What is it Really Like to Live on a Canal Boat?

So you’re thinking about living on a canal boat? It sounds idyllic and even whilst we only have a few days of summer here in Britain, even the winter months on a canal boat seem romantic and fun. However, before you step off land and onto a boat, there are a few things to consider.

License Fees and Mooring Costs on a Canal Boat

Many people opt for the canal boat life as it gives them the opportunity to live in relative comfort and cosiness whilst being able to pick some central spots where housing would otherwise be unaffordable. Others just choose canal boating because they love it and couldn’t think of anywhere they would rather be. Whatever your reasons, it is important to know some of the costs of living on a canal boat.

You can either choose to moor your boat on a residential or non-residential spot. Residential spots are much more expensive and can vary greatly depending upon the area you are choosing. If you want to opt for a continuous cruiser mooring you can stay on a basis that is calculated per stay but that is usually a two weekly pass to moor. You will then need to move on after two weeks. This works out if you don’t have to be tied down to one specific area, however can be a little inconvenient if you work in the city and need to get to work on a regular daily basis.

Practicalities of Water, Electricity and Waste

Trudging down the two path with your supplies or heading out to empty your chemical toilets may not sound like the ideal life for some, although when you compare it to journeys to the underground, dragging wheelie bins outside and finding car parking spaces to bring the shopping in, it might not seem like such a chore. There are the realities of being organised enough to stop somewhere where you can fill up with water, attach to the electricity supply and get yourself some provisions, but with a little organisation you can nail this after a while and it certainly helps with keeping track of how much you are spending on electricity on a regular basis.

Keeping Warm on a Canal Boatliving on a canal boat

Whilst it sounds cosy in the winter, and indeed it can be, you need to be prepared to really enjoy those winter months on a canal boat. , there are a few factors you need to take into account with your winter set up. As electricity on a canal boat is usually taken from the shore when you hook up at points along the canal, it can become quite costly if you are running fridges and freezers and other appliances. If you have a properly insulated boat, you are going to save on electricity costs when it comes to heating the interior. Gas central heating can be expensive, so explore all the options when it comes to heating options – stoves do keep the boat cosy. Diesel is cheaper, and it should be proper diesel, however, make sure you have a backup as if that breaks down, you are going to get very cold over the winter!

If you are prepared for a big lifestyle change and an overhaul of your lifestyle organisation skills then living on a canal boat could be ideal for you. There are many benefits and for some it certainly beats inner city living.