The 3 most important things to consider before buying a narrow boat
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Mon Jan 23, 2017 at 10:24am

1 Will you like it?

It's a good idea for “boating newbies” to hire before they buy. This gives them a real feel of what it's like to spend time on a narrow boat. Spending some time aboard a variety of different style boats will help you decide if boating is for you, help you choose the right length and style of boat if you do decide to buy.

Talk to as many people as you can who have a boat, or have owned one in the past. This way you will gain an understanding of boating life from people who have experienced life on the waterways. Ask them about the pros and cons they have experienced, what they would do differently. You maybe able to pick up a few good tips.

Come and spend some time with us at our marina viewing boats for sale. get aboard the narrowboats and imagine yourself living on each type of boat. Check out the storage and facilities and become familiar with each boats interior. Unfortunately we can't let you cruise the boats away at this stage, however you could go on a boat handling course or a boat holiday to experience cruising a narrow boat.

Two Useful links:


2 Can you afford it?

How will you fund the purchase of the boat? Will you need to take out a loan, if so how much can you afford to borrow? Will you be selling a house to buy? It’s one thing being able to afford to buy the boat, but have you considered all the costs involved in owning a narrow boat?

Here are some examples of some costs you will incur, based on a 57 foot narrow boat.

Please note that this is just some estimates and each boat depending on its age and condition may cost more or less.

*Broad estimated yearly costs;       

  • Mooring fees  -  As a rule of thumb, from around £1 per foot per week 
  • Electricity  -  At our marina electric is included within the mooring fees, but marinas vary.     
  • LPG Gas - Depends on usage       
  • Diesel  - Most narrow boats use approximately 1 litre of diesel for 1 hours cruising.
  • Pump out of waste holding tank  -  Normally £15 per pump out.    
  • Boat Licenses - Currently £840.36 per year for a 57ft boat. If someone chooses to pay monthly by direct debit this amount would be £933.73. These figures are for the current year to 31st March 2017. See current license fees  
  • Insurance  -  Average cost is about £350 pa.    
  • Maintenance Costs  -  A service to the engine is £250 plus VAT. It’s difficult to estimate for eventualities such as break downs etc.     
  • Boat Safety Certificate -  Currently a boat safety examination is approximately £160. This has to be done every four years.   
  • Blacking (every 3-4 years)  -  Currently £684 plus VAT for a 57ft boat, but costs may vary. See our current blacking charges

*These costs are only estimated and based on two people sharing the boat for weekend use and four weeks cruising a year. Note - The larger your vessel the more likely the yearly costs will be more than the examples given here.

3 Where will you moor it?

Goes without saying you can't pop it on your driveway! So finding suitable moorings is a very important aspect to consider before buying a narrow boat. If you decide to use a marina, careful consideration must be given before committing to a contract. There are 100's of marinas to choose from so you need to research which ones will fulfil your needs for services, location and facilities. 

Things you may want to consider if choosing a marina for mooring....

  • Work out what you expect to be on site and draw up a short list of marinas that can provide you with as many of your expectations as possible.
  • What facilities i.e. chandlery, showers, laundry room, cafe etc. are on site.
  • Electric hook ups and mooring space
  • Is there parking nearby for transporting goods from your vehicle?
  • Access
  • Noise
  • Spend time in the marina and listen to how the marina ticks over.
  • Distance to the local shops and schools
  • If needed, is there public transport available
  • Medical centres in the area
  • Distance from your house to the marina
  • Check out the cruising in the area
  • Security
  • Wifi access
  • What is actually included in the total cost. (Look out for hidden extras) 
  • Where to find listings of moorings
  • Visit our mooring page

If you feel you are ready to start looking for a narrow boat then start your search here

By visiting a brokerage company, you will be able to ask as many questions as you like and get aboard a wide range of boats. After spending some time aboard and having any questions answered, you will be in a good position to know what type of boat you want which will help you find the boat of your dreams.