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lifeintheslowlanes

Shipping a narrowboat to France?

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Fairly new around here, 19 now and have been living aboard for the last few years, a few months back I sold my yoghurt pot and bought myself a narrowboat... anyways, looking for any info in regards to shipping a narrowboat to France and cruising the European waterways in general. I plan to haul out some time in March, do some work, and all going well have the boat put on a lorry and taken cross channel for 2 years (maybe longer?) of cruising in April. I've read various blogs and stuff of people who've done similar things (billy bubble's for example) and tried to extract as much info as possible.


Was just wondering if there was anyone here who has done such a thing, (there has to be surely) and was just seeking any extra information possible. I know i'll need to get my icc sorted out (although i've heard I can possibly get one of those with some of my rya qualifications but shall be speaking to someone at the weekend about sorting that aspect of things). What does the actual road transport side of things cost roughly? Obviously hall out / in fees at either end, craning on and off the truck, but mainly the transport itself. Any bits of kit people would say are necessary for such a trip that could be overlooked (obviously a good pair of anchors, long/strong enough lines for the deeper locks and potential bollard spacing issues, hookup cables not that I connect to shore power often anyways, I assume i'll need different gas bottle regulators, are hose pipe fittings the same, etc etc). Can anyone recommend a good set of books/websites with navigation maps/info or any more blogs/books I may have not stumbled across yet of people doing a similar thing? 

 

Sorry if the post seems kind of vague, just looking to soak up as much info as possible in regards to taking on such a trip so I can plan as best as possible. Also feel free to call me an idiot as well ;) Cheers, Andy.

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Hose connectors are nearly all bog standard BSP.

Shore line connectors are nearly all the usual 16A type.

It is very useful to have a couple of 30m mooring lines and some very big mooring pins.

Main difference is that nearly all toilet waste goes over the side. I've only seen one pumpout in France. Elsan disposal can be found at municipal camper van sites which are often waterside.

On many waterways the only feasible mooring is at dedicated spaces. Mooring online in the middle of nowhere can be impossible due to depth, rocky banks or wash from commercials.

A narrowboat is not ideal. Many moorings are on pontoons and limited to 15 m or less. It can be done though.

More specific advice on the DBA website but you need to join to access their very useful waterways guides and forum.

 

Martin/

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1 minute ago, Onewheeler said:

Hose connectors are nearly all bog standard BSP.

Shore line connectors are nearly all the usual 16A type.

It is very useful to have a couple of 30m mooring lines and some very big mooring pins.

Main difference is that nearly all toilet waste goes over the side. I've only seen one pumpout in France. Elsan disposal can be found at municipal camper van sites which are often waterside.

On many waterways the only feasible mooring is at dedicated spaces. Mooring online in the middle of nowhere can be impossible due to depth, rocky banks or wash from commercials.

A narrowboat is not ideal. Many moorings are on pontoons and limited to 15 m or less. It can be done though.

More specific advice on the DBA website but you need to join to access their very useful waterways guides and forum.

 

Martin/

So a self pump out pump to drop the tank out could be useful then... I had read about the length limits on pontoons and luckily being 45ft shouldn't have too much of an issue with that. Someone else had recommended joining the DBA too for info (and at £35 I figure it's probably worthwhile). Cheers for the advice!

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lifeintheslowlanes …. I've not done it, have no intention of doing it and know nothing about it, so obviously I should reply 🥴

 

The one thing that floats to the top of my addled brain is: -

What new changes will you have to comply with after Brexit?

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1 minute ago, zenataomm said:

lifeintheslowlanes …. I've not done it, have no intention of doing it and know nothing about it, so obviously I should reply 🥴

 

The one thing that floats to the top of my addled brain is: -

What new changes will you have to comply with after Brexit?

God only knows, truth be told I try to stay uninvolved from the whole topic as much as possible lol

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Fair does, however you're asking for advice and help, and you want to avoid the thing that could be the legal/bureaucratic side. 

