Thursday, 5 January 2012

Living on a Boat

Following on from my downbeat posting a few days ago about the down turn in the boating market. I thought you might be intrested in our latest thoughts on where we go next. We have been thinking about living on board Rosie full time for the next 5 years or so for a while now. There are some financial benefits to us for doing this.

For a long time we have always tried to get along in life without owing anything to anyone. We first of all had to look at our current cost of living expenses and for the up keep and running costs of our main residence. Doing the sums on the usual list including rates, heating, insurance, car,  telephone and maintenance (no mortgage) which came up with quite a significant figure.

Our first option was to explore renting out our main home. We are told that we could expect a rent just short of £900 per calendar month. The tenant would be paying most of the other major costs. We would actually make a significant cash income after allowing for the landlords up keep costs. There are additional management charges as we don't want all the hassle of doing that.

The second calculation was to look at the cost of running the boat. With all the usual costs involved in process. Boat licence, insurance, mooring, survey as well as another list of incidental and one off payments. As it happens our boat is fully paid for and so we don't have any expenses for that.

Because we are moored at a BW marina, our expenses are higher than if we were constant cruising but possibly less than if we were in a none BW marina. However, even then the costs are less than our main residence bills!  We do, however, have to pre-purchase electricity, diesel and LPG gas from time to time. We could go the CC route and then look for an over winter mooring at the end of each boating season. But we will have plenty of time over the next boating season to think about what we went to do.

But there are other benefits that we see from living on the boat. Ones in a way that it is difficult to put a price upon. Living on board we find to be a much more relaxed and simpler life style.  We tend to read quite a lot, so we both have a Kindle each. That way we don't clutter the boat with too many books. We like to watch a bit of  television.  We walk for most of our shopping, though an electric folding cycle is on the books.  There are additional enjoyments that we get from out daily chores and routines such as walking the dogs.  We cook straightforward meals and we use a slow cooker for most of them.  We maintain our boat ourselves as far as is possible.  We don't have to rush from place to place. We have no real time lines or deadlines and stress is something we don't see anymore since retiring. 

Because our boat is small by most house standards, we are forced to have less possessions.  If something comes on the boat, something else must go off to make room for it.  Filling your life and home with possessions is a symptom of our consumer society. We have become much more self-reliant, knowing you can't just pick up the phone to get something done. While I have always been environmentally-conscious, I don't want to live a "green eco warrior" life when on board (we do see it as a plus) but we do try and recycle whatever we can.  We are now much more aware of the amount of electricity that we use. We are also much more aware of the solar heating and solar electrical generation options.

We also discovered that time is no longer of interest to us. We tend to get up and go to bed depending on the amount of light outside the window. We tend to tell the time by a calendar rather than a watch. We are more outgoing in meeting up with our short term mooring neighbours. Sunrises and sunsets as well as warm sunny days never go out of fashion.  The stars in the night's sky on clear evenings are enchanting. You know what I am like for wildlife watching.

Its a new adventure every day.  Some adventures are bad, some are good but they always leave you with a good story to tell. We have our own freedom to do whatever we choose and this is the best aspect of living aboard.


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