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Alexis Gkantiragas

Narrowboat Budgeting

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Hey all, 

 

I am new to boating and am looking into moving onto a live-aboard narrowboat in the next few years. 

 

I have spent quite a lot of time researching what this might look like financially and have made a rough budget breakdown for yearly running costs. I want to know from someone who has actually some experience boating whether my numbers look sane or not! The error bars represent the rough ranges that might be expected for the costs. I have attached images of a bar graph, pie chart and spreadsheet breakdown of the likely expenses. Any feedback would be really helpful! 

 

Context: 
* Looking at getting a 30-57ft narrowboat (probably nearer the 30ft end!). Either semi trad or cruiser. 
* I plan to fit any boat I get with a compost toilet and solar panels 

* I would only buy a narrowboat with a multi-fuel stove and would try to forrage wood/use my families logstores rather than buying wood/coal. Also I like the cold :') 

* I will likely be continuously cruising unless there is a reasonably priced Marina in London! 

* I am relatively practical (for a student at least!) and can perform a reasonable amount of DIY/maintenance on the boat myself. 

 

P.s. if anyone would find this spreadsheet useful I am happy to share it via messenger! Afraid it wouldn't let me upload that file type. 

Costs bar graph.png

Pie chart costs.png

Screenshot 2020-08-05 at 17.03.37.png

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I would firstly suggest that you look more closely at the situation around CCing in and around London (a marina mooring will be into five figures).

 

Your diesel figure is greatly underestimated if CCing and using engine for electricity generation.

 

I think there is a London Boaters facebook page or similar which will give you much more informed information.

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Just a couple of quick observations :

 

If you are CCing then you will be moving a lot and need to run the engine, if you have no electric hook up you need to run the engine for (probably) 4 hours every day to generate electricity)

 

You are showing £176 for diesel. That is less than 100 hours engine running (2 hours per week) . You will need to be running the engine probably 20+ hours per week so you need to multiply your diesel cost by 10x

 

No plans for Solar panels ?

 

Your gas budget is only for two 13kg gas cylinders per year. If just cooking probably 1 per month / 6 weeks is more realistic. People using gas for heating will use 1 or 2 cylinders per week in the Winter.

 

If you can find a Liveaboard mooring in London it will be £10,000 - £15,000 per annum. Not sure what you consider 'reasonably priced'.

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1 minute ago, dor said:

I would firstly suggest that you look more closely at the situation around CCing in and around London (a marina mooring will be into five figures).

 

Your diesel figure is greatly underestimated if CCing and using engine for electricity generation.

 

I think there is a London Boaters facebook page or similar which will give you much more informed information.

Hey there! 

 

Yeah I know its rather full particularly in more central canals. To be honest I might well not be in London (really depends on where masters/PhD is) I just figured it would be worth planning for that eventuality. I did try to join the Facebook group and message the admins but I couldn't get in :(

 

Thanks RE diesel! What do you think would roughly be reasonable? More like 400?  

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Diesel; think in terms of £1 an hour.  More if cruising, a bit less if just battery charging.  Expect cost to rise to nearer £1.50 an hour before too long (new tax situation).

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Just now, dor said:

Diesel; think in terms of £1 an hour.  More if cruising, a bit less if just battery charging.  Expect cost to rise to nearer £1.50 an hour before too long (new tax situation).

Where can you get diesel at under £1 per litre ? (most NB's seem to use between 1 and 1.5 litres per hour, near the bottom end if just 'ticking over'.

 

And rise even further when we can only source White diesel and the waterways suppliers have to put in loads of new security and infrastructure - I can see £2 a litre on the canals.

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4 minutes ago, Alexis Gkantiragas said:

Big oof! Okay thanks! 

And the consequential servicing and repair costs on the engine, say another £500 -  £700 PA.

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£1 a litre , 1 litre an hour unless we are forcing our way along a very shallow cut.

3 weeks boating is 100 Litres in fuel at least.
 

I remember refusing to buy on the Thames at 16 p a litre.

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Just answer one friendly question OP please.

Do you think it is a cheap lifestyle living on a boat?

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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Your gas budget is only for two 13kg gas cylinders per year. If just cooking probably 1 per month / 6 weeks is more realistic. People using gas for heating will use 1 or 2 cylinders per week in the Winter.

I live aboard and cook most days, I only use about 2 bottles per year. 

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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Where can you get diesel at under £1 per litre ? (most NB's seem to use between 1 and 1.5 litres per hour, near the bottom end if just 'ticking over'.

