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Hello there!

 

I'm retired and am looking to do something better with my savings than have them earning a meagre interest rate in an account.

 

I had been looking at static caravans, as a holiday home and to rent out, but the fees seem ridiculously high.

 

I then thought about the canal holiday I had years ago and how peaceful it was, so I'm now thinking about getting a narrowboat in Northwest England to use and to rent out. I'm aware of the certificates it'll need and the annual cost of running a narrowboat, but as I'm completely new to this, I'm aware that there's LOADS that I don't know.

 

So......

1. Is it a viable idea?

2. If I had someone (Hoeseasons?) managing the rentals, cleaning etc, what would they charge and are there any rules about the boat's age, size etc?

3. I'm not looking for a large boat and have a budget of £30K. Would it be better to buy a project boat cheaply and pay for refitting it or get a better boat that needs less work?

4. I'll pay for full hull and engine surveys. Can you recommend a decent surveyor?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Chris

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32 minutes ago, Chrisalis said:

3. I'm not looking for a large boat and have a budget of £30K.

 

Hi Chris, welcome to the forum.

 

Yes buying a boat and adding it to an established hire fleet is perfectly viable, but they are likely to want it most of the time and the more weeks you might book it for use yourself, the less viable the plan looks to the hire company. But sadly, your budget is way too low to get a boat suitable for hiring. I'd suggest you'd need to spend an absolute minimum of £70k to get anything a hire company would consider putting their name to, and possibly closer to £130k, ideally new.

 

To hire a boat out yourself, there are seemingly endless hoops you'll need to jump through, the most onerous requirement to get a hiring license being a home mooring with formally approved long term car parking for your hirers, long with waste disposal facilities and possibly elsan and pump out. I'm not so sure about the last two but I can't imagine why CRT might not require these.

 

There is a section on the CRT website specifically for questions like yours. Someone will perhaps post a link.

 

 

 

 

Edited by MtB
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You will get lots of useful feedback soon but my initial thought is that you are not easily going to be able to buy a narrowboat that will meet all the stringent professional rental criteria for £30k. 

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£30k and secondhand is NOT the way to go for this type of project. There are many hire firms in the North West, all of them buy new shells and self-fit-out then hire them out, maintain them, etc. All the ones I know, directly employ their cleaners too.

 

If you've done the research, you'll also know you need a permanent mooring to do this from - I doubt if any of these would have 2 hire firms at them, so would be curious where its going to be located.

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23 minutes ago, MrsM said:

You will get lots of useful feedback soon but my initial thought is that you are not easily going to be able to buy a narrowboat that will meet all the stringent professional rental criteria for £30k. 

More like £130 if the hire company supply it

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1 hour ago, Chrisalis said:

Hello there!

 

I'm retired and am looking to do something better with my savings than have them earning a meagre interest rate in an account.

 

I had been looking at static caravans, as a holiday home and to rent out, but the fees seem ridiculously high.

 

I then thought about the canal holiday I had years ago and how peaceful it was, so I'm now thinking about getting a narrowboat in Northwest England to use and to rent out. I'm aware of the certificates it'll need and the annual cost of running a narrowboat, but as I'm completely new to this, I'm aware that there's LOADS that I don't know.

 

So......

1. Is it a viable idea?

2. If I had someone (Hoeseasons?) managing the rentals, cleaning etc, what would they charge and are there any rules about the boat's age, size etc?

3. I'm not looking for a large boat and have a budget of £30K. Would it be better to buy a project boat cheaply and pay for refitting it or get a better boat that needs less work?

4. I'll pay for full hull and engine surveys. Can you recommend a decent surveyor?

 

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Chris

 

As has already been said, what you are thinking of would simply not be viable.   What might work for you would be to see if you could get an investment boat in an established hire fleet.  This might involve using your capital plus finance (marine mortgage) to purchase a boat which the hire fleet would then operate for an agreed number of years with a few weeks set aside for your use, and hire income shared between yourself and the fleet operator, with your share covering your finance payments. This operating model does date back some years, it may be done differently now, and with interest rates heading up this may not be the ideal time.

Edited by malp
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11 minutes ago, Chrisalis said:

Thanks everyone.😊

 

I kind of suspected that my budget was low.

 

However, I like this a lot!

