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RobMcD

First time buyer 100% new to Narrowboating & I need some advice :)

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Hello all,

My name is Robert & it is good to be hear.

For the past few months I have been viewing Narrowboats online and reading all info I can find about boating life on the waterways of this great country of ours.

To try and get a grasp of the buying, running, pitfalls etc of being a Narrowboat owner.

After serving in the Army from the age of 17 I am now in my 40s & find myself looking down the barrel of a a costly divorce, after spending a small ammount of time in

large four bedroom house with just my dog I have come to the conclusion that this is not for me & I hate it. Don't get me wrong I am not looking at the Narrowboat lifestyle with blinkers on

& realize it isn't all bright blue sky's & perfect running engines.

Anyway thats a bit of a back story, so hear is the meat and veg.

Any help with the following will be a great help.

I'm looking at continuous cruiser in and around the Birmingham area, work is not a problem at all & will work around moving my car & try to keep within walking distance.

All of my family live all over Brum and happen to all be clost to the canal network so that will help.

I have looked at a lot of websites/brokers etc in the Birmingham area and don't like the look of some of there options. EG one that I come across wants £1000 deposit but will not refund

any of the deposit if the sale does not go through, this puts me off in a massive way, paying £1000 deposit before a survey that is non refundable is total madness to me.

Any boat buying tips would be a big help, also marinas do and don't plus what are the good ones. I have no trouble in traveling to marinas/sales outside of Birmingham as geting the boat back to Birmingham

would be something good to cut my teeth on in my opinion.

I also find pricing quiet hard as a boat can be 25k on one site and 23k on another for the same boat, then three weeks later it is £19,950, seems like car buying to me & if I offer 5k under the price straight away will I be made to walk the plank.....Even though three weeks later it's down in price by 5k.

The more I read the more variables there seems to be with buying a Narrowboat but this has not put me off.

Also are there any Narrowboat groups or owners that will look around boats with you? As I know not one person with a boat or have ever owned a boat. Could be a good way to earn some extra cash on the weekend.

Anyway my first post has been long enough so far but there will be more to come. This looks like a good place to get some advice and look forward to your comments.

Thank you all in advance & bye for now.

Rob

 

 

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Hello all,

My name is Robert & it is good to be hear.

For the past few months I have been viewing Narrowboats online and reading all info I can find about boating life on the waterways of this great country of ours.

To try and get a grasp of the buying, running, pitfalls etc of being a Narrowboat owner.

After serving in the Army from the age of 17 I am now in my 40s & find myself looking down the barrel of a a costly divorce, after spending a small ammount of time in

large four bedroom house with just my dog I have come to the conclusion that this is not for me & I hate it. Don't get me wrong I am not looking at the Narrowboat lifestyle with blinkers on

& realize it isn't all bright blue sky's & perfect running engines.

Anyway thats a bit of a back story, so hear is the meat and veg.

Any help with the following will be a great help.

I'm looking at continuous cruiser in and around the Birmingham area, work is not a problem at all & will work around moving my car & try to keep within walking distance.

All of my family live all over Brum and happen to all be clost to the canal network so that will help.

I have looked at a lot of websites/brokers etc in the Birmingham area and don't like the look of some of there options. EG one that I come across wants £1000 deposit but will not refund

any of the deposit if the sale does not go through, this puts me off in a massive way, paying £1000 deposit before a survey that is non refundable is total madness to me.

Any boat buying tips would be a big help, also marinas do and don't plus what are the good ones. I have no trouble in traveling to marinas/sales outside of Birmingham as geting the boat back to Birmingham

would be something good to cut my teeth on in my opinion.

I also find pricing quiet hard as a boat can be 25k on one site and 23k on another for the same boat, then three weeks later it is £19,950, seems like car buying to me & if I offer 5k under the price straight away will I be made to walk the plank.....Even though three weeks later it's down in price by 5k.

The more I read the more variables there seems to be with buying a Narrowboat but this has not put me off.

Also are there any Narrowboat groups or owners that will look around boats with you? As I know not one person with a boat or have ever owned a boat. Could be a good way to earn some extra cash on the weekend.

Anyway my first post has been long enough so far but there will be more to come. This looks like a good place to get some advice and look forward to your comments.

Thank you all in advance & bye for now.

Rob

 

 

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Firstly its not uncommon for a broker to require a largish deposit to take the boat off the market prior to the survey. It is a way of checking how serious you are about buying a particular boat. There are circumstances under which that deposit would be refundable post survey so check with the broker what these are. Basically if the survey reveals the thing is a colander and about to sink and will cost thousands to put right you can normally walk.

