Jump to content

NEW BOATING FAMILY 2022


Featured Posts

Where to start?

Family of 4 (two children 10/12) Moving back from USA to England where my extended family lives (close to Foxton Locks).  Spent a couple of weeks on a narrowboat from Foxton to Stratford-upon-Avon in the 1990's.   Dream to retire on Narrowboat and initially CC then maybe find somewhere for permanent.  

Budget <75,000 GBP 

Rather not be restricted with a widebeam as far as travelling network. 

Where should I be looking?  Best builders? Age of boat? 

Would love experienced boaters help and any ideas most welcome....

 

 

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

You seem to have a reasonable budget and some idea of what you are looking for.

 

In the current market looking at boats available for sale makes more sense than worrying about builders and ages.  With two nearly teens you'll want a separate bedroom for each of them which suggests a longer boat, but anything over 57' tends to be better value for money as many people think they need smaller to go everywhere.

 

Choosing over 60' will mean you can't do some of the northern network (Leeds & Liverpool, Calder & Hebble, Huddersfield Broad) but you can still do some of it (Rochdale, Ashton, Huddersfield Narrow, Aire & Calder)

 

 

  • Greenie 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest the obvious, take the family for a narrowboat holiday before committing a large sum of money buying a boat, your dream may not be theirs. Living on a boat is not for everyone, especially CCing with children who need to go to school. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds a sensible option. With regard to looking for boats I assume you are aware of Apolloduck, website for all types of boat sales, will give you a good idea of what is out there and prices. 

We had a 60 foot semi trad for 14 years and covered all of the England / Wales system where it would fit which is most of it, we now have a Dutch barge currently in the Netherlands, very different from UK boating. Good luck with your search.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not saying it can't be done, but living on a narrowboat, even a 70 footer, with the two of you and two soon-to-be teenagers will be challenging, to say the least! Especially if you are all used to the generally larger houses of the USA than most of us here have.

Home schooling and working from home are theoretically possible if you are going to CC, but having a fixed base, and fixed schools and workplaces is certainly going to be easier if you do liveaboard.

Waiting until the offspring have left home will certainly be easier.

If your finances permit, how about house dwelling initially, and also having a smaller 4 berth boat now (the children can share a cabin for short breaks), for weekend/holiday use, and then trade up to a larger boat for living aboard in a few years time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, harrison8075 said:

Where to start?

Family of 4 (two children 10/12) Moving back from USA to England where my extended family lives (close to Foxton Locks).  Spent a couple of weeks on a narrowboat from Foxton to Stratford-upon-Avon in the 1990's.   Dream to retire on Narrowboat and initially CC then maybe find somewhere for permanent.  

Budget <75,000 GBP 

Rather not be restricted with a widebeam as far as travelling network. 

Where should I be looking?  Best builders? Age of boat? 

Would love experienced boaters help and any ideas most welcome....

 

 

 

Are you planning to 'home school' for the tenagers ?

Trying to CC when kids that are committed to schooling in 'one location' has caused many 'issues'.

 

Legally children of 'legitimate boat travellers' must be provided by a school in whatever area you end up in, but there are restictions as to who is 'a legititimate traveller'.

 

Note that you must meet both section A & B

 

 

Screenshot (876).png

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

£75k in todays market will buy you a perfectly nice boat.

 

Not that long ago that budget would be the top end of the market and you'd be looking at boats that are only a few years old. However these days you see a lot of 10 year old boats at that sort of price.

 

As someone who spent 8 months looking for and buying a boat last year, I'd advise you to keep a close look at apolloduck. Research brokers and keep a close eye on their websites and social media as some don't use apollo duck and some take a while to put their boats on there......they may appear on their own websites a day or two before.

 

In my case I eventually got lucky with a boat I wanted.....It went on the market quite overpriced, and sat unsold for a few weeks. I watched it closely on the broker's website. One morning they dropped the price significantly.....it took a couple of hours for this new price to appear on Apolloduck. By that time I had phoned, viewed and put in an offer on the boat that was accepted. 

The market is crazy......a correctly priced boat being sold by the big brokers will often sell over the phone without even being viewed so it takes some perseverance.

Edited by booke23
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, harrison8075 said:

Any specifics you would recommend to have on the boat especially with regards to power / solar etc...

A decent amount of solar power may well be enough for all your electricity needs during the summer months, and a useful contributer in spring and autumn. But for three months in winter it will be all but useless. So you will have to rely on some combination of shore supply, the boat's main engine and a generator. And you will also learn to be frugal in your use of electricity. A shore supply is only generally available if you take a long term mooring in a marina - you will not find many places where you can just hook up overnight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

My suggestion would be (as others have suggested) to try a week or two of holiday hiring, to get a feel for what your priorities really are.

