Jump to content

Ex serviceman taking the plunge


junior

Featured Posts

Hi folks, newbie to the forums and whilst the idea of owning a narrow boat is not new to me, It’s not been the right circumstances to date.

 

I am a member of several other non-boat related forums so I understand how tedious the usual ‘newbie’ questions must get, I apologise in advance. I HAVE been a member of perhaps this and a number of other narrowboat forums over the years (long since forgotten user names and passwords) and have asked loads of questions with some success. I’ve searched through old threads to get some of the information I’m looking for but thought starting a new thread could do no harm.

 

So let me tell you a bit about myself, then I’ll ask me question and it will make more sense.

 

I am a 32 year old male and I’m just about to leave the Royal Air Force after a decent career. I currently live near Melton Mowbray in the East Midlands, although I have no family ties here and in a few months I shall not be working here either. Having been here 5 years (longest I’ve stayed put) I do have the majority of my friends in this area.

I’ve spent my whole career living in a single man room with enough belongings that can be put in a few boxes and moved easily, so I must be one of the only people who could be ‘up-sizing’ by moving onto a narrow boat.

For the last 2 years I have rented a private property away from the base, a small annexe on a farm that again is small. I have to fold out and fold away my bed every day and live of a portable 2 ringed hob. I love the simple life. I love peace and quiet. If the new job was in England I would have moved to Snowdonia and bought an isolated cottage with a wood burner and on my days off seen no other human life. Bliss!

 

I am about to start a new job in northern France where I will be working 7 days on 7 days off with accommodation provided over there FOC. I will be travelling backwards and forwards from Dover-Calais every week on the ferry (reduced rate).

This new job puts me in a position where I can both financially and geographically consider life as a livaboard.

 

So, my question is about the age old favourite of moorings!! I understand that finding a residential mooring is quite rare. Would I need a full residential mooring as I plan to be on the boat 7 days then off it for 7 days? It would however need to be my permanent address, so I think I already know the answer to that question. Where should I choose to start my search? Close to London for the travel links and short travelling time to Dover (I believe moorings would be more expensive), somewhere around here in the midlands (lots more choice for moorings but would need to keep my car to assist in travel to and from Dover/local public transport), OR the curve ball – ooop north? My partner lives on Anglesey and I would spend a certain amount of my ‘off’ time up there, although she travels to me as well.

 

I think it could all come down to the availability of residential moorings in the different areas so I’m hoping this is where you guys can help. I have in my head the romantic picture of the boat moored by the side of the canal with peace and quiet in the winter and the birds singing. This is my preference over a marina. Having said that, things that are important to me are; A parking space, hook up, if possible a BT phone line and most importantly an ‘address’. Not to mention security as I shall be away from the boat for 7 days at a time. Is it possible to find these facilities with a canal side berth? If it’s not possible I would go to a marina and I appreciate these are a little easier to find. Advantages to a marina are that there are more people about which could be handy whilst I am learning the ropes!

 

I have seen a few boats for sale in Iver/Northolt which come WITH a residential mooring of the type I am looking for. I am planning a trip down there later this week to have a look around and speak to a few other livaboards hopefully. Does anybody know this area and can tell me what it’s like or perhaps save me a wasted journey down there? This does seem like the easiest option rather than having to find a boat AND a mooring separately.

 

I appreciate that there are lots of questions there and that it is a long old post, if anyone has got this far then thank you. Any input into my thought process would be warmly welcomed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Junior, and welcome to the forum.

I am sure that you'll receive much helpful advice, but one thing in your post caught my eye: you say that your boat would need to be your permanent address (from which I infer that you're worried that some marinas would not accept you because using the boat as an address would class you as residential). Why can't your accommodation in France be used as your address? After all, from what you say you will be spending as much time there as you will in the UK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great way to live!

 

50% of the time in France and 50% on the cut. Magic...

 

You should not need a resi mooring based on the pattern you describe BUT to get the other things you are looking for will normally dictate a marina rather than 'on line' mooring. On line moorings generally do not come with power for example.

 

For post a marina we used to moor in had a separately owned shop that people could use to take mail in on their behalf - they levied a small charge but it worked for most things (Though this wouldn't be suitable for the DVLA and the like)

 

Don't worry if you end up with somewhere that is not suitable as if you don't find it is you just give notice, up sticks and take your home with you.

 

Good luck in your search and welcome to the forum....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly welcome. Yes you would probably be in a minority seeing this as "up sizing"

 

I'm based at a Marina in Derbyshire. I work around the UK so find this base very good. The marina doesn't have residential status but does have a lot of folk who spend lots of time on their boats - we have a shop that happily collects your mail from the PO if you want that but I have chosen to use my parents address. I am still close to family and friends so that hasn't changed from living on terra firma.

 

As my job means I can be away from the boat it suits me to have this type of mooring, I have the hook up, CP space and lots of helpful neighbours so can relate to your comment about them sharing information and helping you understand things.