 

However if you just 'change your mind' and either don't have a survey or the survey reveals nothing major you are likely to lose that deposit. Somebody who looked at our boat when we put it up for sale this time last year simply changed his mind a couple of days later after making an offer and it being taken off the market and he lost a substantial amount of cash in the process.

 

Check the terms you are making an offer and placing a deposit under with your broker.

 

Also do not be afraid about making an offer below the asking price and don't be afraid of being cheeky, if a boat has been up for sale for a while the vendor may just agree to sell it at the offered price. If not you can always increase the offer - no harm is done.

 

Think with your head not your heart - it's effectively a business transaction, if someone chooses to get offended by a cheeky offer that is their problem not yours.

 

Good luck in your search and keep us posted.

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Probably the easiest first step would be to post links to a couple of boats you like here, and solicit general opinions about them. There are people who will come and have a look at boats with you, but nobody can tell how sound the hull is while it is in the water.

 

Be aware that CRT seem to be taking an ever increasingly dim view of continuous cruisers.

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Be aware that CRT seem to be taking an ever increasingly dim view of continuous cruisers.

 

...although with so many miles of canal in and around Birmingham, in theory at least it must be one of the easier places to cruise some distance while staying within the area. Assuming there are plenty of safe and convenient places to moor, that is.

 

Of course, the more cruising you plan on doing for pleasure every year, taking you outside the area, the easier it should be to stay on the safe side. You'll be very much at the heart of the network, with all sorts of popular routes on your doorstep.

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I have looked at a lot of websites/brokers etc in the Birmingham area and don't like the look of some of there options.

 

I suggest you don't restrict yourself to boats for sale in the Birmingham area. The boat that's right for you could be anywhere, and as a rule boats are cheaper in the north.

 

If you buy a boat some distance away ther are professional boat movers who can move it for you by water, for less than the cost of craning out and transporting by road. And there are some forum members who will crew for you for free if you want help bring it back yourself.

 

As well as brokers don't dismiss private ads. Take a look at Apolloduck.com, boatsandoutboards.co.uk and Ebay.

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Probably the easiest first step would be to post links to a couple of boats you like here, and solicit general opinions about them. There are people who will come and have a look at boats with you, but nobody can tell how sound the hull is while it is in the water.

 

Be aware that CRT seem to be taking an ever increasingly dim view of continuous cruisers.

I have noticed that to be honest, but am not put off by bully tactics that they may try. I'm sure that after multiple tours around the world I will be able to handle loging and documenting my movements to produce in any court. I guess only time will tell, Thanks for the info.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Firstly its not uncommon for a broker to require a largish deposit to take the boat off the market prior to the survey. It is a way of checking how serious you are about buying a particular boat. There are circumstances under which that deposit would be refundable post survey so check with the broker what these are. Basically if the survey reveals the thing is a colander and about to sink and will cost thousands to put right you can normally walk.

 

However if you just 'change your mind' and either don't have a survey or the survey reveals nothing major you are likely to lose that deposit. Somebody who looked at our boat when we put it up for sale this time last year simply changed his mind a couple of days later after making an offer and it being taken off the market and he lost a substantial amount of cash in the process.

 

Check the terms you are making an offer and placing a deposit under with your broker.

 

Also do not be afraid about making an offer below the asking price and don't be afraid of being cheeky, if a boat has been up for sale for a while the vendor may just agree to sell it at the offered price. If not you can always increase the offer - no harm is done.

 

Think with your head not your heart - it's effectively a business transaction, if someone chooses to get offended by a cheeky offer that is their problem not yours.

 

Good luck in your search and keep us posted.

Thank you, good to be hear. I think I will be having to post some details of boats after viewing them to get some feedback from the people on hear to see what you all think. Thank you for the info, very helpfull.

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...although with so many miles of canal in and around Birmingham, in theory at least it must be one of the easier places to cruise some distance while staying within the area. Assuming there are plenty of safe and convenient places to moor, that is.

 

Of course, the more cruising you plan on doing for pleasure every year, taking you outside the area, the easier it should be to stay on the safe side. You'll be very much at the heart of the network, with all sorts of popular routes on your doorstep.

I was planning on moving from Walsall (Brownhills) to Hockley Heath and maybe a bit further, I think for CC that is a decent distance to be starting with and I am very aware of all the not so good parts of Birmingham where I will not be staying. Like I was saying all my family & there is a lot of them all live very close to the Birmingham network in various places so that will be a massive help for washing clothes etc in exchange for a day trip out :) Thanks for geting back to me with the info.

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[snip]........

.

