Boatkeeping

The weekly chores

Emptying the toilet, filling up with water, charging the batteries, going to the laundrette, keeping the fuel stocked up, lighting the stove, trips to recycling points, moving the boat every couple of weeks... Living afloat is not just a high-maintenance lifestyle, it's like adding a part-time job to your life.

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Sustainable boating

If you're serious about living as close to the earth as possible, living on a boat is a good step.  Our ecological impact is lower than that of a house, although we tend to depend pretty heavily on fossil fuels: coal, gas, diesel.  A few conscious choices can reduce the ecological impact of living on board and save you quite a bit of money in the process.

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Basic boat maintenance

You don't need to be a mechanic but don't expect to keep your hands lily-white.  Here are the main things you'll need to keep an eye on.

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Simple security

Ask the police how to protect your home they'll tell you to take reasonable precautions: lock up, don’t leave valuables on display and use your common sense and judgement.  Ask the police how to protect your boat and they tend to say the same thing.

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Do I need a generator?

They're expensive to buy, noisy to run, awkward to store, and can even put your insurance at risk if you're keeping petrol on board outside a fuel-safe locker.  So many boaters don't bother with generators.  If you're hungry for power, though...

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Wood or coal?

Unless you're among the few with diesel or gas heating, you're going to be burning wood, smokeles coal, or both.  So, which is best?

 

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How to make a really good fire


If boaters had a university it would have a Faculty of Firelighting and we'd duke it out in the corridors on 'how it should be done'. Here's one way of lighting a long-lasting, low-cost fire in a stove using smokeless coal. Other opinions are also available.

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