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Subject   (reply to 7379)
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canal boat.jpg
>> No. 7379 Anonymous
24th August 2018
Friday 8:38 pm
7379 'Alternative' living
What are your options in the UK if you don't want to pay rent to a landlord and you don't want to pay off a mortgage until you're 60? Let''s assume you have access to mobile internet and a way to make a very modest living from home.

This thread is inspired by me seeing an ad for a canal boat for 18k. It's smaller than a studio flat but it's cosy enough and has all the basic amenities. Apparently you can avoid paying any sort of mooring fees by moving along the canal every two weeks, essentially being a kind of canal gypsy. People often say that a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money, but how true is that for canal boats? Seems like there'd be far less maintenance for a boat lazily cruising along freshwater canals.

I would quite happily buy some cheap land and live in a caravan or yurt or build a log cabin, but it seems like local councils and planning permissions would get in the way. What's the cheapest sort of house you could build that would get approval?
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>> No. 7380 Anonymous
24th August 2018
Friday 8:58 pm
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You can get a bus for a few grand, but you'll probably have to spend £15,000 to £20,000 getting it into a habitable condition. You'd probably need planning permission if you find a patch of land for it.

>> No. 7381 Anonymous
25th August 2018
Saturday 3:52 am
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Boats are truly quite expensive to maintain, though if you have some mechanical skills, or are willing to learn them, it can be a lot cheaper. And obviously if you just moor up somewhere and pay the fees you never have to worry about the engine and that. Whether the maintenance of a boat is actually any more expensive than the upkeep of a a house you own? Probably not. I don't know a huge amount about boats, but I'm sure you could find a canal boat forum somewhere and learn what to look out for when buying one.

The cheapest way I could think of is buying a used motorhome, or like >>7380 says, a bus conversion. The advantage of a motorhome is that you can easily use proper camping sites, which can be fairly cheap on the off season, and if you're willing to go off the grid a bit (get a nice camper with a good leisure battery system or even a generator out the back) you might have a very, very, small overhead indeed.

Nobody's ever going to kick you out of a layby or anything like that, you'll find a lot of places where you can park up and nobody will bat an eye. Particularly in Scotland, where wild camping is considered a legal right, rather than trespassing as it is in England. You'd still likely have to move around, but that seems part of the charm to me.
>> No. 7382 Anonymous
25th August 2018
Saturday 7:58 am
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It's probably obvious, but you'll need a friend or family member who you can use as a fixed address.
PO boxes aren't accepted by a lot of organisations such as the DVLA.
>> No. 7383 Anonymous
25th August 2018
Saturday 9:50 am
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Are old buses cheaper to maintain than boats? Maintenance on my not-so-old 7.5t van was hard to DIY because of the scale, and parts were cripplingly expensive. Getting it towed to a repair place will bankrupt you.
Not saying boat maintenance is cheap, and anything that needs hauling out is going to need saving up for. I think that there are probably fewer critical systems on a canal boat, though.
>> No. 7384 Anonymous
25th August 2018
Saturday 10:08 am
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I don't think you'd need to maintain it in that sense. It'd be effectively using it like a static caravan.
>> No. 7385 Anonymous
25th August 2018
Saturday 11:33 am
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Like a lot of people I don't relish the idea of taking out massive mortgages or giving away 2/3 of what I earn to rent.

A quick search on the OP's idea revealed the following helpful article: https://uk.boats.com/boat-buyers-guide/living-on-a-boat/#.W4Eq3s4zqUk

There's a Residential Boat Owner's Association (RBOA), too: https://www.rboa.org.uk/living-afloat/

Guides variously use terms like 'liveaboard' or 'living afloat' to describe the strategy. The RBOA have a book on the subject here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Living-Afloat-C-Valerie-Lee/dp/0953246523
>> No. 7386 Anonymous
28th August 2018
Tuesday 6:31 pm
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A boat can be a fine idea, but it isn't for everyone.

>Apparently you can avoid paying any sort of mooring fees by moving along the canal every two weeks
This is true, however you're not likely to get away with simply moving 10 minutes along the towpath. I know that in (or near) London especially the CRT are quite hot on checking people out and that 'continuous cruisers' must move a couple of miles at least, and the same again after 2 weeks. So you can't go backwards and forwards between two places. They may be more lenient elsewhere, but I expect that around other built up areas it's the same story.


My advice would be if you're thinking of moving on to the canal then you should spend some time on a boat. Maybe start walking along the canal and speak to people on the boats - they're (usually) pretty friendly folk. Sometimes people will rent out their boats for a while if they're going away or something like that.

When I said it's not for everyone I mean that you have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. When you're moving your boat in the pissing rain with nobody to help you through the locks, then you've got to ride your bike back to your car and put your bike in the car, drive to the petrol garage and pick up a few bags of coal because you ran out in the middle of the night, then you've got to try and park near to where you moored up but the nearest bridge is half a mile from your boat, then you've got to trudge along the towpath with your coal in your wheelbarrow, then you remember your shitter's full and you forgot to empty it when you filled up your water tank, etc. Can be quite long, but if you're organised and/or not so bothered by that sort of thing then happy days await.

They can definitely be a money sink, so do some research before you go dropping thousands of pounds on a boat because it's cheaper than a house or flat. I would say it's worth looking at boats moored at non-residential marinas, they're likely to have been owned by old couples who used them rarely and kept them in good nick.

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