Living on a narrow boat is not so easy as people believe


I  am here in my lovely studio flat in Bristol due to this pandemic called coronavirus and  thinking at my previous life in a narrow boat called Summer place 

Yea , guys 

I lived for 2 years cruising along the canals of the capital on a 40 feet narrow boat

A sort of Indiana jones 

I decided to purchase her in 2017 when i left my bedroom in a share house in Wood Green,  London 

I was living my life half in the capital where i was working and half in Wiltshire with my previous partner 

The rents in the capital are always so expensive , so after a research online i thought buying a narrow boat was the best solution for me to live part time in London


But now i can say that what it is written online about the romantic style of life on the canals can not be true 

Exspecially if you are a single woman and decide to be a cruiser for the type of licence you buy with River Trust Canal

Do not buy an old boat 

Mine , called Summer place , was a lovely boat but too old to live on  her  full time ! or even part time 

She was fine for a summer holiday but in winter was a terrible fridge

Cpl Brazier Smokeless Coal 20Kg on Amazon  click here to order 

Cassandra Hot Water Bottle, Ribbed Surface Both Sides, 1.8 Litre, 5 Year Cassandra Guarantee, Colour Received Varies on Amazon  click here to order


Buy your boat nearest the place where you live if you do not know how to drive a monster of steel and wood 

I committed the mistake to purchase my boat in Birmingham and had to travel for 9 long days for 9 hours a day until London 

Still now i have a nightmare if i think how many locks (285)  and tunnels did cruising under an hot sun but also an heavy rain 

In the evening i was crying for the pain i had in my arms due to the opening of all those locks .


River trust Canal is a nightmare !

Be carefull in the type of licence  you decide to buy from River Trust 

River Trust is a charity but they chase you all the time if you do not respect the miles per year 

They were a nightmare with me 

They complained i was mooring always  in the same places even if i was moving my boat every 2 weeks 

This was happening because i am scared to   cruise among locks and decided to stay in the west side of the capital going from Little Venice to Uxbridge and coming back  respecting the miles requested per year 

But for River Trust Canal  is not enough

They do not care if you are a single woman and you moore in the same places where you feel yourself safe in the long winter night 

They reduce your licence and you can arrive to loose your boat 

i am lucky i sold the boat before loosing my boat 


A narrow boat is not so cheap as people believe 

A boat needs attention and you must be prepared to spend lots of money on her 

Blacking , bacteries , oil , diesel , coals , woods , pump out , ropes , filters 

Gorilla Glue 3044721 Gorilla Tape Waterproof Patch & Seal Black, 3m on Amazon click here to order

A  boat had an engine ..and if the boat is old there is alwasy a problem 

I always advice to become a member of River Rescue Canals

The engineers of that company saved my life more than once 

They are very good and always available to give you an help when you find yourself stucked in the middle of nowhere 

VITIKE Hiking Shoes Jungle Boys Walking Trekking Lightweight Outdoor Sporty Shoes Climbing Boots(Yellow-EU31)(Size: 12.5 UK Child) on Amazon click here to order

You need to be fit and sporty and well dressed during your winter cruise 

i bought this jacket and it was a great choise 

Regatta Women's Lexia Waterproof & Breathable Thermo-Guard Insulated Faux Fur Hooded Outdoor Winter Parka Jacket, Blue Opal, S (12) on Amazon click here to order 

Lots of strengh and energy is requested 

Mooring a monster of steel and wood is not easy 

You need to lift buckets of coals and wood to warm your boat in the cold winter  

You need to manage your boat with ropes and a frozen tiller 

Gloves are useless because you need your hands free when managing a narrow boat 

There are no brackes on a boat and you must be carefull at speed and wind 

I still remember the terribles moment in Alperton /London when i almost lost my boat for the wind 

The engine was broken and i was awaiting for the engineer ... i decided to move the boat just 5 metres from the place where i was to find a bit more protection from the wind ... but that wind was bringing away my boat after just 3 minutes i took that decision ... fortunately at 8 am there was a nice guy walking on the path who was ready to run and fight with me against the wing to bring back my boat 

On your boat you have usually gas cilinders and there are heavy 

If you are a single woman look for the smallest ones on the market but please be carefull when you decide to change one of them 

Svb X Liquid Gas Cylinder, 3 kg on Amazon click here to order

When i bought my Summer place i found the big gas cilenders and i could not lift them  when they were finished 

I needed to go to a marina for help 

But a visit to a marina can cost a day of travel because in London they are rare and not alwasy open

And your boat is very slow 

She can reach just 6 miles per hour !!

Then you must be carefull with the use of toilet paper 

 Big Sale 6/8/12 x Classic Clean Toilet Tissue 3 Ply Toilet Paper Clean Toilet Tissue Roll Paper Towels Toilet Tissues Bathroom Tissues Paper Rolls Bath Tissue Household Paper Kitchen Tissues on Amazon click here to order

Pump out is expensive ,  the marinas are not alwasy open or you cant travel because  of the weather conditions 

An old boat is cold 

If you arrive in the evening after a day at work , you can find also 2 degrees 

Same outdoor temperature  

I still remember when i found my bottle of olive oil frozen !!

Crete Oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil 5 kg on Amazon click here to order

You need a good and strong stove to warm everything up and good coal 

Coal is much better than wood 

Anyway after 2 hours   you can have a nice warm boat and always remember to put an alarm in the night to add more coal in the stove if you do not want to find yourself frozen in the morning !

Do not forget the wood smells and sometimes must be embarassing if you have important meetings !

Try to figure yourself dressed like an important manager but smelling of burnt wood !!

Not really professional 

Coal is heavy 

if you do not have a car you must buy it in a marina or through the boaters  you can meet sometimes on the canals 

But Kindling are essentials to start a  very quick  fire 

I always used this 

Kindling Wood - Kiln Dried, Natural Firelighters Ideal for Fire Starting, 15kg of Nets, Premium Quality Ready to Light - Fast Delivery on Amazon click here to order

In Summer everything is much better 

But we live in England so before buying a boat think properly if you are the right one for this adventure

Thanks for reading  

As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying