How Much To Hire Houseboat | LakeWizard

Houseboats are an interesting example of unconventional living. People enjoy living on a houseboat due to the ambient sounds of the natural marine environment.

The idea of waking up to the sounds of water waves or being surrounded by an aquatic ecosystem is an absolute delight. Maybe you want to live in a houseboat, or just want to spend your vacation on one near an exotic waterside location? Then hiring a houseboat makes sense.

If you hire a houseboat for a year in the United States, it would cost you an average of $11,460 per year or $955 per month. This includes the costs of heating, moorings, repairs, and maintenance. However, the exact rate will vary from state to state.

Finding a good houseboat can be a difficult and confusing task. After all, you will need to head out and spend time physically checking houseboats. That’s quite a hassle, isn’t it? If you have an idea of what you need to look for, you will save precious time and money. Equally important, you will be able to find a houseboat that is just right for you. Luckily, there are plenty of options for houseboats, if you are willing to shell out some cash. This guide gives you an idea about how much money you need to hire a houseboat.

It goes without saying that there are several things you need to know when looking for a houseboat, especially if you are on a budget. In this guide, we'll cover the different types of houseboats and the main things to look out for when figuring out the cost of a houseboat. We will also highlight some places where you can find houseboats.

Table of contents


Types of Houseboats

Many kinds of houseboats suit different needs and lifestyles. The type of houseboat you want to buy or rent depends on whether you are looking for a place to live or a houseboat for a temporary vacation.

Your choice will also depend on the mooring location. A large houseboat will require more space, while a small one can fit easily in a crowded mooring.

Small Houseboats

Small houseboats are typically 20 to 30 feet long and are usually stationary. They can be made in a barge-style fashion, with a thinner body that looks like a canoe.

Small houseboats are typically made of wood and have the unmistakable look of a house made of logs. They are usually decorated with plants and floral designs. These houseboats are suitable for a 1-2 person retreat on a lake or a river.


Yachts are motorized boats that are large enough to house a few people. They are mobile and have a modern design. While yachts exist in a wide range of sizes, from 30 feet to 120 feet, you can find a typical yacht with a length of 60 feet.

Yachts offer a relatively luxurious houseboat experience. A small yacht can easily move around a lake, river, or seaside. That mobility enables you to enjoy the open air and scenery as you travel across the water body.

The larger ones are usually owned by businesses and individual billionaires. These are not your typical houseboats, and are either for private use or part of luxury cruise packages.

Floating Houses

Floating houses fall into the category of houseboats, even though they are not built on a boat. A floating house is usually supported by a structure that houses the building constructed over water. For this reason, a floating house is permanently moored.

Like boat variants, floating houses come in a range of shapes and sizes. They can be made from wood or metal containers. You can find floating houses in a variety of locations such as harbors, beaches, and lakes.

Floating houses can also be built with multiple stories and decks, making them ideal for larger groups. One of the best things about floating houses is that they typically have a stable power generation source, as they are built for living.

As always, you will find some houses that do not have a reliable power source, depending on the location. If you plan to have a permanent boathouse residence, a floating house is a good option to consider.

What Questions Should You Ask When Looking for a Houseboat?

Ok, so you are going to look for a houseboat, and need to check if it has all that you need. What should you ask yourself, or the agent selling you the houseboat?

Here is a list of questions that will help you nail down your requirements for an ideal houseboat.

What is My Purpose for Using the Houseboat?

This is straightforward.

Do you want a permanent residence?

Are you going on a vacation?

Will there only be sightseeing or do you plan to do additional activities like morning walks, fishing, and boating?

Are you only going to spend your weekends there?

Do you want to sail around the area?

Your objective will set your primary requirements for the type of houseboat you need to buy or rent.

How Much Space is Needed?

When looking for a boathouse, keep the size of your company in mind.

A larger group means you will have to look for more space, and that comes at a higher cost. If you want to go solo or live as a couple, you can save money, or budget for a smaller but more luxurious option.

Should I Buy a New or Used Houseboat?

This is a question you need to ask yourself if you have decided to buy a houseboat.

A new houseboat will cost you more money upfront, but it will require less maintenance, and may even come with a better warranty. Newer houseboats will also have modern amenities, which may be customized according to your tastes and preferences.

That’s not to say you can’t find a modern used houseboat. But when you are looking for a used houseboat, it is reasonable to expect an older construction.

What is My Lifestyle?

Ask yourself about the kind of experience that you want. If you are an outdoor lover and like to live off the grid, you can go for a simple houseboat.

If you want to have a luxurious experience, you might want to add premium amenities, like constant power, Wi-Fi, refrigeration, and furnishings. If you require a cook, you might need a cooking space as well. These options come in a floating house or a yacht.

This question is important when you plan on living with your partner or family. Be sure to talk things over with everyone before making a decision.

How Does the Bathroom Work?

Wherever you go, you will need to use a bathroom. Many houseboats come fitted with a bathroom. And if they don't, there should be one nearby.

Bathrooms in houseboats differ from their conventional counterparts in plumbing. While typical bathroom plumbing is connected to the main sewerage line, houseboat plumbing is isolated and collected in a tank.

