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So you have come to a decision, you no longer want to live in your flat/house etc. and fancy living on a boat, or maybe your circumstances have changed and you think this might be a cheaper option.

Many many people live on boats up and down the UK canals, some legally, some less so, and it is a bit of a grey area as to who is what!

One thing you need to consider very carefully is insurance. You might think "It will never happen to me", and of course it might not, but what if it does.....say you misjudge that weir, or even worse, a kid jumps in to a lock for a swim and.....ok it might not be your fault but....

So lets look at a scenario. Mr Owner has a boat and thinks he will get a bit of cash on the side hiring it out here and there. He sticks a card in the post office and Mr Hiree comes along, interested in having a week afloat. Mr Hiree hands of his money, say 600.00 for the week (far less than the boatyard hire price) and thinks he is on to a good thing. However, the minute money changes hands the pair of them have broken the law. First and foremost BWB consider this a commercial arrangement and it contravenes the licence, and the insurance company will not insure the boat for private hire under a "normal" policy, it has to be a commercial policy.


Mr Owner has a way to get around this, "If anything happens tell anyone that asks that you are a friend of mine, and DON'T say you have paid me". All well and good until you get to court if there is a problem.......

"How long have you known him?" asks the barrister?

"Six months"

 "OK, and do you know his wife as well"


"Odd he is not married....."

You can see where this is going.......

So be warned, if you friend/uncle/brother owns a boat and you borrow it and do not pay him it is fine, but if you are "Hiring" from your "Brand new friend" it is illegal and not something this web site recommends......

Now, oddly if you are taking a long term hire/rent then there is a loophole in the regulations you can use in certain circumstances to get around this, and the cost is minimal.

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