 

I don't have any knowledge re the mooring you have mentioned but wish you good luck in this new adventure.

 

 

Edited to add - In fact I am now in Martins old mooring...... :cheers:

Edited by loubyscooby
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are quite a few ex services people on the cut (and a fair few ex coppers) so you will be amongst friends.

As you are not totally full time on the boat you are in a better position to come to an informal arrangement with a marina about unofficial living aboard. 7 days on and 7 days off also gives you the option to continuously cruise and use the 14 day moorings, but unless you are willing to be bridge hopper this might be quite stressful as you will need to keep finding places where you are happy to leave your home unattended for 7 days.

However although I worry about things like this a lot of people do it and have no problems, though a mains hookup would make the winters a whole lot more pleasant.

 

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments so far. I realise that as i don't plan to be on my boat 365 days a year i would not be classed as completely residential. However to give me the facilities and services i would like i thought that residential would be my only option/choice?

 

The accom provided in France is not possible to use as a home address, i would like to keep a 'permenant' UK address for bank,DVLA etc. I also need to keep my car so CC'ing is not realy an option for both those reasons.

I do quite a bit of on-line work so having a BT phone-line is desirable (for which i would need an actual address). I also think that whilst being a novice and learning the ropes it is important to have people around i can call on for help, and whilst i am happy to lead an isolated life, it is quite nice to have some neighbours nearby.

 

My concern with a marina is that there may be TOO MANY people around for the kind of life i desire. I guess there always has to be compromises in life so maybe this is one.

 

I suppose finding a small rural marina with a good community spirit and all the facilities i am looking for is maybe a step to far. For some reason though i still cant get out of my head that i would like to be by the side of the canal and not huddled up in a marina.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments so far. I realise that as i don't plan to be on my boat 365 days a year i would not be classed as completely residential. However to give me the facilities and services i would like i thought that residential would be my only option/choice?

 

You certainly don't need to be on a residential mooring to get the facilities you need - the vast majority of moorings in most marina's are classed as 'leisure' with it often being a stipulation that it is not classed as your main residence in the mooring conditions - in your case it wouldn't be because you can class your address in France as you main residence (there is nothing that I am aware of that says in most marina conditions that your main address cannot be outside the UK)

 

The last marina we were in (not the one I referred to above) was run by BWML - they do often have 'grades' of residential and leisure moorings for which they levy a different charge. The usage pattern you describe would technically breach their terms for a leisure mooring - most marinas are less stringent about what they put in their terms - but we technically could only visit our boat 'for occasional maintenance visits or to take the boat out' during the winter months, your pattern falls outside this.

 

You also have the option of using your partners address for post as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do quite a bit of on-line work so having a BT phone-line is desirable (for which i would need an actual address).

 

Many people here have no landline and manage online perfectly well. In fact frequently my dongle gives faster speeds on the boat than my (rural) BT home line.

 

Edited to say that not many marinas will offer a BT line, especially small rural ones.

Edited by Mac of Cygnet
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi junior

 

welcome.

 

Lots of advice so far, just to mention, 'the boats with mooring' be aware that the mooring is not always transferable, get it in writing from the mooring owner (not the boat owner) that they will transfer if you buy.

 

All the facilities you require will only be available in a marina but as has been mentioned there are ways around this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are marinas which also have canalside moorings along the cut near the marina entrance. I'm pretty sure some of these have leccy. So you would be able to have everything you want.

 

As far as residential/post etc goes, tell the site owner that you're there for less than 50% of the time and they should be fine for you to be officially non-residential. In my experience, the more laid back owners are quite happy for moorers to have post delivered to their office, chandlery etc even if they're officially non-residential, so the address the bank, dvla etc have for you would be your mooring address.

 

The fact is that there are tons of people living unofficially in marinas and staying under-the-radar. When I asked BW for an official response to how much of the time I could be staying on my BW leisure mooring they were quite evasive and tried to suggest that I should ask my local planning dept (yeah right!) When I pressed them they gave a response that they would prefer moorers to be on their moorings for no more than "4 or 5 nights a week". Seems to me that you fall well within that.

 

Also bear in mind that not all marinas are big 200+ boat affairs. I moor in a basin on the Huddersfield Broad canal so we're stacked in like a marina, except there's only about 15 boats. We still have all the usual marina facilities though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there, also a newbie and also currently live very close to Melton have a ride down to pillings lock have a word with the liveaboards there as i do most weekends there really helpful and informative (ANd if i can sort this bloody divorce out i too will be heading to pillings ) Good luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few thoughts! Seven days away is enough for some boats to develop issues, it's also enough to leave it to have work done -boats need attention. If you are leaving the car in England then pick a nice ride to the ferry! Pick a marina part way from London to Wales. Moor the boat where there is a boatyard and pay them to service it, so that when you return it is ready to move then go to a remote place and rest up using 3G or 4G. This way you do use the marina as a recreational boat with only occasional sleeping there, but parking the car there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few thoughts! Seven days away is enough for some poorly maintained boats to develop issues, some boaters leave their boats for two or three weeks or even months at a time with no problem.

