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Thu Jun 15, 2017 at 11:34am

Entertaining In A Small Space

You may be limited for space on a narrowboat, but that won't limit what you are able to create in your kitchen. You can still be the hostess with the mostest! 

Whether it's serving meals for one, or feeding a crew of people, cooking aboard doesn't have to be a problem. The good news is that today's boats are well equipped to deal with modern day to day life. With long leisurely days and very little else to do you will have plenty of time on your hands to plan, create and serve delicious meals for you and your crew. 

One consideration you may need to bear in mind is where everyone is going to sit! If your boat doesn't have a dinette then meals will undoubtedly be served on trays, or in the summer eaten outside.

If you have a wood burning stove it is a good idea to put a stew on before going out for the day as it will slow cook whilst you are out and about.

You can plug into the 240 volt system and the world’s your oyster, all your appliances will work. When not connected to the mains, the use of your appliances are limited to what power source you are using.

Planning ahead is usually a good idea.

If you suddenly realise that you don't have a key ingredient for your meal and you are in the middle of nowhere, supermarket deliveries are not going to be able to deliver and help you out. Make a list of the meals you plan to serve for the upcoming five days or so and a sub list of all the ingredients you will need. You can always make alterations to your plans slipping in a new idea if you want too. Once you have your list then shop for the planned meals. Unlike when you usually do the weekly shopping at home, it's best not to buy in bulk as storage in cupboards and the fridge/freezer is limited, but try instead to buy just what you need and in smaller sizes. 

What to Pack

As space is at a premium within a narrow boat, you you may find you're not able to have all the gadgets that you normally use at home on board. However this doesn't mean you will be limited to eating sandwiches and beans on toast every day. Quite the opposite, cooking on a boat can be much more complex and interesting than grabbing snacks or ready made meals. 

Most boats will have an oven with a hob with four gas rings and a grill. Smaller boats tend to have just two rings with a small oven. You may be surprised to know that solid fuel range cookers are even sometimes fitted in narrowboats,and they can supply the hot water and heating too! 

Other appliances needed on board that will help you to prepare, cook and serve meals are a fridge, freezer, microwave, toaster, kettle and smaller equipment such as the items listed below; 


  • Various utensils any thing from tea spoons to wooden spoons. (Too many really to list but basically what you have at home)
  • Three saucepans in various sizes
  • Large cooking pot
  • Chopping boards meat/veggies
  • Cheese grater
  • Frying pan
  • Cake tin/Cooling rack (there's plenty of time to bake!)
  • Food bags/Tin Foil (useful for left overs & they take up less space than tuber ware)
  • Dining set
  • Cutlery
  • Glasses various
  • Mugs
  • Teapot (if you like a proper cup of tea!)

It’s important to bring food supplies with you, but don’t go overboard! Having the basics stashed on board is always a good idea, but you never know what you are going to find on your travels, so leave room for some surprises along the way. 

Here are some basics you may wish to have onboard at the start of your journey:

In the larder stock;

Tinned tomatoes 
Beans/ravioli etc
Soft drinks
Long Life Milk
Fresh produce;

Herbs (grow your own in pots on the stern or on the roof)

With the above ingredients you will always be able to make a simple sandwich, salad or pasta meal if you get caught out or don't come across any shops for stocking up. 

Where to Shop

Take advantage of local suppliers and farm shops. Use seasonal foods including fruits and veggies to inspire your meal plans. The joy of boating means you just never know what to expect round the next bend and what delights will be available for you to purchase.

Look out for floating shops too like the cheese company and other floating foodie businesses 

What to Cook

Well obviously things you like, but also try out new recipes that feature seasonal ingredients. Keep it simple and quick, I'm sure you would prefer to spend your time above deck enjoying the views and sipping a cool drink with the crew rather than spending a lot of time on your own slaving over the cooker and working through a complicated recipe! 

Free Foods

When possible take advantage of the free foods along the towpath there are all kinds of different berries – blackberries, sloe berries, crabapples to name but a few. Greens like dandelion, wild garlic, rosemary, sage, chickweed and nettles, even sticky weed, can be put to good use

On the Hertford Union Canal as it passes through Hackney Wick in London, look out for the twenty-metre long ‘edible wall’ that’s been created on the towpath. There you will find strawberries, lettuces, herbs and other edibles for passers-by to pick. The hope is to work with schools and community groups in other areas to create similar resources, so your luck could be in on other waterways too.

