Share This:

With so many vessels designed with accommodations for living aboard, what distinguishes a Houseboat from a Motor Yacht or Trawler? The familiar adage, Form Follows Function, is truly the criteria for determining the type of vessel. Even within a category, there is so much variety and choices depending on individual needs and desires. A motor yacht or trawler are also designed for comfortable living aboard for extended voyages, but the primary purpose is cruising, not to be a major domo.

As the title suggests, a houseboat is primarily a home that floats. The two basic types are houseboats that are stationery and houseboats that cruise. To be able to float, the houseboat is built on a base or hull designed to float and move in water. The most common hull forms are pontoon, catamaran and planing monohull, most commonly built of fiberglass or aluminum, depending on usage. The rectangular deck is built on the hull or as integrated form. Most houseboats are custom-built to order, just like a land-based home, but many are available as pre-owned vessels. Price varies from a low-cost basic houseboat to high-end, custom luxury builds.

Although a houseboat is designed and built to be a home, it could be classified as a vessel. Financing, Insurance and Regulations could be based on a Vessel, rather than Real Property, so you will need to check your local laws and regulations. These are realities that must be considered when deciding to liveaboard fulltime. Houseboats also are great vacation or summer homes and an affordable way to enjoy waterfront living!

The cruising houseboats are ideal for extended cruising travel, such as America's Great Loop and Intercoastal Waterway (ICW), the Bahamas and the interior lakes and rivers. Popular places are Lake Cumberland, Kentucky (the houseboat 'cradle of life'); Lake Powell, Utah; Dale Hollow and Center Hill Lakes in Tennessee; Lake Lanier in Georgia and Lake Mead, Arizona/Nevada. Another amazing houseboat location is in New York City's 79th Street Boat Basin on the Hudson River; a small enclave of adventurous and hardy people, who enjoy one of the greatest views and marina lifestyles in the Upper Westside of Manhattan! Seattle, WA's Lake Union is another popular houseboat location, site of the movie, "Sleepless in Seattle" with Tom Hanks (character, Sam Baldwin lived on a houseboat) and Meg Ryan. Around the world, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, India and Thailand are just a few places well known for large houseboat communities. Amsterdam, with all its canals, is famous for houseboats that can be rented or owned as a second vacation home. In fact, an old 1914 boat named "Hendrika Maria" was converted to a houseboat in the 1960s and is now Amsterdam's Houseboat Museum!

Savanti 43' by Eco Sea Cottage

One very interesting modern style catamaran houseboat is the Savanti by Eco-Sea Cottages - a futuristic looking houseboat that can easily and efficiently cruise the Great Loop, ICW or cross from Florida to the Bahamas and tour the islands; with its shallow draft, is beachable, which is typical of most catamarans.

Other current popular houseboat builders are Gibson Boats, Sunstar, Horizon Yachts, Stardust Cruisers, Sailabration, Destination Yachts (high end custom), Twin Anchors Marine (custom built to order), Holiday Mansion, Fantasy and Catamaran Cruisers.

For a pontoon hull base, Gibson uses extra-large diameter pontoons with multiple sealed bulkheads to make them virtually unsinkable. And the reduced hull drag of pontoons, has the added benefits of fuel efficiency and speed to cruising houseboats. The houseboat built on the hull platform, can be entry-level basic or fully equipped with every option or amenity the owner desires, such as a home theatre room, office, guest rooms, sun decks, laundry area and kitchen with full-size appliances. Luxury interiors can rival land-based homes and can be completely self-sufficient with a watermaker, generator, solar panels and a larger inverter for electrical power. They can be propelled by either fuel-efficient gas outboards or inboard diesels and driven by upper and/or lower helms, or they can be stationery and towed. Like a land-based home they can be multi-story and outfitted with Thermopane glass windows and insulated for cold weather climes. The focus is on living space, built on a seaworthy hull and built for easy maintenance with modern materials and engineering.

Houseboat owners cite the lifestyle of living on the water for a fraction of the waterfront real estate costs and the marina camaraderie as primary reasons for loving houseboat living. To enjoy a morning coffee on your sun deck or walk out and fish or enjoy a BBQ on your front deck, working from your houseboat office; no lawn maintenance or snow shoveling; freedom to cruise the Great Loop in your home; sunrises and sunsets on the water; like living at a holiday resort as these are some of the perks!

Are you ready to make a move to a waterfront home? Contact us for a pre-owned houseboat that may become your "home sweet home" dream boat!

Chuck Newman

All Fun Yacht Sales