How much does a Narrowboat cost?

So aside from the lifestyle benefits a big draw for people considering a liveaboard is the perceived reduction in cost of living. We currently rent in a 3 bedroom semi-detached home with a small garage, garden and driveway in Northampton, which really sets us back a fair amount a month, £850.00 to be precise.

With this in mind surely living on a narrowboat must be cheaper? So where exactly would we save and how much?

Obviously we would initially save the cost of the rent we currently pay, however we will still have loan repayments, which although eventually gives you an asset there is still the interest, which like our rent now is gone forever.

Due to our age, credit scores and assets it seems we will get stung on the borrowing front at around 12% APR. Which with us looking at borrowing around £25,000 means we will be paying around £135.00 a month in interest. On top of this we have our mooring fees, which I guess is probably the closest thing to rent with the liveaboard lifestyle. This is a cost we could avoid by continuously cruising but its advantages for us far out way the financial impact, roughly £2500.00 a year, which works out to be just shy of £208 a month. We have also decided, to start with at least, that we will need to rent some extra storage, whilst we thin our belongings down, this comes in at £60 a month.

Narrowboat owners must have 2 things, the closest thing we have found to liken it to is owning a road car, firstly insurance at around £200 a year (£17 a month) and a Boat Licence (which is the equivalent of road tax) at nearly £1000 a year (£83 a month).

Is there anything we will no longer need, besides our belongings in the storage unit? In our mooring fee we get water at no extra expense (Compared to the £47.00 a month we currently pay in our rented accommodation). We also get free WiFi at the marina so broadband is gone along with our Virgin media subscription (as they won’t route a cable to the boat!) giving us another saving of £50.00.

So to summarise where we hope to save:

  • House Rent @ £850.00
  • Water Rates @ £47.00
  • Virgin Media @ £50.00

Total = £947.00

Extra Spending

  • Intrest on loan @ £135.00
  • Marina Mooring @ £208.00
  • Storage Unit @ £60.00
  • Insurance @ £17.00
  • Boat License @ £83/00

Total = £503.00

So is the saving worth it?

£947.00-£503.00 = £444.00

That’s £444.00 saving before any unexpected costs, which isn’t as big a saving as we initially thought but is still quite substantial, £5,328 a year. This doesn’t take into account any maintenance on the boat but we think we should be able to swallow that out of the savings over the year. For us though it isn’t just the cheep living that appeals, although it certainly helps for James, it’s much more about the lifestyle change. We will both have better commutes to work than any rented accommodation we could afford, and we can’t currently buy a house that offers much more space than a narrowboat! Certainly not in the amazing location of the marina we like (The cheapest house for sale near by is over £200,000 and again not much more than a narrowboat in size).

For us we definitely think it’s worth it we should be able to save a little money and live a better lifestyle in a great location in rural England.

James & Kirsty




3 thoughts on “How much does a Narrowboat cost?

  1. So a couple of extras I missed off sorry.

    Narrow Boats need to be Blacked (the Hull needs to painted with a heavy oil based paint, usual Black hence the name) and the anodes (chunks of sacrificial magnesium that is attached to the hull to prevent rusting) need to be changed around ever 2 years.
    This cost roughly £1000 which is a monthly cost of £42.

    So our saving per year is reduced to £4824.

    This is before any depreciation of the Boat which is hard to predict, although we hope it to be significantly less than £4824 a year. It seems that boats hold there value well if kept in good condition and don’t just depreciate as the years tick by like cars.



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