An idea of running costs

Every boat on C&RT water must have a valid boat safety certificate (B.S.C), which is similar to a car MOT, a CRT narrow boat licence and a valid insurance policy. Other costs to keep in mind are engine services, diesel, gas, wood/coal and of course a mooring for your new purchase.

BSC – This is a certificate issued by an examiner which lasts 4 years and costs approx £200. Without this document your insurance is not valid.

Licence – Cost of the licence is based on the size of the boat for example a 57ft narrow boat in August 2020  is £1010.43 per year. This can be paid in instalments or annually.

Mooring – If you choose to moor in a marina which has facilities then again the charge depends on the size of your boat, for example a 60ft mooring at Swanley Bridge Marina in July 2019 is £2478.00 for a year.

Insurance – This price depends on many factors but for an average boat/person it will be around £200 for a year.

Heating your boat

Solid fuel stove
Central heating gas or diesel powering radiators.

Example Makuni – diesel
Eberspacher – diesel
Alde –gas
Webasto – diesel

Domestic water

Most boats generally have a water tank on board whether it is an integral or a stainless steel tank.

Heating your water

Hot water can be supplied by these 4 popular methods.

1) From the engine through a calorifer
2) Via central heating system
3) Via the solid fuel stove with a back boiler
4) Or instantaneous gas water heater


The majority of boats are powered by 12v electrics. However if you wish to run items such as hair dryers, washing machines, microwaves etc then you will need a 240v system.

This can be achieved by either plugging in a shoreline connection or having an inverter fitted to convert the 12v DC to 240 AC.


Basically there are two types of toilet.

The Cassette which has to be manually emptied free of charge at most marinas and at various C&RT points down the canal. Capacity is limited.

The pump out toilet comes with a large holding tank which means it doesn’t have to be emptied as often as the cassette. However there is normally a charge for this service as it is done externally by machine.


Narrowboats vary from around 20ft to 72ft in size.

Swanley Brokerage is situated at the start of the Llangollen Canal between bridges 6 and 8. When purchasing a boat it’s important to think about where exactly you want to be able to cruise. The Llangollen can accommodate a 70ft boat.

The Shropshire Union canal is approximately a 20 minute cruise from Swanley and can also accommodate a 70ft boat.

Another important factor is lock dimensions. There are some locks around the country that have restricted access for example, Leeds & Liverpool 60ft and the Calder & Hebble 57’6’’.

Most beginners restrict themselves to a max length of 57ft believing they’re going to miss out on so much canal cruising due to restrictions in size. You’ll find when talking to current boaters there are not that many who have managed to cruise 100% of the network. In fact they have  opted for more space and comfort by going for a large boat instead and have still cruise the majority of the network with some exceptions.


There are three main types of engines:

  • Air cooled
  • Keel cooled
  • Raw water cooled


For boating enthusiasts you may want a vintage engine housed in an engine room maybe complimented by a boatman’s cabin. For first time buyers you may just want to be satisfied that the engine of your chosen boat is in good order and can give you many hours of service and enjoyment. Most modern boats have one of the following engines:

  • Beta
  • Isuzu
  • Barrus Shire
  • Vetus