Who doesn’t dream of venturing into the water with their very own boat? Whether for weekend cruising or to commit to a nomadic life living on the water, narrowboats are impressive watercraft. They can give you the freedom to live on water on your own terms, explore some of the exquisite water channels out in the world, and allow you to feel the thrill of off-grid living. If you are considering buying a narrowboat, you need to have some information about how boat buying works. This article describes what you need to know before you invest in a narrowboat.
What Is A Narrowboat?
As the name suggests, a narrowboat is a specially built long narrow width boat. The size of a narrowboat can be 7 feet wide (6 feet 10 inches to be exact) and 70 feet in length, which is slightly narrower than a barge. It is also known as a canal boat as it is extremely efficient to navigate in a narrow canal. The narrowboat originated in the UK to navigate in various creeks and canals.
History and Origin of Narrowboats
Back in 18th century England, transportation depended heavily on water vehicles. Narrow canals, creeks, and water channels were abundant in Britain with bridges to cross over. These bridges would allow only a gap of about 7 feet for a boat or watercraft to pass under them. Hence the narrowboat with only 6 feet 10-inch width was invented that could pass under those bridges to carry goods and people to various destinations.
Things You Need To Consider Before Buying a Narrowboat
Buying a narrowboat can be a long-term investment. You have to be committed for a long haul if you are buying a narrowboat. Before you go searching for narrow boats for sale, you have to consider some factors that we have narrowed down here.
Get The Real Feel Of A Narrowboat
If you are unsure about whether to buy a narrowboat or other watercraft, you should hire a narrowboat for a trial to see how it feels. Traveling in a narrowboat is vastly different from traveling in a regular boat. No amount of review or explanation can give you the real feeling of a narrowboat unless you gain some first-hand experience. If you have a weekend to spare, hire a narrowboat for trial and spend some time sailing on it to see if it is fit for you.
Know Why You Need To Buy It
If you are considering buying a narrowboat, there must be some purpose. Whether you long for a nomadic life living in a narrowboat, or simply want the thrill of exploring the waterways, your purpose defines what type of boat you would need. The buying decision also depends on how many people are going to use the boat. If you are only planning to take out your narrowboat once a while, it might be better to stick to a hiring arrangement rather than committing to long-term investment.
Know Your Budget and Maintenance Cost
The budget plays an important role while buying any boat. The boat requires extreme maintenance costs apart from the initial buying cost. You need insurance, rent a mooring spot, keep up the maintenance of your boat regularly; all these might account for about 10% of your buying price. Before you buy a narrowboat, consider these facts, so you can maintain your boat without being broke.
What Size Do You Need?
The type or size of a narrowboat depends on your purpose of buying it. If you plan to go off the grid and live in your narrowboat, you better choose something comfortable- at least 50 feet in length. However, if you are considering a holiday cruise, a 40-feet long narrowboat would be good enough. Buying a narrowboat longer than 60 feet might not be wise as some locks are only about 60-feet long.
Choose a Stern Type
There are several types of narrowboats that you can consider for cruising. There are three variations of sterns in a narrowboat- cruiser, traditional, and semi-traditional. Cruiser sterns are ideal for recreation with 4-8 feet open back deck. Traditional stern boats are most space-saving with only 2-3 feet long stern area, where semi-tradition is somewhat a composite of cruise type and traditional stern type.
Brand New or Used One?
While buying a new boat might require more cost, it does come with a warranty that you won’t find in a second-hand boat. A new boat will also save you from the hassle of repairing or upgrading the boat. However, if you find a boat that has been used only for a few years and in good condition, you can buy it. But before buying a used boat, make sure the boat has its Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate and you have done a thorough survey of the boat.
Prepare Your Paperwork
Owning a boat requires you to have some paperwork such as insurance and proof of ownership. You need to manage insurance right after you buy it. Unless you have insurance for the boat, you will not get the license for it. A lot of marinas or docking places might also require insurance or a license for mooring your narrowboat. Proof of ownership is also necessary in case your boat gets stolen.
Consider Your Boat Safety
Before purchasing a narrowboat, you should also consider how you are going to store it when you are not using it. After all, you can’t keep it in your garage! If you can’t dock it in your private property, find some secured rental docking place for it. Make sure the place has gates to prevent your boat from theft.
On a final note, owning a narrowboat can be a rewarding experience. It is very distinctive in its design and appearance, making it perfect for living on the water or impromptu cruising. Follow these suggestions to find your perfect cruising boat and enjoy a life of adventure.