Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Living Aboard Part 2: Moorings

If you've decided to live aboard a narrowboat your next decision may be where to live. Most boats are not sold with a mooring, so while looking at boats for sale you should also be considering your mooring options.

Residential Moorings

Most mooring sites are leisure moorings which means they are officially non-residential. However British Waterways do operate some residential moorings and a few are provided by boatyards and marinas.

If you register your details on http://www.bwmooringvacancies.com you can save a search for residential moorings and have vacancies sent to you by email as and when they are published by BW.

Residential moorings may or may not provide diesel sales, 240 volt electricity supply, waste disposal, parking, land line telephone, launderette, a postal address or a water point. Consider which services are important to you, and within your budget.  You may also want to check the distance to local amenities such as grocery shops and the GP.

Continuous Cruising

If you would like to travel around without staying in any one place for more than fourteen days then the British Waterways Guidelines for Continuous Cruisers advise that boaters should be engaged in a genuine progressive journey around a significant part of the canal system. This is a requirement of purchasing a continuous cruising license and ensures that popular visitor moorings do not become overcrowded.  This can be a varied and satisfying lifestyle for someone who is happy to be on the move; for example a retired couple, or someone who works from home. Make sure that you read the full guidelines before choosing continuous cruising. British Waterways are currently researching ways to 'rule out repetitive 'to-ing' and 'froing' within the same geographical area'. If you do not have a permanent mooring bear in mind that your boat will be moored on the towpath which could be less secure, especially in inner city areas.

Winter Moorings

British Waterways let out some of their visitor mooring spaces as ‘Winter Moorings’. These can be purchased through their mooring vacancies website at the beginning of October. Some marinas and private mooring providers also offer winter moorings. During the winter months the weather and stoppages for canal maintenance make cruising more difficult. Some boaters prefer to settle down for the winter and then continue to cruise in the summer months. Depending on your situation you could apply for a different winter mooring each year or keep returning to the same place if availability allows.

So whether you are choosing between a second hand narrowboat, a Dutch barge or a wide beam houseboat for sale there are also decisions to make about whether you wish to find a residential mooring. Use the boat search facility on Boatshed Grand Union to view a selection of boats suitable for living aboard.


Disclosure: I was commissioned to write this post for the Boatshed Grand Union website. It was my choice to re-publish it here where I hope it is of interest to some of my readers.
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