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golden_chapati

Buying your first boat - what would you have done differently?

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Hi all,

 

My name is Ross and I'm here because I want to live on a canal boat. However, I know virtually nothing about anything and certainly almost nothing about canal boats. That said, I have learned one thing, which is that buying a boat seems rather overwhelming. So in short, what would you have done differently when you bought your first boat? Things to check or avoid; is it better to buy from eBay or from a Marina? Is buying a boat which 'needs a fair amount of welding' a daft idea even if it's otherwise a dreamboat? How does one even decide on a boat to get surveyed when you know virtually nothing accept 'that looks nice'? Any advice, experiences or 'learned the hard way' stories welcome.

 

Many thanks,
Ross

 

 

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Hire a boat,see how it's equipped,make a note of what you like,what you dislike,what you would change etc.Go for a walk down the towpath,boaters love to talk about their boats,I often invite people on board to have a nose about!!!???

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Ross? What, Albert Ross? I would've thought you'd have stacks of seagoing expertise behind you! ;)

 

8 minutes ago, golden_chapati said:

Is buying a boat which 'needs a fair amount of welding' a daft idea even if it's otherwise a dreamboat? 

Yes, it is. Actually,  it's much worse than plain daft, unless you really know what you're taking on and have the requisite knowledge and skills to deal with it - or very deep pockets. You don't have the knowledge or those skills, so not buy blind... or with your heart or your dreamboat may end up as a nightmare. 

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There's no real answer because everyone will be different.

 

In my case, I had been on boating holidays and wanted a project, so I bought a very inexpensive and small, 36' boat. For the first year I hardly used it as a boat, but just as a base for some cycling while I made it more comfortable.

 

It was only after 18 months that I came around to enjoying the life and cruising the waterways.

 

That particular boat served it's purpose and last year I sold it, bought a shell and am now doing the building and fitout again, but this time, it's to my design.

 

 

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Hire first and make sure its what you want to do - DONT just jump in - you can long term hire if that is do-able for you.

 

This life isn't for everyone and don't believe all you read and/or see on TV it isn't a cheap solution to finding somewhere to live and it does present many challenges 

 

It is great once you have gained the knowledge to know its for you but don't assume - try it first!

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Thanks all - maybe I should add a little more information. I'm fairly young and live in a major UK city. I'm buying the boat for a liveaboard, not to cruise, because I don't want a mortgage but have enough saved for a deposit. I actually lived in a tent on and off for years even in winter, and still get washed out a bucket, so a boat with a fire and running water will be a massive upgrade for me. I've lived on yachts before and loved living on the water. I have a friend/romance who lives on boat. So I guess I have some experience. 

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36 minutes ago, golden_chapati said:

My name is Ross and I'm here because I want to live on a canal boat. However, I know virtually nothing about anything and certainly almost nothing about canal boats.

You will fit in well round here. :icecream:

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22 minutes ago, Halsey said:

Hire first and make sure its what you want to do - DONT just jump in - you can long term hire if that is do-able for you.

 

This life isn't for everyone and don't believe all you read and/or see on TV it isn't a cheap solution to finding somewhere to live and it does present many challenges 

 

It is great once you have gained the knowledge to know its for you but don't assume - try it first!

Hi, I never thought of renting. Maybe that's an option to try first. Thanks!

 

EDIT: wow it's not cheap. After 3 months I feel like I'd have blown a chunk of my overall budget >:/

Edited by golden_chapati
additional information

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I'd probably get a dated receipt so I could be sure when I actually bought it.  Got mine out of Exchange & Mart (for those who remember it) about thirty years ago, no survey, bought on a handshake, terrible condition, no paperwork whatsoever apart from the undated receipt.  Still got it. Don't regret a day.

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In my case it was a weeks holiday 4 years running followed by 8 years of shared ownership of 4 weeks+ a year, summer and winter. By then I think I had a reasonable idea of what I wanted

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3 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

In my case it was a weeks holiday 4 years running followed by 8 years of shared ownership of 4 weeks+ a year, summer and winter. By then I think I had a reasonable idea of what I wanted

 

Very similar, except I hadn't even considered buying a boat, until Cygnet came up for sale, but not the Cygnet I thought it was, so a purchase by mistaken identity.  No regrets, but I still wouldn't want to live on it.  But I might if the alternative was the hell-hole of a big city.

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38 minutes ago, golden_chapati said:

wow it's not cheap. After 3 months I feel like I'd have blown a chunk of my overall budget >?

