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Thread: Canal boats

  1. #1
    Pillar of the Community margaret's Avatar
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    Default Canal boats

    We've been watching some canal boat videos , especially by a chap who has taken to living on a boat and cruising around, he is very informative about his life on his narrow boat, though he has spent an enormous amount of money it seems to me by fitting it out and paying for all the licence etc.. One thing that occurred to me in his videos is that he doesn't make one single mention of what I think must be fairly obvious to anyone contemplating that life and that is its obvious dangers. There must be an ever present risk surely of accidents in and around the boat, not to mention the risks from all the combustibles on board. Out of curiosity I thought I would search how many accidents there have been on the canals in the UK over the last few years, I then discovered a chap had sent in a very extensive list of enquiries to the waterways people, which after 4 years they have still not answered, they did quote 400 to deal with the enquiry. But is seems to me those statistics should be centrally available, it is a matter of public importance. Canal use is now big business.
    Last edited by margaret; 23-08-2020 at 07:43 AM.
    I doubt sometimes whether a quiet and unagitated life would have suited me - yet I sometimes long for it.

    - Lord Byron.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator rebbonk's Avatar
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    I have friends that live on the canal, most wouldn't ever go back to the more traditional homes.

    An old school friend tried it and it nearly killed him, literally. The loneliness drove him to attempt suicide. There is a thriving community but you need to make the effort.

    Locks are a known danger, there is one well-documented lock that has taken out several boats due to damaged sidewalls. Boats can sink incredibly quickly and some canals are very deep. - Round here they're only about 4' deep.

    Several bodies have been hauled out of the canal by me over the years, it has to be said that the majority featured alcohol of some sort. I've also seen several boats go up in flames very quickly; again, it has to be said that alcohol or other substances were usually involved.

    The idea of canal living does appeal to me, but I'm getting older and it can be a bit of a tough life at times: plus, being on my own, it makes operating locks, swing-bridges etc. a little difficult.
    Of course it'll fit, you just need a bigger hammer.

  3. #3
    Pillar of the Community margaret's Avatar
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    ARe there people who have literally lived on the canal for 20 or 30 years?
    The chap who we were listening to on video said he bought his boat with the part proceeds from the sale of his house, but what occurred to me was, surely a boat is like any other chattel in that it depreciates, unlike a house. The only exception to this is probably classic cars when they are very well maintained. So the point is, if and when he gives up canal living he is sitting on a financial loss, he reckoned also that the pure cost of the licence and mooring fees and bits and bobs, was 6000 a year, not including food and other essentials.
    I doubt sometimes whether a quiet and unagitated life would have suited me - yet I sometimes long for it.

    - Lord Byron.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator rebbonk's Avatar
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    I have friends that have lived on boats for far longer, Margaret.

    Usually you expect a boat to depreciate, so your thoughts are on the right lines. However, it is often easier to get the money together to buy a boat than it is to get a deposit and mortgage for a house.

    You find that a lot of boat dwellers are divorced males. - It's often all they can afford after being put through the dual wringers of the courts and the CSA.

    One of my best mates has lived on a boat for over 30 years. We sat at one time and compared my cost of living to his. There wasn't really a lot in it. (I have no mortgage or rent to pay.) My council tax was equalled by his licence fees, insurances were comparable... However, if I'd have been paying a mortgage I'd have been a lot worse off. Incidentally, his mooring fees covered his electricity usage and were a lot lower than my electricity bill.

    One of the biggest bugbears about a boat is that it needs to be dry-docked once in a while and 'blacked' as well as have regular safety inspections.

    I think it comes down to a lifestyle choice rather than money. I asked another friend, only last week, what would tempt her off the canal. "Nothing," was her very quick reply!
    Of course it'll fit, you just need a bigger hammer.

  5. #5
    Pillar of the Community margaret's Avatar
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    While the slow pace of narrowboats and the beautiful scenery of the countryside is very relaxing, I don't think that particular kind of sightseeing lifestyle would suit me, but I was looking at some very swishly done out narrow boats and river boats. The toilet disposal arrangements and washing facilities have been much improved on some. But I would much rather stay on dry land. I have been on Ocean liners , years ago when I immigrated to Canada and looking out to nothing but sea is boring and even scary in more turbulent seas. This was so long ago now, the liners are long gone. The Empress of Canada and The Stefan Batory.


    I love a river boat, but I couldn't live on one.
    Last edited by margaret; 25-08-2020 at 11:28 AM.
    I doubt sometimes whether a quiet and unagitated life would have suited me - yet I sometimes long for it.

    - Lord Byron.

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