People are attracted to the canal life for many different reasons.
Some want a short-term narrowboat hire to enjoy a maritime holiday, whilst others invest in a boat as a home away from home much like one would buy a place in the sun for the summer months that is largely moored in the same place.
Others still are attracted by the allure of a life lived on the water, travelling from place to place along Britain’s vast and vibrant canal network and only stopping to refuel, resupply and rest.
This is officially known by the Canal and River Trust as “continuous cruising”, which officially means that you have a boat license without a home mooring point, although the C&RT have more specific rules than this regarding how far you travel.
Typically this means not staying at a single mooring point for more than 14 days (sometimes as little as 48 hours for busy areas), cruising a relatively large part of the network for most of the license timeframe, a concept described as good faith or “bona fide navigation”.
Because this life is far more inherently nomadic, there are complexities and difficulties to it, both on the boat and in the wider world, but if you really enjoy the waterways even in somewhat unseasonable weather such as the chilly late autumn months or frosty February winds, this could be the life for you.
There are quite a few preparations you should make beforehand, the most important of which being that you need to set up some form of fixed abode, which could be a family address if you have no plans of staying on dry land.
You will need to ensure that your passport, driving licence and all other vital information are updated with this address and that you have someone who can manage your post and scan any important information to send to you.
As well as this, it is always important to have contingency plans for basic conveniences such as fresh water, sanitation and heating, as well as managing condensation and ensuring you are not overly exposed to the elements.
This makes continuous cruising a vocation, but one that is exceptionally rewarding for the right person.