Saturday, January 4, 2014
What does it cost?
Frequently questions appear on various canal based forums asking how much does it cost to live on a narrowboat. The answers are never definitive and neither can they be. Narrowboat (and Widebeams) come in all shapes and sizes, and are all of varying ages requiring varying standards of maintenance etc. We are continuous cruisers and live on our narrowboat GUELROSE. She is 25 years old in July this year and is 70 feet in length. Because of her design, the multi fuel stove in the lounge area provided no heat to the rear part of the boat so we have a second solid fuel stove in use at the rear of the boat. This rear stove cost far less to run than the main stove as it is only ever on tick over to keep the chill off in the back cabin and main bedroom. (We do have a gas fired Alde boiler fitted that would provide heat via a primitive central heating system, however, the boiler is costly to run and is not working at present - you would not believe that our son has his own gas servicing business and has not yet fixed our boiler!!) In 2013, we cruised the canals and rivers of England, covering 919 miles and 573 locks in 430 hours. The engine was running for a total of 988 hours (we dot not move every day but have to run the engine for approximately 3 hours a day to charge our batteries and to provide us with hot water) and used 1199 litres of diesel. This works out at 1.2 litres of diesel per hour. On average this works out at a pound an hour. Our total expenditure for the year including licence, insurance, moorings (for when we leave the boat), maintenance, gas, diesel, coal and replacement of fittings worked out at 7200 pounds, i.e. 600 pounds per month. This was a high expenditure year as 1500 pounds was spent on hiring a paint dock for a complete repaint (done myself) and hire of a slipway for blacking, again done by myself. During the course of the year we suffered serious problems with diesel in the sump, see previous blog, which cost about 1000 pounds to sort out, requiring a new diesel injector pump, new armchairs were required for the lounge and a new cratch cover was also needed. If you deduct the costs of these 'extras' (bearing in mind everything will need replacing in due time, i.e. batteries in 2014 and new mattress also required) then 'basic expenditure' was about 3600 pounds, i.e. around 300 pound per month plus food and clothing. In 2015, she will require slipping again and will be due her Boat Safety Certificate. All these costs need to be considered very carefully when making the big decision to live on a narrowboat. Someone once likened it to pouring cash into a big pot - continuously!! But, we would not change our life style for the world at the moment. Happy cruising in 2014.