I have looked at a lot of websites/brokers etc in the Birmingham area and don't like the look of some of there options. EG one that I come across wants £1000 deposit but will not refund

any of the deposit if the sale does not go through, this puts me off in a massive way, paying £1000 deposit before a survey that is non refundable is total madness to me.

Any boat buying tips would be a big help, also marinas do and don't plus what are the good ones. I have no trouble in traveling to marinas/sales outside of Birmingham as geting the boat back to Birmingham

would be something good to cut my teeth on in my opinion.

.........................

Anyway my first post has been long enough so far but there will be more to come. This looks like a good place to get some advice and look forward to your comments.

Thank you all in advance & bye for now.

Rob

 

 

 

If I have read correctly, you have looked at boats online but not in the flash, so to speak?

 

If that is the case my advice would be to get out their and actually have a look at some boats. This is easiest done somewhere like Whilton Marina because there you ask to look at whatever boats you have previously identified online and they give you the keys so that you can go looking on your own. It means you can have a really good look and not have a broker/sales person looking over your shoulder all the time.

 

You may well then recognise that boats in real life are not exactly as you perceive from the sales photos. And you can begin to pin down what you really like, and especially what you don't like!

 

Cheers

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I suggest you don't restrict yourself to boats for sale in the Birmingham area. The boat that's right for you could be anywhere, and as a rule boats are cheaper in the north.

 

If you buy a boat some distance away ther are professional boat movers who can move it for you by water, for less than the cost of craning out and transporting by road. And there are some forum members who will crew for you for free if you want help bring it back yourself.

 

As well as brokers don't dismiss private ads. Take a look at Apolloduck.com, boatsandoutboards.co.uk and Ebay.

I have been look on Ebay and Apollowduck as well as a lot of other brokers friday ads and private ads, distance is not a problem for me for the right boat as I don't mind geting my hands dirty & cuting my teeth on a maiden voyage back home. I would move it myself and even though my farther own's a haulage/crane company I would still do it myself with the help of others if anyone fancied a few days trip on the boat. Thanks for the info well appreciated.

 

If I have read correctly, you have looked at boats online but not in the flash, so to speak?

 

If that is the case my advice would be to get out their and actually have a look at some boats. This is easiest done somewhere like Whilton Marina because there you ask to look at whatever boats you have previously identified online and they give you the keys so that you can go looking on your own. It means you can have a really good look and not have a broker/sales person looking over your shoulder all the time.

 

You may well then recognise that boats in real life are not exactly as you perceive from the sales photos. And you can begin to pin down what you really like, and especially what you don't like!

 

Cheers

Sounds like good advice and yes I have only been doing arm chair viewing online, I have been looking at Whilton Marina for a few weeks now and when I see something I like I will give them a ring and go down for a closer look. I think I will also start viewing others that maybe not for me but will give me an better understanding on sizes, engines etc. Thanks for geting back to me and I appreciate the advice.

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I think I will also start viewing others that maybe not for me but will give me an better understanding on sizes, engines etc. Thanks for geting back to me and I appreciate the advice.

 

This is a great plan, and is what we did. It will probably change what you have in mind quite a bit. In our case, we increased the amount we were prepared to pay

 

Richard

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I Would advise you hire one out to get the feel of one. You don't say your budget, as whom has built the shell may be of interest. Then you may prefer trad, semi or cruiser stern. What layout inside do you want, front or back bed/kitchen/living area. How big do you want the boat .Is engine make and horsepower important to you, and how old can the boat be. What type of bog are you happy with. What are your electric needs, how many batteries and inverter size have you thought about,.They were important questions to me that I wanted as close to my preference as possible ,if I could get all that at the right price, I would go anywhere to get it .But to some they may not be important, and budget will obviously dictate a lot of your choice decisions.

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I have noticed that to be honest, but am not put off by bully tactics that they may try. I'm sure that after multiple tours around the world I will be able to handle loging and documenting my movements to produce in any court. I guess only time will tell, Thanks for the info.

 

The thing is Rob, and I'm sorry if I seem to be scaremongering here, CRT wouldn't have to take you to court in order to refuse to renew your licence (say). You'd have to take them to court, at your expense, to try to get any such decision reversed. Obviously you don't want it to come to that, and it probably wouldn't, especially as it sounds like your intended cruising range is more than the 15-20 miles they say is unlikely to be acceptable to them. But as I say, erring on the side of caution by cruising outside that local area when possible could only be a good thing. (And work etc. permitting, hopefully you'll be able to treat it as an opportunity rather than a chore!)

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This is a great plan, and is what we did. It will probably change what you have in mind quite a bit. In our case, we increased the amount we were prepared to pay

 

Richard

Just the opposite for us. We found our ideal boat at 20% below our budget.

