The rise of narrow boat living

The amount of people permanently living on houseboats such as narrowboats and barges has been steadily increasing in recent years. In fact, around a quarter of the boats you see on the UK waterways consist of the owner’s primary home. Many others are used as second homes with people sharing their time between on-board living and on-land living.

There are several reasons why more and more people are choosing this alternative way of life. The fact that living on a narrowboat in a city can be significantly cheaper than living in an ordinary home is chief among them.

As is to be expected of the capital, London is the most expensive place to live in the UK, but not if you live on a boat. In fact there are somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 people using boats on the capital’s hundred miles of waterways, with around two thirds of those permanently docked at various marinas.

Continuous Cruising Lowers the Cost of Living Even More

UK boat owners who constantly travel around either a city’s waterways or up and down the country’s 2,000 or so miles of canal networks, can dock pretty much wherever they please for up to two weeks at a time. This ‘continuous cruising’ option makes living on a boat even cheaper as there is no charge for mooring, so long as you move on every couple of weeks.

With the lower annual cost of running a boat including covering a licence and basic insurance, it’s easy to see why boat living is becoming a more attractive proposition for people who are priced out of owning their own land-based homes, especially in a city like London where house prices have risen well over 80% over the last eight years or so.

In fact, the number of continuous cruisers in Britain has quadrupled in just seven years. In 2010, there were 413 continuous cruisers around the capital’s waterways alone, with that number heading way over 1,600 by the end of last year.

Quality of Life Also Cited as a Primary Reason for Boat Living

While the financial aspect is a huge one for many people who live on boats, it is not always the main reason. Last year the Financial Times published a feature on boat living and the reasons for living on a boat. While the money aspect was right up there in importance, the general way of living also featured highly.

“Waterside living is wonderful,” wrote the feature’s author, the boat dwelling Paul Miles.  “Rippling reflections of sunlight patterning your ceiling; feeding ducks from your window; diving off your front porch for a swim.”

With such testimony along with the obvious financial benefits, it’s certainly understandable why narrowboat living is on the rise.

If you would like to learn more about the possibility of buying a houseboat using a marine mortgage, contact Promarine Finance who can talk you through your options.


Southampton Boat Show 2018 Review and Images

2018 was our second year exhibiting at the Southampton Boat Show and we were in a more prominent location in Mayflower Park and closer to the Marina.

Generally we feel that visitors were thinking about buying boats in the future rather than buying boats now. More visitors were considering keeping their future boats in the Med rather than the UK and those that were enquiring now were looking at buying boats currently in Croatia, Greece and the Eastern Med with the plan to keep them in these locations.  Unusually this was true for the lower value and older boats that we usually finance.

We met lots of our  customers and it is great to share a beer with them often meeting them for the first time and renewing friendships with those that we already know.

Boat dealers we spoke to did not sell much at the show due to such reasons as the weather, exchange rates and the looming elephant that is Brexit.

No doubt Princess, Sunseeker and other luxury brands will report record sales which is perhaps typical of their wealthy client base who appear to be insulated from the more common troubles that affect most of us mortals.

On a social front the title sponsor, were very generous providing Sundowners each evening. The Exhibitor Party was heaving under any dry spot available, drinks tokens must have been subject to Quantitive Easing because there were lots being handed out.

We had a great evening with the British Marine Boat Retailers and Brokers dinner at Banana Wharf.

And successfully managed to cycle safely home each evening with only 1 drenching.

So all in all a thoroughly enjoyable show which was well organised by Charlie Merchant.  Thank you Charlie for doing this and to Olivia, this was her first employment ever as she only finished A levels this summer.

We will be back in 2019 – in the meantime a few pictures that made our knees wobble meeting sailing heroes and laugh at others too

Brompton at the Gate

Liquid essentials

Brian Thompson, Stuart and Dee Cafari – sailing heroes and Volvo Ocean race superstars

English Braids – our friendly splicing neighbours

Mike Golding OBE and Stuart

Bob Beggs, multi Clipper Race Skipper

A Mermaid in a Tank – weird accompanied by the music Sailing By

Graham Snook – Yachting Journalist and Photographer



Dazat Team, Oriel (video & musical editor) Daz Newton, Stuart and Simon Biffa Baker

Socialising with a fellow Smethwick Yacht winner

Aye Aye

Liza Austin spent 3 days at the show and loved her borrowed Brompton

Black and Blue on Day Two – Olivia – working in her first job after passing A Levels this summer. Good luck at Uni and thanks for your help. See you next year!

Girls Abroad team – looking happy, but it is still some time before they row across the Atlantic

Stuart, Pip Hare (sailing hero) and Justin Jones of English Braids – the Splice Master

An empty pontoon – well it was the day before the show opened

Top Secret, purchased at the Show 4 years ago and sold during the Show this year, a replacement is planned.

Olivia and the Info Twins




Charlie committed to the Promarine Cause











































GDPR – May 25th

Amidst the scramble to be compliant, which is hitting just about every business and organisation in the UK someone has actually found the time to research how they believe consumers will react once the legislation is implemented.

Here is a summary – there is a link to the full report at the bottom – you can work out the perecentages quoted don’t even add up.

A new study, commissioned by Veritas and conducted by 3GEM, surveyed 3,000 adults, including 1,000 in the UK. It reveals that consumers are most likely to target the following industries with personal data requests:

•Financial services companies, including banks and insurance companies (56 pct)

•Social media companies (48 pct)

•Retailers (46 pct)

•Former, current or potential employers (24 pct)

•Healthcare providers (21 pct)


The forthcoming GDPR will impact any organisation that gathers, processes or stores the personal data of individuals in the EU. The research shows UK consumers welcome their enhanced privileges. Of those that intend to exercise their rights, two-thirds (65 pct) plan to request access to the personal data a company holds on them, while the majority (71 pct) intend to exercise their right to be forgotten under the new regulations.

If you can face reading more then the full report is available here

Good luck with your GDPR plans – we are using to assist us.

Widebeam canal boat being surveyed

Here is the most recent boat we have financed being surveyed prior to completion. We find it incredible that some buyers are encouraged to complete without a survey. You can see this is the perfect opportunity to get a professionally qualified surveyor eg YDSA or IIMS (there are others) to literally crawl all over the boat you plan to buy and in some cases live on.

This one from 2008 was absolutely fine – you certainly get peace of mind and confirmation you are getting a good boat you can enjoy without any surprises.



Debut at Boot 2018




And we are also attending Boot for the first time Jan 24- 26

London Boat Show 2018


Promarine Finance will be at the show Weds 10 to Friday 12 January. Contact us if you would like to meet up and discuss anything about boats or finance.

Southampton Boat Show 2017

What a great debut show show we had – well set up and stocked by Tom Bettle and ably assisted by Viv Sullivan.

We met lots of our existing customers and began relationships with new ones too.

We had a lot of fun.

Happy Hour officially started on day 1 at 17.00 hours – but it did get earlier each day

We financed our largest deal to date – the show Bavaria Vision 42 show boat for Clipper Marine – this will be in the Med from the beginning of November


Herefordshire friends came and said hello and showed us their latest fashion purchases

And we met new customers and acquaintances from the RORC racing circuit who were looking to replace their existing fast boat with an even quicker boat

Some of our regulars were being sorely tempted to upgrade to bigger boats

Promarine Finance were pleased to join the RNLI during the show

And old friends visited to remind us of funny rhymes and talk about CQS and the 2017 Fastnet

“I wish I were a glow worm
A glow worm’s never glum
How can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum” Robo 2017


Tom found himself temporarily imprisoned on our neighbours stand behind a water tight door.