Everything else is really just money, but if your paperwork isn't in order mightn't you lose even more money or perhaps the boat? 

I don't know.

What are the paperwork and HMRC/VAT requirements at the moment and what will it mean after Brexit, will it be the same or different?

 

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Are you going to France for 2 years, or is that just the boat, with you making shorter visits? Post Brexit it is quite likely you will need some sort of visa for visits of longer than 6 months.

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34 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

Fair does, however you're asking for advice and help, and you want to avoid the thing that could be the legal/bureaucratic side. 

Everything else is really just money, but if your paperwork isn't in order mightn't you lose even more money or perhaps the boat? 

I don't know.

What are the paperwork and HMRC/VAT requirements at the moment and what will it mean after Brexit, will it be the same or different?

 

Is there any way to know what will change given brexit though? It all just seems up in the air and hear say at the moment so there's no point me speculating... it's a subject I really have no clue about at all, without wanting to get political once it was decided we were leaving the EU I pretty much gave up following what was going on with it. I assume there will be changes, but as far as I can tell there's no way to know at the current point in time what those will be... It's something I shall be talking to my old man about when I next see him, as he will probably understand the situation better than I do...

12 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Are you going to France for 2 years, or is that just the boat, with you making shorter visits? Post Brexit it is quite likely you will need some sort of visa for visits of longer than 6 months.

Ideally wanting to go over to France for the 2 years (potentially longer if I feel there's more to explore as the 2 years comes to an end) and overwinter there too, but returning to the UK out of season wouldn't be something i'd be opposed to if it had to be done as I have a place I can stay here too if needs be. Again the whole visa post brexit side of things is something i'm not too sure on and need to chat to my old man about when I next visit.

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8 hours ago, lifeintheslowlanes said:

So a self pump out pump to drop the tank out could be useful then... I had read about the length limits on pontoons and luckily being 45ft shouldn't have too much of an issue with that. Someone else had recommended joining the DBA too for info (and at £35 I figure it's probably worthwhile). Cheers for the advice!

If you've got a holding tank, you'll need to be able to pump out yourself. Ideally connect it permanently so you don't have to dump it all in one place!

 

The DBA is worth the fee just to access the online waterways guides. They are updated by members and are generally a comprehensive and accurate list of where it is feasible to moor, as well as facilities and costs.

 

Another thing: in France diesel is not seen much in marinas and is usually expensive. Most boats carry cans to fill up at service stations.

 

VHF is useful on the bigger waterways, and essential if you are going into Belgium.

 

There are specific regulations, and you can expect to be inspected occasionally. Fire extinguishers and lifejackets must be in date. You need a bucket on a rope for fires! Look at the DBA knowledge guides (but remember that a lot of the more complicated stuff relates to boats over 20m). I'm not sure if nav lights are compulsory or not (if not traveling at night).

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Can't remember what we paid for 32`6" x 11`4" and it was several years ago anyway Problem is that stupid Brexit nonsense. Nobody has a clue about what this means, least of all the government. The RYA website is the one to look at for rules and regs. You will need (at present) an ICC with CEVNI endorsement. All this means is you

have to prove you can steer a boat and know all the various signs and things. A radio (and operators licence.)  No red diesel in your tanks. An SSR no . (small ships register) that's no problem. and a vignette (licence). Licence and winter moorings are frequently about 1/3 of the UK and Belgium and Holland can be even less. Go for it, its not difficult to do and lots of people do it, Oh I'd avoid the big commercial waterways, just because there's a blue line on the map showing a canal does not always mean you will enjoy the experience!

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1 hour ago, J R ALSOP said:

Gas bottle connections are also different.

I think adaptors are available, but easier to buy a new regulator.

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1 hour ago, Bee said:

Licence and winter moorings are frequently about 1/3 of the UK and Belgium and Holland can be even less.

