Promarine Finance reports 65 percent increase in liveaboards since start of pandemic

Homebuyers are swapping traditional homes for liveaboards as the housing market hits record highs, the cost of living soars and purchasers look for alternative ways of living without compromising a step on the housing ladder.

Leading marine finance lender, Promarine Finance has seen a 65 percent increase in the number of liveaboards in the two years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

With the average UK property cost was £270,708 in the most recent House Price Index data from November 2021 and for London this was £519,934, it’s no surprise that the costs of canal and narrowboat living are attractive. The average cost of a narrowboat sits at £57,000 with more modern boats up to £150,000 and although there are further fees of residential mooring, your Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate and insurance, if you maintain your boat, it will hold its value.

Inflation is at a 30 year high with the rise in food costs and energy bills with gas and electricity costs set to rise further in the spring with the end of the government’s price cap. Choosing a liveaboard vessel despite having limited space and storage, it promotes a minimalist way of living teamed with a relaxing pace of life while cutting on bills.

Promarine Finance offers fixed rate marine mortgages for all types of leisure vessels including new and used RIBs, motorboats, sailing yachts and canal boats over periods of two to 10 years where the finance is secured against the vessel. It can offer finance from £5,000-£500,000 with flexible repayment terms allowing customers to make extra payments or to settle at any time without penalty.

Stuart Austin, director of Promarine Finance, said: “It’s great to see such consistent growth when reflecting on the last two years since the pandemic started. It’s clear there is a real trend of people choosing to live on vessels over traditional homes whether that’s due to the rising cost of living, a way to get on the housing ladder or simply as an alternative lifestyle. 

“We are the only company financing liveaboards and I think a big part of our growth is our willingness to offer early settlements without penalty which offers true flexibility.”

Stuart continues: “Marine finance is a simple way to obtain something valuable and spread the cost across monthly payments that suit you, so that it becomes affordable. Younger buyers want to get on the property ladder and boat ownership is a practical and affordable alternative to renting. We want to help people get the right boat, without the cost being the most defining factor.”

Find out more.

Our boating story: how Promarine helped us find our forever home

We already had a boat, 56ft, for nearly six years. We mainly cruised until we found a long-term mooring space. We set up home and loved it! It was like being on holiday all the time. We both work, so it had to be in an area accessible to a train station. We bought a dog and decided we needed a garden for him to play and run around in, so we started looking at houses.

One weekend, while out in the boat on a stretch of the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire, the sun beating down, we decided we can’t move to a house. Our dog has all the surrounding areas he wants; he can run around the picnic areas and still see his mates, so we decided against a house and plumped for a new boat instead.  

How were we going to fund a new boat, we thought. We started looking at bank loans, but you can only get a certain amount. We Googled marine boat loans. Several companies came up. One stuck out in particular. It was personal, not just a company. I read the website and liked what I read. I put in my details for a quote. Not long after that, I got a call from Charlie at Promarine Finance. What a lovely chap. Very helpful, and we got on really well. That was the start of our journey.

We were pre-approved for a marine mortgage. We had some issues but nothing was too much trouble for Promarine to try and solve. 

Now go find a boat, they said! 

We looked and looked, had seen many, and none were suitable. Then by chance, we happened to see one that we had seen 2.5 years ago when we weren’t looking: the Mandolin, 70ft. We viewed it and it was the one. Offers were made and accepted.  

Charlie at Promarine Finance saw us through, step by step. Promarine dealt with any issues with the sellers and boat company to make the whole process less stressful for us. As everyone knows, buying a new home can be stressful. 

Stuart and Liza at Promarine are the Directors.  Really lovely people to talk to and personal to your needs. We spoke to Stuart, who took us through the process of signing the agreement, and had a general chit chat too, which was nice.  Completion went through smoothly. Liza rang us in the morning to confirm all was sorted.  We cruised back to Warwickshire to our mooring. 

We couldn’t have asked for a better company to see us through our forever home.   

You don’t just deal with a company, you deal with real people who care, and try to get you your dream.  

Thank you Promarine, we appreciate everything you have done for us.  

That’s our boating story. Let Promarine assist you in securing your forever home, or even just a holiday home.

Sharon & Darren

Interested in starting your own boat journey?

To find out if you’re eligible for marine finance, get an instant personalised quote for your needs and have it approved in 30 minutes. 

The Mandolin, Promarine Finance customer story
The Mandolin, Promarine Finance customer story
The Mandolin, Promarine Finance customer story

The ‘lure of the liveaboard’: Rising house prices and restrictions lead to surge in liveaboard vessel finance

Trend sees younger people opting for ‘life afloat’ #BargeLife

Leading marine finance lender, Promarine Finance has seen a near 40% year-on-year increase in the number of finance deals for liveaboard vessels from January 2021 to date.

These customers are also borrowing more with a higher loan to value (within the 80% maximum Promarine allows) compared to the same period in 2020, indicating a new and younger demographic entering the market.

Liveaboard vessels are becoming a real trend in the UK with many customers taking advantage of the affordability, the lifestyle and the freedom they offer. Many types of boats can be considered a liveaboard such as a powerboat or cruising sailboat, houseboats, or barges, even narrowboats.

