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New Begining

confused ...what is a good boat?

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Hi Everyone, I'm looking to buy a live aboard, but as a total novice I'm confused over what is a good narrowboat, after searching brokerages and classified adds I'm starting to have doubts, the words over plating, new hull, wooden cabin are slightly off putting never mind trying to understand why a boat built in 1986 is 3 times more than 2010 build, and I thought (stupidly) that all narrowboats were 10-6-4. so my question good people of the canal world, is what kind of boat should I be looking for? and is it possible to get anything decent for the meager amount of 10-20k 

 

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New Begining, Let me first say ,I am also VERY new to learning about narrow boats. I will tell you what I believe is true. Over plating, I believe is when new steel plating is added to the sides, bottom of the boat, due to wear or what have you. I read about a boat built in the 80's I believe that only had 5mm bottom plating, so maybe that was prevalent in the past. Seems that 10-6-4 is now the norm. As to , why are some older boats worth more, are you comparing apples to apples. Meaning are the boats "like"? And maybe you could look at it as a classic car can cost way more then a new car. 

 As for your question about cost of a boat between 10 and 20,000. I think you could get one in that range,BUT, it might not be what you want. Meaning, size, layout, engine, etc. How much work does it need? Lots of thing to think about. When I'm looking at an older auto to buy, I break it down in three parts, Exterior, Interior , mechanical . If all three need major repairs, I back off, you get the idea? Good hunting.

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You should not be risking money on a boat till you know enough not to need to ask this question :)

Its not like buying a house, or even buying goods from the supermarket, where you have some protection if they sell you dodgy stuff, bad or wildly optimistic people will sell you a boat about to sink and take as much money as they can squeeze out of you.

 

Modern boats are mostly 10-6-4 steel (with variations) but older boats have all manner of construction. Boats get cheaper as they get older but a good older boat (made by a boaty Rolls Royce) will cost more than a recent Skoda boat.

 

30k is where you start to get good solid boats, you might get lucky at 20k but need to know your stuff. 10k is for people who have the money/motivation/skills to fix them or don't really mind losing the money if it all goes wrong.

 

..............Dave

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Hi New Beginning. I suggest you spend some time looking at boats to get a feel for what is the right layout for you and what kind of equipment you want. You say want to be a live aboard, would you want a mooring or become a continuous cruiser (use the search function of the forum to find out what that entails). If you have a permanent mooring with electricity available you can make use of 240 volt appliances easily. If you are going to be continuously cruising then everything relies on your batteries and your ability to manage/recharge them and you need to work out what appliances you can power. Heating the boat in the winter will be important . Having a stove at one end of the boat doesn’t really warm up the other end. Try and befriend someone who does know about boats so you can take them with you to check out boats. You don’t have a big budget so you be looking at some boats with potential problems. Think also about ongoing expenses such as a licence, insurance, mooring fees, diesel costs, heating costs etc, The expense doesn’t stop once you buy the boat.

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Hi Dave and Stewart, thanks for you're replies, 

 

I know my budget is low but as a starter boat I was hoping it would be enough to get me on the ladder so to speak, I have thought about mooring costs and overheads leading me to believe 4k a year would cover this 

I have a basic idea of the layout I prefer really its the mechanics and below the water line that I need information about 

what kind of engine

what is a good reputable make

internally I think I'd be able to manage a bit of DIY as long as the main components are present galley washroom...

It will be a liveaboard but I would want to venture out and about, so 50-57ft I thought would be a good size for both.

 

Ruth 

 

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8 minutes ago, New Begining said:

I know my budget is low but as a starter boat I was hoping it would be enough to get me on the ladder so to speak, I have thought about mooring costs and overheads leading me to believe 4k a year would cover this 

You should really budget £5000 per annum for running and maintenance costs, and buying a boat in the £10-£20k bracket you will possibly need much more for maintenance.

To this must be added your mooring fees.

 

For a Liveaboard (residential) the Mooring fees will vary between (roughly) £4000 per annum 'up-North' to £15,000 per annum in London.

 

There is nothing more disheartening that buying a boat and then not being able to afford to pay its upkeep - it will just result in misery as you are chased from one marina to the next for money.

 

Please check out fully the costs of boat living (they are the same or higher than a flat) before you spend your life savings.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

You should really budget £5000 per annum for running and maintenance costs.

To this must be added your mooring fees.

I see, I'm way off the mark already, I understood safety checks and routine maintenance such as blacking only had to be done every 2-3 years

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1 minute ago, New Begining said:

oh and I know the difference between a Rolls Royce and Skoda just don't know what the boat equivalent names are lol

Ask 10 boaters for the names of 'Rolls Royce' boats and you will get 11 answers.

 

As a starter boat you want a solid, sound, low-mileage 'Ford Cortina'

 

You need three things on your boat :

 

A Good sound Hull (not thin, or poorly overplated) Just a good solid survey.

A good fairly modern engine (don't try and go 'fancy vintage' with brass knobs and steam whistles) with (ideally) a service record showing oil changes.

A good solid gear box from a major 'modern' supplier PRM is a common manufacturer.

