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happymark...
happymark...

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:39am

Post Subject: narrow vs wider canal boats for UK and Europe

I am trying to gain some insights into the advantages and disadvantages of the narrow canal boats compared to the wider ones if planning to live on board for extended periods and cruise in the UK and Europe. Advice appreciated thanks Mark

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:29am

Post Subject: narrow vs wider canal boats for UK and Europe

The UK bit is easy. If it's more than 7ft wide you will not be able to visit all the waterways and the journey between the wide southern waterways and wide northern waterways would have to be by road or sea. The sea bit is not really an option for the vast majority of narrowboats and boat owners. Europe is different in that there are numbers of narrowboats over there but the more experienced boaters seem to be of the opinion that they are not really suitable because of the way their T studs and dollys are very close to the water making working through the large commercial and semi-commercial locks and mooring up difficult. Many who take a narrow boat over seem to buy a barge after a while. There are also issues with things like pump out facilities in France and red diesel in single fuel tanks. I also understand that typical UK narrowboats may well not have enough power to navigate some of the large rivers. In Europe you will need a CENVI certificate so getting that and joining the Barge Association should throw up more info on Europe. Tony Brooks

happymark...
happymark...

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:44am

Post Subject: narrow vs wider canal boats for UK and Europe

Tony, this is most helpful and greatly appreciated. I think we might try renting a boat in the UK at first and perhaps do the same in Europe; are the commercial hire operators the best way to go about it? We are currently in Australia, my wife is English and we plan to spend a considerable amount of time from 2012 onwards in the UK and possibly in Europe regards Mark

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:36pm

Post Subject: narrow vs wider canal boats for UK and Europe

Please do not even consider any "private" hire option because there have been scams and there are all sorts of insurance and licensing implications. I see two options once you have hired a narrowboat for a winter week to make sure you can actually live in a small steel tube during the dark cold winter days. One is to buy a secondhand boat with the intention of selling it before going to Europe. You may well make a loss but it will probably be less than long term hire fees. The second is to contact a number of the companies that actually hire the boats - NOT booking agents like Hoseasons - and see if they will do a deal for a long term hire. I am sure many of the smaller ones would be very happy because they would not have weekly laundry bills etc. Living for long periods on a narrowboat is not for everyone so please hire before you buy and if you do decide to buy please look at as many boats as you can because there are many different layouts and after a while small niggles turn into major aggravations (like having to shut the boat into two halves just because someone wants a shower or getting wet shower curtains wrapped around you because there is not enough room). Also do not dispense with a survey - even on a new boat. I would suggest that you join the Canal World Forum and spend many happy hours poking about in their archives. Tony Brooks

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