One of my friends living aboard as a continuous cruiser very much enjoyed being able to moor up at some idyllic rural location, with not another boat to be seen around. Imagine his surprise one day then to find that a mother and young child had decided to have a picnic quite close to his boat. Obviously fascinated by his mysterious and romantic lifestyle she said to my friend,
“You’re so… free aren’t you?”
I don’t know how he replied to her but afterwards we laughed about it. He had wanted to say,
“Not really. I have a job and bills to pay just like anyone else!”

If you’re thinking of living on a boat we have a free eBook available to introduce you to some of the practicalities. Some people assume that it is a care-free life, but there are regulations, laws and extra costs to be aware of.

Do boaters pay Council Tax? This can depend on your local council and on your mooring situation. In some cases the landlord at your mooring site may be expected to pay Business Rates but the individual living aboard does not pay Council Tax.

I personally live on a residential mooring on the towpath. I pay mooring fees to the Canal and River Trust. My local council have assessed the site and concluded that as we have no street lighting, rubbish disposal or other facilities the mooring is not liable for Council Tax. However, this decision is periodically reviewed.

On the other hand, a marina mooring accommodating residential boats may well be liable for council tax. According to the Residential Boat Owners Association one of their members have been able to claim a refund of Council Tax for each night spent away from their mooring. Paul Smith’s eBook Living on a Narrowboat: The real cost of a life afloat, says if Council Tax does apply it will be charged at whatever the local Band A rate is. However, years ago I did read that some moorings may only be billed for 66% of the local rate, so it really may depend on the decision of your local council.

When continuously cruising Council Tax will not apply because you will be required to move to a new place every 14 days.

If you are looking for a boat with a residential mooring it’s a good idea to check what costs are included in the price. As well as Council Tax, other liveaboard costs can include your licence, insurance, boat safety certificate, solid fuel, diesel, gas, television licence, telephone, internet, pump out costs and shore line electric.

We have many boats for sale suitable for living aboard, with and without moorings.

Image: Narrowboat 57ft Cruiser Stern Live-aboard with Mooring now reduced in price!


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Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / Boatshed Grand Union wins an Award! / Top 6 Benefits of Owning a Boat / A slideshow of our boat of the moment./More articles.

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