The Buying Process

It is often said that
“the narrowboat will choose you, rather than the other way”.


Firstly, search our website to find a boat that’s suits your needs.


If you don’t see something you like be sure to register here and we’ll inform you of any boats that get listed that suit your needs. The registration process is quick and simple.

Get in touch

We can’t get everything about a boat on the sales particulars. So, if you see a boat you like, then it’s worth getting in touch for more information e.g. service history, blacking history, previous surveys etc.

If you’re not exactly sure what you want, then why not have a chat with the broker who will certainly be able to help.


This could be the boat for you. So why not arrange a viewing. We will always accompany you on a viewing and answer any further questions you may have.

Make an offer

So, you’ve viewed the boat you want – now it’s time to get serious and make an offer. Offers are usually subject to a satisfactory survey. We can give you advice on negotiations and will always communicate all offers to the owner. Remember when making an offer, the closer the offer to the asking price the more likely the current owner is to help towards the cost of remedial work picked up after the survey


If your offer is accepted, you pay a 5% deposit which secures the sale, prevents further bids and the boat is taken off the market. You have a certain time period to perform checks/survey the boat.


We will wait to have the survey back in in writing before we talk through the technical stuff and explain what is important. We only look at boat safety, insurance issues or anything that prevents the fundamental operation of the boat. If further negotiation is required, we’ll work with you and the vendor to agree a deal that is fair and reasonable. Delve deeper for more information

About Surveys


Once all parties agree and the final price is re-confirmed, all that remains is for you to pay the balance. For this transaction we accept bank transfers (CHAPS or BACS). Please note, we require cleared funds 24 hours in advance of the completion date, before the keys are handed over and the boat becomes yours.

Insurance & Licence

On completion its important to make sure you have your insurance on the boat in place. Licences are no longer transferable, so you’ll also need to licence the boat.

About Insurance

About Licenses

FAQ’s About The Buying Process

Get answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about buying a boat.

Remember, these answers are provided as general guidance, and it’s important to consult relevant professionals to ensure compliance and a smooth selling process for your boat.

How do I choose the right narrowboat for me?
Selecting the right narrowboat depends on various factors such as your budget, intended use, size requirements, and preferred features. Consider your cruising plans, number of occupants, and desired amenities when making your decision. It’s also beneficial to visit boat shows or consult with experienced narrowboat owners for valuable insights.
What should I inspect before buying a used narrowboat?
When purchasing a used narrowboat, it’s essential to thoroughly inspect its condition. Check for signs of wear and tear, examine the hull for any damage or leaks, assess the engine’s performance, inspect the electrical and plumbing systems, and ensure all necessary documents, such as boat safety certificates, are up to date. It’s advisable to enlist the expertise of a marine surveyor to conduct a comprehensive inspection.
What does 10/6/4 mean?
The numbers used tell you the thickness of the steel used to build the boat. In this case, it means the bottom plate is 10mm thick, the hull sides are 6mm thick and the cabin is 4mm thick. Today’s standard specification is 10/6/4, but 8/6/4 and 6/5/3 is common on older boats; if they’ve been looked after they will still give you many years of service
Can I live on a narrowboat full-time?
Yes, many people choose to live on narrowboats as their primary residences. However, it’s crucial to consider practical aspects such as mooring options, access to facilities, and the lifestyle adjustments that come with living on a boat. Research local regulations and consult with other liveaboard narrowboat owners to gain a better understanding of what living on a narrowboat entails.
How much does a narrowboat cost?
The cost of a narrowboat can vary significantly depending on factors such as size, age, condition, and features. Generally, prices can range from tens of thousands to several hundred thousand pounds. It’s essential to establish your budget and prioritize your requirements when searching for a narrowboat.
Do I need a license to operate a narrowboat?
Yes, you will need a license to operate a narrowboat on most inland waterways. Licensing requirements vary between different canal and river authorities. Typically, you can obtain a license for a specific duration, such as a year, and it’s important to adhere to the relevant regulations and navigation guidelines.
Are narrowboats suitable for beginners?
Narrowboats can be suitable for beginners, especially with proper guidance and instruction. It’s advisable to gain some experience by hiring or borrowing a narrowboat before making a purchase.Additionally, taking a helmsman or boating course can provide valuable knowledge about handling and navigating narrowboats.
What are the ongoing costs of owning a narrowboat?
In addition to the initial purchase price, owning a narrowboat incurs ongoing costs such as mooring fees, license fees, insurance premiums, fuel expenses, maintenance and repairs, and periodic haul-outs for blacking (protective coating for the hull). It’s important to budget for these expenses to ensure a smooth ownership experience.
Can I finance the purchase of a narrowboat?
Yes, there are financing options available for purchasing a narrowboat. Banks, specialized marine lenders, and narrowboat brokers can provide information on loans and financing plans tailored for boat purchases. It’s advisable to compare interest rates, terms, and conditions to find the most suitable financing option for your needs.
What is a boat safety certificate, and do I need one?
A boat safety certificate, also known as a BSS certificate, is a document that verifies the safety standards of a narrowboat. It ensures compliance with essential safety regulations for gas, electrical systems, ventilation, fire safety, and more. If you plan to use your narrowboat on the inland waterways, a valid boat safety certificate is generally required.
Where can I find more information and support when buying a narrowboat?
You can find a wealth of information and support from various sources. Consult narrowboat forums, join boating clubs or associations, visit boat shows and exhibitions, and read books or online resources dedicated to narrowboat.
Can I have the boat blacked at the time of survey?
No, at the point of survey the boat still belongs to the vendor, so we can’t undertake the work on your behalf. Blacking is also a three day process and because most slipways are always busy, this needs to be booked in advance.
Is it bad to have a boat overplated?

No, overplating is common and can add years on to the serviceable life of a boat

How old is the engine in my boat?
With recently built boats the engine will usually have been fi tted when the boat was built; these tend to be Vetus, Barrus, Beta or Isuzu. In older boats the engine may have come from a car or been a stationary engine driving a pump or generator, these engines have been marinised (such as BMC Perkins or Listers). Don’t worry about engine age or hours though; this isn’t critical because a narrowboat engine turns very steadily at a slow pace.
What is BSS or BSC?
BSS is the Boat Safety Scheme. BSC stands for Boat Safety Certifi cate, which is issued after a boat has been tested under the rules of the BSS. It’s an independent safety check of the boat (like an MOT on a car) and lasts for four years. This makes up the main part of an internal boat survey.
What is RCD?
This is the Recreational Craft Directive that applies to new boats. It’s a statement from the manufacturer that the boat meets current regulation and is safe and fi t for purpose; this also lasts for four years. It is similar to buying a new car that does not need an MOT.