If you plan on a longer stay, you will have to check if you can clean up your tank regularly and dispose of your waste. Most houseboats have arrangements with disposal companies that can help you with this requirement.

How Much Does a Houseboat Cost Upfront?

You can choose to buy a houseboat or rent one.

If you plan on buying a permanent residence, you will have to pay more money upfront. The upfront payment will also be accompanied by additional costs (more on this below). You can save on rental costs by searching and planning properly.

Rentals are a cheaper option in the short term and work best for a vacation. But you can also rent out a houseboat if you have the budget for staying for a longer duration.

Buying a Houseboat

The prices of houseboats may vary from one location to another. However, you can find a typical small houseboat for around $50,000. This will come with a 1-2 room cabin with a small deck for sitting outdoors.

The houseboat can be built like a typical curved bottom boat (with a lower cabin), a solid floating house, or a pontoon (a flat-bottomed boat where the cabin is above the water surface).

A yacht will set you back by a greater amount. Smaller yachts start from around $300,000. However, the price can go into millions for the more luxurious models.

Renting a Houseboat

Houseboat rentals also vary over different locations. You can easily find small houseboats for a rental rate between $1,200 and $3,000 for a week. Larger houseboats (exceeding 80 feet in length) can be available for as high as $10,000 per week.

Weekend rentals are about 40% of the weekly rate. This is a significant cut in rental expenses. So it makes sense to plan around a weekend if your budget is limited.

You should also consider the timing of hiring a houseboat. Summer is the peak season, meaning rentals are higher this time around. Registering for club memberships can also net you exclusive discounts on rentals, but this is offset by associated subscription costs.

What are the Additional Houseboat Costs I Need to Consider?

As we mentioned above, there are extra costs of owning a houseboat. These costs can ramp up quickly. Therefore, it is advisable to plan your purchase accordingly.

Mooring Costs

There is a cost of connecting your houseboat to a structure on land. Mooring costs (also called slip rental costs) depend on the marina where your houseboat is located. Typical mooring costs can be around $500 per month, but be prepared to pay more for more crowded places.

Some places allow you to dock your boat for free. Check local laws to confirm if this is possible.


Insurance is one of the first things you should remember when buying a boat. You will have to pay a monthly fee for the premium on a separate plan for your boat, which is billed to you from your standard home insurance plan.

Check out local boat insurance options available and examine the terms and conditions of your plan before signing up. Insurance will cost you a 4-figure sum annually, but it is worth it in case of accidental damage to your property.


Houseboats are considered assets and state taxes may apply to them. You will need to determine if the tax rate is equal to property tax rates if it is applied. There are several jurisdictions where boats are not taxed.

With that said, you will still need to consider any taxes paid on insurance and bills. If you have purchased a houseboat, you may have to file your sales tax. Running a business through your houseboat will also make you liable to pay income taxes and account for sales tax on receipts that you charge to your customers.

Maintenance and Utilities

Bills and maintenance need to be paid if you are using different amenities. You may also be required to maintain your houseboat under a local municipality or private safety rules.

It is necessary to keep paying these costs regularly to avoid penalty charges. Having a small houseboat that is easy to maintain is definitely a plus here.

Where Can I Buy a Houseboat?

There are many places where you can search for a houseboat to buy. We recommend searching online first to survey the market before you decide to get out and look for a property.

Spend as much time as you need to research the market, and inspect your boat before buying it. Never make a purchase without seeing what you buy. You can also hire a third-party inspection service to help you make the right decision.

Here are a few sites you can check out:

Apollo Duck: This place has a wide variety of boats for sale. You can buy houseboats from all over the US here. This site has one of the largest searchable online boat inventories. The front page shows clear options to search for houseboats, making it beginner-friendly. You can sell your boats here, too. features major brands and dealers in several US states. Prices need to be requested first, meaning that getting a deal from here takes some extra effort. You can also look for different boat types and brokerage services.

Boat Trader: A great site where you can buy and sell a variety of boathouses and related services from different countries. Along with the usual parameters for boat type and price range, the site offers a location-based search to find a dealer nearest to you.

Where Can I Hire a Houseboat?

There are many sites where you can book a houseboat. Here are our top picks. is one of the go-to sites to make a booking. You can rent houseboats for several lake locations here. Packages are listed clearly with different options depending on the number of days in a week you want to rent the boat.

Kinsey's: Kinseys is a specialist houseboat provider in Minnesota. While they have smaller boats on offer, they provide pet-friendly boats. That’s a great option if you like to travel with your furry companions. is a great choice for houseboat rentals, with various boat sizes on offer. From small houseboats to 2 story boats, you will find a range of boats here to choose from.

Finding a houseboat can be a challenging task. But with enough knowledge, you can make it easy. With several years of experience in managing tours and lodgings for houseboats in North America, we’re confident that our guide will equip you with enough information to give you a head start in your search for a nice houseboat.

We hope this guide gives you a good idea about how much it costs to hire a houseboat. If you are looking for an unforgettable family vacation, hiring a houseboat is an amazing way to bring the family together and have fun. Or you can simply savor the sunset with a special someone on a beautiful trip to a lake. The choice is unlimited!


Brian Samson

Brian Samson

I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.

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