Narrow boat on the river Nene at dusk, Peterborough (Julian Dowes) [detail]

zLiving on a boat on Britain's waterways makes for a wonderful way of life!  Our canals and rivers are like a 'commons', where everyone can choose to live well without buying the right to do so (beyond an annual licence fee).  You get your freedom, you're closer than many to nature, you know your neighbours, and for many of us it means owning our own cosy homes.

But it's not for everyone.  If you don't think you'll like...

  • Getting home in winter to find your boat as cold on the inside as on the outside, and having to light a fire before bed.
  • Emptying your own sewage every week or two.
  • Moving to a new mooring every couple of weeks (if you don't have a home mooring).
  • Living without a widescreen telly or similar life-clutter.
  • Assorted surprises, like running out of gas when you're half-way through a shower.
  • And sometimes all the above on the same day...

...then we've heard that it's also possible to live in a house.  But if you don't mind a lifestyle with few rough edges for the sake of a great way of life, then we wholeheartedly recommend it.

This independent guide is for you if you're thinking of either living on board or at least spending a lot of time on a boat.  Here you'll find the rules for moving around and mooring up, the basics of keeping your boat shipshape, an outline of how to choose and buy a boat, and an introduction to canal culture.

The site's new so do contact us with any feedback or suggestions.