Take A Break

And for the days when you just want a break from the kitchen (and we all deserve some time off) hang up your apron and explore the pubs and restaurants along the canal side. Be selective in your choice there's plenty of eateries around so make sure you choose the very best from the fine British dining on offer.

If you have any recipes or ideas using food which grows wild on the canals, please let us know.

Happy cruising. 

Thu Jun 1, 2017 at 8:57am

Bacterial Contamination

Diesel Bug as it is more commonly known is becoming a much more common problem particularly in BULK storage tanks, marine craft and agricultural equipment. 

It’s impossible to prevent microbes entering fuel tanks and systems. However, the presence of water is a key factor in determining the rate and extent of microbial growth.

Condensation or free water suspended in the fuel clings to the tank walls or slowly sinks to the bottom of the tank, and microbes will grow at the fuel/water interface. They feed off dissolved oxygen and nutrients in the fuel, and their growth creates more water as they break down the hydrocarbons. Slime is formed, which blocks filters and restricts fuel lines. The resulting sludge is acidic, and can corrode vital engine components such as fuel pumps and injectors. 

Symptoms of fuel contamination

Engines can function with a surprisingly high amount of microbial growth in the fuel, so the chances are you’ll see the warning signs before it gets to the point that the engine actually fails. Symptoms include poor starting, fuel starvation, erratic running and black smoke from the exhaust. Even at this point, changing the filter should be enough to get you home. But that won’t solve the problem. You’ll need to eradicate the bug and, if necessary, have the tank and all the associated pipe work flushed, cleaned and treated with biocide. For bulk storage tanks the fuel would need biocide treatment with flushing of all pipework and external filtration to remove all contamination.   

There has been much discussion and misunderstanding of algae in diesel fuel. Algae need light to live and grow. As there is no sunlight in a closed fuel tank, no algae can survive, but some microbes can survive and feed on the diesel fuel.

These microbes form a colony that lives at the interface of fuel and water. They grow quite fast in warmer temperatures. They can even grow in cold weather when fuel tank heaters are installed. Parts of the colony can break off and clog the fuel lines and fuel filters.

Water in fuel can damage a fuel injection pump; some diesel fuel filters also trap water. Water contamination in diesel fuel can lead to freezing while in the fuel tank. The freezing water that saturates the fuel will sometimes clog the fuel injector pump. Once the water inside the fuel tank has started to freeze, gelling is more likely to occur. When the fuel is gelled it is not effective until the temperature is raised and the fuel returns to a liquid state.

There are companies and marine engineers available who will clean the fuel in a process called "Fuel Polishing" Fuel polishing is designed to eradicate the bugs and bacteria which accumulate in stored diesel and oil.

Sun May 14, 2017 at 10:36am

Top tips for using a wood-burning stove this winter.

Don’t burn water

This is the most fundamental thing to get right when you’re burning wood. It might be surprising, but green wood is around 50 per cent water. That means that for every kg of green wood you add to the fire, you’re effectively adding around 500ml (a pint) of water. This means that you will need to make sure that your fuel has been dried properly. There are a few ways of doing this, but the simplest are:

• Find green wood and dry it yourself – probably the cheapest option, if you’ve got the space to dry your logs properly, but do bear in mind that it will take a while. As a minimum, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve given your logs at least one summer to dry properly (two is better).

• Find a good supplier. The best way of finding a good log supplier is to go through an accreditation scheme such as Wood sure. This is an audit of whether the logs really are as dry as the supplier claims, which gives you some peace of mind that you’re not being ripped off.

• Buy kiln dried logs or briquettes. There can be sustainability issues with this sort of material, as energy has been added to dry the fuel before it reaches you, though some (but not all) suppliers use wood-fired kilns. This is usually the most expensive (but simplest) way of fueling a stove.


Manage the air

As far as your stove is concerned, air comes in two flavours. Primary air feeds the bed of the fire, and secondary air feeds the flames above it. Nearly all the energy from wood comes from burning gases released when it is heated – which means that secondary air is much more important than primary. The golden rules are:

• Never completely close the secondary air vent. Never (I really mean it). It’s the easiest way to create soot and tar and completely coat the glass on the front of your stove with gunk (a technical term).

• Don’t leave the stove door open, unless you have been specifically instructed to by the manual when lighting the fire. You are crippling your stove’s efficiency and allowing all the lovely warm air in the room to shoot off straight up the chimney.

• Remember you’re always looking for a hot, fast burn, as this will be the cleanest, most efficient way of running the stove. A small hot fire is much more efficient than a large slow-burning one.