Boats for sale UK, boats for sale, used boat sales, Narrow Boats For Sale Rare opportunity to own a unique boat - Apollo Duck

 

You're approach/viewpoint on this is upside down. Don't look at £30k boats and fall in love with a quirky one. If you want it to be a successful investment, look at spreadsheets on a computer screen.......for a LONG time.......then go and actually talk to the 10 or so hire firms in the NW. You'll find some are happy with their current fleet and financing arrangements. Basically, a sponsored boat owner is entering a de-facto 'partnership' with the hire firm/operators, with various levels of formal agreement in place. Much like a relationship with an amount of closeness and understanding from both sides. For a "newbie" to enter, you'll need more than just money, you'll need to be on the same wavelength as the hire operators. Once you've established some kind of working relationship, then its time to look for the boat(s) (yes, many sponsors own >1 boat). Hire firms have their favourite shells and engines and damn good reasons why they prefer them, and their own choices of interior, panelwork, equipment and fittings. And commonality between the boats so quick swaps are feasible. Typical private boats are seen as "delicate", quirky ones as "totally unsuitable".

 

If you just like that boat.........buy it and enjoy it! And maybe think about becoming a sponsored owner, or starting your own hire firm, at a later date once you've enjoyed canal boating some years.

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1 hour ago, ditchcrawler said:

More like £130 if the hire company supply it

Even if they don't, 

£30K is pocket money these days.

Edited by LadyG
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With £30k & being a novice boater the best thing you could do would be to forget hiring and buy the newest/best condition smallish boat preferably with a "new generation" engine (Kubota or Yanmar base, e.g.) you can find for your own use and enjoyment. The smaller you go the better condition you'll get for your budget and the lower your maintenance and mooring costs will likely be. Even so you absolutely have to be prepared to get your hands dirty to some extent, so learning about how everything (engines, boat plumbing & electrics, maintaining a steel boat, etc.) works, how to troubleshoot and preferably have a stab at fixing it yourself to get going again when it doesn't. None of it is rocket science but all boats are effectively ongoing projects and you either need very deep pockets (if you're going to pay other people to maintain your boat) or just deep pockets (if you're going to maintain it yourself). Have somewhere to keep it lined up before you buy one, go and see as many as you can to get a feel for the different layouts, etc. and what you can get for your money. If you choose well and maintain it well you might be able to sell it for roughly what you bought it for (not what you bought it for plus what you spend on it). Might be an idea to hire one for a week or something first to see whether the reality matches your expectations, you might find that doing that once or twice a year scratches the itch sufficiently and you wouldn't need to worry about maintenance, etc. But don't be put off, the pleasure and memories that can be had are immeasurable and they say you regret the things you didn't do not those you did...

Edited by Crewcut
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Thanks, very useful.😊

23 hours ago, Crewcut said:

With £30k & being a novice boater the best thing you could do would be to forget hiring and buy the newest/best condition smallish boat preferably with a "new generation" engine (Kubota or Yanmar base, e.g.) you can find for your own use and enjoyment. The smaller you go the better condition you'll get for your budget and the lower your maintenance and mooring costs will likely be. Even so you absolutely have to be prepared to get your hands dirty to some extent, so learning about how everything (engines, boat plumbing & electrics, maintaining a steel boat, etc.) works, how to troubleshoot and preferably have a stab at fixing it yourself to get going again when it doesn't. None of it is rocket science but all boats are effectively ongoing projects and you either need very deep pockets (if you're going to pay other people to maintain your boat) or just deep pockets (if you're going to maintain it yourself). Have somewhere to keep it lined up before you buy one, go and see as many as you can to get a feel for the different layouts, etc. and what you can get for your money. If you choose well and maintain it well you might be able to sell it for roughly what you bought it for (not what you bought it for plus what you spend on it). Might be an idea to hire one for a week or something first to see whether the reality matches your expectations, you might find that doing that once or twice a year scratches the itch sufficiently and you wouldn't need to worry about maintenance, etc. But don't be put off, the pleasure and memories that can be had are immeasurable and they say you regret the things you didn't do not those you did...

Thanks, really useful post!

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On 06/08/2022 at 18:26, MrsM said:

Crazy isn't it!

So I've found £40K down the side of the settee, giving a budget of £70K. Would that buy a narrowboat that we could rent out when we're not using it?

 

If so, any advice you could give would be welcome. I've got my eye on a mooring and am aware of the yearly overheads.

 

Thanks again.

