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We wanted to give you an insight into how much it really costs to live on the water. So you can truly realise that living afloat brings freedom for your wallet as well as your mind.

Now, let’s be frank, we’re not talking head turning miracles here, it’s not free to live on the water. However, in these tricky financial times every penny counts. I think it’s a good idea to base our costings on the beautiful Summer Bee so that you’re all in the know if you’re the lucky someone to win her.

If you do win you’ve already bypassed THE biggest outgoing you’ll ever spend on a boat so, well done!

License and insurance

This comes in at £137.50 per month or £1,650 annually. We’re off to a good start hey?

After this you’ve got to start thinking about fuel costs

Diesel and gas through the summer and logs, coal, gas and diesel through the winter. This is very low during the warmer months as you will be toasty on the boat in the evening and the sun will give you almost unlimited electricity. This roughly totals up to around £50pcm through the summer months.

As the daylight decreases and the weather becomes cooler as you approach the winter months, you will need to think about keeping your boat lovely and warm. This will be around £300 pcm in the winter at a cumulative cost of roughly £2,100 annually. However, you do get to keep your home warm all day, every day!!

Let’s chat a little bit about electricity and water

Boats are run by a collection of batteries, the engine and a little bit of solar (not always simultaneously). A set of batteries costs around £400 and (should you look after them nicely) they will function well for 2-3 years before they need to be replaced.

During the winter months the batteries and the engine work hard to keep things moving along; heating hot water and making boats sparkle with light. During the summer months the solar is king! The sunshine does its job magically and keeps the batteries topped up for days on end. It’s great! Worked out across the year you’re probably looking at £120. Sounds good right?

Water is included in the cost of your license fee!

A yearly engine service

Just like anything in life, beautiful things need maintenance! It’s a good idea to get a yearly engine service from a reputable engineer to keep on top of any hiccups that might occur. A full engine service will set you back around £250, obviously if anything extra needs looking at then whatever parts are needed is on top.

Blacking your boat

Probably the thing to consider most is blacking your boat and I think this feels like a big thing to any of you that haven’t done this before, however, it’s super easy to organise. Blacking your boat entails taking it to a marina with a dry dock and having it lifted out by crane onto hard standing where you can carry out the blacking yourself or for an extra cost you can get the marina to do it for you. We’ve done both (I say we…I mean Jason haha!) and it’s safe to say blacking is very messy work so having someone do it for you could be a sweet option. Now, pulling your boat out of the water doesn’t happen every year, or even every other year but probably every three to four years.

Costings for this do vary depending on where you are in the country and for the size of boat you have but if we were to go by Summer Bee and having a marina carry out the blacking for you you’re looking at around £500 – £900 which does feel like a heavy cost but considering it’s every three to four years once all these costings are put together and worked out as an annual and then monthly cost we really do believe that living on a boat brings a rosier feel to your bank balance as opposed to living in bricks and mortar.

A boat survey

Should you ever decide to take the plunge and purchase your very own boat (unless you win Summer Bee!), one of THE most important things to consider is a pre purchase, out of the water, survey. This also involves pulling a boat out of the water which can feel costly ns risky if after all the survey comes back with a few holes in it, but, better that you’re out of pocket to the tune of £1,500 rather than finding actual holes in your hull and having to pay thousands ns thousands for replating in the future.

But, you guys don’t have to worry about this as Summer Bee has had a full survey from a hugely reputable marine surveyor and she has a beautiful bill of health with, no recommendations ready to cruise away into the sunset!

Just as a little extra before I forget it’s worth noting that these costings are done on a full time live aboard continuous cruiser basis. Should the winner wish to look for a mooring this is an added cost and differ hugely around the country.

Where possible we would always recommend continuously cruising as that is the beauty of living on a boat! We cruised for 5 years with two of our children all over the UK and they were truly some of the dreamiest years of our lives and look back on them now with huge affection. To summarise the annual cost of living full time and cruising would be about £4,000 per annum all in!

If you have any questions about any of what has been covered in this Tuesday Tales or would like to find out more about what is entailed with buying a boat, we’d love to hear from you to put your mind at rest with any queries.

With love,


You could WIN a 56ft Narrowboat worth £80,000

Here’s a quick reminder about Summer Bee, our light, bright and airy narrowboat is up for grabs! She comes full of gorgeous soft furnishings chosen by Mollie, with the chance to choose her exterior colour to make her truly feel like yours! 

If you want to live mortgage free, check out the competition to see the amazing prize!

Marwood Makes

Helping you turn your boat & campervan dreams into reality! With years of expertise of boating & vanlife, we're your trusted source for living life on wheels & water. Let's navigate the waves together! ✨