Afloat: A Memoir

by Danie Couchman Publication: 18th April 2019

Danie Couchman grew up on the move, her family never staying still long enough for her to say where she’s from. At twenty-five, and living in her seventeenth home, she finds herself drowning in the rush of London life, and makes an impulsive decision: to buy a narrowboat and make it her home.

Surrounded by an eclectic and itinerant community in the uncharted territory of the capital’s urban wilderness, Danie becomes fully immersed in this hidden world. Each day onboard her boat Genesis is an adventure full of disaster and magic. Over five years of living off-grid, nomadic Danie learns to survive the many highs and lows of boat life alone, keeping herself, and her steel home, afloat.

A captivating debut, Afloat is the story of a young woman’s desire to escape an ever more isolated city existence and reconnect with nature, discovering what is important in life.

"An enjoyable and engaging book. I loved all the granular detail of boat living, the portraits of the various characters who live on the water, and the moving story of Danie’s family and her teenage years. The way she describes feeling powerless when in thrall to older boys will be painfully resonant to lots of women."

— Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love

"This is such a lovely book, about life on the river, and so much more. It's a tale of strength and courage - painfully sad, and beautifully uplifting, and always fascinating."

— Anna Maxted, The Times

"Afloat makes it clear that we must all stop to appreciate the simplicity of life in the urban landscape of London's waterways."

— George Burton, BBC Radio London

"[A] candid account covering five years afloat. It includes detail of her life beyond and before the towpath, including the trauma of an abusive relationship as a teen. Couchman captures all the exuberance of being 20-something on the city's waterways, but without ever overselling the lifestyle."

— Waterways World

"A moving and luminous memoir which shows that a home can be created in the most unexpected of places."

— Jessica Jonzen, The Home Page

"Beautifully written. A captivating insight into a slower, simpler existence."

— The Outdoor Adventure Blog


Danie Couchman is a writer, broadcaster and wanderer. She studied journalism in Nottingham and has since worked in an eclectic variety of roles, from a local radio reporter to the voice of MTV’s Official Top 40. She currently works as a voice over artist and her writing has been published in Waterfront and The Simple Things magazines.

Danie has lived in four countries, seventeen houses and three boats. She enjoys wild swimming, cooking, and adventures with her dog Mango. She is soon to be settling on land close to the sea in Devon.

Afloat is her first book.

Danie with Mango


Literary agent

Rebecca Carter

Janklow & Nesbit UK
13A Hillgate Street
W8 7SP


Rebecca Smedley

Quadrille Publishing
Pentagon House
52-54 Southwark St

Voice over agent

James Thake
+44 (0)207 307 7446

74 Great Titchfield Street,

Danie Couchman