Chris

On 06/08/2022 at 17:10, malp said:

 

As has already been said, what you are thinking of would simply not be viable.   What might work for you would be to see if you could get an investment boat in an established hire fleet.  This might involve using your capital plus finance (marine mortgage) to purchase a boat which the hire fleet would then operate for an agreed number of years with a few weeks set aside for your use, and hire income shared between yourself and the fleet operator, with your share covering your finance payments. This operating model does date back some years, it may be done differently now, and with interest rates heading up this may not be the ideal time.

Thanks Malp, that's really helpful.

🙂

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1 minute ago, Chrisalis said:

So I've found £40K down the side of the settee, giving a budget of £70K. Would that buy a narrowboat that we could rent out when we're not using it?

 

If so, any advice you could give would be welcome. I've got my eye on a mooring and am aware of the yearly overheads.

 

Thanks again.

Chris

If you want to spend money in this way go for sponsorship. Hire fleet owners have done this for years. The returns are vastly better than money in the bank and its generaly a safe method. I have friends who sponsor and a good friend with a business who uses them in his hire fleets. You can also book some time for personal use. There are differing deals with different fleets.

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5 minutes ago, Chrisalis said:

So I've found £40K down the side of the settee, giving a budget of £70K. Would that buy a narrowboat that we could rent out when we're not using it?

 

If so, any advice you could give would be welcome. I've got my eye on a mooring and am aware of the yearly overheads.

 

Thanks again.

Chris

 

You are not the 1st.

 

It would be a good idea to look at the costs involved in making a narrowboat 'legal' to be rented out (modifications to the boat, much more involved Boat safety checks, landlords gas and electricity safety certificates, a 'commercial' boat licence from the Navigation Authority, 'commercial' hire boat insurance etc etc).

You need somewhere to empty the bins and pump-out the toilet after each hire, You need to be available 24/7 to be able to go and unblock the toilet, change the gas bottles, replace batteries etc etc etc, OR, you need to employ a 'mechanic' and 'electrician' to be on stand by.

 

Many, many people who have thought the same as you "I'll hire it out for a few weeks a year to cover my costs" have found it costs more than they can possibly make.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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20 minutes ago, Chrisalis said:

So I've found £40K down the side of the settee, giving a budget of £70K. Would that buy a narrowboat that we could rent out when we're not using it?

 

If so, any advice you could give would be welcome. I've got my eye on a mooring and am aware of the yearly overheads.

 

Thanks again.

Chris

Thanks Malp, that's really helpful.

🙂

What happens when you get the phone call that your boat is at the bottom of a lock? It happens and hirers are more likely than experienced boaters, on your own you would be returning deposits and trying to sort out the mess with your hirers, CRT, environmental agency and insurance! Do you want that hassle?

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31 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

You are not the 1st.

 

It would be a good idea to look at the costs involved in making a narrowboat 'legal' to be rented out (modifications to the boat, much more involved Boat safety checks, landlords gas and electricity safety certificates, a 'commercial' boat licence from the Navigation Authority, 'commercial' hire boat insurance etc etc).

You need somewhere to empty the bins and pump-out the toilet after each hire, You need to be available 24/7 to be able to go and unblock the toilet, change the gas bottles, replace batteries etc etc etc, OR, you need to employ a 'mechanic' and 'electrician' to be on stand by.

 

Many, many people who have thought the same as you "I'll hire it out for a few weeks a year to cover my costs" have found it costs more than they can possibly make.

Thanks Alan.

 

As I mentioned, the mooring I'm looking at has those facilities and I'm aware of the yearly costs. I'm also looking at the investment possibilities.

 

I'm not intending to rush into this, so at the moment, it's just a fact finding mission.

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10 minutes ago, Chrisalis said:

Thanks Alan.

 

As I mentioned, the mooring I'm looking at has those facilities and I'm aware of the yearly costs. I'm also looking at the investment possibilities.

 

I'm not intending to rush into this, so at the moment, it's just a fact finding mission.

 

And - have you investigated if the mooring provider allows boat hire from their moorings ?

 

Many don't, and the ones I know that do charge several £1000 per annum extra as you are now a 'commercial' customer, not a 'private' customer.

 

Are you expecting the boat hire to be 'static' for the duration of the hire, or, will they be 'allowed' out to cruise, in which case you will need to be available to sort out problems.

 

As has been suggested previously, it would really be the least hassle with the best return for you to allow a hire fleet to maintain and rent out your boat and pay you a % of the hire fees, and, allowing you a few weeks per annum for your own use.

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