Prices of used boats, US vs UK...
I dont know any other way to say this- I am very poor!
...You see due to some Euro-nonsence, called: "the workers time directive", my working hours have been cut down to just 40 hours per week from an average of 60 hours.
While that may be great for those on the continent, here in the UK most workers, like myself, get paid by the hour so instantly my take home pay has been halved!
I am living in a tiny studio flat which I rent for a rediculous £575 per month (Thats about 844 euros or about $1038!!!) so now nearly all my wages are spent just paying my rent!
Recently though after chatting with many people at several boat yards along the River Thames and with people actually living on boats on the river Thames and on the Grand Union Canal, the solution was staring me in the face....Buy a cheap boat and live on it!
But of course this not as easy as it seems....
You see here in the UK boats are viewed strictly as a luxury items, only available to the well off and hence everything nautical carries a very heavy premium....This means that boats here cost much more than in probably any other country.
Whilst asking around the boatyards I managed to find a few cheap boats, including a 36'x12' ex-Broads cruiser that goes and is ready to live on but its made of wood, and everyone I talked to around the Thames warned me against buying a wooden hulled boat, so I am really not keen on it even though its the best if not only option available to me at the present time.
Steel is the material of choice among the Thames boatbuilders, as its the cheapest boatbulding material in the UK and of course its very strong, durable and water tight.
The thing is that I am now so desperate to find a way out of my financial problems I might end up rushing into buying the first ready-to-liveaboard boat that comes along, even a wooden one, and I might end up buying a right-rotten-wreck if I'm not very carefull.
Of course there is another solution: Build a boat and then live on it, as it would cost next to nothing but even if I could afford the materials to build one, two really big problems remain...The lack of somewhere to actually build it, and the fact that while I am building it, I cant actually live in it ,so every month that passes while I build it would mean me having to spend out yet another £575 on rent to stay here!
So now I am spending many hours online sifting through used boat ads from all over the world to try and find a suitable liveaboard boat as quickly as possible and only one country seems to have boats cheap enough for my meagre budget and boats that are big enough to make good liveaboards:...America!
If fact I have seen a lovely steel hulled 44'x15' motor cruiser with two 200hp detroit diesels for only £2700!!!!!!!
But of course, you guessed it, if I bought a boat from the US I have to find a way to get transported back over to the UK , and thats another huge problem as my budget may not run to such an expense (?)
The idea of trying to motor such a boat across the Alantic did pop into my mind, but I am not that keen on dying!
And even if it were possible and I only only used one engine at crawl speed to save fuel, I would need at least 1000 gallons of fuel and it would take me at least nine days to make the passage!
For this reason my preference has recently changed from buying a 35'+ big-beamed motor cruiser to a buying a 35'+ big-beamed sailing yacht.
Because if I buy a yacht in the US, I can sail it back to the UK and I would save thousands of pounds!
Honestly, I am frequently amazed by how cheap boats are in the US and if I were looking to start a business importing used boats from the US, doing them up and selling them on here in the UK, I really could make a fortune!
But thats not my priority at the moment and I all I really need is a cheap, beamy, steel hulled liveaboard yacht or cruiser between 35'-50', thats in reasonable condition and costs less than £5000....The amazing thing is, there seem to be dozens of them in the US!
BTW, can anyone give me an estimate on how much it would cost to get an 18 tonne, 44'x15' boat over to the UK? (It will need a cradle)
...If it costs too much then I will look for a sailing yacht or motor-sailer instead and perhaps attempt a trans-Atlantic passage.
I sure would like to know where you are finding these boats! I went to England to buy my last boat (a Contessa 26) for two reasons: it was cheaper there and it was a far better boat than anything I could find here (in the US). That was quite a few years ago, to be sure, but a 44' boat (ANY boat!) for 2700 pounds? I would think more like $270,000 if it is worth having!
You might want to consider buying or building a barge instead, and building living quarters on it as it floats. A ferro-concrete one would be perfect. You could set up something temporary on it to live in while you build for not much (any kind of shed, even a tent). Over here the main expense to that approach would be slip fees, which have been running about $6 a foot in the recent past . . . but now seem to be changing to a square-foot rate, and not a favorable one.
A house boat could be very nice if you have a good place to tie it up!
Price of used boats, US vs UK
Naturally I've got to add my five cents worth....Aquatek - you may find it worthwhile to look around the 'north' of England first - Manchester, Sheffield etc where the old canal system used to serve the industrial revolution.
Friends of mine, retired teachers (therefore not of the 'moneyed class' found themselves an old 'narrowboat' and after spending a few 'quid' and many hours of restoration acquired themselves a very comfortable and 'cheap' home. The draw back being, as BillyDoc sagely points out is in the mooring fees.
However if you can live without the 'luxury' of mains power and survive on DC current (It means sacrificing such essentials as Sky TV ) and living like a 'real' boatie - then quiet moorings 'upstream' in backwaters can be established with the blessings of a 'friendly' landowner. (Even a waterside pub...)
Title yourself as a 'hermit' and you'll be welcomed as 'our resident character...' At least that's what my frieds discovered.
Mooring fees do not matter to me as where I am going to moor my boat its totally free!
You dont need to do without 240 AC mains on ANY boat if you buy an inverter or two.
They are a lot cheaper than they were a few years ago. A 300w model can be bought for between £19-£30 and I know someone who imports 1kw models, direct from the manuafacturers in Asia, which he sells for about £200-£250.
I have considered buying a Thames barge and there are quite a few available.
An 81'x21' barge can be bought for only £3000, but of course they have no engine/s so you have to pay someone to tow one to your chosen mooring site which could add a bit to the cost, depending on how far it has to be towed.
I suppose you could weld a bracket onto the back to take an outboard motor which would help to save on towing fees but the outboard motor required would have to be quite a big and hence quite an expensive one, and then there is the cost of fuel to take into account, so it would probably work out more expensive than paying to get it towed!
The thing is I need a boat that is ready to live on straight away with mimimum work needed to make it "tidy" and thats where I have had problems finding one.
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