I’ve always been intrigued by the water. Growing up in Kansas, I dreamed of it and wondered what it would be like.
So I decided to research it and create this guide. Have you ever wondered about life on a houseboat? Keep reading, and you’ll learn all about it!
Over the past few years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people who are selling their homes and using the funds from the sale to invest in a houseboat. They think that living out on the water will be a lot more relaxing and will help them find a slower pace of life.
Houseboat Life: A Guide
Houseboats were once incredibly popular with retirees, but now there are more younger people and families choosing to live this way. When you think about it, it is easy to see why – you’ll be closer to nature and will be just steps away from pretty walking trails and bicycle routes. Not only that, though, but you can benefit from the flexibility that comes with being able to sail away downstream and find a new location to moor the boat for the night.
Thanks to many big cities having rivers running straight through them, you also needn’t worry about work. You should be able to find a riverbank to stay moored to through the week that isn’t too far from your office.
But is living on a houseboat really as good as it seems? Well, you will need to have a practical mindset and be creative when it comes to thinking of solutions to the unique problems that houseboat life throws at you. However, if you think carefully about the following points before you do make the decision to move onto a boat, then you should get a good idea as to whether living on a houseboat really is for you.
Think About The Kind Of Boat You Want To Buy
One of the first things you will need to think carefully about is the type of boat that you would want to live on. There are a few different options, and they each come with their pros and cons.
Narrow boats are the most common types of houseboats in the UK, but you will still find them in other countries as well. You can buy ones with an engine that is perfect for cruising, although quite a few don’t feature an engine as they are meant to be permanently moored.
Dutch barges are very popular in Europe especially, as the name suggests, in Holland. These are wider than narrow boats, so you will benefit from more living space.
If you have a bit more money to spend on your boat, you might want to look at yachts, as these will come with a lot of features designed for comfort.
Consider How Much Work You’re Willing To Do
The next thing you will need to decide is whether you would be willing to put in a lot of hard work and money to maintain a secondhand houseboat. The majority of second-hand boats are usually in poor states, and you might need to spend quite a bit of time renovating them. Of course, that’s not to say that you might get lucky and find a second-hand boat that is for sale in really good quality!
If you don’t think you would be able to spend much money on maintenance, or simply don’t want to go to all the trouble, then it’s best to go for a brand new boat. These will be more expensive than buying second-hand but at least you won’t have to go to all the trouble of renovating it.
Get A License
One thing that some new houseboat owners forget is that they will need to get a license for their boat. The requirements might be slightly different depending on the region where you will live, but most follow the same concepts.
For instance, most countries will require that you get a license in order to sail your boat up and down its canals and rivers. You might even need a license to be able to moor the boat in certain areas.
Where Will You Moor It?
Do you have an idea of where you will moor your houseboat? If you are in full-time employment, then you will more than likely need to moor it somewhere where you can keep it on a semi-permanent basis. That way, you can always be close to work through the week, but will be free to set sail at the weekends to go on a few trips.
If you aren’t tied to work, then you can simply moor the boat when you come to a suitable spot. It is always necessary to check that you have permission to moor to a riverbank before you do, though.
If you end up mooring up at a completely inappropriate spot, then you might end up being slapped with a fine.
What Will You Do WIth Your Old Home’s Furniture?
You will be able to take some of your furniture from your old home with you onto the boat. For instance, there should be room for a dining chair or two, your TV, and a coffee table as well as a couple of end tables. However, you won’t be able to take any large items of furniture with you, such as beds, wardrobes, and sofas.
So, you need to think about what you are going to do with these. If you need a bit of extra money to furnish and decorate your boat, then you might want to try to sell all your old furniture. If you think that you will live in a house again in the future, then it could be worth finding some permanent storage where you can keep all the furniture while you are on your boat.
WiFi Might Not Be Available
Even though the majority of houseboats can now come with a large range of mod cons and cool features, there is still one thing that some people struggle with onboard – the internet. You might find that some internet providers won’t be able to supply your boat and, even if they do, they might not be able to provide you with a strong single and fast speeds.
So, you need to consider whether this is a deal breaker when it comes to you moving onto a houseboat.
Be Prepared For Storms
Storms can be bad to experience in a bricks and mortar house, so imagine just how worse it would be to experience one when you are out on the water in a boat. One thing is for sure, the water will certainly be very choppy!
If you know that you will suffer from seasickness in this kind of situation, it’s important that you always have some medication with you onboard. Don’t forget that your boat will be at an increased of leaks and other structural damage during bad storms. So, be prepared to get to work on various fixes and maintenance the next day to prevent further damage.
Get Plenty Of Insurance
Just like with buying a house, when you buy a houseboat, you will need to get it insured. Not many of the traditional insurers provide cover for houseboats, so you will need to find a specialist provider. This can be quite high, often a lot more expensive than buying regular home insurance, so you will need to make sure that you can afford this before you commit to purchasing a boat.
It’s Good To Be Handy
If you are quite practical and good with your hands, then you should be good on a houseboat. There are often quite small maintenance jobs that will come up now and then, and if you are able to sort them out yourself, then you will save a considerable amount of money compared to hiring someone else to take care of them for you.
If you aren’t the most practical of people, then you might want to think again as hiring a handyman so often could end up proving to be too expensive.
Have Two Sources Of Heating If Possible
Generally speaking, it’s always best to have two sources of heating for a houseboat. One of them can then be used as a backup.
The two options that most people go for are solid fuels and then either gas or diesel. Other more sustainable sources of heating could be available if you look into it. Once you’ve decided on the sources you will use, you just need to figure out how you will get them onto the boat.
Think About Where You’ll Keep Your Car
If you are going to continue owning a vehicle while living on the boat, you will need to think about where you will keep it. After all, your boat won’t have a garage or driveway where it can be parked. So, you might want to keep the boat moored close to a public car park so that you always have easy access to your vehicle.
So, do you think that you will be well suited to life on a houseboat?