The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life

My friend Jamie reminded me of an old saying: “the two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it“.

Is that because boat owners often see the romance and not the money, chores and effort? I’m starting to understand a boat owner needs to constantly work to keep their vessel floating, running, dry, moored safely and rust-free.

Odin is out of the water on what they call ‘hard standing’ at the moment, and there’s A LOT of work to do. We started by sweeping , scrubbing, removing a million spider friends and poking around the engine last weekend. We’re slowly learning all the things we need to learn.

Things like: do our electrics work? How do we test them? Where do we plug in? How do we get water into the boat then out again? How does the engine work? Lucky for us, Chris’s amazing Dad is diesel mechanic and owns a garage specialising in commercial engines. We’re already getting a lot of help with the last question.

We’ve also discovered a bunch of mystery goodies hidden in the stern and bow storage. A treasure trove of propellers, ropes, steel gadgets and mystery bric a brac.


Our work starts now and will never end. In addition to the work that needs to be done before we put dear Odin back in the water and move aboard, we are expecting maintenance and chores at a level we’ve never experienced in a home on land. Forever.

In touch. With the toilet.

On a boat, you’re so much more in touch with things like usage of water, gas, electricity, diesel and your toilet waste. Yep, in touch with the toilet. (We’re probably going to invest in a composting loo for the record, but more on boat toilets in a future post. It seems to be a liveaboard owner’s favourite subject.)

As we’ll be moored for most of the time, we’ll have the luxury of connecting to shore power (land electricity), we’ll have access to running water and be able to dispose of our loo easily on the island.

With a bit of luck, we’ll be set-up for cruising the UK waterways by next season. At which point, water conservation and electricity generation (from the engine and solar) will become much more of a consideration. Each journey will come with a limited number of showers, iPhone charges and poops before one needs to stop, refuel and dump waste.

Nothing on tap, no money for free

I like the idea that we might start seeing our Earth’s precious resources as something that’s NOT on tap. I like the idea that we won’t be flushing perfectly good drinking water down the toilet.

I like that we may be able to creep closer to self-sufficiency in time – a long time dream of mine.

Add to all these challenges, boats rarely appreciate in value. There’s no buy the house – pop a tenant in it – do nothing – wait a few years – cash out – money for FREE situations ’round ‘ere. Move on, if that’s your motivation.

You really really really have to WANT the boating life to go through with the hassle.

I like the idea of sweeping on the deck and finding a use for our composted poop. And honestly folks, we’ve probably watched enough Netflix and TV to last us a lifetime. We really really really want the boating life and all the effort that comes with it.

So that’s lucky, isn’t it!?

I’ll leave you with a sneak peak at our Trello board (an online task management tool) and a summary of the major jobs we’re lining up over the coming weeks.

  • Job 1: Rudder pillar and bearing replacement
  • Job 2: Engine service – starting with cleaning all the mystery black gunk out
  • Job 3: Engine electrics – what the hell are all these cables!?
  • Job 4: Welding on the stern deck
  • Job 5: Grit blasting and re-painting of the hull
  • Job 6: Gas safety checks and fixes


We’re desperately trying to prioritise and only do the things we absolutely need in order to move in. At least initially, our living space will be a basic, minimum viable boat.

We’re budgeting about 10k for all the major works at the moment, so I’ll let you know how that works out for us.

That reminds me of the other old boating saying: “BOAT – Break Out Another Thousand“.


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