Canal Boats
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Canal Boats For Sale

canal boats Having looked at the various types of canal boats available, the first question you need to ask yourself when looking for canal boats for sale is quite simple and it's this " what do I want from my boat" The boating world is full of people who having bought their boat with no experience and probably in the middle of summer, have then regretted the decision several months later, and been faced with a huge loss on the boat as a result. It is crucial that you clearly define your requirements from the start, and not just based on a short stay with friends, or a weekend away.

In today's current economic climate, many property owners ( or those looking to get on the property ladder) are looking at a canal boat as an alternative and cheaper way to own your own home - this is fine, but please make the decision for the right reasons, and not simply as a way to escape from one set of problems and to create another, different set. Living on the water can be a wonderful and rewarding experience with the added benefit of being able to move location from time to time - but it has it's drawbacks, and we look at the advantages and disadvantages a little later. So for now, lets start to consider the question of what we want from our boat.

Canal Boat - Live aboard or Leisure

This should be a relatively simple question to answer, and we look at the various aspects of living aboard on the next page, and choosing a suitable boat, so let's assume you are looking at buying a boat for leisure. Listed below are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself, and be honest with the answers - after all this is a large capital investment, both in terms of time and money so you need to get the decision right.

Question Answer
Where do you propose to go? If you are planning to travel far and wide then you need to research the canal network both locally and nationally. Some canals can be navigated by wide beam canal boats, but most cannot, so you need to research the network carefully. If you are planning on using your boat in Europe, then a seaworthy Dutch barge is the only option for you. If you are only interested in rivers and broad canal waterways, then again a Dutch barge is fine. If you only plan to navigate the UK canal network then a narrowboat would be the choice for you, but you will need to check the dimensions before going ahead, as many locks are shorter than the original 72ft design so you will be restricted to certain canals and locks. The practical length to navigate virtually the entire network is 57ft.
Where are you going to be based If you have a long way to travel to your boat, then I can guarantee you one thing - you will use it less than you think. It is a simple fact that the further you are from your boat, then the less it will be used. In an ideal world you would have the boat moored at the bottom of the garden, but few have this luxury, so try to find the closest marina possible and check the availability of moorings. It's all very well buying the boat, but unless you are planning on a life of continual cruising then you will need a permanent residential mooring. We look at this in more detail shortly
How many people will be using the canal boat? This is a difficult question to answer as once you have bought a boat, you will suddenly acquire friends you never knew about, and family members will invite themselves onboard! The reason you need to have a clear idea is so that you can give some thought to the length of the boat you will need. Narrowboats come in all lengths and designs from 20ft up to 72ft so there is plenty of choice. Modern boats tend to be all steel, and a full size boat can accommodate up to 12 people comfortably. If you are thinking of only the occasional weekend as a couple or with close friends then a small GRP cruiser might be the best alternative for you. Alternatively a smaller narrowboat might be the right solution for you.
Should you buy new or used? A tough question but one you need to answer. Buying new is always nice as the boat will come with a full warranty and you can choose the interiors and even the layout. Some new boats are simply an off the peg design, whilst others  can be designed to your precise requirements. Remember that your boat will start to depreciate the minute it leaves the yard. If you are practically minded then a sailaway may be the solution for you, as this allows you to fit the boat out yourself to your own specification. Again we cover this option shortly.  If you are buying second-hand there are plenty of places to look, but start with the internet as this will save you a huge amount of time.  Used boats are often good value, particularly if you buy in the low season when the owner's enthusiasm has waned ( winter months are very good for a cheeky offer!) when they will be pleased to see the back of their "maintenance problem"! - Check also with your local hire companies, as many sell their canal boats at the end of the season, so October can be a good time to look. If you are buying a used boat, you will need a survey and again we provide details of what you should look in a boat survey shortly. If you do go for a new boat, please remember that builders can and do go bust, so make sure you are paying using stage payments - typically you will need to pay a small deposit to secure a build slot, and thereafter release the funds as work progresses, but normally broken up in 30% elements, so that typically the deposit might be 10% with the further 90% paid in three stages.
How much should I spend Only you can answer this one, but set a budget and try to stick to it! Remember you can get marine finance both for liveaboards  and also for leisure so contact your marine finance broker who will provide an outline quote free of charge, which will give you an idea for the monthly costs. Typically loans are spread over ten year terms, and with a minimum of 20% for leisure and 30% for liveaboard mortgages - the minimum you can borrow is generally around £25,000 and the loan will then be tied to the boat.  You can spend anywhere between a few thousand pounds up to six figures, but realistically for a narrowboat the minimum you should consider using a rough rule of thumb is around £1,000 per foot, so a 50ft boat would be around £50,000 etc
What about running costs? Whilst canal boats are not expensive to run and maintain when compared to other types of boat,  nevertheless there are costs that will recur. Naturally insurance is one such cost and again we will consider this in more detail. As a minimum you should budget at least £3,000 a year for ongoing basic maintenance needed to keep your boat in good working order, and on top of this you will also have fuel costs, mooring charges and licences. Naturally the more you use your boat the higher these costs will be. 
Do I really want to buy? A good question and one you should consider. Many, many boat owners from canal boats to luxury yachts soon realise that their hobby has become a bottomless pit into which they tip money at ever increasing rates! There are alternatives which you should consider, particularly if this is your first foray into the world of canal boat ownership. Shared ownership is one option, which works in much the same way as timeshare on a property. In essence you buy a percentage share in the boat, which then entitles you to a certain number of weeks per year. Maintenance and other costs are split between the shareholders, and shares can be sold on - in my view a great way to try a canal boat ( or any other ) before investing 100%.

 

Now let's look at the other reason for buying or owning canal boats, and that's as a liveaboard alternative to life on dry land!

Canal Boats - Next Page

Marinablu International Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of  Pantaenius UK Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA)  - canal boats for sale