Topic: Owning a boat on the Broads

MrWeetabix    -- May-24-2016 @ 6:58 AM
  Hi all. Apart from the freedom of being on the water anytime you choose, what are the advantages of owning a boat as apposed to hiring?
Also if you are not flushed for money, can you still afford one or share buy one, or are there deals to own a boat?
Say a 3/4 birth boat.
Sorry, I know it's a lot of questions, but I've been hiring many times on the Broads and I absolutely love it every time. Just wanting to know if it is a better option in the long run to buy.

Mr Weetabix
Life is but a moment in time. Enjoy
yourself on the Rivers

Steve51    -- May-24-2016 @ 7:21 AM
Apart from the freedom of being on the water anytime you choose......."

You've just answered your own question.  Smile

There are a couple of syndicates on the Broads where you buy a share in a boat and get a number of weeks each year to use the boat.

If you want the "any time you choose" option, then ownership is the only way to go. You can get on the water with something reasonable for as little as say, £10000. Allow a couple of thousand a year for mooring, toll and insurance and you have the absolute freedom to enjoy this wonderful place whenever you like.

You will also need to keep in mind that boats will always throw up the occasional unexpected expense, but it really is worth it.

Steve. CM1 and NR12

CaptBryan    -- May-24-2016 @ 8:42 AM
  You have to ask yourself. "Truthfully how often can I use this boat"?
This will depend on:
Retired or still working
Family commitments
Where you live
Boats very rarely stack up financially, it is a bit of a "heart and head battle"

Captain Howe.

The Eagle may soar majestic,
but you don't suck a Stoat
into your jet engines.
Please leave the water and
banks as you would wish to
find them.

ranworthbreeze    -- May-24-2016 @ 9:11 AM
  There is at least eight syndicate boats on the Norfolk Broads and there are a number of boats that are shared by crews.

As has already been said that if you have pockets full of money, your partner also loves boating or you do not work    or are semi retired then to purchase a boat is the best option.

If time is limited then being part of a syndicate is IMHO the best option, we are due to have our 33rd visit to the Broads in early July. Tan & I have never regretted our purchase of our share in Ranworth Breeze in 2001.

If you want advice on Syndicate Boat shares by all means contact me.

We currently do not have any shares for sale, but I do know what is available on some of the other syndicates.


Alan Hood
Chairman & Trustee
Ranworth Breeze Boat Syndicate

This message was edited by ranworthbreeze on May-24-16 @ 10:12 AM

Paladine    -- May-24-2016 @ 9:15 AM
Boating is like any other not-for-profit hobby. You put money in and you get enjoyment out.

Unless you are quite wealthy, you need to sit down and work out whether the money you will undoubtedly spend is worth it for the enjoyment you will get. Only you can decide that.

Some questions you need to ask yourself (and give yourself realistic answers to);

How easy will it be to get from where you live to where you will moor your boat?

Will the time/length of that journey be a deterrent to using the boat?

How often can you sensibly expect to use the boat? (I am retired, live four minutes drive from my mooring, but can only get out for about 6 or seven weeks a year, because boating is not my only, or prime, hobby.)

What are your budgets - for the initial purchase and the running costs?

It's important to make a rational decision on whether boat purchase is the right choice for you, before you even think about what type of boat to buy.

There have been several threads on the forum on this subject over the years. Unfortunately, the site's search facility has a bit of a glitch and won't return major historic search results, but you might like to browse through these

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

Uncle_Nobby    -- May-24-2016 @ 9:57 AM
  A good question Mr Weetabix.  

Boating is expensive.  No question.  It's a hobby, pastime, passion, whatever you want to call it.  Very few are the people who can buy a boat, moor it, maintain it and not notice the cost.  The more cash you have, the bigger the boat and the bigger the costs (usually).

As mentioned already, how far away are you?  Will your weekend visit end up in washing/painting/varnishing it instead of going out and about?  

I enjoy faffing and tinkering almost as much as going out but then I live five minutes away from my mooring and am in a position to be able to go whenever I want to.  

