You can enjoy the comfort of a new boat at a lower price by purchasing a part-share in a boat, or perhaps a number of weeks per year on a timeshare boat.
Specialist companies organise dedicated 'shared ownership' schemes. Typically, they will organise the purchase of a boat by up to 12 owners. Each owner then has rights to several weeks' holiday each year.
You will pay an initial fee for the purchase of the boat, then an annual maintenance fee. The shares can be resold individually.
Unless you know your co-owners very well, we strongly recommend that you buy your share through a reputable specialist, who will take care of the licence, moorings, maintenance, and insurance, as well as allocating the time slots to individuals.
Narrowboat timeshare schemes work in a similar way to traditional foreign holiday timeshares, in that you buy the rights to a week's boating holiday every year for a certain period. Your share may not be linked to one particular boat.
Timeshare companies often operate boats from several bases, so you can enjoy a holiday in a different part of Britain each year. In addition, you may be able to exchange your week's boating holiday for another timeshare holiday abroad.
Some hire-fleets offer opportunities for you to 'sponsor' a hire-boat. In this arrangement, your boat will be part of their fleet for several years, during which you will have some rights to holidays. After this period, the boat is yours to keep.
Companies and agencies are easy to find on the internet but business models vary. Check the legal contract carefully and reassure yourself that the capital you part with is secure, regardless of the trading fortunes of the company.
The extent of share owners’ involvement in the running of the scheme varies – for example, some syndicates take responsibility for arranging the boat’s licence, moorings and maintenance, while others leave it all with the management company.
Whatever you choose, we always suggest that newcomers to the waterways take a hire-boat holiday before buying a boat.
Last date edited: 7 July 2015