 

Most other stuff - furniture, kitchen, bed etc etc can be easily added / removed overtime to make it what you want - you cannot change the Hull or engine' quite so easily.

 

Look at boats and look in the engine room, is the floor is awash and has floating oil the boat has probably not been well maintained.

 

If the floor beneath the engine is 'bone dry', painted white and clean, you can guess that the owner has cared about the boat and won't have skimped in other areas.

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Hi Ruth,

have a look at CaRT moorings to get a feel for prices in the area you are interested in. It will be more expensive in honeypot locations and in Greater London. A budget of £4000 pa might be enough, mooring fees and licences are dependant on boat length, my last boat was 45ft and insurance was about £170, licence £750 and a mooring in a marina near Lichfield £2,400.  You need a Boat Safety Certificate every 4 years, prices vary but budget for £150. The bottom of the boat needs to be blacked every couple of years, prices vary but call it £400. Expect to replace the batteries on any boat that has been lying around for a while, say up to £140 per battery. Engine service every 200 hours on many engines, if you can do it yourself less than £100 for oil and filters, add a couple of hours labour if you can’t do it. Many people use a company called RCR (rRver and Canal Rescue) for breakdowns, the price depends on the level of cover. 

Have you tried living in a 6ft wide tube? It might be a good idea to rent a boat for a week but you will probably need another person with you as the boat hire companies do not often rent their boats to one person. The hull and engine are the two most important things to get right but there are so many hulls built by different people it’s hard to recommend a sensible list, same goes for engines. Maybe you can find something you like the look of on Apollo Duck and post it here so we can critique it, be ready for blunt responses.

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1 minute ago, New Begining said:

I see, I'm way off the mark already, I understood safety checks and routine maintenance such as blacking only had to be done every 2-3 years

O' grasshopper - there is much more to routine maintenance that 'blacking'.

 

The boat will need a total strip and paint (depending upon what you want) this could be every 5 years or every 10 years. I am just in the middle of having mine done (it was last done 4 years ago) and the cost is £9k-£10k.

That equates to £1k - £2k per years.

 

ONe one of my boats it requires an engine service every 100 hours - it is about £100 a time to pay a mechanic, or £20 if you can do it yourself.

When out cruising I was doing a service very 4-5 weeks.

 

You need to plan for a major overhaul of your engine every X years £1000's. 

 

Your 'blacking can cost £700-£1000 every 3 years - so another £300 per year.

 

Diesel at £1.20 per litre say 2 litres per hour £2 per hour how many hours will you be cruising ?

 

Insurance £300 per annum ?

 

Licence £800 per annum

 

Boat safety  £50 per annum

 

Gas cylinders ?

Electricity ?

 

Emptying the toilet £20 each time (every month)

 

It goes on and on and on ……………………………..

3 minutes ago, Stewart Kirby said:

….insurance was about £170, licence £750 and a mooring in a marina near Lichfield £2,400

Residential or Leisure ?

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9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

It goes on and on and on ……………………………..

Residential or Leisure ?

It was a leisure mooring and it was a few years ago. There were people living permanently on their boats but I don’t know if that was on an official residential mooring.

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1 minute ago, Stewart Kirby said:

It was a leisure mooring and it was a few years ago. There were people living permanently on their boats but I don’t know if that was on an official residential mooring.

If someone is asking about the costs of being a liveaboard, then it is really quite important that they are provided with 'liveaboard costs' rather than 'leisure' costing so they can make decisions based on realistic numbers.

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13 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

O' grasshopper - there is much more to routine maintenance that 'blacking'.

Thank you Master Po for pointing out just how much I didn't realise I needed to know lol..

 

I feel even more doubtful about the whole exercise.

 

I have actually looked inside some engine bays and I know what you mean by being rusty and crabby down there, I also looked at a very vintage old thing trad build. that had a walk in engine room and overhead brass levers pullies and things,

 

I like the cruiser stern with a reverse layout,

have to admit 9-10k for a paint job was not on my budget list

 

perhaps I should shelve the idea until I have a 30-40k

 

 originally though I was going to rent one for 6 months to see how I fared, but when talking 6-7k I changed my mind thinking it would be better spent on one fettle it up then flip it perhaps loosing less money   

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It’s all guesswork anyway because she doesn’t have a boat and hasn’t said where she wants to be based which is why I suggested looking at the CART mooring website.

I think some of your numbers are a bit dodgy but I’m not going to troll you about it.

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to clear this up I live in Nottingham was looking at Sawley and Mercia Marinas both are close to Motorway for travel to work, Langley Mill Basin is out at the moment as they have a massive waiting list unfortunate because it would have been a perfect base surrounded with all the amenities a woman could want lol, including a good road network, the downside is Erewash canal is long. 

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Some of these costs can be a lot lower if you can DIY (time and skills) and put function over beauty.

 

So for example I would not put a £10k paint job on a boat worth £15k, if it is just painting (no cutting and welding) and you DIY using good 'house' paint for metal, then it's going to be a fair bit less than £1k and with a bit of touching up will last 6 years.

