Moving To A Houseboat In London

Houseboat London

Leaving terra firma for the aquatic waterways is more than just a change of address.  Adapting to life on the river is a whole new kettle of fish, and beyond buying a boat there are many other factors to consider. Firstly, will you embrace the continuous cruising lifestyle or seek out a residential mooring? Secondly, for a residential mooring, you will have to decide whether you want to live in a marina or by the canal.  And, although you may be moving to avoid inflated house prices, the same rules still apply for the desirable inner London locations.  For a mooring in central London, expect to pay more than the value of the boat you will have to buy in that location.  Suburban locations may be around £4,000 per year, but in the city centre prices can climb to £20,000 per year. 

Is a houseboat a cheaper option in London? 

There are many reasons why a houseboat is cheaper than bricks and mortar.  Initially, the lack of stamp duty to pay on your home is a plus.  Secondly, if you go for residential mooring, you will be in the lowest band for Council Tax.  Additionally, and super relevant in today’s energy crisis, you are going to be much more aware of your resources and how you use them.  Life on a narrowboat really brings to light the finite nature of water, fuel, electricity, and gas.  Being in control of these resources yourself, through purchasing and fitting gas bottles, using a wood-burning stove, and charging batteries could be liberating as energy prices continue to hike.  Finally, if you take the continuous cruising path, you will be free of mooring fees. 

Costs to consider when moving to a houseboat 

There are however other costs to outlay and of course the continual upkeep of your vessel, which is no small detail. As waterborne vessels are seen as depreciating assets, they must be maintained to retain their value.  Procedures such as bottom blacking are recommended every two years.  Beyond that, factor in these basic outgoings per year.  An excellent personal account of costs throughout a year concludes that a modest income and savings are essential to make it work. 

  • Mooring Fees – £2,000- £18,000 per year 
  • Boat License    – £510 – 1,100 a year 
  • Boat Safety Certificate – £150 plus repairs 
  • Insurance                         – £200 
  • Boat Survey                        -£ 350 – 450 plus repairs 

Researching your options 

 Finding a residential mooring in London is unlikely unless you buy a boat that already has a residential mooring.  If the mooring can be legally transferred to you when you buy the boat, then you have a chance to secure that location.  It is not as simple as a straightforward purchase, and worth looking into in advance.  If you don’t want the off-grid lifestyle then Aquavista Marinas, which comes with WIFI, showers, and electricity is worth checking out.  Alternatively, if you are hale and hearty and up for the gritty realism, there are guidelines to prepare for the new lifestyle here at Boating on the Thames. To find options for residential moorings in London check out this Guide to London’s Marinas for houseboats. The boating community is one of the major assets of this way of life and can be found by the water and at the Online community Canal World forum. Plus, Waterways World and Canal Boat Magazine both publish annual mooring supplements which are full of insider tips, advice, and opportunities.  To get a handle on what is really involved, don’t just search for dream boats, as you would on Rightmove.  Spend some time living on a narrowboat or houseboat to see if it really matches your fantasy before you take the plunge. 

Growing enthusiasm for life on the water

In the last five years, there has been a 60 percent increase in boats registered to be moored in London’s waterways.  As a result, the number of moorings is increasing, with new berths established at Limehouse, Bow Wharf, Homerton, Alperton, Burdett Road, and Matchmakers Wharf.  With this is the chance to secure a residential mooring, which could be an asset in the city.  Advances in technology, including LED’s and solar panels, have all helped increase the possibility of life on the canal.  At the same time, the eyewatering rental costs in London, make boat life a flexible alternative, particularly for those with unpredictable income.  Being able to work from the bankside, makes this idyllic prospect even more appealing for some.  However, despite some technological advances, there is still the unavoidable intimacy with your own sewage that can characterize life on the water. 

Downscaling and decluttering

The city’s canal system and continuous cruising may afford you a variety of illustrious addresses.  Or in the summertime, you can head out for greener pastures and holiday at home.  These great freedoms come at a cost, which is you can’t have much stuff with you.  What you do keep onboard is going to have to be functional and in accord with your limited space, and your survival requirements on the water. This can be seen as an advantage, an even greater freedom, by having fewer possessions to curate.  If you are preparing to move into a houseboat you will have to downscale and declutter.  Luckily, in the city, there are many storage options to use if you still need equipment for work.  Or, if you are moving, but not sure how long you will be on the waters, you can store your dry land treasures until you need them again.  When making major changes in life, it is hard to decide what needs to go and stay, but by taking the minimum on board and having 24-hour storage access, you can have the best of both worlds. 

Aussie Man And Van London 

In changing times in the city, we all need flexible solutions which can cut our costs down. At Aussie, we pride ourselves on our flexibility to provide excellent removals and storage services in the heart of the capital.  We just believe anything is possible and are happy to make it happen.  That’s why if you live on land or water, we can be of service to you, whatever sector of the city you are in. Wherever you are on the water in London, our services are close by. With three different storage options, we can offer competitive prices and tailor-made plans for your circumstances.  Our Man and Van can provide transport for smaller moves, and if you need a handyman or a cleaner we can provide it. For home, office, or international moves, we can be your dream team.  Contact us for a quote and we will do our best to make your move like water off a duck’s back.