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Choosing a boat

One of the first decisions is whether you want a GRP river or canal cruiser, canal boat/narrowboat, barge or broad beam boat. All have pluses and minuses.

GRP river and canal cruisers are normally cheaper and most suitable for short or day trips on rivers.

Broad beam boats and barges offer more space being 10ft, 12ft or 14ft wide but can't access a lot of the UK canal network which was designed and built for narrowboats.

The most popular design therefore is the narrowboat, which is 6ft 10" wide and up to 70ft in length although to access every corner of the connected network you need to be less than 58ft in length (these boats are frequently referred to as long boats which is actually what the Vikings used to invade us.)

Narrowboats come in three stern (back end) types: Cruiser (picture 1, right) , Semi-traditional (2) and Traditional (3).

The decision on what to choose is very much a personal thing.

If you are unsure as to what length or stern might suit you it is a good idea, before you invest your hard earned cash, to hire a boat as close to the design as you can find so you can spend a few days living on it. We can offer a wide selection of boats for hire at locations around the country through the ABC Boat Hire website or call 03303 330590.

Another alternative is to visit one of our marinas with several boats for sale and compare these, although there is no substitute for actually spending time living on a boat.

Nowadays the equipment that can be found in a boat is almost endless. The only constraint seems to be space and money. We have tried to list some of the options available on the Boat equipment options page, which your boat broker or surveyor can help you understand.