10th April 2020
This week the weather has been unusually warm in Manchester. The temperatures have hit 20 grades and the sky were blue. Not so good to be lockdown in the home due to Coronavirus. But what if you own a mobile home, which is roughly 20 metres long and 2 metres in width. This is a boat. Jason Hickman says: «The lockdown doesn’t make any real difference to me», he passes the lockdown in a different way.
Living in a boat while the Coronavirus
Jason, 35, rises to the roof of his boat with his laptop for working from home. Also, he can get a sunbath. The picture looks like from a tourist guide: A young man, enjoying the warm temperatures while he is working in a very calm Castlefield dock. Maybe too calm.
The fact is that most of the city, and the country, only can leave home for very specific tasks, and he passes the lockdown in a different way.
According to the largest global search engine in the leisure marine, Boat, it is estimated 15,000 people are living permanently on the rivers, canals and coastlines of the UK. Jason said he went down to the canal because it was much more affordable than getting a mortgage, but also because it suits his beliefs.
«If I had to live in a house I would go insane», Jason said. «The fact that I can move every so often I get a change of scenery. I can go to the countryside!»
Moreover, the rules say that the people who live all year round in a boat need to pay a moor to keep the boat on the same dock. Otherwise, the boat needs to be sailing non-stop. «On the canal cruising constantly, I’ve been about six months, but for about four years I was in a Marina». Now Jason can not be on the same spot for more than 14 days.
Keeping the social distance is not a problem
Keeping the social distance is not a problem for Jason: «I am on the water, so I am two meters away to the next boat». And he only leaves the boat when he needs to do any shopping.
«I live a quite solitude life, so I am alone anyway. And I can still move my boat. I am very fortunate».
Jason is a consultant for a tech company. He is selling software to transport companies, specifically waste disposal. Therefore, he travels around all the country to see the customers, and this particular lifestyle in a boat suits his needs. In the boat, he has a wifi connection and solar PV system to generate electricity.
Jason case is far from exceptional, just in Castlefield there were roughly 20 boats. Its sailors were whether inside or enjoying the fresh air on that spring morning, although all of them were keeping the social distance. Just waiting until the corona-storm to pass to strike sail and navigate the canal.