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Running costs for 36ft narrowboat

Seeking advice on likely costs for running a canal boat in region of 15 yrs old and 36ft length (Yes, I probably need to buy a copy of IBOB but the urge has suddenly struck and I can't wait!). Last owned a boat 10 years ago, so things probably 'moved on' quite a bit since then.
Grateful for feedback on whether the figures I've pencilled in are realistic. Any info on any of the missing figures gratefully received.
Licence for canals: £560 for 36 ft
Mooring: (eg Grand Union between Kings Langley & Berkhamsted) £??
Alternatively:
Licence for Thames: £345 (2m x 11m)
Mooring on middle Thames: (Somewhere between Wallingford & Swinford) £??
Insurance: £120??
Allowance towards 2 yearly bottom blacking: £500 pa?
Allowance for engine maintenance & repairs: £150 pa?
Diesel (Assume one 2 week holiday pa plus 15 week-ends 'messing about': roughly 200 hours running pa.): £??
Gas for season: say £50
fuel for solid fuel stove: say £50
'Hidden' costs:
Cost of finance: Loss of nett interest on £22k taken from savings account, say £600
Depreciation: Hoping this would be minimal if I choose the right boat (Small 'week-end' boats by by trusted builder always in demand??)
Anything else?
Many thanks in anticipation.

Asked by: Graham Pierce  | 3.21pm, Saturday 13 August


WW says:

As you suggest, most of the answers can be found in IBOB or in an updated article appears each year in the Waterways World Annual - both available via this website.
The mooring charge questions are a bit too specific for these publications but a quick bit of googling should provide the answers you want. 'www.bwmooringvacancies.com/media/pdf/Published-Price-List-2011.pdf' would be a good place to start for the BW moorings. Don't forget that, since you last owned a boat, BW has introduced an auction system so it is not quite as straightforward as it used to be.
You may also find that 36ft narrowboats are not as popular these days. A large proportion of boats are bought for extended cruising/liveaboard use and 36ft is a bit tight for this,

Graham Booth  | 5.59PM, Sunday 14 August

After posting my first answer, we went boating today and saw several 36 to 40 footers which goes to show the dangers of making sweeping generalisations.
You are right that moorings are the major single expense in boating these days.
Your observations on the gradual demise of 'messing about in boats' are sad but also true.
Don't forget the 'middle way' option of shared ownership. It may have gone through a rough patch in the last year or so but you can still buy new or second-hand shares and the management companies are keen to emphasise how transparent the new accounting systems are.

Graham Booth  | 7.09PM, Monday 15 August

Graham (Pierce), you might be interested in the latest edition of NABO News, which outlines the results of NABO's annual 'cost of boating' survey:
http://nabo.org.uk/files/nabo-news/nn-2011/5.pdf
It's not ideal - it's a small sample, and there's no statistical adjustment - but the accompanying comments are very useful.

Andrew Denny  | 10.32PM, Wednesday 17 August


Readers say:

Thanks Graham. Yes, 36 footers do seem to be rare these days. A great pity as they can be turned almost anywhere which is handy if you are only out for a few days. Overall running expenses seem to be much greater, especially moorings. The 'ordinary guy' seems to be being priced off the canals (Short of selling your house and committing totally). Whatever happened to 'messing about in boats'? The figures seem to be stacking up to about £3k per year in running expenses. I'll have to consider seriously whether I'd be better spending that amount of money on hiring instead of buying.

Graham Pierce  | 6.34PM, Sunday 14 August

Andrew, thanks for the NABO download. Very interesting read (Tho took some time to download!).
Based on that, and the Waterways World 2010 Annual that I'd forgotten I had in my magazine rack, I've firmed up my figures as follows:
Licence for canals £560 for 36 ft
Mooring: say £1 100 Oxford Canal, up to £1 400 Grand Union Hemel region
Thus total mooring + licence for canal: £1 660/£1 990
Alternatively:
Licence for Thames £345 (2m x 11m)
Mooring on middle Thames: boatyard quote of £128per metre £1 400
Thus total mooring + licence for mid Thames: £1 745
Insurance: say £250
Allowance towards 2 yearly bottom blacking: Say £10 per foot. Set aside £200 pa
Allowance for engine maintenance, repairs & basic 'rescue' membership: £200
Diesel (45 days cruising): allow £400
Gas for season: say £50
fuel for solid fuel stove: say £50
Pump-out: nil, thanks to Porta-Potty
BSS: Allow £150 for inspection every 4 years: £40 pa
'Hidden' costs:
Cost of finance: Loss of nett interest on £22k taken from savings account, say £600
Depreciation: assuming a minimal 2% say £440
Grand total: between £3 900 and £4 200

Graham Pierce  | 2.03PM, Thursday 18 August

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