Continuous Cruisers

This is from a nice piece by writer Faye Keegan about escaping the toxic rental market to live modestly on a narrowboat.

We scraped together what savings we had, took out multiple loans and eventually managed to secure a boat mortgage (they’re a thing), before finally buying our narrowboat in July 2021. We spent the summer doing her up: I learned to tile and managed to figure out the plumbing, Nige laid down new pallet-wood floors, and my mum helped us paint. In September, we moved aboard full-time. Our daughter was born the following August.

This is something I think about a lot. We reluctantly escaped the rental market too and it required a similar sort of pairing down. We lost our spare room and had to move to a less lovely part of town.

If you’re renting and are appalled by how much rents have shot up and if you have any chance of escaping, you should definitely think about ownership if you can find a way. It pains me to sound so much Hilaire Belloc though: it doesn’t agree with my politics and I always liked renting. But needs must as the devil drives his landlordly gold-plated sports car over your face.

Whenever I’ve look into house boats as a happy alternative to bricks-and-mortar ownership, the mooring (i.e. the parking place) is always a problem. Faye explains:

We’re what’s called “continuous cruisers”, which means we move our boat to a new mooring roughly every two weeks. It doesn’t mean we flit between a few favourite places: the rules state that we must “genuinely navigate the waters”, and I’ve heard of boaters’ licences being revoked because they haven’t covered enough distance.

Luckily, continuous cruising has benefits: moving every fortnight means we’re always bumping into boaters we know, which is lovely, and the sense of freedom is unparalleled.

According to her website, Faye is “working on a memoir about my life aboard a 60 foot narrowboat,” which I for one am looking forward to.


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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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