5 ways to clean the glass on your wood burning stove

There is nothing more frustrating than lighting your stove, closing your door and not being able to see the fire through the glass.

Glass on a wood burning stove gets dirty from one of two ways – burning wet wood or wood with a lot of resin in it. Over time, if not cleaned, you won’t be able to see through it. Glass should be cleaned regularly to prevent build up of soot and tar.

Fear not, with these five useful tips we will have your stove door sparkling again!

  1. DON’T BURN WET LOGS. It’s the number way to keep your door clean. Wet logs produce more smoke, therefore more soot and tar and a blacker glass. The drier the wood, the cleaner your class will stay.
  2. Use crunched up newspaper, dip it in water and then in the ash from your fire and scrub gently until the glass clears up. You may need to wipe with a damp cloth when done to remove and remaining residue. Be careful when using this method that you don’t scratch the glass with any bits in the ash.
  3. Use a ceramic cooker cleaner, such as Hob Brite, with a non scratch sponge. Remove and blackened soot/tar then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  4. Lemon juice or vinegar, again with crunched up newspaper is also said to help remove stains from your glass.
  5. If all else fails, go for good old elbow grease! If you have left your glass uncleaned for too long you may find you will just need to keep scrubbing until it is clean again.

Don’t forget, if your stove glass isn’t clean, your chimney won’t be clean either. We recommend you get your chimney cleaned at least once a year to prevent any build up. If left uncleaned you run the risk of a chimney fire and damage to your home.

The key point here is burn dry wood. Wet logs may appear cheaper and may seem like you are getting more for your money but you will do damage to your stove and chimney in the long run.

Happy cruising from all the team at Venetian Marina.


Mon May 1, 2017 at 2:34pm

Crick Boat Show 2017

The Crick Boat Show is an event which has been held annually at Crick Marina in Northamptonshire since 2000. The Marina is situated on the Grand Union Canal, which is close to junction 18 on the M1.

Our Stand

Come and see us at the Crick Boat show this year 27th - 29th May 2017,

We will be exhibiting with our sister companies Whilton Marina and Cosgrove Park, be sure to visit us in the Waterways World Boating Marquee on stand  WW8-15

If you are thinking of buying a Narrow Boat, or maybe you are thinking of trading in your current vessel Crick is a great place to start looking. The show offers you the opportunity to look at boats currently on the market and discuss your options with boat builders and sellers, to the new and second-hand markets.

This year at the show, we are going to be running a Photography Competition for everyone to enter, we have some great prizes to win, see below for details on how to enter.

How To Enter Our Boat Show Competition

To enter send us your photograph of anything narrowboat or waterways related. It can be anything from wild life, a natural scene or you on your boat, absolutely anything related to canals and waterways! There's lots of fabulous prizes to win! To enter either email your picture to or enter by uploading on our social media accounts facebook or twitter making sure to give your name, telephone number and email address so that we can contact the winners!

Competition closes 5th June 2017, more details or to see our entry rules

Prizes include:

Three course meal for 2 with a bottle of wine (The Hay Hurst Arms Middlewich)

Engine service at Venetian Marina.

Full English Breakfast (for 2) with tea/coffee

£25 voucher to spend in Venetian Marine Chandlery.

Day boat hire for up to 10 people.

Narrowboat survey.

Boat Safety Scheme examination.

Virgin Balloon ride from Cosgrove Park.

Meal for two at Brinjol Indian restaurant in Weedon

River Canal Rescue 12 months bronze membership

Waterways World Magazine 12 months subscription

Towpath Talk Newspaper 12 months subscription

Set of mooring ropes from Whilton Chandlery.

Boat Handling Taster Courses

If you have been hankering to own or hire a boat, but are nervous about how to navigate the waterways, then the new taster sessions at the show are an ideal way to build confidence and get a feel for what’s involved. The sessions will be expertly led by The Narrowboat Skills Centre, Willow Wren Training and Watercraft.The boat trainers will talk you through the basics of casting off, mooring up, boat etiquette, rope handling, breaking down boat jargon as well as the dreaded lock navigation! You’ll get the chance to steer the boat under the supervision of an experienced boater. Each session can accommodate up to 4 people at once making it an ideal experience for the whole family. For more information about the course see this link to the Boat Handler Taster Course page on the Crick Boat Show website.

What's On

There is much fun for all the family including fun fairs, seminars and market stalls, not forgetting the ice cream vans and beer tent.

The show organisers have lots of new and exciting things lined up this year, with plenty of amusements for adults and children alike. The Waterways World Boating Marquee is where you will find all things boating including Marina’s like ourselves, boat hire, boat insurance, anodes, electrics and all things essential for narrow boating.

