Written By You

Living On a Boat – Written By You

Have you ever seen barges on the river, and wondered what it would be like to live on one? Is it really cramped and damp, and do you have to move around and go to a different school every week? We spoke to 11 year old Annabelle to find out what it’s really like to live on a boat.

I live on a 38 metre Dutch barge with my brother, my sister, my mum, my dog, kittens and 2 pet rats. I have lived on the boat for 4 and a half years, it is great in the summer but not very nice in the winter

We move the boat about every six months. Mostly we stay in Slimbridge where we have a private mooring which means we can stay there as long as we like. We don’t move very much as I have school (my brother and sister are home-educated) and we don’t need to. We move to Purton which is great, Saul, Frampton and Cambridge.

Moving the boat is great . First, we get all our stuff on the boat then we start the engine and untie the ropes, then we go. It takes 2/3 people to move the boat depending on how experienced they are. Sometimes I am allowed to help moor up. Someone jumps off and ties the ropes to the ring/tree/bollard. I help to sort out the ropes. I love moving the boat.

The boat is 75 years old, it was built go up the river Rhine which goes through lots of European countries. It was built in Holland so lots of the instructions are in Dutch we have discovered that stuurhut = wheel house anker=anchor dek =deck which we didn’t know when we first moved on the boat.

My mum is currently doing the boat up so quite a lot of stuff doesn’t work. At the moment my mum and her boyfriend are insulating my sister and I’s bedroom. We are sleeping in the sitting room on a sofa bed. We don’t have central heating but we have a Rayburn and a stove soon we are having a new stove for me and my sister’s room.

We aren’t on the mains so we have a generator which gives us electricity. We are allowed that on from 10 am to 8pm. We don’t have it on all that time though as we don’t need it. Our generator runs of diesel which is quite expensive which is another reason we don’t run it all that time.



We don’t have a television but we can watch films on our laptop which we keep charged. We don’t have a garden but we grow fruit, vegetables and flowers in plant pots on the decks.

We have 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 sitting rooms and a kitchen. We also have an engine room a utility room, a generator room and a wheel house. Our wheel is 129 cm or 5 and a half inches .

Our boat is best to live in the summer when we move around more. Sometimes I wish we lived in a house like when the stoves are off and we haven’t got any diesel for the generator, but this hasn’t happened for ages. But it’s worth sticking through as it is so nice in the summer.

The boat belonged to my grandpa before he gave it to us. My mum lived on the boat as a child. My Grandpa bought the boat in 1989. It was in Essex when he first bought it.



My brother, sister and I have each fallen in the canal once since we got the boat but my mum has fallen in twice. When I fell in I jumped off the bank(we’re not allowed to anymore ) but I toppled backwards into the canal. I got myself out of the canal. It was my fault though as we are supposed to tell my mum when we go on to the bank.

Thanks for reading x




My name is Annabelle. I am 11 years old and my hobbies are

book reading and kayaking. I enjoy writing stories.


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  1. 1

    Wow! what an amazing life you have. I think most children your age would love to live like you do. I certainly would. Many years ago, I lived on a houseboat for 6 months on The Thames in London. It was in the summertime and it seemed to be like one long party as friends would just drop by for a chat and a sun on the hammock. People don’t normally drop by as much when you live in a house somehow. I remember it was my dream to live on a boat when i was a child. Thank you for this:)

  2. 2

    I love boats but I dont think I could live like you do. I would never share a room with either of my sisters. One snores (really loudly) amd the other kicks and sings in her sleep.

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