Costs to consider when boating.
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Sat Nov 3, 2018 at 10:40am

Cost to consider when buying a Narrowboat


 Whether you want a basic £20,000 narrowboat to do up or a £1 million luxury palace on water, speak to a specialist broker. These include Apollo Duck, Whilton Marina and Venetian Marina. Publications such as Waterways World also provide details of boats for sale. Brokers usually charge sellers at circa 5 per cent of the sale price. They don’t charge buyers. My advice to get out and visit as many boats as you can, they are all different inside.



there are two types of survey Hull and Full,  these cost around  £400 - £600. This is a necessary condition check and can reveal nasty surprises. it is also required if you want a loan. Brokerages will be able to give you full details to arrange this. When you get the survey report, it is only then you know what you are buying!!



There are many financial companies who can offer various types of finance to purchase your chosen boat. Options include secured or, unsecured loans up to a 5 year term, or in some cases up to 20 years plus. Most require a deposit just like a property mortgage. Just a few companies to mention are: Zebra Finance, Pegasus Financial and Pro Marine also, check with your bank to see what they can offer. It is a good idea to do this first so you know what price range you should look at.



 A boat safety certificate will cost on average £150. This is a boat ‘MOT’ and is required every four years. You may need work done on your boat before a certificate is granted. Further details at website Boat Safety Scheme.



 Basic Third-party only insurance usually costs £200 a year – and is required for anyone buying a boat and before you can get a licence. You should also consider contents insurance for valuables inside. Contact a marine insurance specialist such as Collidge & Partners for further information.



 A 12-month boat licence to cruise the UK inland water ways costs between £510 and £1,100 – depending on the size of boat. Further details are available from the Canal & River Trust. You may also need to purchase other licences for waterways which are not owned by the CRT, such as the River Thames and The Bridgewater Canal.



Home moorings costs between £2,000 and £18,000 a year – with a waiting list of five years for the most sought-after spots in London. If you have a residential mooring spot you may also have to pay basic ‘Band A’ council tax. Alternatively, you can roam the canals with a ‘continuous cruise’ option where you can only stay moored in one spot for 14 days. There are 32,000 boats in Britain with licences – 5,000 of which have no home mooring.



Utility bills such as electricity and water are included in some mooring deals – but not all. Diesel costs will set you back £360 a year.  £120 for pumping sewage from the toilet, if you have a Pump-Out toilet. If you have a cassette type toilet, there is no charge for emptying these. As part of a boat’s regular maintenance you must ‘black’ the hull every four years against corrosion. This involves taking the boat out of water and may cost £1,000.

Living on a canal boat is becoming a serious option for many people who want to do things a little differently..

A reasonable 50ft narrowboat can be purchased for as little as £30,000 - £40,000. In contrast, the average house costs £200,000 plus and unless you are a cash buyer you will need to jump through hoops to get a mortgage. 

The freedom of a boat enables you to move elsewhere when the feeling takes you.

Owners who prefer to stay in one place usually pay mooring fees costing  circa £2,000 a year.  These costs are akin to parking charges. In locations such as London there is a five-year waiting list for a prime spot that can cost as much as £1,000 a month.

  Outside the capital, mooring fees fall dramatically with some marinas including in the price plug-in electricity, sewage removal, water and even wi-fi.  On top of mooring fees, there are other expenses – possibly council tax, a safety certificate, a boat licence, insurance and upkeep costs. 

Happy boat hunting from all the team at Venetian Marina.


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