After a week or two of cruising, some of the boat features you think are important at the moment will turn out to be non-issues, and several new/unexpected issues will appear on your key requirements list- especially with 4 people contributing to the list of key requirements!

 

I would even try hiring in the cold weather, so you can see how that affects day to day life on the boat.

My boat didn't have a stove when I bought it, for example- which was ok when I bought it in August, but by mid-November the diesel CH was not really enough, and it had become a real issue.  

 

I doubt there'll be a single boat that the whole family will be happy with, so whatever you choose will be a compromise, but it will be important to be realistic about the cost of changing the boat to suit your family. And aside from the planned changes, there will be new things you want to change after a week or two aboard. 

I decided to install lithium batteries and lots of solar panels for example, which provides a fantastic supply of electricity, but which cost an arm and a leg.  

 

I would give thought to a pump out toilet, because with 4 people aboard, a cassette loo is going to need frequent emptying.

Also, a decent sized water tank will be very helpful, otherwise you'll be stopping at every water point you pass- which in high summer means a bit of hanging around, and also means less time to spend off grid (assuming you like that sort of thing).

 

I'm probably not a very helpful example as I live aboard solo, but there are so many things to consider that it will probably make your head spin! 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Are you planning to 'home school' for the tenagers ?

Trying to CC when kids that are committed to schooling in 'one location' has caused many 'issues'.

I would also venture to suggest that if your kids are culturally attuned to living in the USA, they are going to find the transition to the British way of life a whole lot more enjoyable if they are thrown straight into a British school, where they will soon make new friends, take part in school and out-of-school activities and, and get to know how we all live, compared to the relative isolation of home schooling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really appreciate everyone's input!  Kids have been to England 7 times to visit the family, and are very worldly compared with most Americans, but are used to the comforts of America and currently homeschooled by Mum who is a teacher.   Expect they'll have flown the coop by the time we retire onboard and they may visit from time to time. 

Tony / David I like the idea of hiring a boat for the winter-time as I've only ever boated in the Summer and obviously that is very different experience and would use different power source. 

Booke23 - when you mention brokers, where do I find them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, harrison8075 said:

Really appreciate everyone's input!  Kids have been to England 7 times to visit the family, and are very worldly compared with most Americans, but are used to the comforts of America and currently homeschooled by Mum who is a teacher.   Expect they'll have flown the coop by the time we retire onboard and they may visit from time to time. 

Tony / David I like the idea of hiring a boat for the winter-time as I've only ever boated in the Summer and obviously that is very different experience and would use different power source. 

Booke23 - when you mention brokers, where do I find them?

 

As David says, I can imagine with 4 people on board full time, things could start to feel claustrophobic- at least for some of the crew. 

E.g. Even on a 70 footer, you can probably only have 2 bedrooms, so I think that means the children will have to share a bedroom, probably with bunk beds. Thats not a common layout (I think), so you cant afford to have bunk beds (or two bedrooms) in your 'must have' features- or you might take years to find a suitable boat. Bedrooms and layouts might be something you have to change after you buy a boat (with the necessary budget allocation for a carpenter if you cant/wont do it).

 

Also, consider things like bathroom position, and access.

Ideally you want the two bedrooms to access the bathroom from opposite directions (unless you can pass the childrens bedroom via a corridor maybe?). That way the kids won't have to pass through your bedroom to use the bathroom at night. So a reverse layout might work, with you in a double bedroom at the front, then a lounge and kitchen and bathroom- and maybe then the kids bedroom. There are lots of layouts that might suit, in theory anyway- you'd have to really think through how they will work in real life use.

Also electrics- the kids will need 240v sockets in their room for iPads, games consoles, etc. 

I'm sure you've thought of all these things already, but at least a week or two aboard will really help to give you an idea what you need to make the whole thing work reasonably happily for the while family- even down to minor details like finding enough floor space for 3 pairs of mud-soaked wellies near the stern door, plus storage for maybe 2, 3 or even 4 folding bikes, if you decide to abandon the car as I did when CCing over longer distances. 

 

 

Edited by Tony1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to be a damp squib, but I think this is a very difficult household situation. 

It may be your dream, but expecting everyone to enjoy the cramped living quarters and the constant inconveniences is unrealistic. 

Your children need space for hobbies and schooling. Preferably conventional schooling resulting in conventional Certificates of Education. Meeting other kids at their schools, socialising. 

You expect them to leave home very soon,  almost as if the next six to ten years will fly by.

To me, they are at an age where you need to put more and more effort and more and more money in to their future. 

They need to go out at night to socialise, don't expect rural bus services, most families I know pretty much devote one car and driver to ferrying kids to and fro seven days a week.

