Living on a Boat, FAQ’s

Hi Lovelies, I hope you’re all well!
I never really talk about my living situation. I think I’ve done it once or twice before now, but I tend to keep it exclusive to the people I know more personally (or if I’m feeling chatty on the fitting rooms at work).

I suppose I’ve become sort-of desensitised by the fact that it’s a little unusual.

That said, I do agree when people tell me I’m missing a trick with my blog by not mentioning narrowboat life at all. So I grabbed a pen and paper, thought about all the most common questions I’ve been asked about my boat and answered them, in the hope that I’ll never have to answer them again (ha, doubt it).

Q. Wow, you live on a Barge! How big is it?

A. It’s a NARROWBOAT,  it’s 42ft long and about 7ft wide.

Q. Can you move it around?

A. I can indeed, although I’m choosing not to at the moment purely because I’d rather concentrate on re-fitting and re-decorating to make it a LOT more ‘me’.

Q. Does it rock around?

A. Yep, it pretty much moves when you do but you get used to it. Sometimes when the wind is really strong it’ll rock by itself, but it doesn’t happen often!

Q. Does it have TV & Wifi?

A. I doubt I’d have been able to cope on one without them to be honest. I wouldn’t be able to get my twitter/youtube fix otherwise, not to mention completing my MA!

I get wifi by using a SIM card loaded with data (30GB) and pay for it monthly. Thankfully my phone contract is also ‘all-you-can-eat’, otherwise it’d quickly get swallowed up with all the Youtube videos I watch.

Q. What is it called?

A. She’s called ‘Little Monster’ but family, friends and I call her Lily for short. I couldn’t really think of another name that would be any more appropriate, plus I find it highly amusing that my boat insurance company have a boat called Little Monster on their books.

Q. Do you have a kitchen?

A. Of course, I’d struggle to actually live on it otherwise!

When people ask me about the boat, I like to tell people to imagine a studio flat on water. Everything is essentially the same, there’s just a little less space and a few little quirks.

Q. What do you do for electricity?

A. When I’m on shore power (i.e. plugged in and staying in a marina) I have to top up electricity on a meter, when I’m out on the cut (technical term for the canal) the engine charges the on-board batteries so I have electricity that way.

Thankfully things like hot water and the oven are both gas-powered, so I can get hot water pretty much on demand.

Q. Do you get water from the canal?

A. Hell no, that’s disgusting! The marina has a large supply of taps to hook up to and re-fill the 0n-board water tank, if you’re on the cut there are certain stopping points along the way where you can fill up with clean water.

Water you use empties out from your boat into the canal, not the other way around. We have to be careful about the types of products we empty into the canal, anything with phosphates in them are a no-no.


Well don’t forget plenty of fish and wildlife live along the canal, it’s important to respect the area we live in; we look after them as well as ourselves.

Q. Where do you go to the toilet? What happens to it?

A. I have a fully functioning bathroom (but no bath, boo), and the toilet empties into a large tank on the boat which needs to be emptied every few weeks. When emptying it, you basically get a giant tube that sucks out all the gunk until the tank is totally empty.

It’s not the most glamorous aspect of boating life, but it’s not that bad.

Q. Have you ever fallen in?

A. Yes I have. I was jumping off my friends boat to moor up for the night and the pocket of my trousers got caught on a hook on the side of the boat. I kept hold of the side of the boat but my right leg went in to just above my hip while my left leg was wedged at a horrible angle between a step and a metal floor, it immediately went into cramp which made getting out quite painful.

Even though it was a while ago now, I’m still pretty wary about jumping off the boat to moor up. I don’t relish repeating it.

Q. How do you keep it warm?

A. At the moment with a couple of oil-filled radiators and a lot of electricity.

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to summer and not having to worry about the cold dash from my warm bed to the shower. I’m hoping that I’ll have replaced the windows and figured out a better heating system by next winter, but who knows what will happen.

Well that’s it for today guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and I’ve answered a couple of questions for you!

If you’ve got any more questions about living on a narrowboat, comment below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.


Till next time, 

love, Leigh


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This is how Lily looked AFTER the ‘photo shoot’ – a sodding mess!

One thought on “Living on a Boat, FAQ’s

  1. This pretty much answers every question I was dying to ask you about your boat last night – Didn’t want to come across as a crazy gal. I seriously think I could live on a boat, it looks cosy and so damn cute! X

    Hollie |

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