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Heavily considering boating, but i dont know if im ready.


Minimal

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Hi all, so i have always been fascinated with canal boats since i was young, as i live in quite favored canal area (I believe) and basically having the feeling like i have done practically nothing interesting within the first half of my lifetime in all honesty, I have no idea where the future will go so im just kinda free to do what i wish.

 

The situation im in is basically Im not going to buy a house anytime soon at this rate, Renting is just silly and dumping money into a pit and If i did i want to be in a small house in the country anyway, I would rather save towards that in that regard.

 

In the mean time i need stuff to do in my life, I have my own basic foundations set, just dont know where to go, Im not a holiday person, but a good beer next to the canal? Thats kinda the dream in one sense to me, I thrive of the simple things like that and im not tied down to the socials.

 

My main confusion at the moment is with the CRT License, and most of my usage will probably be solely on their owned routes anyway, its more of the length that i would need it? I would kinda expect im less likely to go out in the winter months and im confused if people just stay at their home marina for the winter, whilst i know its a cost, i still need to know i have enough time to get back a day before work, (getting their is kinda easy as their is numerous points that i can stop at to keep me on route)

 

After that really its just the size of the boat i want and making sure im prepared for my usage, I am probably looking about 42" right now? But i kinda like the small ones in general as i love minimalism I would ideally like a blank canvas i can build to spec but it all depends, Like i would use a hob, but probably not a cooker, and then the debate is do i need a microwave? Im more tech driven in the sense that i would have 5G and all that stuff for the internet, but i dont use any "Smart" tech

 

Basically i think im in a debate with myself on "Can i live like this for a long time" or "Can i live like this for a little while"

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CRT license is straightforward enough, you normally buy a canal and river licence for the year (most marinas require you to have a licence anyway). Overall, the cost of ownership of a boat isn't much cheaper than rent especially not if a marina is involved, although you might get more enjoyment out of it. Best to forget the microwave too as they don't play nicely with batteries and really aren't necessary!

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Welcome to CWDF.

May I suggest that you hire a boat for a week or two and see if you like it? You'll probably need to persuade a friend to go with you, as hire companies are (I believe) reluctant to rent a boat out to a solo person.

   If you could be a little more precise thn "England" in your stated location, people on here could point you towards a convenient hire-fleet base.

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I'm not sure what you mean by a lot of this.

 

Do you mean?:

 

1. You plan to get a permanent marina mooring but then head out on trips from time to time?

 

or;

 

2.  You plan to stay out on one long continuous trip through spring, summer, autumn and then go into a marina for winter?

 

Most marina moorings require you have have CRT licence anyway, so for those it doesn't matter.

 

Some marina moorings don't require a licence, so for option 1 you could just just a short term licence for each of your short trips.  For option 2, your best bet would be a 12 month licence and then get a refund on your unused bit when you go into a marina.

 

I've read this bit several times and I can't work out what you mean:

 

"whilst i know its a cost, i still need to know i have enough time to get back a day before work, (getting their is kinda easy as their is numerous points that i can stop at to keep me on route)" 

 

Can you explain?

 

42" is a little short for a boat.  42' would be better and many liveaboards have a boat that length.  Personally I wouldn't consider anything under 50' and 55'-65' is better still.

3 minutes ago, enigmatic said:

CRT license is straightforward enough, you normally buy a canal and river licence for the year (most marinas require you to have a licence anyway). Overall, the cost of ownership of a boat isn't much cheaper than rent especially not if a marina is involved, although you might get more enjoyment out of it. Best to forget the microwave too as they don't play nicely with batteries and really aren't necessary!

No problem with microwaves if he's in a marina and hooked up to 240v.

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4 minutes ago, enigmatic said:

 Best to forget the microwave too as they don't play nicely with batteries and really aren't necessary!

Yes, though if the O.P. doesn't want an oven, a m/w could be useful.

I must admit that we bought a new m/v four or five years ago. We find it useful for stacking frying pans on and for parking the oven glove. We have used it perhaps a dozen times so far.

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I think there is a sort of "tiny homes" and 'minimalist" theme going on here, personally I don't think you want to be crammed in to 42 foot narrowboat for regular liveaboard. By the time you fit in a front end, and a rear end, your cabin length could be 25 ft, subtract 4ft for the engine box, 8 ft for the galley and 6ft for the shower, loo, and your down to 7ft x 7ft, you need to fit a stove, a table, a sofa bed. Not sure if you need clothes other than shorts and T shirt, but a cupboard might take up another foot. So you are living in a space the size of a king size bed.

PS Ladies are probably not going to be impressed by the sofa bed 🛌

Edited by LadyG
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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

Ahhh - I see inches - Doh.