There will be lots of boats in the marina basin for you to climb aboard and look around, an ideal way of getting a feel for narrowboats if you are new to narrowboating.

Music Headliners

Music entertainment is always a feature of Crick Boat Show. Every year, we have a wide selection of great music and high quality performers on the stage in our large Wheatsheaf Bar Marquee, so you can enjoy the music come rain or shine.


the world’s only official live tribute band dedicated to Marc Bolan & T-Rex, will be headlining at Crick Boat Show on Saturday evening, 27 May. Witness the recreation of those outrageous glam-rock days with their energetic live performances, described as ‘beyond the boundaries of tribute’. Hear some of Bolan’s biggest hits such as Ride a White Swan, Jeepster, Telegram Sam, Teenage Dream, The Groover, 20th Century Boy, Get it On, and of course I Love to Boogie.



Murphy's Marbles

Murphy’s Marbles will be bringing their celtic-based music to Crick for the third time, having toured the length and breadth of Europe delivering charismatic and dynamic performances

Murphy's Marbles


Fleetwood Bac

Endorsed by Mick Fleetwood himself for their perfected look, sound and on-stage chemistry, Fleetwood Bac are the UK’s most authentic Fleetwood Mac Tribute Show.All evening entertainment is included in the price of your day/weekend ticket, making Crick excellent value for money.


Fleetwood Bac

Crick Favourites Night Following highly-popular performances at Crick, as well as success from their own widely toured shows, Sunday 28 May sees the return of well-loved artists, Fleetwood Bac and Murphy’s Marbles, for Crick Favourites Night.

Childrens Entertainment

There’s masses of stuff going on for children.

For the first time ever at Crick Boat Show, all children receive free entry on all 3 days of the show! You can now bring along the whole family on any day of the show, or all weekend, and only pay for the adults, providing excellent value for parents, grandparents and carers. The funfair at Crick will be bigger and better in 2017 and there will be plenty of hands-on, exciting activities to keep children busy.

Take a look at the children's entertainment page on the Crick Boat Show website for more information. This is just a snap shot of what you’ll find at the show, there’s lots more going on both under cover and outside, it really is a great place to take the family for a day out over the May Bank Holiday weekend!

Crick Show Dates & Venue: 27th - 29th May 2017.

Crick Marina,West Haddon Road Crick,Northants NN6 7SQ.


Going to come? It's a good idea to buy your tickets for the Crick Boat Show in advance, as they cost more on the door.

We Look forward to seeing you there!

Mon Apr 17, 2017 at 9:00am

Insuring your boat.

In reality the only obligation you have to canal boat insurance is the conditional requirement by the Canal & River Trust to insure powered boats to cover third party liabilities for at least £2 million.

This is simply because as a licence holder, you are responsible for injury or damage caused by you or the boat. Due to the nature of our chosen activity whereby we are navigating locks, negotiating bridges and cruising past moored boats, these damages could be considerable so it makes sense that other peoples property is protected from accidental damage.

What is optional, and therefore left for you to decide, is the insurance protection of your own property. When thinking about the level of investment we make it seems obvious that most of us would wish to protect not only our boat but also the contents as well

Compare the best boat insurance online, look for the best deals, seek out as many quotes from as many brokers as possible. Especially consult those who offer specialist insurance that meet your needs. If your boat sinks, will it be recovered? If there’s a fire while it’s on the trailer, does the car insurance cover for the accident or the trailer insurance? Do you need both or less cover?

Whether you’re seeking out jet ski insurance or laser insurance or simply a little more cover for your kayaking activities while out on the river. Peruse the details below and select the best insurance coverage for your sport, hobby or pursuit. It’s always beneficial to look for the cheapest premiums but not if the payouts don’t match the requirement in the event of a claim.

Fully Comprehensive Or Third Party

Don’t go anywhere before you’ve decided if you’re going for fully comp or 3rd party marine insurance.

By law most large boats like yachts or narrow boats need to have proof of third party insurance before you can set sail on canals, estuaries, inland rivers and moor at harbours. This is handled via license from the Canal and Rivers Trust, Environment Agency and the Broads Authority. Simply put, at the very basic level you need to have third party insurance in place for your vessel.

Now many people get confused as to the difference between fully comprehensive and third party insurance, especially once they find out about the parts that make it different. Simply put, third party insurance is a requirement as it covers the third person and offers you liability protection. If you are at fault in an accident, it covers repairs and personal injury to the opposing party.