 

I hope you don't mind the edit -

 

Stop scaremongering Arthur...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum Junior.

 

I might be talking through my backside here (what's new, LOL) so some of the others might correct me, but as well as small marinas there are quite a few private boating clubs around that include online moorings, some of which are often along an old canal arm or the beginning part of a derelict canal. I doubt they'd have hook up electricity but you'd have the community and other advantages you are seeking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi junior and welcome to the forum :)

 

You sound ideally suited to the boating life - I'm sure you'll love it. As has been said I wouldn't worry too much about having a BT phone line - we CC and it's very rare that we don't have good internet speed, and I've noticed it's got better throughout the 3 years we've been cc'ing.

 

I know where you're coming from with marinas - we've always said if we decide to settle in one area it'll be on an on-line mooring, where you can watch the boats cruise past rather than looking at the side of a neighbour's boat.

 

Sorry, can't help with mooring suggestions because we move around all the time (with car by the way) but just wanted to say hello :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there, also a newbie and also currently live very close to Melton have a ride down to pillings lock have a word with the liveaboards there as i do most weekends there really helpful and informative (ANd if i can sort this bloody divorce out i too will be heading to pillings ) Good luck

Hmmm... why not have a word with all the ex-Pillings liveaboards instead? There seem to be quite a few of those <_<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My concern with a marina is that there may be TOO MANY people around for the kind of life i desire.

 

My feeling is you are grossly underestimating this fear. The marinas I know which accept liveaboards make a motorway services area seem quiet and isolated.

 

I think you need a non-resi marina, and just keep your head down whilst you are there.

 

For mail, another way to do it is to buy a house or a flat and rent it out, but remain on the electoral roll there as an occupier. make sure this is OK with your tenant, and turn up occasionally to collect your mail.

 

MtB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions folks, it is appreciated. I've decided that the weekly commute to France is going to be a lot more bareable if i am doing it from somewhere south of Birmingham. I've decided that i am going to choose a location somewhere along the lines of River Lee/Stort, Grand Union south of the Aylesbury arm, and if my budget will stertch - perhaps the Paddington arm. I won't rule out going up as far as Leics/Notts as the majority of my land based friends are in that area, however it would have to be the most perfect location in terms of setting to make it more attractive than the area's ive mentioned already.

 

I'm not too concerned about looking at boats at the moment, there are plenty of them around. I'm going to spend the next month or so travelling those areas and looking at marinas/moorings and talking to other livaboards (if i can find any that have the time of day for newbie questions!).

 

I'm not doing this move for a cheaper lifestyle, far from it. I have a healthy monthly budget for moorings so i think i can afford to be considering the areas i've chosen. I've also managed to draw myself away from the thinking that i HAVE to have a residential mooring. I'm going to register myself as 'living' at my parents house for all mail and official purposes. This will mean i will be on the boat week on/week off (in France in between) apart from a few times a year i may do a 3 week stint in one go if i have some time off work. I'd probably go crusing during this time.

 

I still need the facilities, i.e. elec, water, toilets and secure parking so i can leave my car whilst in France. I'd also like to feel part of a community where there are other people around, not to mention i'm sure i'll have teething problems that i might have to go grovelling for help with.

 

I think my ideal would be to be in a small marina with other people, but if possible on a canl side mooring rather than stacked up next to pontoons.

 

So my question to you guys is..... from what i have written above, can you give me any suggestions as to places i can go and have a look at? I've done the google search and looked in WW Mag, but i wondered if there are any little gem's out there? Best i've seen so far and what looks like my favourite (albeit i've not been in person) is willow Tree Marina.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the possibility of buying a boat that is compatible with both the French canal system AND the British broad canals, AND the fair weather channel crossing.

 

Pretty good...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the possibility of buying a boat that is compatible with both the French canal system AND the British broad canals, AND the fair weather channel crossing.

 

<13 foot wide <60 foot long cat C or B dutch barge would do it I think. They are not cheap though.

 

This Skutsje is a little bit long but absolutely beautiful. Snip at 165K.

3862874_-1_20120303061351_4_0.jpg&w=800&h=500&t=1330785710000

3862874_-1_20120304033905_9_0.jpg&w=800&h=600&t=1330861817000

Edited by oarfish
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum

 

We have our boat in an "online" stretch in a non residential marina with electricity and I would just like to point out that while these do exist many of the boats that are already moored in the marina's are already on the waiting list to move to these spaces if they become available.

 

I would also like to say that as you are in Melton you might, if you are around at the time, like to pop over to Loughborough on 28th December where there are a load of us getting together for a banter. The folks that have already said they plan to be there have a wealth of knowledge of the canal system, moorings and boating generally between them and it could be quite a useful way to get some answers to your questions informaly over a pint or three

 

Loughborough Banter clicky

Edited by cheshire~rose
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.