With more than 150,000 people in the UK enjoying boating holidays every year, the time has never been better to invest in your very own narrowboat. Owning a boat is a sound investment that will give you years of pleasure as well as family holidays to remember, but there are lots of factors to consider before purchasing.
Narrowboats are around 6”10’ wide and generally constructed of steel, although older boats may have glass reinforced plastic (GRP) or wooden cabins. A 30-40 foot boat is usually large enough for most families using the boat for holiday cruising, and it’s possible to travel the whole of the UK’s waterway system in a narrowboat, making it a versatile choice.
Types of stern
Narrowboats have three types of sterns and whichever one you choose depends largely upon your needs:
- Cruiser – Ideal for holiday cruising as this offers a large external space
- Traditional – This is the smallest stern which offers the least external space
- Semi-traditional – A good compromise offering the space of a cruiser with the looks of a traditional stern
What other features will my boat have?
- 12 volt electricity with two battery banks – one for your boat’s engine and one for your TV, fridge etc.
- Running water and your own water tank. Various options are available for hot water including fitting an instant gas water heater
- Toilet – this can be a pump-out toilet for which a fee is payable at the marina, or a cassette toilet, which empties into a cartridge that can then be emptied at any British Waterways point
- Engine – an air cooled, keel cooled or raw water cooled engine
- Heating – this can be solid fuel, diesel or gas central heating. Whilst solid fuel provides a cosy dry heat, it does take time, whereas gas and diesel provide instant heat. A 13kg bottle of gas will provide approximately 28 hours of burning time.
How do I purchase a boat?
It’s best to use a boat broker, particularly if you’re new to the world of boating. Your broker will assist you with all aspects of your purchase from making an offer, to arranging for a survey and any work that needs to be completed. Don’t forget you will need to budget for several things when you buy your boat including a licence to travel the waterways, fuel, mooring costs, maintenance and of course insurance.
Don’t forget insurance
Whether you choose fully comprehensive or third party insurance, it’s vital that you have this in place from the day your purchase is completed. Always take out insurance via a specialist – why not see Towergate for boat insurance today. If your boat is more than 20 years old you may need a survey to be carried out.
Whilst there is a lot to think about when purchasing a narrowboat, investing in the right boat can provide you and your family with many years of memorable holidays cruising the UK waterways.