:)

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This is a great plan, and is what we did. It will probably change what you have in mind quite a bit. In our case, we increased the amount we were prepared to pay

 

Richard

Seems like the best thing to do in order to get a better idea of what I want to end up with, I'm not in any rush so guess I will start looking for close marinas to visit.

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I Would advise you hire one out to get the feel of one. You don't say your budget, as whom has built the shell may be of interest. Then you may prefer trad, semi or cruiser stern. What layout inside do you want, front or back bed/kitchen/living area. How big do you want the boat .Is engine make and horsepower important to you, and how old can the boat be. What type of bog are you happy with. What are your electric needs, how many batteries and inverter size have you thought about,.They were important questions to me that I wanted as close to my preference as possible ,if I could get all that at the right price, I would go anywhere to get it .But to some they may not be important, and budget will obviously dictate a lot of your choice decisions.

The ideal boat would be a semi trad, around 40ft-50ft, bed at the bow end, then saloon, kitchen, not bothered about the bog/shower location, was looking at 2x 240w panasonic solar panels with inverter/charger that will work well with the panels. Can not have flower patterns furniture and that sort of thing, must be maintained and a good standard from the engine to the hull point of view. Seems like a good start but other considerations will be a buy or not to buy. I'm not rushing but want to be confident in myself just incase I find the right one at the right price sooner rather than later Utrinique Paratus has been my moto for a number of years and I live by it.

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The thing is Rob, and I'm sorry if I seem to be scaremongering here, CRT wouldn't have to take you to court in order to refuse to renew your licence (say). You'd have to take them to court, at your expense, to try to get any such decision reversed. Obviously you don't want it to come to that, and it probably wouldn't, especially as it sounds like your intended cruising range is more than the 15-20 miles they say is unlikely to be acceptable to them. But as I say, erring on the side of caution by cruising outside that local area when possible could only be a good thing. (And work etc. permitting, hopefully you'll be able to treat it as an opportunity rather than a chore!)

I think my distance will be good enough for any one to be happy with & I look forward to it the distances as staying in one place for me isn't the goal but geting out there and seeing a bit of the country from another prospective. Plus I will be keeping a GPS visual and photo record of where I am and the times I arrive and leave, somewhere down the line they may come in handy and from what I have read all CC people need to be doing this. Work will not be a problem with moving around either as I currently work on secure units for the home office & only have to do 12 shifts per month (legal requirement can't work longer than that doing my job) So looking good for the time being. Thanks for the advice it is well appreciated.

Just the opposite for us. We found our ideal boat at 20% below our budget.

smile.png

Sounds good to me hope I have the same luck :)

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Why not look for a permanent mooring in the West Midlands, so that you would not need to move every 14 days but could just go out for a few days when the mood took you and when your work schedule allowed it?

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Can not have flower patterns furniture and that sort of thing

 

I really wouldn't let that put you off. Not that the cosmetic side of things doesn't matter - you need to like the look and feel of your home at the end of the day - just that new curtains, cushion covers etc. are not expensive things to change in the grand scheme of things. In fact, changing them can be a good and fairly cheap way of putting your own stamp on a boat.

 

I think my distance will be good enough for any one to be happy with & I look forward to it the distances as staying in one place for me isn't the goal but geting out there and seeing a bit of the country from another prospective. Plus I will be keeping a GPS visual and photo record of where I am and the times I arrive and leave, somewhere down the line they may come in handy and from what I have read all CC people need to be doing this. Work will not be a problem with moving around either as I currently work on secure units for the home office & only have to do 12 shifts per month (legal requirement can't work longer than that doing my job) So looking good for the time being. Thanks for the advice it is well appreciated.

 

Sounds like you should have no problems then Rob...

 

Why not look for a permanent mooring in the West Midlands, so that you would not need to move every 14 days but could just go out for a few days when the mood took you and when your work schedule allowed it?

 

...in fact, with your work pattern and family all over the area, you sound like an ideal candidate for CCing because the lifestyle suits you rather than just because you're trying to avoid the expense of a mooring.

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Why not look for a permanent mooring in the West Midlands, so that you would not need to move every 14 days but could just go out for a few days when the mood took you and when your work schedule allowed it?

I might well do that after a year or so, but want to find out 1st if I prefer the CC side of Narrowboating. I don't think I would like to be in the same place for most of the year even though you could come and go as you please, plus I don't think there good value for money from the prices I have seen. But might consider it in a years time. Thanks for the feedback.