Here’s the catch. It doesn’t offer you any cover whatsoever when it comes to your own needs or your own boat’s repairs. So what’s the point of third party insurance over fully comprehensive? Well if you have a boat that is old or on its last legs, or a lower valued item that you use as a fishing boat, you may not be too concerned at losing several hundred pounds compared to the insurance premiums you would need to pay.

So in these instances it’s perfect, you get to abide by the law and save loads by not paying out on cover you don’t need. It’s worth remembering however that should your boat sink, you are legally obliged to pay for salvage costs or there would be boats strewn in waterways all over the place. There is, like car insurance an option for an additional insurance policy for your boat which covers theft and fire.

Buying this will ensure should the worst happen and your vessel is stolen or catches fire, that the third person involved in the incident is covered as well as repairs or replacement is insured against. The most popular and of course the most convenient is however the most expensive. Fully comprehensive insurance against all eventualities while you are at the helm and when you’re not.

So when you drill down all the parts. If you have a boat that isn’t worth much or can be easily replaced or salvaged and the costs absorbed, only buy the insurance you’re legally obliged to. Don’t fall into a trap of buying content insurance or small vessel insurance for a tenner a year when it’s just a token gesture like mobile phone insurance when it is on contract.

Before you purchase third party insurance, check with the local authority as to whether you firstly need a licence or you’re exempt and whether you need insurance before you apply. Then if you do and your boat is worth much more than ten years worth of monthly premiums, consider a fully comprehensive boat policy to cover all the bases and eventualities.

Happy Boating.

Sun Apr 2, 2017 at 9:26am

Prepare Your Narrowboat Ready For The Boating Season Ahead

Spring is most definitely here now, and if you own a narrowboat you'll be thinking about starting to make preparations for your summer cruising.

A good place to start is to get your narrow boat ready, so that it's in tip top condition and all stocked up ready for the season ahead.

Engine Service

If you haven't already, service the engine. Replace the oil filters, change the oil and check all connections and hoses for wear and replace if necessary. Check fan belts and cables. Consider adding a fuel conditioner, top up antifreeze. Check the engine mounts are clean and serviceable.


Check your batteries to make sure that they are holding a charge. If you need to replace one battery, make sure that you replace the whole bank at the same time. Unreliable batteries are a common reason for breakdowns. Clean the battery terminals and connectors.

Check fuses in your 12 volt systems and inverters.

Weed Hatch

Check your weed hatch and check the propeller for debris and check the weed hatch is secure and the seals are satisfactory.


Leaks are common after the winter when boats have been moored up in frosty weather, even if you have winterised the boat it is still at risk. So check the plumbing and water systems for any leaks. Disinfect the water tank to prevent any bacteria which could upset your tummy.


Check gas connection for wear and tear and replace if necessary. Get a qualified gas engineer to service gas appliances. This should be done every year. 

Stock up on gas for your next trip so that you don't run the risk of running out halfway through.

Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace if necessary. 

Check that your toilet is clean and working. If you have a pump out toilet you may want to flush the tank out by jet washing. If you have a cassette toilet you may also want to carry out a deep clean and check the seals and valves to avoid any nasty smells. Stock up with toilet chemicals so that you are ready!

Other essential Items to Check are Working

Make sure that your horns and headlights are in working order. You might need to use these if navigating through any long dark tunnels or during low light during the season.

Check your bilge pumps and bowthrusters are working.

Cruising kit to check

  • Make sure all ropes and fenders are in good order
  • Check the deck boards are sound and safe
  • Check engine covers
  • Check your torch works
  • Check boat poles, hooks and planks are sound.

Now you're ready to make your travelling plans and plot your route, fill up your boat with food, clothing and other essentials. Fill up with fuel and water and you'll be ready to explore the canals and waterways of the UK.

Wherever you cruise this summer, be sure to enjoy yourself.

Happy cruising!

Tue Mar 28, 2017 at 12:00pm

Do I need a galvanic isolator?


1. Whenever you connect to shore power mains supplies. An isolator offers reduced corrosion & extended life of anodes.

2.  Leave your shore power connected enabling use of frost heaters & battery charging without the risk of added corrosion associated with shore power connections.

3.  Essential in the marina environment to control both stray & galvanic currents.

4. * When you need to stop other vessels using your anodes!



When you plug into mains shore power the cable you use 3 internal cables: A live, a neutral & an earth wire. The earth wire goes to the shore power pedestal where it is physically connected to the ground. This is a safety wire and protects you in the case of an electrical problem.

