Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Any Questions V.6 - Costs

In light of the fact that some of our readers are not necessarily boaters, last year I started a feature called 'Any Questions?'. I've not had many questions recently so I've not had one of these for a while but if there's anything about narrowboating, or living afloat that you're curious about then please get in touch! Here's today's question and answer.

The other day I had an email asking how much it costs to live afloat. Of course this is one of those questions that don't really have a definitive answer, as it depends on your lifestyle and location and all sorts of other things. There's a good thread on it in CanalWorld Forums here. But here's our costs, bearing in mind that we are off-grid with a 136W solar panel so very rarely run the generator, store perishables outside in the winter, don't have a TV, microwave, hairdryer etc, don't go cruising that often (sadly) and have a very good value mooring! It would look very different if we lived in a marina with a shore line connection or if we were continuous cruisers.

Our costs

  • Mortgage: £350 per month
  • Mooring £1015 per year to the City Council (although we get a student discount so it will be less this coming year)
  • Licence fee £773 per year  (to Cam Conservancy) - on the canals it would be £710
  • Insurance £140 per year (Euromarine)
  • Petrol £5/month for the genny. Rarely used except in the darkest days of winter, as we don't run our fridge in the winter.
  • Diesel: Depends on cruising and price of diesel! Our month long cruise cost £250 or so in diesel last year
  • Coal: £200 for the winter season
  • Gas- £38 per bottle (19kg), two-three bottles a year
  • Blacking: £200-£700 every three years 
  • Painting: £200 for full DIY repaint, £50 for yearly top ups
  • Batteries: £200-300 every 3 or 4 years
  • Boat safety certificate is £125 or so every 4 years.
  • Stern gland grease, fenders, oil, WD40, tools, other bits and pieces- say £150 or so per year.
  • Laundry £7-8/week
  • Internet £15/month for 15GB
  • Basic servicing of the engine we do ourselves
Spread out over a year, that comes to about £600/month for all the costs related to living aboard, between the two of us.

You can see the answers to previous questions here!

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  1. And The Cam Conservancy wonder why we get so angry about a mere £200 hike in licencing fees....?

    Still, it does buy them lots of nice, shiny, (and totally unnecessary) 4 X 4's and also serves to gild the River Foreman's wife's new kitchen with even shinier granite worktops.

    Come The Revolution..... !!!!

    1. Hopefully the CamCon are not long for this world - come the waterways restructuring in 2014, we will see how long they last!

  2. Amy, this is exactly the sort of comprehensive info us wannabe liveaboards are after. Many thanks!

    1. No problem, glad you found it useful!

  3. Great post Amy. I get asked that a lot and wrote about it here http://grandunion.boatshed.com/living-aboard--part-1-costs-blog-7306.html
    But the answer is really (as you said on Twitter) How long is a piece of string? ;-)

    1. It's a difficult one to answer, but like you said on your post, people would be disappointed if they came into it think it's going to hugely cheaper than life on land!

  4. Interesting, although strictly speaking you ought to write off the cost of your solar panels over say ten years and and add an amount for depreciation of the value of the boat plus something for the inevitable day when something expensive breaks. I suspect that Herbie is depreciating at £1000 a year or more.