They won't be happy being sent to bed early. How would the bedrooms keep warm, where would the electricity come from? Living in a marina would give you power, but your neighbours are likely to be older, no young families.

Having a boating holiday in summer is not the same as living on board

Edited by LadyG
  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, harrison8075 said:

Booke23 - when you mention brokers, where do I find them?

 

Google narrowboat brokers and you'll get a list. 

The main ones are off the top of my head are:

 

ABNB

Rugby Boats

Whilton Marina

Great Haywood boat sales

Aquaduct Marina

 

Not an exhaustive list and there are many smaller outfits......Lots of marinas have a small brokerage and these are often where the gems are found. ABNB and Rugby boats have a particularly good reputation for selling quality boats.

 

Edited by booke23
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Living full time on a boat with two big kids is going to be very hard work, but it has been done.

The best approach is two boats, and this also has been done. 

Try your plan for a year and if it looks like its going to work start sorting out the second boat for the kids as they become teenagers.

Second boat can be quite basic, two bedrooms, bathroom and a play/work space, it could maybe not even have an engine (cheaper licence) and be towed by the parent boat. You could even leave it behind in summer for a few weeks and go for a longer family cruise.

Two boats will be slower in narrow locks, but the children can lock their own boat, and share in wide locks.

  • Greenie 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand your longer term plan is to live aboard the boat and cc once the children have left home, but what use are you planning to make of it between now and then, assuming that may well be 10+ years away?

 

If it's relatively short stays - up to a couple of weeks of holiday at a time - then a lot of home comforts can be done without. That means you don't necessarily need a washing machine, bunk beds should work fine and it's probably more about space to sit around and enjoy it. However, the longer you are planning to spend on board at a time, the more it needs to function like a home.

 

We are also a family of 4 with two children aged 10 and 12, and for us it's a leisure boat. That means time on the boat is time spent either boating or working on it, so we don't get too cramped in 38' (of which 9' is the engine room!) The boat is basic, which is fine for its intended use. It may get more mod cons as we go along, or it may not. To avoid mutiny it is necessary to provide phone charging points. Most relevant electronics charge on 12V these days so 240V is not critical, which is good because it doesn't work!

 

If you are planning these two different uses, it may work out to buy a cheaper boat first, possibly an ex-hire boat which would have a suitable layout for short-term family use, and then buy a different boat to live aboard once you no longer need the full-time sleeping accommodation.

 

Alec

  • Greenie 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

This reminds me of "are we there yet" complete with father in law.

 

Remember his very graphic photos of an elsan point he went to use, following a 'self-pump-out' boat where everywhere from roof to floor and all of the walls had a good coating of slurry paint.  It looked as if the end of the pipe had jumped out of the pan and thrashed about whilst the owner was on board having a cup-of-tea.

 

Said boater went to wind his pipe back up and made a very hasty departure, Dirty Bu**er.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, dmr said:

Living full time on a boat with two big kids is going to be very hard work, but it has been done.

The best approach is two boats, and this also has been done. 

Try your plan for a year and if it looks like its going to work start sorting out the second boat for the kids as they become teenagers.

Second boat can be quite basic, two bedrooms, bathroom and a play/work space, it could maybe not even have an engine (cheaper licence) and be towed by the parent boat. You could even leave it behind in summer for a few weeks and go for a longer family cruise.

Two boats will be slower in narrow locks, but the children can lock their own boat, and share in wide locks.

 

This could be a really great solution.

 

I saw a pair of boats like this near Anderton a few weeks ago, where the towed boat was about half the size of the main boat.

I didnt check out the towing mechanism, but that could be sorted out with a bit of ironmongery work. 

The kids would love having their own space (emphasised by being being physically separate from the main boat), and you could rig up a pluggable electrical supply like in a caravan. No need for a bathroom, just give them the key to the main boat and they can use that bathroom at night/evenings if needed. 

 

You can then spend a few years getting the main boat just the way you like it for two people (with say 2 guest beds), and the tender boat will always be there if the whole family go cruising when they are older. 

A 25ft towed boat could actually be an easier thing to make habitable than a 70ft boat, but I've no idea where you would get a 20-30ft towed boat/tender thing- apollo duck? 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Remember his very graphic photos of an elsan point he went to use, following a 'self-pump-out' boat where everywhere from roof to floor and all of the walls had a good coating of slurry paint.  It looked as if the end of the pipe had jumped out of the pan and thrashed about whilst the owner was on board having a cup-of-tea.

 

Said boater went to wind his pipe back up and made a very hasty departure, Dirty Bu**er.

I was looking for his posts but cant remember his name

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.