The downside is that you'll usually pay an arm and a leg for water and electricity in Belgium. Typically 1€ per kWh or 100 L. It's usually included in the fees in France. Remember that Belgium operates as two countries: the licence in Flanders is fairly cheap, and free in Wallonia. I've not been, but I think it's even more complicated in the Netherlands.

 

Also, often the electricity supply is centre-tapped in Belgium which is confusing. One should not rely on neutral being on the "proper" pole of the connector. It's useful to have a phase-reversing adaptor (a pair of connectors cross-connected) and a socket tester - like https://www.screwfix.com/p/lap-ms6860d-socket-tester/91596

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On 17/10/2019 at 08:16, Onewheeler said:

If you've got a holding tank, you'll need to be able to pump out yourself. Ideally connect it permanently so you don't have to dump it all in one place!

 

The DBA is worth the fee just to access the online waterways guides. They are updated by members and are generally a comprehensive and accurate list of where it is feasible to moor, as well as facilities and costs.

 

Another thing: in France diesel is not seen much in marinas and is usually expensive. Most boats carry cans to fill up at service stations.

 

VHF is useful on the bigger waterways, and essential if you are going into Belgium.

 

There are specific regulations, and you can expect to be inspected occasionally. Fire extinguishers and lifejackets must be in date. You need a bucket on a rope for fires! Look at the DBA knowledge guides (but remember that a lot of the more complicated stuff relates to boats over 20m). I'm not sure if nav lights are compulsory or not (if not traveling at night).

Cheers for the advice. Might cheat and just have a large fitting for a seacock welded to the bottom of the holding tank so it doesn't require a pump, although i'm not too sure if that's too smart or not so shall have a research. Already got a VHF fitted as I didn't like the idea of doing the salters lode to denver sluice run without one (maybe i'm a wuss, but hey, safety and all that). Shall have a read into the regulations and stuff to make sure everything is in place before I stick it on a lorry!

 

On 17/10/2019 at 08:27, Stephen Jeavons said:

Terry Darlington's book "Narrow Dog to Carcassonne" highlights a lot of good stuff and is also a fun read.

 

Narrow Dog To Carcassonne

Already read it a few months back and currently in the process of re-reading and taking notes haha. Pretty good read and was the reason I decided I fancy giving the trip a go in the first place :)

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On 17/10/2019 at 10:15, Onewheeler said:

I think adaptors are available, but easier to buy a new regulator.

Would rather go down the line of a new regulator anyways as less joins/adapters in the gas system is probably the smartest thing to do...

On 17/10/2019 at 10:24, Onewheeler said:

The downside is that you'll usually pay an arm and a leg for water and electricity in Belgium. Typically 1€ per kWh or 100 L. It's usually included in the fees in France. Remember that Belgium operates as two countries: the licence in Flanders is fairly cheap, and free in Wallonia. I've not been, but I think it's even more complicated in the Netherlands.

 

Also, often the electricity supply is centre-tapped in Belgium which is confusing. One should not rely on neutral being on the "proper" pole of the connector. It's useful to have a phase-reversing adaptor (a pair of connectors cross-connected) and a socket tester - like https://www.screwfix.com/p/lap-ms6860d-socket-tester/91596

I'm fairly lucky in that i've got 600 watts of solar on board and a reverse osmosis setup for filling the water tank (which at 6 euros a tank for a fill up it sounds like i'll be using a lot more than currently where I normally use a tap to save the filters from getting hammered considering it's free lol). Didn't realize that Belgium operates like that so i'll do a bit more googling on the subject, cheers. I think there was a mention of the phase-reversing adapter / socket tester in billy bubbles' blog, as i'd already added it to my list of things to make/buy...

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On 17/10/2019 at 08:27, Stephen Jeavons said:

Terry Darlington's book "Narrow Dog to Carcassonne" highlights a lot of good stuff and is also a fun read.