When I bought my first boat, I had plans to keep her for a few years and then to upgrade.  Actually, I upgraded within the first few months, and then did the same again.  And again.

Try it.  Try a boat which is not too expensive to see whether being an owner works for you.  If it doesn't, you can sell and recoup most of your costs.  If it does, you can upgrade again and again.

MisterB    -- May-24-2016 @ 10:55 AM
  ive just bought my first boat and put it on the broads. I didn't intend spending as much money on the boat but i am pretty certain i will get most of my money back on the investment so far, which was important to me, when i went through the same exercise you are going through. i didn't want to share and then have only part enjoyment, but i can see the benefits. as has been pointed out, its a hobby and hobbies cost money. how much you invest should be proportional to how much you 'do' your hobby.
perhaps a simple spreadsheet identifying likely amount of time spent against cost will give an indication of whether you should buy, part buy or rent for just the time you spend?

Steve51    -- May-24-2016 @ 11:05 AM
  Previous posts just go to prove how we all use our boats differently.

Unlike Paladine I only retired last week and I live 100 miles from the boat, yet last year I spent over 100 days on the boat. I probably spent more on diesel in the car than I did on diesel in the boat!

Steve. CM1 and NR12

annville    -- May-24-2016 @ 12:08 PM
  Mr Weetabix NONE AT ALL unless you use it more than three/four weeks a year. John

Chris709D    -- May-24-2016 @ 12:22 PM
  We used to hire 2 or 3 times a year costing around £2,500.

We bought our first boat last year and spend about the same (£2,500) on mooring, toll, insurance etc a year.

Obviously with a hire boat at the end of the week you hand it back and forget about it. With your own boat its on going! Engine services, anti fouling, repairs etc.

Boating is not cheap, but if you live local and use it for days out, weekends away and several week long holidays a year I don't think its too bad!


Karen&Mike    -- May-24-2016 @ 1:56 PM
  We bought our own boat in 2006, rather than carry on hiring, and/or waiting ' till later' . We thought that instead of repeating the regular comment " we'd like our own boat one day"  we would try and find a way to make it happen.

After joining this forum and finding lots of information and meeting some lovely folk at the very first meet up in 2005, we started our boat search at the end of that year. There's just the two of us so we didn't need to buy big, and this also can keep mooring costs down. We live 190 miles away but visit regulalry, and we use the boat from March to around the end of November. Any time the forecast is good, for example, we can just head down after work on a friday for the weekend. And we don't set off back till sunday evening as the traffic has eased off a bit by then, and  anyway, who wants to leave The Broads on Sunday teatime in the summer when the sun is still shining and the birds singing!  We get home in time for bed! And why not!?

We see boating as our hobby, our pastime, and so it's not a luxury, it's what we do. We have some wonderful boating friends and have had some great times in the ten years thus far. I would rather run one decent car, and one banger, so as to keep running a boat. There is boat owing  on a budget or gin palace champagne boating, and lots of in-between, but its definately not an exclusive or elite pastime and you can make it work however you want, IMHO,

Go for it! Life is too short....

All the best, K & M

"Wind up the elastic band Karen - we're setting off!!"

Jean&Brian    -- May-24-2016 @ 3:08 PM
  As you will see there are as many viewpoints as types of boat, the main consideration is the general view of how often will you use it, we use ours every opportunity we get 12 months of the year, like Steve 51 we expect to get around 100 or more days in this year, even with family commitments we have usually managed 80 or so in the past but we are retired.

Cost wise there are always out of pocket expenses but generally speaking the fixed costs are equal to 2 to 3 weeks hire of an equivalent boat, the benefit of owning your own over shared ownership/syndicate boats is the freedom to come and go as you please for as long as you like and the ability to leave everything on board just bringing and taking home clothing, no need to leave the boat ready for the next user.

As Paladine said at the end of the day you need to decide on your own criteria, everyone has different circumstances and needs and most importantly disposable income and time.

Hope that helps.