I blame the man-flu and thae fact I've taken every rmedy kniown to manking in the last 24 hours I cannot stay awa....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I missed it at first and if I'm honest 2nd and 3rd read and I'm apparently fully fit 

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2 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I think there is a sort of "tiny homes" and 'minimalist" theme going on here, personally I don't think you want to be crammed in to 42 foot narrowboat for regular liveaboard. By the time you fit in a front end, and a rear end, your cabin length could be 25 ft, subtract 4ft for the engine box, 8 ft for the galley and 6ft for the shower, loo, and your down to 7ft x 7ft, you need to fit a stove, a table, a sofa bed. Not sure if you need clothes other than shorts and T shirt, but a cupboard might take up another foot. So you are living in a space the size of a king size bed, 

There are plenty of 42' boats with a fixed bed and a small living area.  A clever design/layout is needed.  But 42' is still pushing it, which is why I'd go for something longer.

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40 feet is fine and a 'traditional' boat with the short back deck has more storage than a 'cruiser' stern with the long back deck (This is normally covered in broken bogs, bits of engine, firewood, bits of ruined bikes and a big heap of soggy leaves resting on rotten deckboards) 

Owning a boat is not cheap, check out the licence fees on CRT website, moorings are expensive too so it is not cheap but renting a flat is stupidly expensive and at least you stand a chance of selling the boat for approx what you paid for it. Have a walk along a canal and talk to other boat owners, take whatever they say with a pinch of salt, start collecting tools (you'll need lots) and find out all the pro's and many con's about boats. Good luck

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2 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

There are plenty of 42' boats with a fixed bed and a small living area.  A clever design/layout is needed.  But 42' is still pushing it, which is why I'd go for something longer.

Yes, anything is possible, and some layouts are well thought out, might be best to send OP to Whilton to have a look at a large number of boats in one day.

I'm just saying there is no need to limit selection to a small boat, for most folks it comes down to capital, and when I was looking my search actually excluded the one I bought, @Tumshie found it for me, it was in my price range, ticked most boxes and was less than I expected to pay. Of course it turned in to a bit of a project for me, but others would have kept it as it was. 

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I honestly don't mean to cause offence in saying this Minimal, but it might be worth doing an edit of your OP.

I will admit that think I have a problem with comprehending language that is even slightly unclear, so its partly me- but I think you'll get a lot more helpful and specific replies if your questions and thoughts are laid out a bit more carefully and clearly. 

 

I live aboard a 50ft boat, and I prefer a minimalist interior appearance (to give maximum feeling of space)- but that's a different thing to a minimalist approach with equipment and facilities on the boat.

Minimal facilities and systems can sometimes mean maximum manual effort when doing day to day tasks. 

E.g.  living full time with just a hob (and with no oven/grill) will present some restriction. Your approach to cooking may change after you've been aboard for a while, and you might regret not having an oven. But more importantly, most boats will come with a cooker anyway, so its not likely to be a decision that you make. 

 

The big question I would ask is what kind of space do you need to feel comfortable? Are you sure you could live in a small interior space? As a few have said, some smaller boats will come with a lounge/sofa that converts to a bed. It probably allows a half decent lounge space, but you need to be ok with making up your bed every night- and at the time when you're low on energy and least in the mood for a physical task. 

 

On the other hand, a separate bedroom in a 42ft boat means a small lounge, and that might not appeal either. 

I would agree with Dora that anything less than 50ft is not a good option a a full time liveaboard. Not the lack of storage space, but more that it will need you to compromise, and that means careful thought about what feature you can compromise on. 

 

You can still have a minimalist lifestyle on a 57ft boat, but at least you'll have some good living space to do your minimalism. 

But that said, there are lots of people living happily aboard 40ft boats, so perhaps its really about your personal preferences, what space compromises you are ok with, what will end up annoying you, and of course budget- the smaller boats do seem to have lower prices. 

 

 

Edited by Tony1
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14 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Tumshie found it for me,

Now there's a name from the past. Tumshieused to be a regular and well-liked poster, but she doesn't appear to have written anything since May 2020; what's become of her?

 

Though I have never lived aboard, I agree that a trad stern is a good saver of internal space.

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Okay so i know there is some confusion, Im not the best at explaining what is on my mind.

 

So price i dont really know, I say that because whilst some of these small boats are reachable to buy new, i dont think i should go that route as for my usage i dont know how easy it will be for me to adapt to the style of living, or to be frank maybe ill end up having a change of heart at some point? or just want to move on to other things? I have no idea, I might just want a small boat to travel to places every now and then, Im probably trying to come up with a mix between the two.

 

the boats i would look at would be something like what the little boat co make, (and they have a good idea of layouts but even i find that excessive, My idea is to have thin storage across the top for misc items, i want to have a nice sofa bench similar to the pubs on one side only, and for the bed i actually want a double, but where it would be placed that would basically be ontop of a wardrobe if it were on the floor, Think something like Tatami mats? I dont like sleeping on a matress in all honesty.

 

I Do have a vision for what i want, Im probably just trying to understand what i need as i could just go and buy something new easily enough, but i personally think ill be safer to have something smaller for a year or two at least before i do something like that,

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If only I could get comfortable sleeping standing up, it would free up so much space.  I could do it quite well when required to go to church 4 times a week as a child, but now I'm older I've lost the knack.

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15 hours ago, Minimal said:

Okay so i know there is some confusion, Im not the best at explaining what is on my mind.

