A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Lyra

Another Questions and Answers session with boaters living afloat full time.Isn’t this the retirement that most people can only dream about. Bob and Cath Hawkins think it is. {{{0}}}

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

Bob & Cath Hawkins

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

The usual story I suppose. Our first experience was in 1980 with a 3 month old baby, 2 weeks on the Shroppie. It rained every day and we were hooked.

Relaxing after a hard day on the canal

Relaxing after a hard day on the canal

We started to hire again as soon as we could afford it and finally bought our own boat in 2005 when I retired. After fitting it out myself from a lined sailaway Cath took a year off work and we cruised for a full year. We then returned to marina life until 2010 when we finally decided to cut loose.

We now cruise throughout the summer and find a marina for the winter months. Our present mooring is Leeds and we love it here so will probably return next winter.

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

Our boat is called LYRA and was named after the heroin of Philip Pullmans’s “His dark Materials Trilogy”

What is you boat length and style?

She is 60 ft. semi trad.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Since 2005

How much time do you spend on your boat each year?


Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)


What do you like least about narrowboat life?

The fact that we seldom see friends and it may be us, but al lot of boat people seem “stand offish” these days.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The pace, and the changing scene.

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

3 ft. less, and cruiser stern. ( I know that’s 2)

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

Walk mostly. bike sometimes.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Washer/dryer on board

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

Mobile broadband. Sometimes it doesn’t work.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

The high bits of The Leeds Liverpool, but almost everywhere.

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

running the engine whilst cruising charges the batteries

What advice can you offer someone considering living on a narrowboat?

Travel power generator. Yes we use a lot of power.

You can find out more about the adventures of narrowboat Lyra here.

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or web site.



  • eighty88 says:

    this was propewr up to date info, and i would like to know why he wishes it was a bit shorter, as i am thinking of 70 ft, i realize that i will not be able to travel the whole system, but , hope the extra room will make up for that, wish us well ,eighty88

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