Freedom Boats Macclesfield: Narrowboats for sale in Cheshire
Narrowboat sales in East Cheshire

Phone: 01625 420042

Your brokerage questions answered

Some frequently asked questions on buying a narrowboat.

Trad, cruiser or semi trad narrowboat?

This is a matter of personal choice. Generally families with children prefer a cruiser stern which gives you a large deck area. Others prefer a cruiser stern because it offers a good social area for the steerer and others to share. Similarly, a semi-trad stern is favoured by families with children because it offers a safe, enclosed space where the steerer can be joined by youngsters or other crew members.
Traditional sterns are highly popular but they generally only have enough space on deck for the steerer, however couples often manage to be together.

Pumpout or chemical toilet?

There are basically two systems available, pump-out toilets and portable cassette (chemical) toilets. The pump-out toilet is usually fitted at the building stage (although they can be retro-fitted if you have enough space). They require a fixed holding tank and toilet waste is removed at a pump-out station. Charges vary but £12 is an average fee. Winter can sometimes be problematical if the canal or the equipment at the pump-out station is frozen. Hire bases will not provide the service on changeover days.
Cassette toilets are very convenient, hygienic to deal with and smart in appearance. When full, the cassette is removed and taken to a sanitary station for emptying. Canal and River Trust (CRT) provide many sanitary stations, all free of charge and most marinas will have one however, some marinas make a small charge for use of the facility (we don’t).

 Coal, diesel or LPG heating?

Modern narrowboats are usually heated by either a solid fuel burner or central heating provided by gas or diesel.
Solid fuel burners burn a variety of coal based fuels and wood. They are often stand-alone fires but they can be linked a with a back-boiler to provide central heating and hot water. The Aldi Gas (propane) systems will provide radiator heating and hot water as will diesel fired heaters such as Eberspacher, Webasto and Mikuni. Diesel units are usually fitted in the engine space. All are very effective.

What is the buying process?

Read the magazines, Canal Boat & Inland Waterways and/or Waterways World. There are many boat builders and boat fitters to look at should you decide upon a brand new boat to your own specifications. There are also hundreds of used boats to choose from. You’ll get a good idea of what you can get within your budget.
Should you choose a new build, ensure that you have a contract and that when you make stage payments, you actually own what you’ve paid for. This is important if the builder or fitter goes out of business before you take delivery.
Should you choose a used boat, seek advice. We would always recommend that you commission a full survey before you buy. You may well have secured the boat with a deposit so make sure that the deposit is refundable if the survey is unsatisfactory.
Unless you enter into a private agreement, always deal with a good, reputable broker. He will look after the interests of both the seller and the buyer. Ask to speak to some of his previous customers. The broker will explain in detail the contracts and procedures that you will be required to enter into.

1. Find your boat: New, used. Fitted, part fitted or shell.
2. View your boat: An accompanied viewing is best. You can see what the boat is like for yourself.
3. Make an offer: All offers are passed on to the seller for consideration. A test run can be arranged.
4. Contracts: When the offer is accepted, a contract is made to agree a completion date for the boat sale and a deposit must be left.
5. Survey: An independent survey must be arranged by the buyer. Marine Surveyors can easily be found on the Internet.
6. Completion: After having a satisfactory survey simply pay the balance owing and on receipt of the monies the boat is yours. You will receive a Bill of Sale to transfer ownership

What insurance do I need?

You will, in all probability, be investing a considerable sum in your boat. We would always recommend an “All-risks” policy. Get quotes from reputable companies. You should expect to pay between £200 and £300 pounds annually on average. Obviously if yours is a very high spec boat with lots of expensive kit to insure, the cost will be more. There are some basic policies available for much less cost but they will generally only cover you for third party risks. Whilst they will satisfy CRT licence requirements, if your boat is damaged or destroyed, you won’t be covered. You should also ensure that you have Personal Accident/Injury cover.

What is a CRT licence?

All craft on Canal and River Trust (CRT) waters must be currently licensed. You will need to produce a copy of your insurance policy and a current Boat Safety Certificate (if applicable) in order to obtain your licence.
Freedom Boats are agents for CRT and we can advise you on fees and requirements.

What is a BSC?

As previously mentioned, you will, unless it is a newly built boat, require a Boat Safety Certificate or BSC.
The scheme was introduced for your safety and it specifies requirements on all sorts of things concerning the engine installation, electrical system, fire fighting kit, fuel lines, gas fittings, ventilation etc. The certificate is valid for 4 years from the date of issue. Generally speaking, if a certificate has previously been issued, you will not be facing huge extra costs to renew it (unlike car MOT tests usually do!). There may be issues concerning renewal of fire fighting equipment, gas or fuel lines that become out of date or where some major changes to the gas or electrical installations have taken place. The current examiners fee is around £60.

Where can I moor?

These are becoming harder to find as capacity runs short and more boats come onto the water. We would advise that you find a mooring that suits you before you acquire your boat.
Marina moorings are more expensive than CRT Permit Holder moorings or “End of Garden” (including farmer’s fields). That is because you get what you pay for. Marinas offer all sorts of facilities such as security, shore-line electrical provision, pumpout and sanitary points, drinking water, toilets, servicing and engineering support, secure car parking and assistance from marina staff. Some marinas offer laundry and drying facilities, chandlery and social facilities.
End of Garden and Permit Holder moorings offer very little more than a place to tie up your boat and you will usually be on the public towpath side on a permit holder mooring.

Is it expensive?

Your fixed costs will include mooring fees, licence fees and insurance. These costs are variable subject to the size of the boat, a 45' boat will be around £2000 per annum on a marina with a little left towards servicing and maintenance. The costs are less if you do not moor in a marina. Fuel costs are relatively low, depending on how often you use your boat. As a rule of thumb, you will on average use about a litre of fuel an hour running the engine but of course that depends on the engine. Some of the older single cylinder engines use very much less than the modern 4 cylinder diesels. You will have invested good money in your boat so it is in your interests to keep on top of maintenance work, dealing with rust and damaged painted areas etc. There will always be something that you want to change replace, add or upgrade, so allow for that too in your annual expenditure calculations.

What about living aboard?

Many people successfully live aboard their boats but there are some compromises you must make. To start with you have to adjust to living in a corridor instead of a box. You will have to down-size considerably and sacrifice much of your personal space.
Fuel and water needs to be readily available as do toilet emptying facilities. Expect to get frozen in for a time during the winter months.
Residential moorings are hard to find and CRT will not allow you to moor in a fixed location for that purpose. The RBOA (Residential Boat Owners Association) can offer lots of advice to would be live-aboards. You will be subject to paying council tax at the lowest band rate if you remain in one local authority area (unless you are registered elsewhere with a local authority). You will also require a TV Licence, just as you would anywhere else.

What is continuous cruising?

Some people live aboard all year and continuously cruise around the system. CRT have no issues with bona-fide continuous cruisers although some people assert that they ought to pay more for a licence because they are using more of the system, its equipment and facilities. Canal and River Trust (CRT) will advise you on the minimum cruising distance you must cover in any one month. CRT staff check all boat licences, whether marina based or on the towpath every month. All that information is held on databases which will highlight any incidence of a boat outstaying its welcome. There are exceptions, CRT can be flexible and understanding if for instance someone has to remain in one location for a while to undergo medical treatment and the like.

Freedom Boats Macclesfield Ltd., Brook Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 7AW UNITED KINGDOM
Telephone: 01625 420042 VAT:980528401
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