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The travels of narrow boat Racundra

Other costs

There are a number of other costs associated with owning and using a narrow boat.

Boat licence

To use the canals and waterways – even if all you are doing is mooring a boat in a marina – you must have a valid licence. Unfortunately, the licence you need depends on where your boat is. The majority of waterways are covered by the Canal and River Trust licence. However, waterways (including East Anglia and the Thames) operated by the Environment Agency require a different licence.

We are currently located on the CRT network and have therefore purchased a 12 month licence from them at a cost of £833.38. The price is dependent upon the length of your boat. We will buy licences for other waterways as we need them.


To buy your licence you must have a valid insurance policy in place. This insures your boat, but must also provide a minimum 3rd party cover. We have insured with Groves John & Westrup for a cost of £129.96.

TV Licence

I have just looked up the TV Licensing website and it would appear that if you have a TV licence at your main home then you are covered “for a vehicle, boat or touring caravan used as your second home” – which is surprisingly good news!

River Canal Rescue

There is a “breakdown” service, similar to AA or RAC for canals, provided by River Canal Rescue. It offers several levels of cover ranging from £55 – £220 pa. We will probably take out some cover for peace of mind but have not as yet decided which level.


The boat uses standard diesel fuel for propulsion and heating. There are regular fuelling points along the canals and at marinas. Fuel costs rather less than from a normal garage because of the tax treatment. A tank of fuel lasts at least a week (our hire boat did not need refuelling during a week of daily cruising). The fuel tank on Racundra holds 159 litres so once we have worked out how many litres we use an hour we will have some idea of how often we need to refuel.

Water, Waste disposal

The Canal & River Trust provide regular service points along the canals that can be accessed with a key. The facilities available at each point vary but water, toilets, rubbish bins, and even showers are available. Use of these is free of charge. Keys must be purchased either directly from the CRT online shop (currently £6 including delivery) or from a chandlery shop.

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