Boat Insurance Magazine

Can You Live On a Canal Boat?

Yes, it is possible to buy a canal boat as a home. This is a much cheaper option than buying an entire house, but it comes with a variety of drawbacks with it’s advantages.

  • You can buy a narrowboat to live on for only £20,000, although prices do vary based on a boat’s size and condition.
  • The price of buying a canal boat seems like a bargain in comparison to the average house price in the UK which currently stands at £200,000.
  • It is not possible to take out a mortgage to buy a canal boat as a home.
  • The alternatives include buying the boat with an unsecured personal loan or paying entirely in cash.


Advantages Of Living On a Canal Boat

Advantages of living on a canal boat include the freedom to travel, the peace and quiet, and not having to take out a mortgage.

Living on a boat means that you have the freedom to travel wherever you choose. Those who are not tied down by work, school or other commitments can sail their boat anywhere, at any time, following the boating laws and restrictions.

Living on a canal boat can also be deemed a very peaceful way of life, away from the sounds of cities, road traffic and many other people. It also isn’t possible to take out a mortgage to buy a canal boat because it is not fixed to a specific piece of land.

This means that buyers must take out alternative loans unless they are paying in cash, but for significantly lower amounts of money as it is much cheaper to live on a canal boat.


Drawbacks To Living On a Canal Boat

Drawbacks to living on a canal boat can include lack of space, privacy, and the possibility of having to take out an unsecured loan.

Living on a canal boat provides a lot of freedom in the sense that you have the ability to travel wherever you please. In spite of this, it may not be the best decision for a larger family due to a lack of space. Many canal boats have only one bedroom and bathroom, which doesn’t leave you with much privacy.

In addition to this, there is the possibility that you will have to take out a loan as an alternative to a mortgage when financing a boat.


canal boats


Applying For a Loan To Buy a Boat

When applying for a loan to buy a boat, there are specific lenders who have more experience in this area. RoyScot Larch is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland and is the main provider of what is referred to commonly as ‘marine mortgages’.

Unsecured personal loans are usually how boaters finance the purchase of canal boats. In spite of this, it is best to have a permanent address to provide when taking out a loan, which can be difficult if you already live on a boat and are looking to purchase another.


Where Can You Moor a Canal Boat?

When you purchase a canal boat, it will usually come with a mooring deal included. While this price will not be included in the cost of the boat, the lender should usually provide the option of including a mooring deal to ensure there is somewhere to keep the boat.

You can apply for either residential or non-residential mooring. With residential mooring, you can remain in one spot and pay some council tax which can cost around £900 per annum.

Non-residential mooring is better for boats which are used for leisure. It is better to find a residential mooring before purchasing a canal boat to live on due to excessively long waiting lists for specific, desirable areas.