What it’s really like to live on a boat


A question I get asked a lot that I don’t ever think I’ve really answered in-depth on here, is “what is it really like to live on a boat?”

The answer, in short, is that it’s pretty much the same as living in a house. Except it floats. But let’s dig a little deeper than that.

Rob and I have been living on the boat for just over three years now, so life afloat has just become second nature to us. We have little routines such as buying electricity, filling up the gas canister, emptying the cassette toilet, that have just become so normal to us that we forget it’s a little different to living in a house.

One of the main assumptions people make is that the boat is cold. I mean, yes, it’s a big steel vessel in the freezing cold canal. Obviously it’s cold - but no colder than your house when you don’t have the heating on for a day. When I get home from work, the first thing I do is make a fire. Within 10/15 minutes, I have to open the windows because it’s too warm. That fire then stays in until the following morning when we let it go out whilst we’re at work.

There are other little jobs we have to do that people that live in a house don’t. But, chores aside, actually living on a boat has done wonders for my mental health. There’s a lot to be said for living by water.

There are these moments in the day where everything is calm – when you wake up early on a misty morning and look out to see the swans just peacefully floating by. The fog is dancing on the water and making things look eerie yet magical. Or those summer evenings when the sun has just set and there’s a little coolness to the air. You grab a blanket and sit on the pontoon until it’s time to venture back inside.

You watch your neighbours getting home from work, or walking their dog, or doing odd-jobs around their own boat, and there’s this great sense of community. It’s like we’re in a bubble, and the outside world just haven’t cottoned on to how wonderful this way of life is. But I don’t want them to, because it’s our bubble. Just for us.

This is our home. This is our home.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and realise how lucky you are.

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  1. It's funny you published this post today as yesterday I was walking along the canalside in Nottingham and saw a boat moored behind Riverside retail park and wondered about what it must be like to live on a boat, what the interior is like, bathrooms, kitchen size. The ither random thought was maintenance, how repairs are done.

    1. Ahhh, how odd! I will be uploading some interior posts later this month so keep your eyes peeled :)

  2. I was eyeing the boats up again on the canal in Nottingham today, it really seems such a nice appealing prospect, so still and calm.


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