Your neighbouring boats also use the same earth connection. This effectively connects all the boats together via the earth cables in the shore power leads. In your boat the shore power earth lead goes to your electrical consumer unit & then to all metal components such as the engine block, fuel tanks, shafts/ propellers etc & then finally connects to your anodes. Unfortunately as all the boats (and metal pontoons) are now interconnected via the earth cables any voltage leaks or "galvanically" generated voltages have an easy path between the boats. This often results in rapid loss of sacrificial anodes & increased corrosion of all underwater metals. If the boat next to you does not have anodes he won't worry: He is using yours!

To control this problem we install a galvanic isolator in the earth wire as it comes to your boat. The isolator is an electronic switch which is "Turned off " (open circuit). This stops any low level damaging voltages from entering your vessel & protects your anodes and underwater metals. In the rare case of an electrical short circuit on board your vessel the isolator immediately "turns on" (short circuits) connecting you to earth for safety. The isolator works in perfect conjunction with fuses, circuit breakers and RCD safety devices. It is a solid state device & resets itself once the electrical fault has been rectified.

A galvanic isolator does not replace your sacrificial anodes which are essential to protect your underwater metals from interaction of metals.

A galvanic isolator does offer protection from stray currents & galvanic currents which attack your boat via the shore power earth cable. These currents can transmit from other boats, metal pontoons & leaks on the 240 volt systems in the marina. Serious leaks can devastate your props / shafts/ anodes etc in a matter of weeks. Surveyors & boat inspectors will usually recommend fitting a galvanic isolator in the marina environment (They see the effects of unprotected boats all too often).

Happy Cruising from all at Venetian Marina. 

Wed Mar 22, 2017 at 9:00am

So what's so great about Living On A Narrow Boat?

living on a narrow boat

New Friendships

Belonging to a new community enables you to make new friendships and the boating community is made up of a strong network of friendly people who all share the same passion in life – boating. Whether you decide to moor in one place or have a more nomadic way of life cruising the network, you will definitely make new friends along the way.

You will never feel lonely on the canal system, but at the same time if you need your own space there’s always part of the canal system you can enjoy on your own.


If you live aboard full time chances are you won’t have a car, so owning a bike is a great way to get around when you are on land. The towpaths are perfect for exploring the canal system and keeping you fit at the same time.

There is a Greenway Code for Towpaths created by The River and Trust Organisation for cyclists using London’s towpaths.  Find the towpath code here it’s a useful for anyone using a bike on any of the towpaths in the UK

Roof Gardens

If you have green fingers you don’t have to worry that you can’t have your own little garden.  Many boaters enjoy growing edible plants as well as growing displays of flowers to brighten up their boats.

Being Environmentally Friendly

Many boaters will tell you that living on the canal makes you more environmentally friendly. Recycling becomes very much more part of your day to life, as does conserving water, most boaters have showers rather than water wasting baths.

Using LED lighting is more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and these are often used on narrow boats.


The most obvious of things you will enjoy if you live on a narrow boa is cruisingt!  With over 2000 miles there are plenty of routes for you to discover.


With the average lock taking around 20 minutes to get through, going through locks for most makes cruising really interesting and breaks up the journey.

In the UK boaters have to operate the locks themselves, but in France for example the locks are managed for you.  I guess this is a rather nice touch if you don’t want to do it yourself, however most boaters like to do this themselves.


Being a minimalist is a lifestyle that changes a lot of our habits on a day to day basis.  If you are the type of person that can rise above the need to have lots of possessions in your life, then you too can enjoy a minimalist life style on your narrow boat.

If you adopt this style of living, by nature it will save money by not buying items that aren’t necessary in your life and you will be able to enjoy a better quality of life spending your money in other ways.

Countryside and Town Life

The beauty of boating is that you can enjoy the countryside one week and town life the next.  Being able to change your location whenever you fancy is simply something you can’t do with the traditional brick home.

Nature And Wildlife

The average brick house has a garden, but if you live on a boat 'your garden' sort of out shines the traditional patch at the front and back of a house.  Wherever you on the canal, you will encounter some amazing sights that you just wouldn’t be able to experience in the average UK garden.

With the opportunity to lots of wildlife including  Swans, ducks, Otters, Herons, Cows, Horse’s, Sheep, and so much more.  Not many home owners can say they get to enjoy such a varied amount of wildlife from their gardens!


Maybe one of the main reasons why people decide to buy a narrow boat, the freedom to stay or go!  Even if you don’t live on your boat full time, it’s your bolt hole, somewhere you can go to escape day to day life.

