8 Tips For Buying Your First Narrowboat

Buying a narrowboat is a commitment. It will become a part of your life. So, it is natural to think that you need a narrowboat that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

In the world of narrowboats, you will encounter multiple types. This article aims to guide you to your dream boat.

Narrowboats come in various sizes and types. There are differences in the stern, engine, and size. It is important to know about these to get a clear idea of what you want. You do not want to be stuck with a boat that will curb your enthusiasm for sailing.

This guide will include the types and sizes of the boats. It will also cover what to look for when buying a boat and how to maintain it. So continue reading below.

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1. Rent A Narrowboat First

You should rent a narrowboat to know what it feels like to live on one first. Life on a boat is a commitment. There will be a lot of things to take care of.

You will need to take care of yourself and your boat on new territories. So it will be a good idea to rent a boat for a test drive before you start searching narrow boats for sale on the internet.

You should rent the boat for a long period of time if you intend to live in it. Renting for two months should be fine.

The costs of renting a boat can range from 200 to 1000pounds per week with additional costs.

2. Determine The Size Of Your Boat

You need to decide on the size of your boat depending on your plan with the boat. If you plan to live full time on the boat then a bigger size of 50 feet should be better.

There are various types with wider or smaller stern areas. The space on the deck also varies. You should check all these out before buying a vessel.

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3. Brand New VS. Second-hand Boat

Boats have a very low depreciation rate. You should also get some ideas about the condition of new boats. The prices of the boats depending on their sizes.

A square is priced at 1000pounds. A brand new boat will come with perfect conditions and a warranty as well. You do not have to spare additional repairing costs for a new boat. So it is advisable that you buy a brand new one.

However, if you find a used boat in a very good condition, then there is no reason to not buy it. You should do a thorough check of all the parts before you sign the contract. Check the engine, paint job, stern, and hull conditions.

If any components need replacement, you can search for functional used sail boat props and utilize them to refurbish the boat. This approach allows you to construct a boat as good as new, all this while keeping costs to a minimum.

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4. Thoroughly Check The Boat

It is important to properly check the boat before buying it. If you find any defects later there might not be an option for you to get your money back. You can hire a marine surveyor to check the quality of the boat.

If you are checking yourself, first know all the boat terminologies. After that, you should look into the engine and gearbox. Make sure there are no leaks in the stern. The hull should have a plating of 10-6-4mm. Check the battery and spare batteries.

They must have a good capacity for electrical power. Having good equipment on board is also a good sign.

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5. Choose A Type Of Boat

Narrowboats come in many sizes and types. They are distinguished based on sterns. There are three types of sterns. These are traditional, semi-traditional, and cruiser types of sterns.

The traditional stern allows less space outside the boat. It will give you more space inside the boat for living.

Semi-traditional sterns are somewhat between traditional and cruiser types. It has good space but looks very generic

Cruiser types of sterns allow a large space outside. This is a great choice if you have a large group of people on board. You will be able to relax outside the boat. The cruiser stern usually offers a space of 4 to 6 square feet.


6. Maintenance Cost Of A Narrowboat

Maintenance of the boat is a year-long process. It goes on at all times. You can hire services at the marinas to repair your boat. The anodes and hull can be changed once every two or three years.

Blacking can be done while changing the black hull. It may cost around 130 pounds to re-do the black hull.

Maintaining the paint job is a good way to preserve your boat for a long time. A thorough paint job will protect the boat from rust. Marinas can do maintenance as well. But check out their equipment and materials first.

7. Miscellaneous Costs

There are a lot of additional costs related to maintaining a narrowboat. You should be prepared to bear those if you plan to buy a narrowboat.

A license can cost up to fifteen hundred pounds for a gold version. The cost of this will vary depending on the size of your boat. The larger the boat is, the higher the price for a license will be.

Mooring will also cost you a hefty amount. The price of mooring will depend on the facilities and quality of the security provided. If you choose a private mooring space, you may have to pay up to 12000pounds for it. A general mooring space with no gates will be a lot cheaper. But you should always look for mooring docks with gates and safety.

Fuel is an important item for your boat. Fuels are calculated as litres per hour. So it will cost you for that proportion depending on the price of where you live. Electric boats run on electricity.

But you still need to pay for charging them. Some appliances on boats will require a gas supply. You can get bottled gas for these.


8. Get Insurance And Safety

You should get insurance right off the bat for your boat. The license will require you to have insurance first. A lot of marinas will ask to see one as well. The licenses for boats are more adjustable than other insurances. You can adapt them to your preferences.

You should invest in security if you want to protect your boat from theft. You should buy locks for fuel tanks and windows. You can use sturdy bolts for the doors. Try to choose a mooring place with gates.


Buying a boat can be a bit overwhelming but rewarding. Be prepared to invest a little time, energy, and try to follow the tips we provided to buy your dream boat.

Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.

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