Vlog 213: On the Money

A year after I moved aboard, I did a video about what my annual costs were for life afloat. Now, after four years on board, I present an updated version of the same using averaged figures over the full four years.

This is not a “pretty picture” vlog, it’s just me talking for 20+ minutes, so best to have a nice cup of tea handy.

See also this video I did about the rules on continuous cruising: www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_p70h-Rxps

Link to the CRT licence costs page: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/boating/buy-your-boat-licence/useful-downloads-application-forms-and-licence-fees

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  1. Aloha
    Watching your Prime videos and Vlogs all the way Hawaii. Great stuff, thanks. One thing is for sure one would never want an underpowered narrow flat bottom boat out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! haha
    I hope to come to England again soon (if this COVID thing ever ends) and try a Narrowboat vacation as I’m completely enamored with the idea (hopefully I won’t freeze to death being accustomed to tropical weather).
    I read something about a Council Tax but I’m curious as to whether that applies to Narrowboats and is it based on the value of the property? From what I could glean from various vague websites it seems one pays an annual flat fee, depending on your location, regardless of whether it’s a shack or a mansion.

    • Hi. Council tax is not a flat fee as such, it depends on the notional value of the property based on 1991 values when the scheme was introduced and there are a number of ‘bands’ so Band A is the cheapest and Band E or F is the most expensive (I have never owned or lived in a “most expensive band” property so I’m not sure what that band is!).

      Narrowboats, not being bricks and mortar homes and being mobile, do not pay council tax – after all, which council would you pay it to if the boat moves around every two weeks – UNLESS they have a permanent, official, fixed residential mooring (and most moorings are not classed as residential).

  2. Hi! I am not sure if this is the best place to write about my question but here it is. Would it be possible to offer an option to buy the whole season of “Cruising the Cut” on Amazon? I live in the U.S. and I only see an option of buying single episodes which means clicking a buy button 10 plus times to get one season. By the way, great videos and great content. Thanks!

    • Hi. Glad you enjoy them! When I started – and uploading to Prime was new to me – I deliberately only offered the single episode purchase because if you offer “buy season” then Amazon removes the option to ever take out individual episodes, which I thought I might need someday (imagine, hypothetically, that someone sued me over an episode and it needed to be removed. Not that I envisage that happening but I wanted to be cautious and leave the option open)

  3. I noted the 60/40 diesel tax distribution and your considerable use of coal. I however has seen nothing so far on YOUR specific use of your installed diesel fired central heating in so far as how much you rely on it in combination with your coal heating. Is this just an oversight or are there issues about it that discourage you using it?

    • I just rarely use it. If it’s cold enough to need heating I tend to light the stove. The diesel heating only tends to be used very, very occasionally when it’s just a bit nippy and not worth using the stove but in that case I tend to just put another jumper on. The heater gets used for hot water more than space heating.

  4. Barry Woodhouse

    Very interesting David. We don’t live aboard our boat although our daughter and her husband do live on theirs. Correct me if I missed this item, but you didn’t mention the BSS and any possible costs to ‘put things right’. Keep up the good work, your vlogs are helping to keep us both sane!

    • I always forget about the BSS (!) because I’ve only had it done once and nothing needed doing. It’s about £30 a year, averaged out over the four year interval, I think. A separate maintenance budget for unexpected costs should always be kept of course but I don’t class that as a running expense.

  5. David,
    Excellent casual banter on a typically boring subject. You made it fun and interesting. I would imagine the costs are so much better to handle than a small house or apartment. And you get to have such a splendid change of scenery on a regular basis. I have a 43 foot boat and I assure you for my less than 6 month season, I spend twice as much even if I never move the boat.. I get 1 mile per gallon of Diesel when I do move it. I still need the house etc to live my “regular”life.
    Keep up the great work and I for one am very pleased you decided to cruise the cut!

  6. Bill Van Auken

    Has it really been that many years? Seems like episodes under 25 were just yesterday! Congratulations on a successful run, may you have many more.

  7. Hi David John’s.
    It was nice to meet you at Kings orchard marina and do you have any advice on looking for a 57ft narrowboat? Because my mum and dad are going to devorst each other and I feel sad about that and I am trying my best to get over it. I would like to ask you a question and it is, How much cheese do you go through per day? And you can not have cheese all of the time but it is healthy for you.

  8. Very interesting vlog, as usual, David.

    My wife and I bought a used Winnebago motorhome a few years ago, and I’ve kept records as you did. Annual fixed costs are reasonable, but we have spent a considerable amount on improvements and maintenance.

    We are not full-timers like you are, so it is an expense beyond our normal household cost, but well worth the money for the recreational outlet we have chosen.

  9. Malvern Carvell

    Excellent Info David. You didn’t mention the “T” word – we have a pump out and reckon on spending about £300 – £350 a year with the two of us on board = every three weeks £15 to £20 (cheapest £12.50 [Oxley Marine] most expensive £25 [Sutton Stop]). Also the reason for your mooring costs being high is , like us, you were still paying monthly even when you were out cruising at Clifton. Trust you are staying safe, hopefully you’re not still coughing!!


    Malvern and Laura

    • I forgot about pump outs entirely! The cough stopped as soon as I switched off the camcorder, of course hahahaha

  10. Bruce P Landau

    Nice microphone. Do you like it?

  11. Michael Higgins

    This video was awesome David and the haircut looks great! I appreciate your taking the time to do this one, as most responsible people, really do count the cost before they endeavor to take on a project or lifestyle change. I find these cost analysis videos very interesting, not boring at all. One or two things I’d like to ask. 1. What do you imagine would be the difference in cost of operating a diesel heating stove versus the multi-fuel/coal stoves? 2. What are the benefits/downside of operating a 220v fridge versus a 12v ? 3. If you were to install a Washing Machine, would you also install a Travel Generator? Thank for this one David.

    • I have a washing machine (see vlog 161) and run it on cold when away from the shoreline. The downside of a 230V fridge is you have to run the inverter continuously which drains a little power plus the conversion is inefficient, so it uses more than the fridge’s quoted power consumption. As long as you have the battery bank and solar to support it, no problem. Diesel stove would be more expensive, although at present with the oil price collapsing, maybe not!

      • Hi David Johns.

        It was nice to meet you at Kings orchard marina. I have subscribed to your channel. What did you use to cut your hair with? And when you were telling us about the costs for a narrowboat and there is one thing that you missed on your spreadsheet was breakdown cover for your car and van (vaney) and also your canalboat. But apart from that you gave us good information about the costs for canalboats.


        • Hi Toby. I bought some electric clippers from Amazon. I don’t have any breakdown cover on the car, van or boat hence why I didn’t give a figure. Cheers

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