Disadvantages of Continuous Cruising: What to Consider

What are the Disadvantages of Continuous Cruising?

Perhaps it is wrong to consider the following considerations as disadvantages, as they do not pertain to your situation, and so will not disadvantage you in the least. However, many people who are considering living full-time on the waterways will still be bound by everyday considerations such as jobs, schools, etc, and continuous cruising when tied to these commitments is not without its challenges.


If you are employed in one physical location ie: an office building, shop, hospital, etc, then trying to fulfill the requirements of the continuous cruising license is going to present many obstacles. For instance, if you have to move further down the waterway every 14 days, then you will need to find transport links from each new location to get you to work.


If you have a car, you will need someone to drive the car to your next mooring and find suitable parking for the 14 days you are moored. This process will repeat for each move down the canal. If you use public transport, you will need to find the nearest bus stop, rail station, etc to your new mooring and repeat with each move. You will also have to factor in commuting time which may add considerably to your day, the further away you travel. As mentioned previously, you are not allowed to simply move back and forth between 2 or 3 points of the waterway to stay within one location. You will be noticed and your license be called into question.


If you have children of school age and are not home-schooling them on your boat, you will find the same challenges as those listed above for employment. If your children attend different schools, this can soon turn into a logistical nightmare.

Waste, Water & Provisions

As you move along the waterways, you will need to find places to fill your water tanks, replenish your food supply, and get rid of any waste. Although many of the visitor moorings have facilities to enable this, if you find yourself moored along the towpath, it could be miles to the nearest water point. Add this to the daily commute and school run, and soon there are not enough hours in the day to get things done. Now add in the dark winter months when you could be doing daily battles with rain or snow-covered towpaths and frozen taps, and it doesn’t take long for continuous cruising to lose its charm.


As you move along the waterways, you may have decided where you will stay next and have worked out all the logistics for that mooring. Well done for being organized! However, what happens when you reach the mooring site and find that there are no spaces and so have to continue along the waterway looking for an available spot? All that planning goes out the window. Equally, there may be time restrictions that won’t allow you to stay for the usual 14 days. Some popular visitor moorings can be as restrictive as 24-48hrs max.

No Fixed Abode

Continually cruising the waterways means that you will not have a physical address, and sometimes this can cause problems for the following:

  • Receiving mail
  • Registering with a Dr / Dentist
  • Registering to vote
  • TV Licensing

Although all of these things can be managed without a bricks-and-mortar abode, they do require a little more thought and planning.

Wear & Tear / Diesel Consumption

The more you use your narrowboat to travel the waterways, the more diesel you will consume and there will be more wear and tear to your motor.

Now this can be outweighed by the costs you are saving by not having a regular monthly mooring fee, however, you must put the money aside to cover the unexpected if you are not to be left short when the next breakdown occurs.

Time Lost

When you live on a narrowboat that has a home mooring, you get to put your feet up when you get home from work and relax. Everything you need is to hand and takes just a few moments to deal with the usual daily chores associated with owning a narrowboat. However, when you are a continuous cruiser, you will find that much of the ‘free’ time you have outside of work, is likely to be spent commuting further to work, gathering supplies on the way home, dealing with water, waste, and general maintenance, or moving from one mooring to another.

You may find that you are not getting any time to enjoy owning your narrowboat!

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