River Trust. There are two types. The residential one allows you to be permanently moored at a marina or other private site.

The other is called a Permanent Cruiser Licence. This allows you to moor in one spot for two weeks.. You then have to move to another mooring, I'm not sure how far away.

It costs less but obviously might make getting to work or attending a school a bit problematic.

I paid about £900 for a permanent mooring licence on my previous boat. It's based on length.

I pay £234 every month for the mooring. Some places are cheaper, some dearer.

If you live on a narrow boat you don't have to pay Council Tax but like me you might find that if you live on a boat yard you have to take your recycling to the nearest centre

I feel a bit tired now but will come back to this. I think it would ber a brilliant thing for their kids.

merlotgran Sun 28-Jul-19 18:03:44

Canals and rivers have areas where narrowboats can moor permanently. You pay a riverboard licence and a mooring fee to the person who owns the land unless it's stipulated that it belongs to the river board in which case you pay them.

merlotgran Sun 28-Jul-19 18:05:28

X posts, boat

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 18:24:26


You have to pay council tax if you stay/moor longer than 2 weeks in any one place, therefore, if you have school-age children it might be a problem. It looks heavenly for holidays and in good weather but who wants to slop out in pouring rain or snow and there are the heavy gas cylinders to lug aboard and stow in position amongst other considerations.
Super in spring and summer, wicked in winter.
Also, boats depreciate from the minute you buy them unlike bricks and mortar property.
Pros and cons, plenty to consider.

notanan2 Sun 28-Jul-19 19:12:23

I looked into it seriously a few years back. In my area the mooring fees and naintenance and depreciation made it a "luxury" that was more ecpensive than renting or a mortgage.

In order to avoid hefty fees you need to be transient. And no, there are no loopholes, going a few miles up river and back doesnt count!

boat Sun 28-Jul-19 19:54:04

You don't have to pay Council Tax if you live on a narrow boat whatever licence you have but there are disadvantages. I am 75 but don't feel that I can claim a bus pass as I am not contributing to my local council.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:13:13

Thanks for correction.
I must have mis-read the article.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:18:37


This is what I based my remark re council tax on.
I would have thought that parents with school age children would not want to be moving every fortnight.

BradfordLass72 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:28:58

You can always home school children.

If all other safety issues are addressed, I think a few years travelling on a narrow boat would be a brilliant education.
Think what they could learn, first hand, about their country, nature, physics, hard work and much more.

Oh, to be 40 years younger smile

merlotgran Sun 28-Jul-19 20:47:40

The novelty can soon wear off though. I used to find two weeks a lovely escape but then I longed to be back home.

Don't take this the wrong way BradfordLass but there is also a bit of a stigma attached in some cases. River Gypsies might have a romantic sound to it in novels and films but it's a term used a lot around here because the sight of boats with washing hanging across the deck etc., and three or four bikes tied on top doesn't go down well with boat owners who are paying a lot of money for their moorings.

And how are the parents going to earn a living?

Lisalou Sun 28-Jul-19 20:51:00

My godmother, now in her nineties, lives on one in the spring and summer, and has a flat in winter. There are permanent mooring options, as has been described above (the poster is boat) and I know my godmother would not choose to live any other way. I am sure there are pros and cons however you look at it. My suggestion would be to find a forum for narrow boat owners (there must be one) and ask them for advice.
Just seen this - maybe they can help

Gonegirl Sun 28-Jul-19 20:58:43

I wouldn't worry about stuck-up boat owners not liking the look of a bit of washing on a line, or a few bikes onboard. Narrowboats on canals were for working people, not sniffy-nosed posh-pants. hmm

jura2 Sun 28-Jul-19 21:02:30

Must admit it would not be for me- and especially not for a family. I need space- and so much more with kids. Would love to try for a holiday though.

petra Sun 28-Jul-19 21:10:23

Exactly, the stigma. This was my home for 20 years. It was sold for £130,000 in 1998. We got well and truely peed off when we mentioned that we lived on a boat to see the distain on people's faces.
But we got a lot of pleasure when we saw the shock on their faces when they came onboard.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 21:19:28

Home schooling is fine, as long as you only need one breadwinner and he or she can work from the boat.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 21:20:57

And being constantly on the move means your children would not be able to socialise in the way they would with school friends.

GabriellaG54 Sun 28-Jul-19 21:25:13


Love it.
Why did you sell up and where was the photo taken?
It looks like the Strait of Hormuz.