Offgrid Boaters

one couple's alternative nomad lifestyle on a 25foot yoghurt pot

Hi, I am
Glenn
Hello, I am
Mandy

In 2018, Glenn and Mandy gave up their rented house in town to move onto a fifty-year-old cabin boat. With no practical boating experience, they cruised down the Thames and onto the Kennett and Avon Canal where they embarked on an exciting new life as offgrid boaters.

"A cabin boat is basically a floating yoghurt pot. It’s nothing like a steel narrowboat and ours is older than us and still a beauty."

This is their voyage of discovery. The challenges they faced in downsizing to a home the space of a modern living room. The joys of summer on the water and the reality of icy winters.

Full of humor and loads of useful advice, this is an ideal read for anyone looking for a fulfilling alternative to modern living.

Clockwise from top left: Mooring on the towpath. Summer BBQ. Wyebourne, looking small but neat between narrowboats.

If you have ever wondered what living on a boat full time might be like, Offgrid Boaters will give you an insight into the benefits of living on a boat. It is not a how-to-do-it manual, but the story of a couple who had all the same questions many others have. Can we live legally on a boat? Do we have to pay council tax? Can we make a living and work while living on our boat?

 

Their greatest question was probably if they could survive winter while living on their boat? They also answer the other big question; what kind of boat can you live on?

Winter of 2018/19 in Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire

When thinking about living aboard a boat, most people think of a typical canal boat, or what is called a narrowboat. Glenn and Mandy explore this option in Offgrid Boater and discuss why they opted instead for a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) boat.

They do not have a residential mooring so are Continuous Cruisers, moving on to a new spot along the Kennet and Avon Canal at least every two weeks. This means they have no access to mains power or water and must rely on solar electricity supplemented by an inverter generator or their boat's large inboard engine.

They live in their tiny house all year including winter, and have become wise in ways to keep their boat warm, cosy and relatively dry inside. Their cabin cruiser also has a small shower cubicle with hot water generated by a marine calorifier.

Clockwise from top left: Main cabin. View to front cabin from stern deck. Wyebourne in a lock.

This proved beyond helpful, detailing where we could stop for water, elsan, and overnight mooring.

There are good navigational notes sp you are never taken by surprise. Also includes some history on nearby places of interest, local shops, pubs, and restaurants.

Waterways covered in this guide include Basingstoke Canal, Bridgwater & Taunton Canal, Grand Western Canal, Exeter Ship Canal, Kennet & Avon Canal, River Thames, Wey & Godalming Navigations.

Includes detailed Ordnance Survey® maps showing the location of essential features such as locks, towpaths and boating facilities.

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The ideal supplementary power supply device for boaters. The HPS-300 powers devices silently without toxic fumes or flammable fuels.

Its lithium-ion battery stores power so you can run devices when outdoors, boating, and camping.

At 6.2kg, the HPS-300 mobile power station is easy to carry.

 

It can be recharged via a normal 13 amp wall plug, a 12V cigarette lighter type plug, or a solar panel.

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When they are not working, Glenn and Mandy spend their free time on their boat or working on their allotment where they grow organic vegetables in the summer months.

The minimalist lifestyle allows them to spend money on experiences rather than on material possessions, which they have no space for. This includes no TV, which frees up their time to devote to doing the things they enjoy, such as reading, writing, gardening, and family.

In her free time, Mandy crochets clothing, blankets and cushion covers for the family. She also writes and illustrates children's books under her pen name Valley Kinghorn.

Clockwise from top left: The stern deck under canopy. The steering wheel on deck. Wyebourne lit up.

Both still have permanent employment and are fortunate to be able to work from their offices or from their floating house.

 

Glenn writes historical fiction set in the time of the ancient Romans and Carthaginians and his ongoing series, Sons of Iberia, can be ordered from independent bookstores across the world as well as online.

