The Leading Provider of long term narrowboat accommodation

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Escape the Rat Race rent boats out?
No, we do not rent our boats, but we can help if you would like to stay on a narrowboat for an extended time! In retrospect, our first let was an amateurish affair - a friendly informal agreement which may have made sense to those who agreed it but wouldn't have satisfied a closer inspection! However, from those small beginnings, Escape the Rat Race now has appropriate procedures to provide a professional service properly fulfilling the needs of those who wish to liveaboard a boat long term. The present concept may look similar but it is legally as different as a kick about in the park is when compared with fully professional league football.


2. I’ve found someone willing to rent/hire me their boat cheaper than you?
We specialise in providing a high quality and legal service, and are the leading providers of long term houseboats for a reason.

While there are alternative routes that may cost less I would suggest asking two questions.

Firstly, could you ring up Canal and River Trust and discuss the arrangement with them? After all it is their canal that you will be on…If not why not? One answer may be that boats being rented or hired by individuals are almost certainly illegal, uninsured, and not properly licensed.

Secondly, What service can be provided when you have a breakdown?


3. Do you want me to check in every now and again?
Our Engineer visits monthly as a matter of course – but no you don’t have to ‘check in’ with us! We want you to Escape, though we do expect you to look after your boat - it is both valuable and a treasure to those who own it!


4. I am/am not very practical, what am I going to have to do?
There are some simple checks that you will need to do - some of these are daily, some weekly, some monthly, but they aren't onerous - they need to be done to keep the boat in good working order - but don't worry about what this involves as all this will be fully explained at the handover. These checks are similar to those on a car…

There is constant advice and support available from Alex, or Clive our Chief Engineer. If something is needed he will either come personally or will arrange for an engineer to visit. We will also arrange (with you) for regular maintenance. However the whole aim is that you Escape and are left free to do so.

We also provide a manual which covers all we say to you so if you forget you can check


5. How often do I need to move the boat?
Where boats are licensed to continuously cruise the Canal Network, the general rule is that remaining in the same neighbourhood for more than 14 days is not permitted. The necessary movement from one neighbourhood to another can be done in one step or by short gradual steps. Essentially, if 14 days ago the boat was in neighbourhood A, then by day 15 it should be in neighbourhood B or further afield. Thereafter, the next movement must be at least to neighbourhood C, and not back to neighbourhood A (with obvious exceptions such as reaching the end of a terminal waterway or reversing the direction of travel in the course of a genuine cruise). What constitutes a ‘neighbourhood’ will vary from area to area – on a rural waterway a village or hamlet may be a neighbourhood and on an urban waterway a suburb or district within a town or city may be a neighbourhood. A sensible and pragmatic judgement needs to be made.

The full guidance is available here.


6. What are the upfront costs?
There is a returnable security deposit of £1500 (set against arrears, missing items damage etc). In addition the first of the occupation fees will also be due before you begin. But then, with the paperwork signed, it is time to start cruising as a part owner of the vessel. Your Escape begins...


7. How much is a boat from you?
Difficult to answer in theory – we provide specific quotes for specific boats at specific times – it depends on availability and time of year.. so rates can vary from £850 up to £2250! The best thing is to enquire with a start and finish date and any flexibility you may have.


8. What secures a boat booking?
The deposit of £1500 after a formal offer made by email. We answer enquiries about boat availability regularly, it is the deposit that secures a boat.


9. What information do we need to give you to board the boat?
Straightforward really. A copy of a passport or driving licence, two (original) utility bills and 2 references.

We also use a credit check service provided by a letting agency. But for those who this doesn’t suit, perhaps returning from overseas, we can work with you so that we can all be satisfied.

Once these have all been checked, the agreements are signed. With deposit paid the boat is booked... it will be prepared and waiting for you on the day arranged.


10. I would like to buy a boat off you over time, do you do this?
No. There are firms that do offer to finance a boat loan – talk to them –they are specialists in financing, we are specialists in providing boats for living on.


11. I have a pet - Can I bring it with me?
Yes - certainly if it is a cat or a dog.

The only point to be made is that the security deposit covers any damage whether caused by human or pet!


12. Where do I start from?
Because of the nature of the long stays on these boats and cruising habits of the minority owners on a boat it is hard to say! Normally there is a mutual plan developed - sometimes the new minority owner is happy to collect the boat from where the previous minority owner leaves it.

Escape the Rat Race seeks to serve and will try to arrange delivery to the place the new owner needs it. Ideally this is free but sometimes we do charge anything up to £250 for this.

We are also able to offer a route planning service - talk to us if this interests you.


I have another question not covered here - What do I do?

Call or e-mail us! We are a small business whose watchword is service so please ask.

Contact Us!