Are Narrow Boats Worth The Money?
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Tue Apr 21, 2015 at 10:22am

According to’ The Residential Boat Owners Association’ there are around 20,000 people in the UK enjoying living on narrow boats, so at least 20,000 people in the UK believe that narrow boats are worth buying! There are also other people who just own a narrow boat for weekend and holiday use making the number even larger.


If you have ever considered buying a narrowboat, you may have asked yourself “are they really worth the money”? Well this will depend on the boat you buy, the condition it is in, how often you intend to use it and whether owning a boat is something you really want.

There are of course additional expenses incurred when owning a narrow boat, just like owning a car, caravan or house. Working out how much money you will need each year to keep your vessel in good condition and useable is worth knowing before you buy.

By looking at the yearly basic costs, you can start to guage what expenses you will need to pay out when owning a boat and whether you can afford the upkeep.

Yearly Costs include;    

  • Mooring fees   
  • Electricity    
  • LPG Gas    
  • Diesel    
  • Pump out of waste holding tank    
  • Boat Licenses    
  • Insurance    
  • Maintenance Costs    
  • Boat Safety Certificate   

The price of a new narrowboat starts at around £1,000 per foot, so for a 50 foot vessel you would be looking around spending at least £50,000. For a second-hand boat of the same size in ‘good condition’ it could be less with prices starting from around £30,000, (price of course depends on the size, age, quality and standard of fit out) 

It is worth mentioning that owning a narrowboat also comes with certain responsibilities, especially if you are not living on the vessel.

Owning a narrowboat for full time occupation or for short breaks


Alternative ways of living, like aboard a boat could turn out to be a whole lot cheaper than living in a bricks and mortar home.

However this life style can be overlooked as an option due to fear and the unknown.

Many people hire a holiday boat for a long weekend or week just to see how they get on. Trying out living aboard is good idea before you decide to invest. Getting a feel to life on board will give you an insight into day to day life on the canal system, a chance to cruise, master locks and venture into long dark tunnels.

For many owning and living aboard is just what they have dreamed of. To them it's worth getting finance, re-mortgaging or selling their homes to fulfill their dream of having a boating life style. For others living aboard full time is too much of a change and a challenge, so it doesn’t suit every one.

Leisure users

Having weekend breaks and holidays can be a wonderful escape for people and a chance to get away from the rat race. Being able to spend time away from the family home and also being able to travel around the UK whenever you desire makes owning a narrowboat worth it!


The main consideration when buying a narrow boat is whether you can financially afford the initial outlay and the yearly costs which are connected to owning a boat.

Owning a narrowboat is worth it for those who want to live on board, or to use as a bolt hole to escape to, providing the costs are affordable.

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