Once upon a time, many years ago, I saw a painted narrowboat moored up near Camden lock in London. I thought;

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to own a narrowboat and travel around England exploring the countryside?!

Of course I knew nothing about boats or canals, and I had never even met anyone that owned a boat. I didn’t know how to steer one, or maintain one. I didn’t know where to buy one and I had no idea how much they cost. I was indeed, a complete newbie.

But with this quick-start guide you could be well on your way to owning a boat in no time at all.

What kind of canal boat?

Under the ‘Used Boats For Sale’ tab at the top of our site you can browse all sorts of river and inland boats to get a feel for what styles are available. You can filter results by boat price, age or size to narrow it down. You can even look at boats for sale internationally across all of our brokerages if you select ‘All Boatshed Boats’. Browsing in this way you’ll quickly get to learn what sort of options there are within your budget.

Our search facility (top right corner of the website) allows you to search for river and inland boats in your price range. The click-down menu lets you select a brand such as ‘barge’, ‘narrowboat’ or ‘widebeam’. This two minute video talks you through our filtered search facility.

Under the ‘My Boatshed’ tab you can easily create a personalised page and news portal specifically related to the boats and information that you are interested in.

After spending some time browsing the site you will be able to make a short list of your preferred boat types and write down the main features you are looking for in a boat, also bearing in mind the needs of your family. If you’re a first time buyer consider also researching the local mooring fees, insurance and running costs so that you can plan ahead for being a boat owner. (Our free e-book can help you with that.)

Viewing a canal boat for sale

To get a feel for different types of canal boats you can also visit boat shows and festivals during Spring and Summer. The Canal and River Trust website has an events page which lists many of the up-coming festivals.
Even though you may not know the exact boat that you want yet it can be helpful to speak to a broker to talk over the options in your price range. Phil, Charly and Jan are happy to answer any questions to make the process easier for you. They are all boat owners themselves and they like to give potential buyers the most complete and accurate picture of the boat that they want to buy.

What to take

When you go to a view a boat take a notepad and pen to record your personal reactions and thoughts. You may also like to take along a checklist of your must-have features. You could take a camera, although at Boatshed we do take up to 80 photos of each boat, so that you already have an accurate picture of the boat before you go to view it.

How long will it take?

There is no standard amount of time that it should take to find your boat. Do wait until you have a strong gut feeling rather than trying to persuade yourself that a boat is ‘The One’.

When you have found the boat that seems right for you we can provide you with a list of local surveyors. The surveyor is contracted by you so the survey is done with only your interests in mind.

Until then, enjoy your online research and our free e-book. Give us a shout when you’re ready to book a viewing!

We look forward to meeting you soon.


You may also like:
Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / Help! I want to sell my boat! / Our top blog posts of 2013 / Don’t miss: The Boatshed Grand Union Daily / More articles.

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