Buying a narrowboat can be a difficult process, a quick browse through various websites and narrowboating magazines will give you a wide range of examples of different styles, shapes, and sizes. To help you gather all the information together, we’ve put together a checklist of 3 things you need to know before buying a narrowboat…

Try Before You Buy…

Narrowboating isn’t for everyone, to ensure that you would enjoy the lifestyle aboard, our advice would be to try before you buy. To help you get a better understanding of what life is like on a canal, we would recommend hiring one for the day or speaking with an expert and find out if it is for you. 

At this point it is always important to ask yourself the following questions:


#1 Narrowboat Certificates & Surveys…

Aside from choosing the perfect design, style, and size for you, you will also need to know about the legalities of narrowboating including certificates and surveys. One of the most important certificates that you need includes your Boat Safety Scheme certificate, this is essentially an MOT for your narrowboat. Find out more about the BSS here

You may find that expert narrowboat sellers offer in-depth surveys of their boats including a variety of pictures, videos and even an in-person walk around. 

#2 Narrowboat Maintenance…

Another thing to consider before buying a narrowboat is the regular maintenance you may need to carry out. This can vary from monthly to yearly depending on what needs to be completed. Here are some examples of maintenance tasks that may need to be carried out:

  • Engine Servicing
  • Electrics
  • Gas Installations
  • Plumbing
  • Central Heating
  • Joinery
  • Boat Painting
  • Signwriting

#3 Narrowboat Security…

The last thing you should consider when buying a narrowboat is the security you may want to add to it and the cost that this involves. If you choose to moor at a marina, you will likely be in an area that has better security as they often have CCTV, locked gates, and take more precautions from a safety perspective.

However, if you are looking at buying a narrowboat and want the extra peace of mind that your boat will be safe, you may also want to think about reinforcing windows and doors with additional locks or clasps, adding a boat alarm system, and adding locking fuel caps. 

How To Buy A Narrowboat…

Now you know more about buying a narrowboat and things to consider before you purchase one. For expert information and guidance on selling or buying a narrowboat, speak to the team at Swanley Brokerage and they will be happy to help. If you’re looking for further information regarding mooring in a marina or boat maintenance and repairs, send an email to or speak to our team directly on 01270 524571 and we will be able to advise you further.