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So you have come to a decision, you no longer want to live in your flat/house etc. and fancy living on a boat, or maybe your circumstances have changed and you think this might be a cheaper option.

Many many people live on boats up and down the UK canals, some legally, some less so, and it is a bit of a grey area as to who is what!

Lets start with a real "houseboat"

A real houseboat in the true sense of the word looks something like the picture below


PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A RANDOM SAMPLE PICTURE OF A BOAT

It will probably have mains water, mains electricity and probably bottled gas. It will not need to move and you use it just like it is a flat, only on water. Lets make no mistake, a houseboat like the one above in somewhere like Central London will probably cost MORE to rent than a flat of about the same size, so if it is economy you are looking for you can stop right now!

Novice boaters should certainly NOT attempt to move a boat the size of the one above!

However, the pleasures of living in such a boat will far outweigh to extra costs.....Your neighbours will speak to you, everyone passing on a boat will give you a cheery wave, you will sit all day with the windows open getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Life will be idyllic.....well maybe not. It will perhaps be damp (against external walls), you may have to walk some distance to your car/main road and often this will be on undulating terrain and perhaps unlit - lovely when it is pouring down, and one major topic has so far not been mentioned - the loo......if you have mains drainage fine (I have yet to find one that has!), otherwise you could be looking at emptying a "porta-potty", an interesting experience for those not familiar with such routines. Exactly how this is achieved will vary from boat to boat!!

Of course your idea of a houseboat at its mooring may look more like this


PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A RANDOM SAMPLE PICTURE OF A BOAT AND MOORINGS

 

This is a pontoon with an official mooring but most likely not technically a mooring where you can live on board, but somebody turns a blind eye to your doing so....

Usually you will have to get water to your boat to an onboard tank from a stand-pipe (although on the jetty moorings above water is provided) and if not then this may involve moving the boat. Gas will be in bottles and electricity will, depending on the mooring, be provided by a land-line hook up to a power point or "made" by either running a generator or charging batteries from the engine. Heating will either be by gas or a coal fire, where the latter is preferable. The loos is also another issue, you may have to take the boat to a "pump-out station" and have it emptied, or have a "porta-potty"

If you are thinking of renting such a craft for long term accommodation then you need to ask a lot of questions!!!

 

Then there is the third option.

You might be looking to have a long cruise around the canals and so be looking for a boat something like the one below.

 


PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A RANDOM SAMPLE PICTURE OF A BOAT

This is basically a "holiday" boat, where some are better equipped for an extended trip around the canals than others. Some consist of as many beds as possible and others plenty of space to "live" and beds that are either "made up" each night, or just enough for the normal crew. The latter is preferable for an extended trip.

A lot of people would LOVE to take a narrow boat around the canals for six months and hand it back at the end of the trip, and an idyllic life it is that is for sure, but boats are very expensive to buy and also expensive to mend if they go wrong, so for that reason anyone wanting to do this can expect to pay a fair bit of money for their rent!! That said a lot of people may see it as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity and be prepare to spend the money.

Now, having got this far I suspect you may have some idea as to the type of boat you are after, so all you need to do is find it, or let it find you!!

Certainly in the case of ANY boat where you are able to move it there is a massive degree of trust having to be placed in you. It is not like renting a house or flat, with that you can abscond without paying the rent, but with a boat you could abscond with the whole thing!!!

If you are looking for a boat then see the boats available page (opens new window).

If there are none that suit you can advertise yourself as a potential tenant totally free!!! Equally if you have a boat you are considering renting out it is totally free to advertise.....

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