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Two jobs and a big hobby - can boat life work?


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Hello all, new here.

 

I've been spending some serious time wandering the canals window shopping and looking to do a narrow boat holiday soon. I'm afraid to say I'm another one of "those" looking for a major change after having lots of time to think over the last year. The lifestyle feels like it would be a good fit in a number of ways and I've had people suggest it to me over the years too (maybe it's a certain boaty look?).

 

I've been reading a lot, creating spreadsheets, doing thought experiments etc. The maths is workable, after going over it about 300 times, but more importantly I'm wondering if anyone else has/had a vaguely similar set of life circumstances living aboard happily. I'm still fairly young and currently single, have a 9-5 which can be draining at times, alongside some freelance work, then spend the rest of my time with painting and photography (which I'd like to put front and centre in my life within 5-10 years). I'm keen on the outdoors, which the latter pursuit revolves around.

 

If I was to create one question from this - how much time should I reasonably expect to spend working on/maintaining a boat in the region of 40-50ft, 30 years old and of course, in the best condition I can find and already liveable? I would intend to continuous cruise most of the time to save mooring costs for commuting fuel, but aware this could become tiring in of itself. I could reasonably retreat to a marina over winter or when things otherwise get tough, if needs be.

 

Am I likely to have a nervous breakdown within a year? I'm partly of the mind that a boat might be the best place for that! But really interested to hear any thoughts or advice from current or retired busy bodies living on the water.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Captain Beefheart said:

I'm still fairly young and currently single, have a 9-5 which can be draining at times,

 

 

6 minutes ago, Captain Beefheart said:

I would intend to continuous cruise

 

 

Those are not ideally (easily) compatible.

Do you need to be in a fixed location for your "9 to 5", how far are you prepared to travel to get into work, will you keep a car, where are you looking to be based .................

 

Loads of questions.

 

If looking in manchester area rememember that on the Bridgwater canal you MUST have a mooring, no ccing allowed.

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Those are not ideally (easily) compatible.

Do you need to be in a fixed location for your "9 to 5", how far are you prepared to travel to get into work, will you keep a car, where are you looking to be based .................

 

Loads of questions.

 

If looking in manchester area rememember that on the Bridgwater canal you MUST have a mooring, no ccing allowed.

 

 

3 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I would encourage you to try it BUT how are you going to satisfy the licence requirement to  continuously cruise, 14 days max in one place, and make progress along the canals, with a 9 to 5 job?

 

In response to both, I would be avoiding Manchester (something of a guiding principle). My commute threshold would be 50 miles and think I could satisfy this + license requirements moving on a distance every weekend or two, but likely heading back to where I started after 6 months, then reviewing the strategy. I do agree this would be the biggest test of the whole endeavour in a number of ways, social life included.

  • Greenie 2
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7 minutes ago, Captain Beefheart said:

 

 

 

In response to both, I would be avoiding Manchester (something of a guiding principle). My commute threshold would be 50 miles and think I could satisfy this + license requirements moving on a distance every weekend or two, but likely heading back to where I started after 6 months, then reviewing the strategy. I do agree this would be the biggest test of the whole endeavour in a number of ways, social life included.

 

It looks as if you know what is needed (which is much more than some do),actually achieeving it may not be so simple, but wish you all luck.

 

Wher are you looking to have you 'central'  location where you will radiate from ?

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44 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I would encourage you to try it BUT how are you going to satisfy the licence requirement to  continuously cruise, 14 days max in one place, and make progress along the canals, with a 9 to 5 job?

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Have you watched Sort of Interesting on Youtube, he lives on Abel's Ark, which is 45 ft, has a desk, a fixed bed, a solid fuel stove and a  cooker. He bought it when prices were not so steep, it's quite a nice little boat, but not 30 years old, and not in need of major repairs. He works part time, and has a few other irons in the fire.

It's very hard trying to keep everything going if you are short of either cash or time. Just getting fuel and water can be a major focus in winter. I think it would be a lot easier if you stayed in a marina six months of the year.

I think you mentioned your social life, forget that! (joking).

Edited by LadyG
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l think after a hard days work and perhaps a long commute and then having to move your boat will become a pain after a while.

Living on a boat is harder work than living in a house as there are many jobs to do on a boat that do not apply to a house.

A permanent mooring I think would be an easier option.

  • Greenie 1
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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Wher are you looking to have you 'central'  location where you will radiate from ?

 

Somewhere between Huddersfield and Whaley Bridge, maybe paying somebody else to take it through the Ashton/Hyde section 😅

 

42 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Have you watched Sort of Interesting on Youtube,

 

I think you mentioned your social life, forget that! (joking).

 

I've seen his channel. I seem to remember he worked 2 days a week, but I believe the YouTube game does suck up a lot of time. I need to watch some more, as I thought his was an older boat than that.

 

And I sort have have forgotten the social thing for the last 12 months!

Edited by Captain Beefheart
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12 hours ago, Captain Beefheart said:

 

Somewhere between Huddersfield and Whaley Bridge, maybe paying somebody else to take it through the Ashton/Hyde section 😅

 

 

I've seen his channel. I seem to remember he worked 2 days a week, but I believe the YouTube game does suck up a lot of time. I need to watch some more, as I thought his was an older boat than that.

 

And I sort have have forgotten the social thing for the last 12 months!

I looked on canalplanner.org , boat listing but I don't think it gives the age , I was looking at boats at the time he was also looking, and mentioned it to him as it had a brand new engine.

Anyways, I would be wary of just any old boat over 25 years, but a survey is pretty much essential to check hull integrity.

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As discussed many times on here, running the engine to charge the batteries is difficult to fit in if away from the boat 8 am till 6 pm 5 days a week. A big solar installation and marina mooring in winter would work.

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I spent a few months driving to London from the top end of Northamptonshire, and a few years driving to London from the nice bits of canal to the north of it. It's exhausting, simply exhausting. Getting home after a twelve hour day at work, knowing you need to go up Marsworth in the dark and walk a long way back for the car early the next morning, is rarely a nice thought.

 

But it is doable, and you will presumably have the advantage of having a predictable job. I'm self-employed, work twelve hour days, frequently work over two weeks without a day off and am often booked at very short notice. And all that said, I managed it, so it is doable.

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