 

And rise even further when we can only source White diesel and the waterways suppliers have to put in loads of new security and infrastructure - I can see £2 a litre on the canals.

I paid 77p last week

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3 minutes ago, Jinna said:

I paid 77p last week

I went past Rugby Boats yesterday, the sign outside said 67p, unfortunately I'm pretty much topped up already. 

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I'm liveaboard usually in a marina with shore power. I do get out about 6 weeks per year plus weekends. I used 340 litres of diesel in the last 11 months. 

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You can live on a tidy boat and keep it well maintained without losing too much value, with electricity and heat as you need them, or you can live in a sort of floating squat, putting a blue plastic sheet over any broken windows etc and surviving the cold with blankets and alcohol, ..... or anything in between.

Many people say that to live in reasonable comfort and to keep up with maintenance then it £5000 to £6000 per year, excluding mooring and assuming you do most of the work yourself.

Making spreadsheet estimates is fun, but until you have lived on a boat you can't really grasp the cost of maintenance. Assume at least one "unexpected" bill of at least "£1000 every year, sometimes quite a bit more.

 

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

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Burning wood in London, will make you unpopular!!

Wood creates smoke, London is a smokeless zone. There are claims that "smokeless zones" don't apply to boats, but having to prove it almost hourly, will get a bit much.

Look into costs for smokeless fuel.

 

Bod

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2 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

£2000

We live fully off grid and travel extensively, well over 1000 miles most years, plus all winter battery charging from the engine, and we get nowhere near £2000. Maybe a bit over £1000, and if the op is going to be a "move only once in 14 days" boat and fit a solar system then it will be much less than this.

 

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

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15 minutes ago, dmr said:

We live fully off grid and travel extensively, well over 1000 miles most years, plus all winter battery charging from the engine, and we get nowhere near £2000. Maybe a bit over £1000, and if the op is going to be a "move only once in 14 days" boat and fit a solar system then it will be much less than this.

 

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

He has made no mention (no budget) for Solar and I already mentioned it / asked the question.

 

If he runs the engine 4 hours per day to recharge the batteries @1 litre per hour = 120 litres per month - 1440 litres per annum. With prices soon to approach £1.50 litre it won't be far off £2000.

We cannot look backwards to the prices we have recently been seeing and expecting them to continue. Various 'things' happening around the world have been affecting demand and pricing and the prices have been artificially low for some time now - already prices 'at the pumps' (garages) is increasing from around £1.10 to around £1.18

Changes in taxation & Duty, the introduction of compulsory white diesel for boats and the additional costs incurred by canal-side sellers are all going to affect the price we pay. No more 'fiddling' the declaration and claiming 100% domestic.

 

Chart: The coronavirus-effect on UK fuel prices | Statista

 

 

Morrisons cuts petrol price to below £1 a litre - BBC News

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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3 hours ago, Alexis Gkantiragas said:

* I plan to fit any boat I get with a compost toilet and solar panels 

 

30 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

He has made no mention (no budget) for Solar and I already mentioned it / asked the question.

I don't think the cost of solar panels would be entered into an annual running expenses budget would it? 

Edited by Rumsky

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6 minutes ago, Rumsky said:

 

I don't think the cost of solar panels would be entered into an annual running expenses budget would it? 

Thanks, I missed the solar panel comment (and the composting toilet - but perhaps less said about that the better)

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Alexis, have you really looked into the ins and outs of composting toilets and the maturing then disposal of both the solid and liquid waste - especially in London, not many hedge rows you can distribute the MATURE waste along. They are probably excellent if you have your own ground where you can compost and mature the waste and distribute the liquid but otherwise you my have probelms.

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4 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Your gas budget is only for two 13kg gas cylinders per year. If just cooking probably 1 per month / 6 weeks is more realistic. 

 

I live alone but cook everyday and a 13kg bottle lasts me 6 months. I use a small gas oven a couple of times/week and the hob but it's mainly stir-fries. Lots of kettle boiling for tea and coffee though. I think you'd have to be slaving over a hot stove for a few hours everyday to go though one a month! 

2 hours ago, Rumsky said:

I live aboard and cook most days, I only use about 2 bottles per year. 

Yes

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2 hours ago, Jinna said:

I paid 77p last week

 

2 hours ago, Rumsky said:

I went past Rugby Boats yesterday, the sign outside said 67p, unfortunately I'm pretty much topped up already. 

But that's red and the OP says in a couple of years when red is just a distant memory and white is what you have to use

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Your maintenance costs will vary massively depending on whether you're doing it yourself or have to pay someone else to do it. What you've got on your chart is ballpark DIY costs.

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