 

He hopes to one day be able to commit to writing full-time so that he can publish more books for his readers and earn enough to upgrade their boat, Wyebourne.

 

This will also mean he and Mandy can become truly nomadic, exploring the waterways from England to the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and north to the Baltic Sea.

A sunny day in early spring makes a great time to clean and touch up Wyebourne with a lick of paint.

​Thetford Porta-Potties are favoured by campers and boaters and the 365 has all the most modern features: 

  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 414 x 383 x 427 mm

  • Capacity of flush-water tank: 15 L

  • Level indicator display for the waste-holding tank

  • Capacity of waste-holding tank: 21 L

  • Net weight: 4 Kg

  • Flushing System: Piston pump

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Historical fiction book covers
Offgrid Boaters
one couple's alternative nomad lifestyle on a 25ft yoghurt pot
by
J. Glenn Bauer, author of the
Sons of Iberia series

Cost of Living on a Boat

The costs of living on a boat in the UK will vary depending primarily on the size of boat, your location, and how far you cruise.

CRT boat license fee

The longer the vessel the higher the cost which varies from £552.57 for up to 5.5m up to £1206.71 for up to a maximum length of 23.5m

Review the CRT fees here

Boat safety scheme certificate

This cost incurred every four years depends on the examiner but you can estimate a cost of circa £150.

Boat insurance

Variable depending on the age and value of your vessel. Anything from £150 per year or more.

Clockwise from top left: Sanding the strakes. Running the generator to supplement the solar power. Cruising the canal. Navigating a bridge entrance to a lock.

Canal and river rescue insurance

Like breakdown cover for cars, I highly recommend taking out this cover. This starts from £175 per year depending again on the level of cover best suits.

Diesel fuel

Diesel engines are the preferred engines for boats as it is less combustible than petrol. Boaters have been able to use red diesel for boating, but this is changing and may not be permitted.

Although less than half price per litre, I have never used red diesel because we use perhaps a tank of fuel a year.

We use approximately 5litres of diesel a week for heating.

Butane/Propane Gas

Gas is used for both cooking purposes, heating and hot water. We burn through a 4.5kg tank at £18.78 every month in winter and every two months in summer. We only use Butane for cooking though.

Boat fires are all too common and fire fighting equipment is a safety must.

 

This compact powder fire extinguisher will suffice for small fires on petrol, oil, gas, paint, furniture, wood, solvents, and electrical equipment. It comes with a mounting bracket.

 

Use on A, B and C class fires. Rating 8A/34B. EN3 kitemarked approved Rechargeable Mounting Bracket Pressure Gauge Steel 5 Year Manufacturer's Guarantee

 

The Fire Blanket is 1Mx1M and CE marked.

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Webasto diesel heaters are used by boaters, truckers, and in workshops, and offer a compact, quiet, and economical heating solution.

 

The Webasto Air Top 2000STC delivers a heat output of 2kW and is fuel-efficient, using between 0.12 and 0.24 liters per hour.

Note: Like most of the multi-purpose diesel heaters sold on Amazon, this unit will need additional fittings to make it BSS compliant if being fitted on a boat.

 

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​I find this battery reliable right through the cold heart of winter. The dimensions are ideal for fitting into the tight recess beneath the stern deck. I have coupled it up in series with two more to my solar panel to keep it topped up.

​Features:

  • 12V 110AH 800A

  • Leisure & Marine Heavy Duty Long Life Battery

  • Dual Purpose (Starting & Auxiliary) - Maintenance Free with Advance Calcium Technology

  • Dimensions:- Length: 354mm Width: 175mm Height: 190mm (Height is including Terminals / Posts)

  • 2 Years Manufacturer Warranty

 

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Author J. Glenn Bauer

www.jglennbauer.co.uk is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Contact Details: J. Glenn Bauer | j.glennbauer@gmail.comSuite 112, Mail Boxes Etc. 115 - 116 Commercial Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 5BD

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