 

Narrow Dog To Carcassonne

Beat me to it!  Got to love that he avoided the shipping, by having it piloted across the Channel.  Although, of course that meant by avoiding the shipping, he had to avoid the ships!  For those who don’t know, the well deck was filled with ball pool balls and covered in a net, so as to displace the inevitable wave water!!!

Edited by The Dreamer

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Just now, blackrose said:

Last I heard it was about £4K each way but that was several years ago.

It is costing me £2300 for trucking Newark to Caernarvon (191 miles) for a 35 foot GRP cruiser.

 

I'd have thought that with ferry costs, fuel costs, driving hours / tacho it would be a fair bit more than £4k now to get to France

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1 hour ago, The Dreamer said:

Beat me to it!  Got to love that he avoided the shipping, by having it piloted across the Channel.  Although, of course that meant by avoiding the shipping, he had to avoid the ships!  For those who don’t know, the well deck was filled with ball pool balls and covered in a net, so as to displace the inevitable wave water!!!

Coming from a sailing background the thought of taking the thing across the channel sounds absolutely horrifying lol.

35 minutes ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

VHF no longer in use at Denver / Salters Lode.  This article contains rather more on the practical details than is in the Narrow Dog book. We went with them as far as Queenborough and then wimped out....

 

http://judgefamily.synology.me/scholargypsy/articles/Sarah_Henshaw_channel_Aug2016.pdf

Do they not even have a vhf set for in case of emergencies? I figure i'd rather rely on a vhf set than my mobile playing ball. Would be interested to know more! Shall give the article a read...

29 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Last I heard it was about £4K each way but that was several years ago.

The few people i've spoken to about it have said a similar figure, around 4-5k seems to be the general consensus as far as i've heard... Going to get in touch with a couple of shipping companies and get a quote within the next couple weeks just to be sure of a rough ball park figure...

39 minutes ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

VHF no longer in use at Denver / Salters Lode.  This article contains rather more on the practical details than is in the Narrow Dog book. We went with them as far as Queenborough and then wimped out....

 

http://judgefamily.synology.me/scholargypsy/articles/Sarah_Henshaw_channel_Aug2016.pdf

Link doesn't work, tries to redirect to a local iP address... assuming it's a file you have stored on a network storage device at home? Could you try and share the pdf via filebin.net or a similar service as it sounds like an interesting read? Cheers :)

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36 minutes ago, lifeintheslowlanes said:

The few people i've spoken to about it have said a similar figure, around 4-5k seems to be the general consensus as far as i've heard... Going to get in touch with a couple of shipping companies and get a quote within the next couple weeks just to be sure of a rough ball park figure...

 

Specialist for France and Mainland Europe https://www.boathaulage.co.uk/

 

40 Years experience of boat deliveries UK & Europe http://bargemovers.com/

 

A B Tuckey http://www.waterways-great-britain.co.uk/a-b-tuckey-boat-transport-service

 

30 years of boat transport to Europe http://hamerboattransport.co.uk/boat-transport/

 

I am using Ray Bowern ( Boathaulage.co.uk) (Bargemovers.com) next week.

 

All f the companies I asked for quotations were within a £50 price band.

 

Edit to correct moving company.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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4 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Specialist for France and Mainland Europe https://www.boathaulage.co.uk/

 

40 Years experience of boat deliveries UK & Europe http://bargemovers.com/

 

A B Tuckey http://www.waterways-great-britain.co.uk/a-b-tuckey-boat-transport-service

 

30 years of boat transport to Europe http://hamerboattransport.co.uk/boat-transport/

 

I am using Ray Bowern ( Boathaulage.co.uk) next week.

 

All f the companies I asked for quotations were within a £50 price band.

Cheers for that! Must admit when I had my old Fairline moved from Oulton Broad up to near Kings Lynn after the engine died the only movers that were significantly cheaper were the ones who weren't willing to send over proof of insurance... pricing was within £30 of the 6 people who were actual legitimate businesses with insurance and the likes...

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