Did we miss anything off the list? Let us know what you enjoy about living on a narrow boat

Happy boating from all the team at Venetian Marina.

Thu Mar 16, 2017 at 2:31pm

A simple guide to making the move 

People move from land homes to live on a narrowboat at different times in their lives and for many different reasons. For some it's something they have always dreamed of, for some it's when retirement comes and for others its a way of getting on the property ladder and then there are those who's circumstances changed and living aboard becomes a viable option if they are unable to buy a bricks and mortar home.

What ever the reason for wanting to live on a boat, living aboard a narrowboat boat full time is going to be very different to bricks and mortar home. 

So let's look at making a home in a steel tube around 60 foot long and 7ft wide. 

Moving into a boat has different issues to that of a bricks and mortar home. Space is the main problem you will need to over come. When you decide to relocate your possessions from your home to your boat this is when you have to access what's essential and what has to go. And if there's more than one of you moving onboard then some serious negotiations may need to take place as to who's having what onboard. 

For the younger generation perhaps someone leaving home for the first time, having to transfer from the bedroom of mum and dads house, to having the whole boat to themselves might not be quite so tricky. However other things may need to be considered such as your moorings. 


Buying a narrowboat and getting moorings actually goes hand in hand and sourcing moorings should be considered at the beginning of the buying process. Moorings can be the hardest part of making your move. Difficult but not impossible to find. Research the internet to find marinas in your chosen area.

For those who are able to continuously cruise, they can moor along the towpath for up to 14 days at a time or moor within marinas along the way by arrangement with the marina.  However permanent residential moorings are limited and can come at a price. It's a wise decision to source out residential moorings before making a purchase. 

The process of buying and selling a boat

Buying and selling a boat is very similar to that of a house. There's a seller, a buyer, a estate agent (broker) and of course a market. Your estate agent (broker) is key to selling/buying your home/boat. So choose wisely when employing a company to handle your future. 

Things to look for when choosing a narrow boat broker 

  • Experience 
  • Marketing tools
  • Location
  • Reputation

Find out more here about boat brokerage

Selling your home

Three top tips to selling your home

Kerb Appeal - We all know the importance of first impressions and the first impression people get of your property will be very important to them. This may actually be a major factor as to whether they put on an offer or walk away. Make sure your garden and the exterior of your property is in good repair. Anything out of order will be a negative in the buyers eyes so make good any problems before viewings   

Get the decorating right - The interior of the house sells it more than anything, so it is important to get the basic decorating inside the house right. It's been said beige and neutral colours will help sell a home and nothing has changed now. Do away with statement walls and freshen everywhere up with a neutral theme. Space sells so declutter and remove large bulky furniture to give a more spacious feel. 

Marketing - Once you decide to sell and have prepared your home for viewings you need to get your home noticed. Check out your local estate agents and do your homework before signing an agreement 

Making your boat a home

To make it into a real home you are still going to need to have some un-essential items like hobbies, books, magazines, games, radio, TVs, sports equipment etc onboard.

As much as cruising is the main body of being on a narrowboat you still need to have other interests to occupy your time at the end of the day or when you are moored up. 

Things to get used to:

  • How you use water and electricity
  • Remembering to charge the batteries
  • Maintaining the toilet. More info here
  • Limited storage space
  • Letting go of possessions
  • Good and bad weather conditions
  • A lack of privacy if sharing with the family
  • Continuous cruising if moorings can't be found
  • Remembering services and maintenance work
  • Buying fuel
  • Using the locks
  • Filling the water tank

Unlike a holiday boat your narrowboat is going to become your home and there will need to be a balance between what's needed on board and what you can do without. Adjusting to a new way of life may take some time to get used too, but will be worth it in the long run. 

A storage solution - maybe!

For those who can afford it there is another option available if getting rid of possessions is proving difficult. It might not be viable long term but perhaps short term it might help you over the initial adjustment period of leaving a house and moving onto boat. Self storage!

By putting items into storage for a while it gives you the time to come to terms with not having them around and eventually letting them go altogether.

Happy cruising from all at Venetian Marina.


Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 3:26pm

1. What is it really like living on a narrow boat?

Living on a narrow boat can be a fantastic way of life, if you enjoy the outdoors and being close to nature then this style of living is going to suit you down to the ground. The other great fact is you are able to travel the UK canal network at your leisure, taking the time to discover parts of the UK many others don’t have the opportunity to enjoy via the canal. Also there are never any traffic jams on the canal so travelling is trouble free!