Member Victor Meldrew Appreciation Society

MrWeetabix    -- May-24-2016 @ 4:10 PM
  Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and input,and excellent information.
I will consider all you have said.
I would like to have an idea of what the cost of sharing with others can be.
It takes about 2 hours driving to get to the Broads from where I live. But that is nothing for me, as the thought of getting in the water just thrills me so much, and the thought of getting away from it all,is just bliss.
I watch ROBIN AKA The London Rascal all the time and have seen every blog he has done, and I find his blogs and boat reviews wonderful.
Would like to contact him but not sure how.
Anyway, thank you all again. I would of been at the NBF meet at Ranworth but I'm going abroad that day!! Never mind.
0 lease all keep in touch with any more info or ideas, and ya never know, might see you on the water. ??

Mr Weetabix
Life is but a moment in time. Enjoy
yourself on the Rivers

pargeandmarge    -- May-24-2016 @ 4:29 PM
  Hello to you
We recon you can only love a boat the time its yours hire one love it for the hire period buy one and love it all year as a family member with its trials and rewards.
Marge and Parge

avg45    -- May-24-2016 @ 6:21 PM
  Hi Mrweetabix, We have owned a boat for about 11years, it takes us around 3 hours to get to it from just outside Brighton. We sold our last boat in 2013, gave it up for a year,  missed it so much that we bought our present boat (Alpha 31) and have been back on the water ever since. If you love boating the cost and distance is immaterial, So buy your boat and enjoy it.


I read somewhere that
drinking was
bad for you, so I have
given up. Alan
reading.  avg45

aboattime    -- May-24-2016 @ 6:59 PM
  Hi every one i bought our Alpha 32 last year with my daughter and son in law.We share the running costs and love the freedom of using it at any time that suits us.We invite friends add relations for long weekends and holidays.After holidaying on the broads for over 55 years this is my dream. Take the plunge you will love it,you only live once!!

kindest regards

Kevin Cook

wheelie    -- May-24-2016 @ 9:20 PM
  Do it, you never know what the future holds. The couple that moor behind us bought their boat on retirement last spring, the wife passed away over the winter.

My mum died shortly after retirement 10 years ago and that totally changed my outlook on life, I now do things now, not wait until later.

Exile    -- May-25-2016 @ 1:12 PM
  In my opinion owning a boat virtually never stacks up financially.
Plus one aspect that many miss is the time that they swallow too through maintenance. I know roughly what my boats cost for the usual associated bills but have never dared add up the hours that I spend simply keeping them in good order. If I multiplied those many hours by my normal hourly working rate (which I could be doing instead) it would be an eye watering sum.
So no, only in rare cases does it make real sense.

However....would I ever become a non boat owner? Not a chance.
Leisure usually costs money and I am perfectly happy to take the financial hit for the joy and freedom of owning.

dannyboy    -- May-30-2016 @ 5:43 PM
  This is definitely a 'how long is a piece of string' type of question. I own my boat - my second in 8 years. Total 'purchase' cost of both boats appx. £7,500. [Yes you could spend £10,000 but I frequently see very lovely motor cruisers for sale for a lot less - usually the older, more basic traditional boats like Freeman 22's]

My costs now are appx. £1100 p.a. (as we are paying a bit more for mooring these days) but if I have the boat taken out, hull polished, anti fouling etc. then a bit more. Even if my total costs were £1,500 p.a. that equates to less than two weeks hire of a similar sized sailing boat from a Broads Yard. Add in the purchase cost and I might be able to afford three weeks - just. I prefer to have free access to my boat, whenever I wish...

Maintenance is always there, but it need not be huge cost - again, it depends on your choice of boat!  I would love to own a classic wooden river cruiser, but my pockets aren't that deep, nor do I have the skills to look after it, so I have settled for a GRP production sailing boat in good nick. It cost me less than £5k.

So, where am I going with this? Well, we decided that for us, owning was far more preferable as this is our main escape/relaxation/hobby and we want to enjoy it whenever we can/like. We looked at the realities of our life and worked out what sort of investment was realistic for us and went for it - ABSOLUTELY no regrets. If all I could have afforded was a Mirror Dinghy, I'd have gone for that and used it as much as I could...


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