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16 April 2011

Bricks And Water

by Mike

Many people that know me know that I am hoping to get my boat this year. Some people ‘get’ why I want to move onto one, but many don’t…

In this post and a few on-going ones I will start to outline my vision of what I want to do and why I feel this is the right option for me.

Initial Cost

Houses are expensive, no getting away from that fact and put simply I don’t want to pour whatever money I do have into something that may lose value just as easily as gain it.  The property market is volatile. You have no idea where it will be in 2 months let alone 2 years or more so jumping on the property ladder as an investment makes little sense, especially with the economy bouncing around like a yo-yo. Negative equity is a very real possibility in this situation.

A boat on the other hand can be quite a lot cheaper than a house. If you are willing to do a lot of the fitting out yourself, a new boat can be had for £30-40,000 easily enough, less if you are able to take the boat in a less finished state. Boats also tend to hold their price and if you are willing to sell the boat within commuting distance of London, perhaps even gain in value. This for me makes a boat a good choice.

Running Cost

In a house you have council tax, water rates, electricity and other costs of living.  Most of these are unavoidable.

Currently, if you live on a boat and are classed as a ‘constant cruiser’ you pay no council tax as you are generally in a specific area for less than 14 days. Water is included as part of your yearly license fee and sewage is paid for as needed if you have a tank, otherwise you use a cassette toilet and empty it for free. Electricity is normally provided from batteries on board, recharged from your engine as you travel.


While on a boat you still need to live according to the law of the land, being able to move your home elsewhere can be a very liberating feeling. If you don’t get on with your neighbours? Simply cast off and move. Don’t like living in the UK any more? There is a whole continent of waterways just over 20 miles from our coast. Living in a bricks a mortar house doesn’t give you this freedom.

The main other reason I want a boat is that I have a lot of ideas for sustainable living and a boat makes a really nice test-bed for these ideas. (A motorhome or caravan could as well, but a boat appeals far more.) Some of these are fairly simple modifications, but others do require a few changes from the initial design (although they will still be compliant with the Boat Safety  Scheme (BSS)) perhaps they may be viable ideas to base a venture around. If not, I see little reason not to give the ideas and plans away to the world.

I am aiming to build development versions of some of these ideas in the next month or so which should prove how viable they are.