Planning a canal boat holiday in 2019?

Best Canal Routes in the UK 2018

With the holidays quickly approaching it may be time to plan your next trip and with many beautiful sites in the UK, why not hire a boat?

Narrowboat Owner, Julie Cox, says: “If you are planning on hiring a boat, choose the area you want to visit and check the canal maps for what is involved.” With this in mind have put together a map of the best canal routes in the UK to help boaters discover the beauty of the country.

Grand Union Canal North of Milton Keynes

Included in the list, the Grand Union Canal starts in London and ends in Birmingham with multiple stops along the way. Perfect for exploring Oxford through to Aylesbury, it is the longest canal and is often referred to as the trunk of the system. This is because the waterway offers a diverse selection of traditional towns and villages and is ideal during the quiet autumn months; giving boaters’ more time to take in the stunning views.

Kennet & Avon Canal

Also mentioned, Kennet & Avon Canal is known for its spectacular landscapes and charming history. Linking Bristol all the way to Reading, the waterway takes boaters through some of the most beautiful scenery and memorable sites. With medieval buildings and Norman remains, the canal passes through many historic places and includes, the famous Avon Gorge, the Royal Crescent and lots of impressive structures designed by John Rennie.

Additionally, in recent years the canal has been redeveloped into a popular tourist destination for both boaters and families. Offering canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling, the area is filled with plenty of things to do and see.


Found the widebeam boat or canalboat of your dreams? How a marine mortgage can help you purchase that dream boat  

Buying the boat of your dreams can be an easy affair if all the paperwork is in order and you have the cash ready to go. Most of us are unlikely to have that sort of cash lying around, of course, which is why a marine mortgage is usually the perfect solution that helps you fulfil the dream of owning a boat.

Whether it’s a sail away, brand new narrowboat or a second-hand widebeam barge, Promarine Finance can provide you with a marine mortgage to suit your circumstances, and can also provide knowledge and support all the way through the process.

The Benefits of Buying a Boat

In comparison to ordinary land-based homes, live aboard and house boats represent a viable and affordable alternative for anyone interested in a different way of living. Even if you intend to live on land for most of the time, houseboats such as widebeams, narrowboats and barges make ideal holiday vessels to get away from it all for several weeks or even months of the year.

The technology and craft of modern houseboats has improved greatly over the years, with the various types of boat offering plenty of luxury to enjoy. Perhaps the best thing about them though is the fact you can travel up and down the country via the various canal routes. With Britain having about 2,000 miles of canal networks to explore, visiting new places around the country will be an easy and relaxing adventure.

Buying a Boat with Marine Finance

If you’re reading articles about  inland boats, then it’s likely that your interest has already been piqued by the idea of owning one. Regardless of where your interest level has reached, one big issue that stands out is how to finance such a purchase.

Straight-up cash offers are rare amongst non-multi-millionaire folks so that’s where marine mortgages come into play. There are several marine finance solutions for different circumstances, with different options available for the likes of inland boats and sea-going vessels. Promarine Finance do not make a distinction between whether or not you intend to live on the boat or whether it is just for recreation.

Why a Marine Mortgage is the Best Option

For anybody looking into buying a boat, there are so many questions that need to be answered. By using a marine mortgage specialist like Promarine Finance, you will have constant access to boat-buying expertise every step of the way.

If you are buying through a reputable boat broker they will assist you with issues such as the insurance, licensing and the requisite maintenance needed to keep your boat running smoothly, as well as functional issues such as mooring.

To explore your options for buying a boat, contact Promarine Finance who can talk you through the process and arrange a quick chat to discuss the marine mortgage options available to you.

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











































Grand Banks 42


Charlie, Liza and Stuart

Thanks for the email confirmation, Colin has confirmed receiving funds.

May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your assistance in this transaction.

It has been a real pleasure in dealing with everyone in the purchase of this boat and you have all contributed to us looking forward to owning her.

Hope to meet up at the Southampton boat show where it would be good to discuss if we can do other business together.

Have a great weekend.



And more boats like this from  Boat Show Rooms

Super testimonial for Bavaria 29

We wanted to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for the professional service provided by Stuart and his team at Pro-Marine. They have been a breath of fresh air to deal though out the whole process. Having run our own business for 15 years (ie “self employed) we felt we were given the “square peg in a round hole” treatment by other potential lenders. However Pro-marine are able to look past this and have detailed understanding of financial accounts for owner Directors and how their earnings package comes together. Dealing with financially savvy people that aren’t box tickers sets Pro-Marine side from the rest. So if you are keen to get on the water but feel you will be turned away because you don’t fit the standard criteria, we would suggest you talk to Stuart and his team. If you can afford it and they can help fund it then they will! They are extremely prompt and attentive to your application too – no waiting around for weeks, as they know that once you have found something it’s all about timing. We would strongly recommend anyone looking for marine finance talk to these guys as they have put us into two different boats in 2018! Thank you Stuart & Co for making it happen.

Drew and Shirley

We finance boats from private sellers too – Zodiac 55 Rib

Just a quick email, to pass on my thanks for another seamless boat purchase. Obviously I appreciate the concerns buying privately when finance is involved. It has all worked out and Cambrian boats even commented on the Rib, stating what a nice boat she was. It is in having a service and checks etc at present.


I have recommended you previously and will continue to do so. I don’t really use Facebook, and am happy for you to use my comments in any review / marketing.

Many Thanks


Fairline Targa 34 – happy customer

Hi Liza and  Stuart

Many thanks again for such an excellent service from you and the team, helping us achieve our latest pride and joy !

A couple of snaps after some hard graft cleaning and enjoying a great season Thanks for putting up with us !!!

Best wishes  J,T and F