Promarine Finance offers fixed rate marine mortgages for new and used RIBs, motorboats, sailing yachts and canal boats over periods of two to 15 years and is one of only a few finance providers for liveaboard vessels in the UK.

In March, there were 35,130 people with boat licences for rivers and canals– compared with 34,435 last year and 32,490 in 2012. The Canal & River Trust states that surveys put the proportion of liveaboard vessels on the water at around 25% (a rise from 15% in 2011) nationally. 

Stuart Austin, Director of Promarine Finance, comments: “Our Q1 performance this year has been our strongest to-date. We’ve noticed a surge in demand for boat finance particularly for liveaboard vessels. The ‘race for space’ fuelling the housing crisis is pushing buyers to consider alternative and more cost-effective living arrangements. Customers opting for liveaboard vessels are also getting younger. Liveaboards such as canalboats are no longer considered an option for just the retiree, instead drawing people who are seeking alternative lifestyles with freedom from the traditional housing options.

He continues: “There are approximately 4,700 miles of navigable canals and waterways in the UK. With so much to explore, it’s no wonder people are opting to have freedom. The canals are certainly calling!

Promarine Finance sees spike in canal boat finance deals following Boris’ speech

Leading marine finance lender, Promarine Finance has seen a staggering 300% year-on-year increase in the number of canal boat finance deals in February 2021 and 56% growth in terms of the loan amount for the same period.

Promarine believes this growth can be attributed to a growing demand for people looking to change lifestyle and living arrangements following stringent lockdown measures.

Promarine Finance offers fixed rate marine mortgages for new and used RIBs, motorboats, sailing yachts and canal boats over periods of a few months to 10 years. Canal boat finance has remained consistently strong since 2019 as Promarine has been the only lender financing liveaboards since March 2020. 

Stuart Austin, Director of Promarine Finance, comments: “Since Boris’ speech we have received a surge in demand for canal boat finance compared to the same period in 2020. Our enquiries have also seen a 130% year on year increase, a very positive indicator for a shift in the market.

This highlights the growth in canal boating in the UK and indicates that boat ownership is still popular in the current climate. As a result of COVID-19, we know more people are opting to holiday in the UK and spend their leisure time on the water – a trend that began in 2020 and will continue through 2021. Conversations with new customers have highlighted a wave of COVID-fatigue and people wanting to realise their aspirations of boat buying without any further delay including many opting to switch from living on land, to living on the water.”

Promarine Finance will be attending the upcoming Crick Virtual Boat show from 24-28th March and welcomes attendees to join them for 1-2-1s over the weekend, providing a great opportunity to discuss finance and options.

Promarine Exclusive Crick Boat Show offer: Free professional narrowboat handling course for Promarine customers

We have teamed up with the Narrowboat Skills Centre to offer an exclusive Crick Boat Show deal for this year’s upcoming event.

At Promarine, we know how important it is to have full confidence when at the helm of your own boat, particularly if you are new to boating. 

We will be offering a voucher for one person to undertake a Helmsmans Course (normally priced at £360pp) or Diesel Engine and Boat Maintenance course (priced at £220pp) for all finance applications received during the show (24th-28th March) and who go on to complete a finance contract with us before June 30th 2021. 

Exclusive course offer

To be with a chance of winning a professional Narrowboat handling course

Apply now

The Helmsmans Course

The RYA Inland Waterways Helmsmans Course is for those new to boating or those boaters who feel that they need to brush up on their Helmsmans skills. The Helmsman’s course follows the RYA syllabus and participants are awarded an Inland Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate upon successful completion.

The course includes:

  1. Boating Safety
  2. Pre-start checks
  3. Ropework and knots
  4. Boat control
  5. Getting underway
  6. Slowing down, stopping and mooring up
  7. Locks and using them safely
  8. Navigating bridges and tunnels

It is a highly practical course with the majority of the day spent out on the water or on the bank mooring up or on working locks.

The Diesel Engine and Boat maintenance Course

This two-day engine and boat maintenance course incorporates the RYA Diesel Engine course and expands it to cover all the essential maintenance tasks that can be completed by the average boater without the use of specialist tools. The result is that you will be able to keep your boat in good order and in the long run save money.

As well as the routine maintenance tasks the course covers simple fault finding on your engine, drive train and electrics.

Own Boat Experience Day

For those who want a course run on their own boat and who do not require a Helmsmans Certificate we will arrange for a fully qualified instructor to spend a day on your own boat at your location with up to three people. The course will cover as much of the two day Helmsmans syllabus as is possible given the constraints on time and the limitations of the cruising area. Instructor travel costs and overnight accommodation costs will be the responsibility of the customer. Customers can agree upgrades to the courses by negotiation with NBSC.

Offer T&Cs

One Voucher for one person to complete a Helmsman Course or Diesel Engine or other course of similar value, per marine mortgage.

Travel and accommodation costs are at our customers’ expense.

Open to UK residents over the age of 18. No cash alternative. One voucher is available to one sole customer only. Promarine’s decision is final. Promarine reserves the right to withdraw the offer at any time. 

Applicants must submit a finance application during 24th-28th March 2021 and complete a finance contract with Promarine Finance before 30th June 2021.

The offer is in partnership with NSBC and subject to instructor availability and their own conditions listed on