 

If you are working so you just cruise a few days here and there then you may only need to service your engine once per year, at a DIY cost of about £50,  But if running the engine a lot for battery charging etc then servicing will be every 200 hours.

 

Blacking if DIY and away from cities is maybe £600 and if you don't see the boat as a long term investment you could do it every 4 years.

 

But there are going to be surprise costs, so if the water pump needs replacing (£100) or your batteries die (depends on how many) but they may only last a couple of years at say £500 per set.  Diesel boiler dies and needs replacing ............


 

 

Edited by Chewbacka

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29 minutes ago, New Begining said:

to clear this up I live in Nottingham was looking at Sawley

I think BWML Sawley have vacancies for residential.

Since the 'takeover' they have taken down all the pricing off the website so I'm not sure of their current pricing levels, but, they were about £4000 for a liveaboard.

I'm in a BWML Marina and my costs have gone up by 25% since the 'takeover' so I guess you'd have to call & ask for mooring pricing.

 

Which side on Nottingham is 'work' ?

 

If it is up towards Mansfield or the Eastern side of Nottingham you could try Farndon Marina (no narrowboats) Newark marina or Kings Marina, or even Colwick (I don't know if they do residential)

If on the South, or, South West of Nottingham there are Marinas on the River Soar

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26 minutes ago, New Begining said:

to clear this up I live in Nottingham was looking at Sawley and Mercia Marinas both are close to Motorway for travel to work, Langley Mill Basin is out at the moment as they have a massive waiting list unfortunate because it would have been a perfect base surrounded with all the amenities a woman could want lol, including a good road network, the downside is Erewash canal is long. 

Sawley is a BWML site which has residential moorings at which you will pay council tax. See their website for details. Lots of facilities but it will come at a cost and it has flooded in the past keeping people off their boats.

i don’t know what Mercia Marinas policy is, ring them. Their leisure mooring rates are reasonable but you can’t officially live aboard.

 

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10 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

South West of Nottingham there are Marinas on the River Soar

I've looked at the river soar concerned about the level of flooding there, it seams to be quite regular, the actual road network from Red Hill Marina is excellent but with continual road and HS2 workings that junction is well sometimes a nightmare.

 

Shardlow Marina is in a lovely village not far from Sawley 2miles ish, and that's really as far as my limited knowledge of canal and river systems ends, Farndon is out because like someone rightly said no narrowboats and Newark is too far.

 

I was wondering if anyone know of any smaller places in the areas in  between, Obviously for now I don't really fancy being moored up on any old river bank alone is why I'm looking at a permanent base   

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29 minutes ago, Stewart Kirby said:

Sawley is a BWML site which has residential moorings at which you will pay council tax.

from my limited knowledge and I really don't know how true it is someone told me that if you only stay so long you can avoid council tax rule bit of a grey area and possible taboo subject 

 

so many more things to think about..lol

 

anyway there has to be positive sides to living afloat I read it was more popular than ever

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5 minutes ago, New Begining said:

Farndon is out because like someone rightly said no narrowboats and Newark is too far.

Newark Marina is only 1 mile further than Farndon and far better road access.

 

No, you don't want to be moored up on any old bit of river bank - with the wild weather we've been having you want to be tucked up safe and sound on a secure mooring.

 

There is another marina (pontoon moorings) on the Trent (between Nottingham & Newark)  which @Naughty Cal looked at recently - maybe she'll come on and give some details.

(I don't know them or any details - cruised past many times but never enquired)

1 minute ago, New Begining said:

from my limited knowledge and I really don't know how true it is someone told me that if you only stay so long you can avoid council tax rule bit of a grey area and possible taboo subject 

 

so many more things to think about..lol

 

anyway there has to be positive sides to living afloat I read it was more popular than ever

 

There are many similar stories on the web.

If they are repeated often enough they become fact !!

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2 hours ago, New Begining said:

oh and I know the difference between a Rolls Royce and Skoda just don't know what the boat equivalent names are lol

 

Actually, I've got a Skoda (Yeti).  One of the best cars I've had.....

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1 hour ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

 

Actually, I've got a Skoda (Yeti).  One of the best cars I've had.....

me and the missus have had a series of Audis - the car she remembers most fondly was a Skoda Octavia Laurin & Kiliment.  The only thing wrong with it was the bloody VAG 2 litre turbo diesel and in particular the dual mass flywheel.  I wonder if VW/Bentley diesels suffer from the same malady.  Come to think of it, the only other car that failed us was an A4 with a 2.5 TDI auto.  Despite what the Germans try to tell us, their diesels are (IMHO) rubbish. 

Edited by Murflynn

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4 hours ago, New Begining said:

from my limited knowledge and I really don't know how true it is someone told me that if you only stay so long you can avoid council tax rule bit of a grey area and possible taboo subject 

 

so many more things to think about..lol

 

anyway there has to be positive sides to living afloat I read it was more popular than ever

You have to have the permission of the marina owner to live aboard without paying council tax and of course the marinas will not advertise that as it’s against the law. A face to face meeting might bring an agreement. Sawley have some scam, sorry scheme, where you have to move berth every six months to pay a lower level of council tax.

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