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I really wouldn't let that put you off. Not that the cosmetic side of things doesn't matter - you need to like the look and feel of your home at the end of the day - just that new curtains, cushion covers etc. are not expensive things to change in the grand scheme of things. In fact, changing them can be a good and fairly cheap way of putting your own stamp on a boat.

 

 

Sounds like you should have no problems then Rob...

 

 

...in fact, with your work pattern and family all over the area, you sound like an ideal candidate for CCing because the lifestyle suits you rather than just because you're trying to avoid the expense of a mooring.

Within reason whats inside the boat makes no difference to me and can taken away by the previous owner as I have enough of my own items to find places for on the boat, as long as the fittings are good and kitchen etc are all in good condition they can take the pillow cases etc with them :)

With reguards to the mooring and fees I have looked at some to get a price guide but have zero intention of going after one, that may change in a year or two but will stick it out for a year CC. The main reason is we are coming into summer but I want to see the winter side of things too. I have read a lot of winter type situations but as we all know 1st hand experience of everything can not be beaten. PS I'm not a cold weather buff or masochist lol

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With reguards to the mooring and fees I have looked at some to get a price guide but have zero intention of going after one, that may change in a year or two but will stick it out for a year CC. The main reason is we are coming into summer but I want to see the winter side of things too. I have read a lot of winter type situations but as we all know 1st hand experience of everything can not be beaten. PS I'm not a cold weather buff or masochist lol

 

Bear in mind that there's always the 'halfway house' option of CCing from spring to autumn, and taking a mooring over winter. CRT make some of their visitor moorings available for this purpose from November to March. It's a lot cheaper than paying for a year-round home mooring, but saves you having to worry about moving when the weather's at its worst and there might be stoppages making it hard to get around.

  • Greenie 1

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Bear in mind that there's always the 'halfway house' option of CCing from spring to autumn, and taking a mooring over winter. CRT make some of their visitor moorings available for this purpose from November to March. It's a lot cheaper than paying for a year-round home mooring, but saves you having to worry about moving when the weather's at its worst and there might be stoppages making it hard to get around.

Good advice. That was the thought behind my post, reducing stress during the OP's acclimatisation to boating. Have a greeno.

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I think my distance will be good enough for any one to be happy with & I look forward to it the distances as staying in one place for me isn't the goal but geting out there and seeing a bit of the country from another prospective. Plus I will be keeping a GPS visual and photo record of where I am and the times I arrive and leave, somewhere down the line they may come in handy and from what I have read all CC people need to be doing this. Work will not be a problem with moving around either as I currently work on secure units for the home office & only have to do 12 shifts per month (legal requirement can't work longer than that doing my job) So looking good for the time being. Thanks for the advice it is well appreciated.

Sounds good to me hope I have the same luck smile.png

 

I think a healthier approach and better boating philosophy would be "I am going to use my boat bona fide for navigation and not worry about CaRT" rather than "I am going to gather evidence ready for my confrontation and legal battle with CaRT". This forum is becoming a little dominated by those who have had battles with CaRT, but this is not representative of the real world. There is a lot of canal in Birmingham and so unless you choose to set up home in the Gas Street area you should be fine.

 

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

  • Greenie 4

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Bear in mind that there's always the 'halfway house' option of CCing from spring to autumn, and taking a mooring over winter. CRT make some of their visitor moorings available for this purpose from November to March. It's a lot cheaper than paying for a year-round home mooring, but saves you having to worry about moving when the weather's at its worst and there might be stoppages making it hard to get around.

Thats good to know, thanks for the info, I will keep it in mind and have a look when the time comes, you never know :)

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I think a healthier approach and better boating philosophy would be "I am going to use my boat bona fide for navigation and not worry about CaRT" rather than "I am going to gather evidence ready for my confrontation and legal battle with CaRT". This forum is becoming a little dominated by those who have had battles with CaRT, but this is not representative of the real world. There is a lot of canal in Birmingham and so unless you choose to set up home in the Gas Street area you should be fine.

 

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

Sounds good to me, my brother & mom live 5 mins away from the moorings in the city by gas st, but don't plan on staying around there, maybe just a day trip hear and there. I understand what you are saying about the evidence type of thing but I recently won a court case against the NHS & local gov & if it was not for my evidence 2 years of court cases & legal action would have been a waste of my time and money. I won all of my cases because of my evidence, took two years to win but I got there. Don't get me wrong I'm not looking to do anything more than cover myself & will be doing so, but nothing more. My goal is to stay within my boundrys and keep to the rules of the waterways. But most of all enjoy my new home and suroundings & might meet some new friends along the way. Thanks for the advice it is appreciated :)

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