Things to Consider When Buying a Narrowboat

There are plenty of things to consider when buying a narrowboat. It’s a large investment and the choice can be overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to take your time and enjoy the process as much as possible.

How will you use your narrowboat?

Firstly, consider how you will use your narrowboat. Do you want it for weekend breaks, or longer holidays? Perhaps you’re preparing a retirement trip around Britain? Or do you want to live on your narrowboat? As living on a narrowboat can be a major lifestyle change, we’ll assume that you are considering buying a narrowboat for leisure purposes.

What type of narrowboat do you want to buy?

The size of the narrowboat (length and width) is a good place to start. It may be determined by where on the canal network you want to use your narrowboat. For example, if you want access to the entire canal network, then a narrow beam boat with a maximum length of 57ft will be required. If you have a specific area in mind, then check any restrictions posed by locks, tunnels or bridges when considering what size of boat to buy.

Talk to other boaters

Talking to other boaters is a great way to get advice and ideas. There are also boating events, such as the Crick Boat Show, where you have the opportunity to view lots of different types of narrowboats and barges, talk to boater and learn about different aspects of boating.

Try out different types of narrowboat

Consider hiring out different types of narrowboats for weekend trips and longer holidays so you can experience what they’re like. Also try them out at different times of year. If you’re buying your own narrowboat, you’ll probably want to make the most of your investment and use it whenever you can. Boating in the autumn, winter or spring can be quite different to the summer and the boat may handle differently in different weather conditions.

When you’ve experienced different types of narrowboats and barges, you can put together your wish list. Include aspects such as size, layout, amount of sleeping accommodation, features, etc.

Consider your budget

Of course, it’s very important to consider your budget when buying a narrowboat. To give yourself and idea of how much you’ll need to spend, have a look online at narrowboats for sale. Working out the price per square foot can help you compare different boats. This will, of course, be affected by different factors, such as age, condition, model, manufacturer.

If you’re prepared to do some refurbishment work yourself, then you may want to consider buying an older boat. Bear in mind that the hull, engine, gearbox, electrics, gas and plumbing systems are where the largest part of your investment lies.

Check that the hull is solid and in good condition, that the engine and gearbox have been regularly serviced and maintained and that the electrics, gas and plumbing installations are safe, compliant and in good order.

Make sure that you’re fully aware of these before you embark on a renovation project. The interior and living areas are much easier and cheaper to renovate.

If you’re considering buying a new narrowboat, find out from the dealer what comes as standard and what options cost extra.

Obtain detailed information

When you’ve decided what type of boat you’d like to buy, look at the options available online. If you find some that you’re interested in, request detailed information from the seller, before investing time and money in going to look at it. Recent photographs, full specification and description, details of maintenance and servicing (with receipts if possible) will all help you to decide whether it’s worth the trip.

Also, ask for a copy of a recent survey if there’s one available. If there isn’t and you’re very interested in buying the boat, then consider paying for an independent survey from a qualified marine surveyor. It could give you peace of mind or prevent you from making an expensive mistake.

Factor in other costs and requirements

As well as the financial outlay on the boat, there are other costs to consider. These include transportation fees, running costs, mooring or marina fees, maintenance and boat insurance.

Your boat also requires a boat safety scheme certificate, ownership papers and a Canal & Rivers Trust licence.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and enjoy the experience of buying a narrowboat and joining the many happy boaters across the country.

This is a marketing article from Park Home Assist, multi-award-winning providers of residential park home insurance.  If you would like to speak to an advisor regarding insurance for your park home, please contact our friendly team in our Northampton office on 01604 946 796.

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Published – 25/08/23