Types and Kinds of Houseboats

Living on a houseboat whether for vacation, as an alternative home, or for permanent residence – is becoming more and more popular. Permanent residence of houseboats is often an option for retirement. Houseboats come in different shapes and sizes, and whether they are stationary or motor powered. Whatever it is, a houseboat is a unique home, since it’s fun to be by the waters.

Humans have always thrived when close to the water. Early civilizations and societies typically crowd along major rivers, because it provided easy access to travel and trade. Plus, it’s no doubt that most people love the oceans and seas – just check out the beaches during the summer.

For people who want to be connected to the water, a houseboat is a viable houseboat option. Houseboat ownership is still a small sector of the houseboat market, and it isn’t the most common way to live. It’s probably because living on a houseboat is so different from living in the city or a suburb, as people who live in them must make specific lifestyle changes to live above water better. But the great deal is, it offers a romantic and peaceful lifestyle n top of the water.

There are many different kinds of houseboats, but all of them floats on water. It can be as simple as a small hut constructed on top of a raft, or as lavish luxury home. It can be built as a brand-new houseboat, or people can repurpose a boat and turn it into a houseboat.

Two Basic Types of Houseboats

Houseboats are either of these two categories:

1. Non-cruising or static houseboats

These houseboats aren’t meant for traveling out to the sea. Most of the time, these types of houseboats are moored, anchored, or tied up to a designated spot like a marina or dock. It’s the most common kind of floating home. These boats are equipped with all the necessary conveniences of a house, and they resemble barges or flatboats. But unlike a typical boat, most static houseboats cannot operate on water because they lack propelling gadgetries.

2. Cruising or bluewater houseboats

If a person wants a houseboat that can be used for travel on water and for excursions, a cruising houseboat is a better option. It comes with an engine or sail, so it relies on the fuel for mobility. These types of houseboats can’t be operated in high or open oceanic seas, but only on minor water bodies. It’s equipped with homely furnishings inside, and because it’s moving, it’s more of a vacationing vessel. Only a few people choose to have a permanent home on a boat.

Kinds of Houseboats

Those two basic categories of houseboats can come in many different kinds, such as:

1. Pontoon

This type of houseboat is popular for its stability, practicality, and reasonable price. It’s a flattish boat mostly made from marine-grade aluminum, while others are made of wood, fiberglass, steel, and plastic. It’s a great option for a vacation houseboat. It’s safe, easy to operate, and requires little maintenance. They can be ideal for exploring the waters.

2. Full hull

A full hull is a popular houseboat type in the US. Its shape makes it very stable and practical, plus it has remarkable dimensions to be able to accommodate more stuff or provide larger space for your living area. The design of the boat provides increased buoyancy and higher drier ride when out in the waters. The space below the floor provides ample storage space.

3. Barge

Barge are large boats that can either be permanently moored or moved about. It’s the most common houseboat style because it can handle significant storage space and can accommodate up to 10 people. Dutch barges are wider than usual barges, and it provides better accommodation due to its extra width. But because of it, these kinds of barges must only be moored on rivers and not in canals.

4. Trailerable

The trailerable houseboats are long and narrow, which are great for cruising in narrow and small river systems. It’s named “trailerable” because you can tow them in a small truck or other similar vehicles, thanks to their light payload. It’s usually made of steel, but other styles are made of wood. It’s generally smaller than other kinds of houseboats, but’s it’s excellent for people who only need to stay for a short amount of time

5. Floating home

Floating homes are created for people who don’t have plans to travel the waters using the boat. It’s great as a retirement option, or as a home on the water. Floating homes are usually economical and easy to build. It’s ideal for those on a low budget, or prefer to save. It’s a suitable dwelling place when all your kids have grown you don’t want to worry about a 3-year-old falling aboard.

6. Yacht

If you have a yacht, you are considered wealthy. It’s because it’s the most expensive boat you can own, and often, it serves as a resting and partying place for the rich. Yachts can also serve as a houseboat, and it can travel the waters as you live inside it. But often, it only serves as a temporary dwelling, because if you can afford a yacht, probably you have bought a large house first.

7. River houseboat

If you want to live permanently on water, or if you’re going to build a relaxing vacation house, you may want to consider having a river houseboat. Obviously, they are located in the river, and they are made from fiberglass. It can be an economy to luxury type and can be built or found in different shapes and sizes. These houseboats are stable and provide great accommodation with lots of features.

8. Luxury houseboat

A luxury houseboat is a high-end boat that looks similar to a luxury yacht. These boats have additional opulent features compared to standard houseboats, such as granite counters, petrol grills, dishwashers, air conditioning units, among others.

9. Kerala houseboats

In India, the state of Kerala is popular for its houseboats that are typically moored. However, their boats are usually found in the form of a barge that is huge and slow-moving. Kerala houseboats have hulls that are made of wooden planks, and it’s painted with protective coats of cashew nut oil. The roof is typically made of bamboo poles and palm leaves. Some of these houseboats are offered for trips and rentals to vacationers and tourists. Despite being a draw for tourism, locals also live year-round in houseboats. If you want to discover the best places to live on a houseboat, read here

Structural Terms for a Houseboat

The parts of a houseboat are different from the typical parts of a house. Here are structural terms you need to learn:

  • Bow – The front of the boat
  • Stern – The back of the boat
  • Port – The left side of the boat, if you’re facing the front
  • Starboard – The right side of the boat, if you’re facing the front
  • Forward – Moving toward the bow
  • Aft – Moving toward the stern
  • Beam – The widest portion of the boat
  • Amidships – The middle part of the boat

These are measurement terms you need to know:

  • Length – Hull length, or the space you can walk around. This is measured by houseboat owners to identify how much living space they will have inside the boat.
  • Length overall (LOA) – Entire length of the boat from the back of the stern to the tip of the bow. This measurement is essential to the person running the marina since it indicates how much space the houseboat will take up at the dock.
  • Draft – Depth of the boat. It’s important to measure so the bottom won’t scrape on rocks.

Basic Areas on a Houseboat

Though the purpose of having a houseboat is to have a place of shelter on the water – a place to eat, sleep, live, and store belongings – living aboard offers a different experience. The most basic houseboat only has modest living spaces, even when compared to studio-type apartment dwellings. Unless they are a big, luxury-kind of a houseboat, you won’t have many of the same conveniences, just like houses on the land, like lots of storage space.

Here are some of the terms for the primary areas on a houseboat:

  • Cabin – the area where passengers meet
  • Salon – living room
  • Galley – kitchen
  • Stateroom – bedroom
  • Berth – the bed. If it’s located at the bow where it takes a V-shape, the berth is called a V-berth
  • Head – bathroom
  • Cockpit or bridge – the place where the boat is steered
  • Helm – specific steering station
  • Navigation station (nav station) – the area or room where navigation equipment can be found. This part is found on cruising houseboats.