There is no doubt that it is generally less expensive to live a floating life style than a land based one; on the other hand if anyone tells you it’s free of big expenses, don’t believe them. You have heard what BOAT stands for? Bring Out Another Thousand!
In these coming months I have particularly big outgoings to keep ‘Don’t Panic’ happy and legal. Firstly there is my annual mooring fee – just shy of £1,300. Then there is my licence to allow me to cruise the waterways – nearly £700.
On 13th February, if we are not iced in, I am taking the boat for her two yearly bottom blacking. This involves blasting all the grime and weed that has accumulated using high pressure water hoses and then painting the hull with several coats of a bitumen based paint to retard rust and so keep her afloat. My roof has needed repainting for some time and so both these painting jobs together will cost around £1,000. I have learnt that the best way of keeping the dreaded rust at bay is to keep her clean and polished and to keep the paint in as good a condition as possible. Rust is very sneaky – you may only see one little spot showing through the paint, but often if you investigate further you can find that it has crept all over the place, under cover of the paint.
Lastly my Boat Safety Certificate is due for renewal this year. This is an inspection that happens every four years to make sure the boat is safe and you have to pay an examiner to do it. I’m not sure how much that will cost yet and of course the expense will rise if there is anything I need to put right. It’s very like your car MOT in that you hope very much that you only have to pay the fee for the exam and nothing nasty is found!
Because all these expenses are due within a couple of months of each other, it requires me to be financially disciplined throughout the year so that I save enough to cover it all. I find this quite difficult – particularly as I only earn around £750 a month. It is so tempting to spend what I have each month and worry about these big expenses when they arise. However that way lies ruin so I do my best and am very grateful to the relatives who have helped me out on more than one occasion!