Canal Boats
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Living On A Canal Boat

canal boats I hope that the previous page hasn't deterred you too much from buying your canal boats, but over the years I have seen many people rush in to boat ownership will little thought as to why they are buying, the real costs of ownership, and without any understanding of the running costs or maintenance issues. Before long the boat becomes a millstone and is eventually sold cheaply for a quick sale. The disillusioned owner walks away older and wiser, and certainly poorer. So please don't rush in - there will always be boats to buy whether you are looking today tomorrow or next year so there's no rush. Now when we start to look at a canal boat for living aboard, then you must be even more disciplined in your approach, and make sure that all those around you are in total agreement with your choice of lifestyle. If not, the venture will fail very quickly, and as I have said before, please make sure you are considering this option for the right reasons, and not from force of circumstances.

Canal Boats - Live On A Canal Boat

Let's assume you have decided that you are going to buy a boat and live on the water. What are the key decisions that you will need to make, and how do they influence the type of boat you ultimately buy. The short answer is that this depends on your reasons for buying a liveaboard in the first place. If we take a simple example and imagine that you have decided on a change of  lifestyle, moving your family home from one on dry land to one on the water. In addition you do not plan to use the boat for leisure purposes, but almost exclusively as a home. In this case you may decide that a Dutch barge is the better option ( assuming one is available in the area) as it provides larger and more flexible accommodation, but as the boat will be moored almost permanently, you are less concerned about the lack of navigable water in the UK ( you may also of course decide that a narrowboat is preferable as it offers flexibility for the future, should you need to move for work or for family reasons, and the smaller living space is a price worth paying!)

As a second example let's assume you are a free spirit, moving from one place to another where the work takes you - in this case you only have one viable alternative, which is to go for a narrowboat which will give access to virtually all of the UK canal network provided you choose one which is less than 57ft in length. So in summary, you need to think very carefully, not just about your present circumstances, but also how these may change in the future due to work or family pressures. Whilst a boat may initially be purchased for one reason, once on the water you may find the lure of exploring very tempting and wish that perhaps you had bought a boat that provided this flexibility. It is always difficult to plan for the future, and no-one ever knows what is likely to happen, but these are the issues that you need to consider very carefully, before making a final decision.  The RBOA ( Residential Boat Owners Association)  is an excellent site and provides a great deal of free useful advice and guidance to help you reach a decision, so it's well worth a visit.

Now the next issue you will need to consider is that of residency on the water, of which there are two types. The first is continuous cruising and the second is permanent residence.

Canal Boats - Continuous Cruising

The term continuous cruising as applied to canal boats is almost self explanatory, in that it simply means you are forever travelling the canals, mooring up for short periods and then moving on. However, before you rush off and buy your canal boat thinking this is a cheap and nomadic way of live, there are strict rules to observe which have been laid down by the British Waterways who manage and run most of the canal network. In simple terms you are allowed to stay for a maximum of 14 days in one place before you have to move on to your next destination, but what does the word "place" mean and how is this judged within the context of the law which is contained in the British Waterways Act of 1995? Put simply, it means that you are NOT allowed to simply shuttle between one place and another within the same area - the word "continuous" is the key point, and simply means that your journey must be a continuous journey from one point to another requiring a progressive journey i.e. one that moves forward. One might ask how this might be proved and herein lies another important point, as it will be your responsibility to prove that you are a continuous cruiser. You will therefore have to prove to the authorities beyond reasonable doubt, that you are on a continuous journey which is best considered as moving from A to B to C and so on around the canal network. The best way, in my view, is to keep a cruising log which details exactly where you have been and how long you stayed, with proof if possible.

Failure to meet the legal requirements for this type of cruising can result in your licence being revoked and your boat removed, impounded or destroyed, so you have been warned. Please do not think this is a cheap way to live on the water and avoid residential mooring fees by cruising up and down in the same area - you will get caught!

Now let's look at the other way to liveaboard canal boats, using a residential canal boat mooring.

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