If you think renting is expensive try owning one! ;)

 

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Don't buy anything that needs major work, it will be a money pit.  Would you buy a terminally rusty car? THINK where you are to moor, its harder finding a mooring than a boat.

One of my names is Ross, I used to be the only one, long ago.

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9 hours ago, golden_chapati said:

Hi, I never thought of renting. Maybe that's an option to try first. Thanks!

 

EDIT: wow it's not cheap. After 3 months I feel like I'd have blown a chunk of my overall budget >:/

There are cheaper ways of renting long term - there is a specialist out there (others will know more) and private boaters are about who will lease for a season look in classifieds and/or place a classified - as others have said it isn't cheap BUT nor is the cost of ownership - IMHO you must allow £5kp.a JUST for the privilege of ownership.

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I was lucky I guess... I bought direct from the owner without a survey and only having looked at 2 other boats. I paid cash (well bank transfer) and took the keys - never looked back.

 

Well except that after 12 months I realised that the boat wasn't really suitable to live on full time so I traded up to a longer vessel - but by then had decided that life afloat was for me.

 

I don't think the boat will turn you on or off life afloat but you may find  that no matter how much you spend on your first boat you'll learn exactly what you like and don't like about it so that your second will be closer to what you really want .... and then maybe by the 4th or 5th it'll be perfect (until the 6th one comes along) :cheers:

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9 hours ago, Boater Sam said:

Don't buy anything that needs major work, it will be a money pit.  Would you buy a terminally rusty car? THINK where you are to moor, its harder finding a mooring than a boat.

One of my names is Ross, I used to be the only one, long ago.

Thanks Sam; to avoid this situation, is looking for boats which have had a recent survey a good idea (and then if is suitable, getting another one done?). 

 

I've seen a few boats that have had major work done on them, such as this one - which seems to have had a 'hull restoration'. Is it nevertheless best to avoid something like that (it's a beautiful boat but 35k seems way too high anyway?) and go for something more recent, but with a solid hull? Basically, does hull work mean that the boat has not been properly maintained? 

 

Thanks again,

Ross

Edited by golden_chapati

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The problem is that on hear like on most internet forums every one will tell you how great boat life is because the ones it doesn't suit bugger off and are never heard of again. Just think what answer you would get if you went to  Labour Branch meeting and asked which was the best political party. Boating you love it and it becomes a big part of your life of you never want to see one again.

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Hi Ross, good luck to you. After a lot of searching I bought my first narrowboat last year. From what I saw on the market then and from what I paid for my boat I think you should be able to get something newer, bigger and better than the 1970s 37 footer on your link. I would say the £35k price tag is optimistic to say the least.

I know life is for living and all that but putting a sensible head on for a moment I would say that if you want to liveaboard a boat because you will love the lifestyle then go for it but if it is primarily to avoid the costs of a mortgage and all that then, think carefully. Remember if you sink your money into a deposit on bricks and mortar then in twenty years time your investment will have grown. Sink it into a boat and in twenty years time that boat will be twenty years older than the day you bought it and probably worth less than you bought it for. A house is an appreciating asset and boat a depreciating one. Also don't underestimate how expensive it can be to maintain a boat. I would say that the costs of living on a narrowbaot will not be much different to a flat or small house, not counting the mortgage ofcourse.

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1 hour ago, MichaelG said:

Also don't underestimate how expensive it can be to maintain a boat. I would say that the costs of living on a narrowbaot will not be much different to a flat or small house, not counting the mortgage ofcourse.

most definately, but how many houses can you move if you don't like the view or the neighbours? ? My house costs £3k a year just to live there, i am mortgage free, soon to be house free ?

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15 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

In my case it was a weeks holiday 4 years running followed by 8 years of shared ownership of 4 weeks+ a year, summer and winter. By then I think I had a reasonable idea of what I wanted

 

Same as you but about 20 years hiring and 11 with Ownerships. I thought I had a reasonable idea of what I wanted but I ended up with something completely different.

 

So you never know.

 

The OP has the enormous advantage that he is aware that he "knows virtually nothing about anything ".  I was about 50 before I realised that!

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49 minutes ago, Jinna said:

most definately, but how many houses can you move if you don't like the view or the neighbours? ? My house costs £3k a year just to live there, i am mortgage free, soon to be house free ?

I would suggest my boat costs more than that Licence, insurance, moorings, blacking, batteries, BSS, servicing (DIY)  water pumps, toilet bits, painting and that is before you step onboard, then Diesel, Pumpouts,

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