Not all 'plain sailing'

Published: Thursday, 01 August 2019

I CAN understand people saying that prospective boat buyers should hire one first to see if they take to it, writes John Bowden.

Though I don't know the situation of those people referred to, in my case I simply wanted somewhere fairly cheap to live, so hiring a boat to sail the canals would not really have served any purpose, so I simply went around inspecting boats and discovering how things work and what would suit me.

Total lack of insulation

However, I too did not realise that total lack of insulation in boats, that were extremely cold in winter, being on water, and very hot in the summer with the sun beating down on them when I finally made my choice and moved in. For heating I chose an Alde gas heater as I already had gas tanks installed. However, though there was a thermostat there was no way I could discover a method of switching it on from the bedroom prior to rising, so had to suffer the cold.

The lack of space does not bother me as I live alone, and once the heater is going, all was okay during the winter months. Electricity was available and water was handy enough, but though I believe I was sensible enough to have a boat with a toilet tank and not the system where you have to carry waste to a place to dump it, my problem is getting the boat to the pump facility that is some way away through two locks.

Neither skill not inclination

No doubt I would have discovered this had I hired a boat first, but i have neither the skill nor the inclination to drive a boat on my own, so my main concern, and advice to others, is that such boat living is not all plain sailing, if you will pardon the pun.

[The author tells us he lives on a 62ft narrowboat permanently moored.]