Finding the Perfect Narrowboat

Are you a first-time buyer? In this feature, we share with you our thoughts on what to consider before buying and some useful contacts. All narrowboats are different, so it’s crucial that you know what you are looking for before you make the purchase.


All rivers and canals are different in size so be sure to determine which routes you will use the most and look for the boat which is most suitable to navigate the inland waterways.


How often will you use the boat? You will need to decide how much time you will spend on the boat, if you’re looking to live aboard or even stay overnight on the weekends, then you should find a boat that has the right amount of living space. The amount you use your narrowboat will also determine where you will need to moor. For example if you are only visiting your vessel at weekends, then it would be wise to keep it moored in a marina for maximum security. 

Length of the vessel

You should be aware that the locks on the canal network can vary in size and so it is important that you get to know your local canals and locks before buying your narrowboat.

Where to look?

You can search for narrowboats for sale online, or you even view them at marinas and boatyards. Other ways you can find your ideal boat, would be by word of mouth or brokers. Check out our links page here to visit some of our recommended companies.

Find a suitable mooring

Once you’ve purchased your new pride and joy it is important that you find a permanent place to moor. Key things to look for would be: electricity, water supply, toilets, rubbish disposal and of course access to food supplies. If you are planning to be a continuous cruiser, then this does not apply to you.

Running costs

The running costs of owning a boat can be fairly high due to various different factors such as: fuel, maintenance, licence and mooring fees. For more information on estimated running costs, check out The Inland Waterways Association’s page here.

  • A cruising licence
  • Boat Safety Certificate
  • Valid Mooring (unless you are continuously cruising)
  • Narrowboat Insurance – if you need advice, or would like to discuss our insurance coverage then please get in touch with the team at Collidge & Partners who are happy to help. Contact us on 01303 290872 or drop us an email on and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Check out Whilton Marina’s ‘Guide to Getting Afloat’ for a deeper insight into the key steps to take when looking for a new boat.

Request a quote

Interested in applying for a free quotation? You can get in touch with the team by calling 01303 290872 or emailing us on