Living on a houseboat can be a lot of fun, but before you go ahead and purchase one, you need to know the types of houseboats that are available.
When it comes to the types of houseboats available, there are two main types: cruising and non-cruising. Digging deeper, you also have exotic houseboats, river houseboats, luxury houseboats, and trailerable houseboats.
With the growing popularity of houseboats over the years, there is no dearth of options. However, each type of houseboat comes with its own set of pros and cons that new buyers need to know of to get the houseboat that suits their personality and budget.
As owners of houseboats for many years, here, we are going to explain the different types of houseboats that you can invest in if you are looking to live on the water.
The Two Main Types of Houseboats
As humans, we've always gravitated towards a water source, be it a river or the sea, with all of the early civilizations and modern cities located around the water. So, it was only a matter of time that we figured out a way to stay permanently on the water.
Thanks to the advancements in building methods and some good old human ingenuity, houseboats appeared on the water somewhere during the late 1800s. Offering a cheap alternative to houses on solid land, houseboats were ideal for those who made a livelihood out at sea or for those who just loved the idea of living so close to the water.
When it comes to houseboats, the two basic kinds are cruising or non-cruising houseboats:
A cruising houseboat is a better alternative for those who desire a houseboat that can be used for both water travel and excursions. Unlike the static option, these vessels are powered by an engine or a sail, depending on the type you choose. It goes without saying that if you go with a cruising houseboat, you will need to make sure that its gas tank is full before going on long trips. It is also important to note that while it can be tempting to head out to far-off places, only modest water bodies such as the lake or river are suitable for these sorts of houseboats.
This is basically because even a bluewater houseboat has not been designed for cruising like a yacht or other larger boats, so attempting to take your houseboat out in the ocean is a big no-no. The great news about a bluewater houseboat is that although it is built for cruising, inside, it's furnished with comfortable furnishings, and because it's moving, it's more of a holiday ship.
You should also note here that although a bluewater houseboat has been designed for cruising up and down a lake or river, not many people would want to take their home up and down a body of water and will just opt for mooring their houseboat at a suitable harbor or marina. So, if you just want to live on a houseboat and not move around in one, then this second option might be the best choice for you instead of a bluewater houseboat.
A non-cruising houseboat is also known as a static houseboat, mainly because it stays at a location permanently. These houseboats aren't designed to go out to sea. This is the reason why the majority of the time, these houseboats are likely to be seen moored, anchored, or tied up to a specific location, such as a marina or a pier, or at a lake or river. This is the most frequent type of floating residence that is an attractive option for those who just want to experience living close to the water.
These boats, which largely resemble barges or flatboats, are outfitted with all of the necessities of a home, so they are incredibly comfortable to live in. However, unlike a regular boat, most static houseboats are unable to function on water due to a lack of propelling equipment. Furthermore, since it is basically a boat, you will not get to have the same large space as you would in a house on land. That being said, if you have money to spare, then you can just purchase a large houseboat for yourself, which will give you plenty of space for both you and your family.
Popular Types of Houseboats
Now that we know of the different kinds of houseboats that you need to choose from, it is time to take a look at some of the popular types of houseboats from around the world.
India is known for having a large number of houseboats that can be seen along the shore in Kerala. Kerala, India's southernmost state, is known for its moored houseboats. The houseboats that you will find here are generally in the form of large, slow-moving barges. Unlike modern-day construction styles that you would find in the US, houseboats built in Kerala feature hulls constructed of hardwood planks that use more traditional methods in the construction process. For instance, the houseboats you will find here are painted with cashew nut oil for added protection.
Also, palm leaves and bamboo poles are two of the materials commonly used to construct the roof of these houseboats - they are surprisingly sturdy and well insulated. The good news is that tourists get to rent these houseboats for a modest fee to get an idea of what life is like on a houseboat. That being said, because houseboats offer an affordable and comfortable alternative to traditional in-land homes, it is common for people to live in these houseboats all year.
If you like fishing or taking part in water sports, you might want to consider having a river houseboat if you want to live permanently on the water. This is also a great option for those who just enjoy creating that same holiday vibe all through the year. They are obviously positioned in the river, and you can always choose between the static version that stays moored to the docks permanently or opt for a bluewater houseboat that allows you to travel up and down the river.
These houseboats are constructed using fiberglass, so they are easy to maneuver and offer a great sturdy build to keep you protected. It may range from low-cost to high-end, and it comes in a variety of forms and sizes. These houseboats are sturdy and offer excellent accommodations with many amenities.
As the name implies, a luxury houseboat allows you to have a more comfortable experience, whether you live in a houseboat or just want to spend your vacation in one. A luxury houseboat is a high-end vessel that, in appearance, resembles a luxury yacht. You also get to enjoy some of the perks of living in a high-end houseboat, such as granite worktops and petrol barbecues.
You also get a slew of features such as air conditioning and a dishwasher so that you always feel right at home. Compared to the regular variety, luxury houseboats also offer far more living space and a more spacious deck, and many other additional features that are purchased with the higher price tag. If you have the budget, then it is advised to go for a luxury houseboat. However, living in a regular houseboat can be just as fun for those who do not have deep pockets.
Long and thin, the trailerable houseboats are ideal for traveling in narrow and tiny river systems. It's called "trailerable" because of its little payload and length that does not exceed 30 feet, which allows it to be towed by a truck quite easily. Steel is the most common material used in the manufacturing of trailerable houseboats; however, other materials like wood are sometimes used as well.
Although it is often smaller than other types of houseboats, it is ideal for those who simply want to spend some time on the water and are not looking to make it their permanent home.
Some of the top-rated trailerable houseboats that you can invest in include the Boat-A-Home, CaraBoat, and the Catamaran Cruiser. Some things to consider when going for a trailerable houseboat is its small size, which does not make it the ideal choice for living in full time, and the fact that the size and design also do not permit it to be taken out in open waters. That being said, this type of houseboat is ideal for use in lakes, rivers, and inter-coastal waters as well.
About THE AUTHOR
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.Read More About Brian Samson