Living on a narrow boat is really a life style choice and it doesn’t always meet people’s expectations. Having said this if you do your research and even hire a narrow boat for a long weekend/a week, you can get a feel of what life would be like living aboard first hand.

It may not be ideal if you are claustrophobic, as space is rather limited in a narrow boat however a wide beam also known as a broad beam may be an option if you did find the interior of a narrow boat too limiting.

Living on a narrow boat requires you to be organised and it general helps if you plan things in advance. As you are not connected to the mains you need to think about water, electricity and gas.

Owning a narrow boat is a great way of enjoying a more relaxed way of life everything on the water is so much slower and more relaxed. It has become increasingly more popular with younger people who are looking for a different home solution.

If you are just going to use the narrow boat for leisure purposes; weekends and holidays then this is a different kettle of fish all together as you won’t need to consider all the things that a liveaboard has to.

2. Where will I keep my narrow boat?

There are a few options open to you when looking for somewhere to moor your narrow boat. The first option which can be the most expensive is to moor at a marina, mooring at a marina does have a lot of benefits though which includes security, pump out facilities, chandlery shop, and other amenities like wash rooms. Having these facilities on hand helps to justify the mooring bill.

The 2nd choice is to moor along the canal to do this you must apply to the Canal and River Trust for a long term mooring licence. This is a very economical mooring solution but unfortunately quite difficult to obtain. The other down side to this option is there are no facilities on hand.

And the final option is to join a club, becoming a member enables you to apply for a mooring within the clubs facilities. There are responsibilities that go with becoming a member of a club but you also have the benefit of mixing with other members and becoming part of a new community.

3. How much does it cost to live on a boat compared to a house?

This depends on many factors including where you keep the narrow boat, the length of the boat, the boats age, the on-going costs for fuel (heating and propulsion), blacking (hull protection), pump out, engine maintenance, general service, licences and insurance. Also the amount of time you spend on the boat will determine your on-going costs. So it’s hard to compare a like for like here as every situation is different, but by taking in all of the above you have a base to calculate the costs you need to consider to suit your usage and boat.

4. What appliances can I use on my boat?

You can use all the appliances you would do in a brick home, but the consideration is how you run the appliances. This website describes the different types of options you

For example using a ‘normal’ kettle is more difficult in a narrowboat, a kettle on a hob using gas may be more effective.

5. Where can I get water?

Most marinas will have a water point where you can fill up, at Venetian marina we don’t charge for this service but other marinas do have a charge of around £5.00. There are also stand pipes which can be found along the canal side. You need to obtain a British Water ways key to open the stand pipe these cost around £5 -£6 and will also open washrooms along the canal system. The average size of a water tank is 40 gallons and depending on the water pressure in the area will dictate how long it will take to fill up.

6. Is it safe for pets and children?

Yes, it is totally safe we recently wrote two other articles about these topics  Living aboard a narrowboat with children, and Living aboard a narrowboat with pets,  as you can see it’s quite possible. One thing to consider is some marinas do not allow residential moorers to keep pets.

7. What limitations are there when cruising the canal network?

Cruising limitations apply if your boat is over a certain length and also if you own a wide beam as there are areas along the canal system that will not take these boats, although there are restrictions to cruising in some areas there are plenty of other parts of the canal system where you can cruise. Speed is another limitation – the max speed on the canal system is 4 miles an hour and this is the limit not the target (4 miles an hour is a fast walking pace).

8. When can I use my narrow boat?

All year round, owning a canal boat is not based around the seasons. In fact if you live on your boat throughout the year you really get to appreciate the different seasons and the challenges the weather brings with it.

9. Do I need insurance?

Yes just like you have home or car insurance the same applies to your narrow boat. We recommend talking to Collidge and Partners who specialise in inland waterways craft insurance. Again the insurance costs will vary from boat to boat and your usage, but as a guideline you will be looking at roughly £250 - £500 per year

10. If I decide I don’t want my boat any more what can I do?

This is easy you can simply sell it! You can either use a brokerage company or try and sell it privately. The advantages of selling your narrow boat through a broker can outweigh those of selling the boat yourself. Using a good brokerage company gives the narrow boat additional exposure through their established marketing medias such as; the company’s website, Face book, Twitter, mailing systems and offline marketing like magazines and papers. Marinas like Venetian and Whilton also have facilities where a boat can be surveyed and any work necessary carried out by professionals, such as boat safety examiners, engineers and welders.

Happy boating.


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