10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying a Narrowboat
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Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:00am

Don't Buy Till You Have Read This!

Read our top ten tips on things you should know before you buy a narrowboat.


1 It’s a great way of life, but it’s not for everyone!

Just like 'marmite', you will either love it or hate it!  Not everyone takes to boating whether it’s just the occasional weekend, long holidays or living aboard full time. So our best advice before we go any further is try before you buy.  Hiring a narrowboat will give you a very good idea of what life is like on the canal and if it is for you.

2 Know its purpose

Think about what you will use the narrowboat for and how many people will be on board at any time.  Knowing whether it will be used for living aboard or weekend use only will help when it comes to choosing the size of narrowboat that is going to be right for you and your family.

3 There is a boat for everyone’s budget

The great thing about boating is there is a boat to suit every budget.  So everyone who expresses an interest in owning a narrowboat can have the opportunity of owning a one.

4 Know your sterns and lengths

Knowing a little more about narrowboats in general is going to help you greatly when it comes to buying your own. A great way to start learning about narrowboats is to read our useful info section and our buyers guide. Generally narrowboats are all the same width, but come in variety of length and stern type.

5 Research the running costs

Money matters are also important when owning a floating home. Ask other boaters what the average costs of running a narrowboat is for weekend use or living aboard full time.  Many boaters are more than happy to share their experience and knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask. Of course depending on each person’s circumstance the costs will can vary. Some expenses you will need to consider are – moorings, licence, insurance, maintenance, fuel costs, blacking and other day to day stuff.

6 Residential Moorings can be hard to find

Residential moorings can be hard to find, so it is always advisable to look into this before buying a narrowboat.

7 You will need certain paper work

Just like owning a car or house you need the relevant paper work, which for a narrowboat will include; insurance, boat safety certificate and ownership papers. Make sure you have all these in place when you buy.

8 Don’t buy till you have a survey

Would you buy a house without a survey? I’m guessing unless you are a builder or in the industry the answer is going to be No!  So buying a second hand narrowboat without a survey isn’t the smartest move unless you know what you are doing. The whole idea of the survey is to protect the buyer so you know exactly what you are buying. Top tip!

9 Use a Brokerage Company

Okay, so we are bound to include this one, but think about the advantages. Using a good brokerage company has so many benefits. So let’s just name a few – lots of experience, a variety of boats all in one location, a broker will negotiate on your behalf saving you any stress, and so much more.

10 Cruising is fun!

The final thing we can tell you before you buy a narrow boat is that it is so much fun! Cruising the beautiful UK canal networks will give you some fantastic holidays or a totally different way of life if you choose to liveaboard full time.

Experienced Boaters Did We Forget Anything?