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Old 06-06-2006, 11:25   #1
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New Livaboardees - Purchasing Barges in Europe?


This is my first, of hopefully many posts to this forum, so Hi to everyone!

My partner and myself are loking to purchase a barge (Dutch / Humber / Thames etc) type boat to convert to a liveaboard, I have many members of my family work in the construction trade so getting the conversion work done will be a doddle, however finding a barge with a sound hull / decent engine is our major concern. I've seen barges around the humber for under 20k that seem ok, see:

as an example, this is a 62' x 14'barge that needs conversion, I have no real idea of its condition and obviously we'll get a professional survey done before committing to a purchase. Now I understand a little about the ins and outs of having a boat on the canals, but what are the costs of keeping a large barge such as this,
1. do I need to pay a mooring fee on a river,
2. is the insurance many times higher because of the size?
3. what licenses / certificates are required etc.

As a final query I was wondering if, as is the case with property prices, that boats / barges are available more cheaply in mainland Europe - most notably anywhere from Germany and beyond - Poland, eastern Europe etc. And, if a suitable boat was located / purchased would it / is it possible to sail back along the major waterways of Europe and across the channel (weather permitting of course). Also is it possible to sail barges around the coastline of Britain to access different rivers / navigations etc. Maybe I'm expecting too much from one boat! Anyway any info about this would be gratefully received!

many thanks!


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Old 06-06-2006, 12:05   #2
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Aloha Samantha,

I can't answer any of your questions but there was a new fellow on the forum who had owned a canal boat and may be able to help. If he doesn't respond soon I will let you know how to reach him.

Welcome aboard. This is a great site to find answers to many questions and there are many friendly folks.

Regards, --JohnL--

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Old 06-06-2006, 16:37   #3
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Aloha Again Samantha,

dawndreamer is the new member here that mentioned they had a canal boat and did the canals in France. You might do a search to find them on this site.

Regards, --John--
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Old 06-06-2006, 16:43   #4
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Canal World Forum

There is a forum for Canal Cruisers. They may have the information that you are after if no one here can help.
You can find them at :-
I found a reference to the construction of a barge that you could find onteresting.
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Old 07-06-2006, 00:10   #5
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There are lots of barges in excellent condition available in France - H2O are a good company and there are very good steel barges work boats in the Netherlands as well.

The big big problem is finding a mooring... really difficult - in England people will buy an old boat with its mooring then just right the boat off. In France and the Netherlands it is easier but in the end Barges tend to end up together in one place - there is a difference between moving on more or less daily and staying put in one place for extended periods of time.

In France and the Netherlands you need a CENVI which is a basic qualification to drive 'motor boats' on inland waters. Once the barge reaches a certain size you also need 'licence' to drive it. There are several barge schools for people buying a barge for the first time... I no longer live in the UK but I think you are not required to have any licence or qualification to drive a motorboat on inland waterways - but with the sort of barge you are describing it will only go on larger rivers and be far to big for the UK canal system.

Please visit my sailing website at
if you have time...
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Old 07-06-2006, 11:22   #6
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British Interior waterways are regulated by a body that doesnt understand squat about boats and keeps putting out differring requirements some of which are so badly worded that interpretations vary between areas. Some of their requirements are very much different to common sense approach used by sea going boats. e.g. not allowed to have glass bowls on your filters incase they break in a fire and cause fuel to increase the fire. no alternative methods allowed to show wether their is water in the fuel!

They do a list of requirements on the web site and to get licenced for the inland waterways you need to pass their inspection. Not worth looking at the website until reasonably close to the inspection time!

"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
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