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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Narrowboat running costs -some end of year facts and figures.

 Here in the south of the country we have woken to a beautiful fresh sunny day. Ice has on several days of late, settled against the lock and to one end of the marina. If the canal does freeze over it will stop navigation so perhaps Mother Nature is sending out hints of what she has in store so keep those tanks topped up and get some extra coal now. The tanks that need to be kept empty are those connected to your toilet; those of us with composting toilets can ignore this last sentence says I with a grin on my face.

Being in a marina our choice of coal is limited and our normal choice from Jules' fuel boat has been Pureheat at £10.75($16.34) per 25 kilo(55lbs.) As this brand is not available in the marina it has resulted in our trying Pureglow at £10.50 and I must say they are almost identical in performance.

We have of course plenty of wood on the roof that is under cover and keeping dry. Our normal way when out on the towpath is to burn wood during the day, using coal in the evening and overnight. Being in the marina and near to other occupied boats we have to ease up on the wood burning so as not to let the extra smoke annoy others.

The next part of this blog post is only possible because my lovely Jaq keeps records of our boat costs and locations. I don`t need to check records to know our location a year ago because it was just about 500 yards away out on the towpath. Last October I had the Bowel cancer surgery and by December I had recovered enough to leave the boat for a pre op check for surgery on my Uretha and I   missed Alistair --a regular blog reader. Alistair while out and about snapped the sign on the left and sent it to me. The guys give the location away, it is St. Omer barracks. Alistair said it reminded him of me with my stomer after the bowel surgery. He decided not to eat there.

That was eight weeks after the bowel surgery; today it`s been six weeks since the Liver surgery and although I feel pretty good I am not going to be as fit in two weeks time as I was a year ago, as this time the surgery has been more invasive.

Again referring to Jaq`s records over the past 12 months we have used;

1037 litres of diesel. That`s 228 UK gallons at a total cost of £801.34($1218) approx. 77p per litre for UK readers.

Five 13kg (28.6 lbs) bottles of propane total cost £118.65($180) that`s about £23.50($35.72) per bottle. I bet house owners here in the UK wished they had a gas/propane bill as low as that.

23 bags of coal at a cost of £245.75($373.54). At £10.50($16) per bag that`s about the same as the current price. The bags are standard 25 kilo(55lbs).

Of course we have our Canal and River Trust license that expires the end of this month and cost £833($1266).

Insurance covering the boat itself plus we have our contents insured totals £320($486).

An added insurance we have as perhaps many boaters also have is breakdown cover. We use RCR which as well as attendance by an engineer includes replacements parts cover with just a £50 excess to pay. This at a cost of £133($202) is £2.55($4) per week.

Last year we had a drive plate -think clutch- fail, the plate costs around £140($212). The whole job including fitting cost us £50($76). if you price up some of the parts covered in the above link you will see it`s a good deal. Our gearbox would cost £700($1064) if not covered by our insurance. Remember the labour is included as is the engineers traveling time.

So we have six fixed costs over the year adding up to a total of £2450($3724) that works out at £47($71) per week.

Of course there maybe some figures that need tweaking but this gives a good guide for any reader interested. Take the coal, consumption is reduced by the wood we gather so perhaps the cost of chainsaw and it`s consumables should be included but as I say this just gives readers a guide.

Now getting to the end I realise my engine servicing has been omitted. Doing my own means just parts to price which is approx - figures in my head- about £38 each for four services per year.

Please feel free to comment especially if my figures  are wrong, I am winning the Mr. C battle so think I can take what you less troublesome folk throw my way.

The $ figures for all our friends and family across the pond are based on  £1 being equal to a $1.52cents and some figures have been rounded up/down.


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Les, It's good to know the annual costs. Tony and Helen Porter have posted theirs too - we were too scared to keep a tally this year in case it spooked us into not coming back. I know you would be pleased at that result, but tough! I am planning on keeping a record this next year though, so be prepared to see me lying prostate on the stern of the boat. Only chardonnay will revive me, so keep some handy ...
Mxox (+ Dxox)

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Sorry, meant prostrate ...

Unknown said... that the same blend as one would put in an
automobile in the UK? Assume it is a different tax rate though.
The coal originates in the UK or from elsewhere?
The wood, is acquired from
the edge of the canal; so if a tree has fallen alongside the towpath, at what point is said fallen tree available for the taking or does it belong to the adjacent land owner???

Looks like you two are set to the end of January at least...

Les Biggs said...

Hi Marilyn
I read those figures but in mine I have just tried to show fixed boat use costs. If you use marinas, for good reason in their case, then expenses will increase.
Also Marilyn too much Chardonay will also increase costs.
Les x

Les Biggs said...

Hi Bryce
Diesel is as in cars over here and yes a different tax payable.
The coal question I can`t answer.
The wood is usually snapped up before anyone can decide ownership although CRT own a lot of the land alongside the canals.

Chas and Ann said...

Thanks for your good wishes. We are both recovering from various ailments thrown at us during the year.
Now it is the second Christmas off the boat already.
Enjoy your Christmas on board, you two.
Love Chas n Ann

Anonymous said...

Hi Les and Jaq
Hope you are feeling better Les. Great blog and useful for me over the coming year to know. I want to wish you both a lovely Christmas and a very happy new year, I hope 2015 goes better than 2014 and you can both get some serious cruising in. Lots of love
Carol BV x

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs