Where it started

Me and my partner strolled along the towpath on a hot summers day. We’d gone to have a bit of lunch just to get out of the house, and decided to go to Sharpness which is very local to us. As we walked along we watched the boats gently pass by with curiosity. “What about a boat? We could live on a boat” We’d been trying to save for accommodation for two years, and we were currently residing at his parent’s home. Safe to say, we weren’t doing all that great. We couldn’t get a large enough mortgage, but dreaded the thought of renting. “Yeah” I thought, “I could do that, it sounds fun”.

And thats where it started. But how were we going to afford to buy this boat? Where do we start looking? How much do boats cost? I really didn’t know anything about boats at the time, apart from knowing I liked the look of them. I didn’t know if I’d actually like them enough to live on one, but I was determined to give it a go. I’d been on boats before, generally river cruisers or small ferries. I’d never been on a boat for more than a night however, apart from a houseboat in Amsterdam which was fixed to the ground. Marc (my partner) had been on a few boating holidays on narrowboats so generally knew the basics.


- Taken by Rebecca Townsend

Amsterdam Houseboat View


The price for a boat really ranged from £5,000 to £150,000. Our budget was around £30,000. We wanted something that was big enough for the two of us and didn’t need much work doing to it. There was a lot of beautiful boats just over our price range which was disheartening, but we eventually found one that fit the bill!

Websites we found useful included:

Apollo Duck


Towpath Talk


Boats and Outboards


It was just a question now of how we would afford it. We realised that there were only a few ways to go about it (bare in mind we had no savings)…

  1. A personal loan of up to £25,000 (the boat cost £30,000 so we’d need to save)
  2. A Marine Mortgage (only available if you had a property to use as security for the loan)
  3. Marine Finance (up to £25,000) (again we’d need to save)
  4. Guarantor (find someone who really really loved us!)
  5. Save (takes way too long!)

Marc’s parents were kind enough to be the guarantors for us and extended their mortgage. This allowed us to have the money almost instantly and buy the boat! We settled for a ex-hire boat named Fleetwing, and fell in love with her as soon as we saw her!

Our Boat!


We then needed to sort out a mooring. Me and Marc both have jobs and didn’t fancy having to move every two weeks to keep within the canal law. We were lucky enough to get a space at Bath Marina. Kevin (the manager) was extremely helpful and had a great personality which attracted us to stay in that marina. The costs were attractive as well. Just over £3500 for a permanent berth for a year, including water and electricity hook up. There is also toilet, shower and laundry facilities. The best part is that its right next to the city of bath! And not far from Bristol.

We are currently waiting for the boat to be delivered on the 11th of July. As well as being excited I am also thinking.. “What have I gotten myself into?!” WATCH THIS SPACE!


If you are considering taking the plunge and buying a boat to live on, here are a few websites to visit..








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