 

So price i dont really know, I say that because whilst some of these small boats are reachable to buy new, i dont think i should go that route as for my usage i dont know how easy it will be for me to adapt to the style of living, or to be frank maybe ill end up having a change of heart at some point? or just want to move on to other things? I have no idea, I might just want a small boat to travel to places every now and then, Im probably trying to come up with a mix between the two.

You're better off buying second hand than new unless you have a very specific idea of what you want. Especially if you're not sure if it'll be a long term thing, because new boats usually lose value fast.

 

A second hand bigger boat will be more comfortable to live on, easier to sell and no more difficult to handle overall. 

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37 minutes ago, enigmatic said:

You're better off buying second hand than new unless you have a very specific idea of what you want. Especially if you're not sure if it'll be a long term thing, because new boats usually lose value fast.

 

A second hand bigger boat will be more comfortable to live on, easier to sell and no more difficult to handle overall. 

 

Good advice. 

 

I was also thinking buying second hand gets you boating immediately, while having one built is gonna take perhaps two or three years. 

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Salutary tale.

One of our friends brothers was determined to get a boat at 60 following divorce and retirement.

We eventually persuaded him not to rush in but to hire for a couple of weeks.

After serial muttering about wasting money he got 3 weeks hire .

His trial started on the 10 Jan.

He gave the boat back after 3 days.

keeping the fire going, getting fuel supplies to the boat keeping the batteries charged was the first issue.

he hadnt thought about emptying the toilet or filling with water.

His epic trip from long Itchington to Mercia marine ended near braunstone with him going into a yard phoning where it was hired from and leaving the keys.

batteries flat toilet full tanks empty.

not helped by the heap that had just had a new engine loosing the prop shaft after 200 meters and then the coupling disintegrating 2 miles later.

 

This I would point out was not a hire from any of the highly reputable local fleets, which we tried to get him to do , but he declined on cost grounds.

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There is a guy moored near me who bought a 30ft boat new. He wanted new and 30ft sucked up his budget. Now he's skint and the boat is too small. If he sold it he'd be even worse off. It has almost no storage, expensive to run blower heating, no wood/solid stove, etc etc.

New boats are fine if you have a lot of money I guess, but I don't think I've ever come across one that didn't have a ton of teething problems starting with inadequate paintwork. I'm sure you can avoid most of that if you get your wallet out, already know what should be what and keep a stern eye on progress.

Another couple I know with a new boat they intended to live on went through all the teething, had to have it repainted after which the paint failed again, the windows leaked etc etc. 3 years later they still hadn't moved on and the mister never wanted to in the first place! Lost track of them now but I imagine they threw the towel in and took the financial loss on the chin.

Boat next to me has been moored for 6 years, the retired owner has spent ONE night on it. It's suffered - he's got it booked in for a repaint and new windows. So that's £60k to buy + 6 x £2k mooring + about £9k repaint/windows = approx £80k for one night. Meanwhile he's getting older and older and more doddery - I hope for his sake he eventually gets some use from it.

 

Meanwhile at the other end of the scale people have bought wisely for under £20k, are happy as Larry and would probably make a profit if they sold. 

 

Conclusion - do your homework, be realistic, tread carefully and things work out fine. Above all do not be in a hurry.

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5 minutes ago, Slow and Steady said:

There is a guy moored near me who bought a 30ft boat new. He wanted new and 30ft sucked up his budget. Now he's skint and the boat is too small. If he sold it he'd be even worse off. It has almost no storage, expensive to run blower heating, no wood/solid stove, etc etc.

New boats are fine if you have a lot of money I guess, but I don't think I've ever come across one that didn't have a ton of teething problems starting with inadequate paintwork. I'm sure you can avoid most of that if you get your wallet out, already know what should be what and keep a stern eye on progress.

Another couple I know with a new boat they intended to live on went through all the teething, had to have it repainted after which the paint failed again, the windows leaked etc etc. 3 years later they still hadn't moved on and the mister never wanted to in the first place! Lost track of them now but I imagine they threw the towel in and took the financial loss on the chin.

Boat next to me has been moored for 6 years, the retired owner has spent ONE night on it. It's suffered - he's got it booked in for a repaint and new windows. So that's £60k to buy + 6 x £2k mooring + about £9k repaint/windows = approx £80k for one night. Meanwhile he's getting older and older and more doddery - I hope for his sake he eventually gets some use from it.

 

Meanwhile at the other end of the scale people have bought wisely for under £20k, are happy as Larry and would probably make a profit if they sold. 

 

Conclusion - do your homework, be realistic, tread carefully and things work out fine. Above all do not be in a hurry.

So much truth here.  Probably 80% or more of all boats sit festering away on their moorings, barely used or never used.  If their owners actually calculated how much it was costing them per hour they spend on the boat I bet they'd find it would be considerably cheaper to hire a boat now and then when they fancy going boating. If I wasn't a liveaboard there would be next to zero chance I'd own a boat.  I might consider joining a boat share though if I was retired.

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