Afloat: A Memoir

by Danie Couchman

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’s first book, AFLOAT, about her search for community and adventure aboard a narrowboat on London’s waterways, was published by Quadrille in April 2019. Danie studied Broadcast Journalism, and won Broadcaster of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2008. Having begun her career as a local radio reporter and newsreader, she has worked as a TV continuity writer/announcer and voice-over artist in London for the past ten years. As a writer she has contributed to the Canal & River Trust’s magazine Waterfront and wellbeing publication The Simple Things.

Danie with mango

Afloat:a memoir

A Memoir

By: Danie Couchman
Narrated by: Danie Couchman


Literary Agent

Rebecca Carter

Janklow & Nesbit UK
13A Hillgate Street
W8 7SP