top of page

Living in Houseboat: The Challenges of Living on a Houseboat & Other Things You Should Expect

Living on a boat can be an incredible experience; it's certainly something every sailor dreams of. But there are some logistical challenges that you should be aware of before moving in.

This post will tell you the biggest obstacles to living on a houseboat, as well as some of the great things about houseboat life.

The serenity of life on the waters, the calm and peaceful atmosphere, the thrill of an adventurous and pleasurable lifestyle, all of these and more are some of those things that make houseboat living a thing for many people.

But that’s not all; beyond the thrill, beyond the pleasures, beyond all of the advantages, lays the many hidden challenges.

If you’ve lived in a houseboat, what unexpected disadvantages did you experience?

Living on a houseboat presents several challenges along with the thrills and fun that come with it.

These changes may seem like a disadvantage to some people to varying extents and will definitely cause a change in your lifestyle.

Although a houseboat may cost less than a land-based home, you’ll have to get prepared for regular maintenance since it will be floating on water. Saltwater is corrosive, so houseboats and liveaboards need to be more well maintained.

As you’ll need electricity, it can be troublesome if you don’t have a reliable power base. While it will cost you just a little to power lights and charge your gadgets, getting electricity for things like refrigeration, heating, or cooling would cost you more.

Another issue has to do with the mailbox address. If you aren’t able to secure residential mooring, in some cases, you might have issues getting a mailbox.

This may prompt you to use a friend’s or family’s address when needed. But if you’re able to get a residential mooring, this won’t be a problem.

The way you do some things will be different. You’ll need sewage disposal for your toilet as well as you will need to pump water for use. While the way these things get done varies slightly from boat to boat, there will still be a few things you’ll have to adjust with when living on a houseboat.

You’ll also need to consider how winter looks like in your area of choice. Will you be able to live with all of these?

It’s left for you to decide!

What are the risks of living in a houseboat?

When you plan to buy a houseboat to live aboard, you’ll also need to be well-informed about the risks associated with such a move. Even in land-based homes, you’ll still need to have some precautionary measures in place.

When you’re living on a houseboat full-time, here are some of the risks associated with such a lifestyle as well as some of the various safety measures you can have in place to keep you and your investment protected.

The first thing has to do with the possible water conditions that could affect your stay.

We’ve heard cases of lakes drying up during drought. Have you considered whether this is a possibility in the location of your choice?

Your floating home is also not immune to destruction. Being on the water year-round makes them susceptible to corrosion and so proper maintenance will be needed to ensure they are guarded against this.

You’ll also need to be aware of where you’re living.

Living on a riverine also exposes individuals to dangers such as drowning. This needs to be considered properly, especially for those who can’t swim.

Most marinas would have safety measures in place but you have to be sure kids and elderly ones are well protected against this risk.

Fire extinguishers, as well as water pumps, are also part of those things you should have handy to prevent fires as water leaks from inside the houseboat.

What are the problems associated with houseboat life?

There are a few problems that would come with you owning and living on a houseboat.

This can be related to your lifestyle as regards your houseboat living or problems from a financial point of view.

Let’s look at problems with cost first.

When you buy a houseboat, you still have to maintain it to be in the best condition.

This will need money. You’ll also need to pay marina fees as well as for sewer, electricity and other utilities.

There is also the need to budget for unexpected repairs as well. All of these may seem a tad inconvenient for some people especially those who are not well informed before making their purchase. There may also be problems or disadvantages with your houseboat living lifestyle.

A few things will change with the way you live. You’ll learn to appreciate space no matter how small. You’ll need to regularly dispose of sewage through sewer hoses.

For some, these challenges can cause quite a problem.

You’ll also have to pay for mooring fees like we said earlier. It’s always good to get familiar with the houseboat and location of your choice to see if berthing is available and if the combination of such a location and the houseboat is convenient for you.

There will no doubt be good times but how well you manage the few challenges will determine how happy you will be with your houseboat buying decision.

What are the important things to remember before investing in a houseboat?

There are a lot of things that you should properly consider before buying a houseboat.

This will help you ensure the process before and after your purchase gets as smooth and easy as possible.

Will a houseboat cost and subsequent expenses fit into your budget? Aside from the cost of buying the houseboat, there will still be some expenses you’ll incur while living on a houseboat.

To be on the safe side, you’ll be better off getting quotes on expenses such as insurance as well as researching what running and ongoing maintenance costs you may likely incur.

We have an expense spreadsheet available that can help with this. You can send us an email if you’d like a free copy.

Also, a houseboat differs from the landed property in that it will depreciate and will likely have more wear and tear as time goes on. It is advisable to set aside a part of the annual houseboat expenses for this.

Also, mooring costs, as well as availability, can be a tough issue in some harbors and marinas.

It is always better to ensure there is availability before investing in this. You’ll also have to consider financing as well though in some places you can get houseboat loans in slightly similar ways to mortgage loans.

Other financing options are often generally available.

What should I take into consideration when deciding to live in a houseboat or not?

Life on a houseboat is no doubt fun and exciting but is it for everyone?

Maybe not! As peaceful and idyllic as it can be, life on the water, and living in a houseboat can also be challenging or hard at times.

This will mostly have to do with some of the things we discussed here. The first has to do with you being able to provide enough budget to cover ongoing maintenance expenses. A change in lifestyle, space management, and some other things need to be considered.

Mooring, insurance, maintenance & repairs, utilities, as well as location convenience should be properly considered.

If you’ll be working, will the berthing location be convenient for your lifestyle?

The truth is that living on a houseboat will come with challenges.

What you need to do is weigh your options for and against the decision. Once you are in the clear, you can easily purchase the perfect houseboat to live out your dream life.

0 views0 comments


bottom of page