Can Houseboats Go On The Ocean? (Which boats can?)

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When you think of houseboats the common idea that comes to mind is a homemade boat or an older boat that slowly cruises down the river. That is mostly true but as of recent years they have started making boats more and more like homes on the water. With all that being said…

Can houseboats go on the ocean?

Houseboats are really just designed to be used to see the country or an area of the country via river systems, lakes, etc. They aren’t built to be able to go on the ocean nor would they withstand very large waves without having serious issues. Even with the newer models they have made unfortunately houseboats can’t go on the ocean.

There are a variety of other types of boats that are larger than can go on the ocean or sea but they are designed with more of a traditional hull and not a flat bottom or pontoon that can easily get swamped.

Why can’t houseboats go on the ocean?

Since houseboats sit very close to the water the larger ocean waves can easily cause issues. If you were to take your houseboat on the ocean it would be fine with smaller waves but when the winds kick up it can easily becomes swamped and start to sink. 

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Many houseboats can go in salt water as they are designed to not have issues with that but just because a houseboat is said to be fine in salt water, that doesn’t mean it can be used on the ocean.

Where can houseboats go?

It’s certainly a bummer that you can’t take houseboats on an ocean voyage but where can you take them? Well, virtually everywhere else!

In the US we have tons of lakes and rivers that interconnect. You could take your houseboats up or down the river and go exploring in many new locals without ever reaching the ocean.

For example, many people have taken their boat and gone up or down the Mississippi River. The Mississippi stretches 2,348 miles from Northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. With houseboats moving an average of 7 miles an hour it would take 335 total hours to travel the entire length. If you only travel for 10 hour days that is well over a month of sailing just to go ONE WAY!

There are also many people that love cruising through the great lakes. From its furthest point to the Atlantic Ocean you would travel 2,038 miles! At an average of 7 miles an hour it would take you 291 hours of boating or approximately 29 days if sailing 10 hours a day. 

Of course, the thing about those time frames for sailing the Mississippi and the Great Lakes is that you probably won’t want to push that hard every day. You didn’t buy a houseboat to get somewhere fast, you bought it to enjoy the ride. 

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I’m sure you will want to stop at the little towns along the way, see some of the sights, etc. Those trips could easily take you 2-3 months for each! Who needs to take a houseboat in the ocean with those kinds of places available?

Which boats can go on the ocean?

 If crossing the ocean or even just cruising along the ocean shore is a must for you then you would have to look towards a bigger vessel such as a cabin cruiser or yacht. 

Now don’t get scared by the word yacht. When many people think of yachts, they think of multiple millions of dollars with hired captains and crew and big $$$. 

That actually couldn’t be further from the truth. There are tons of used yachts that can be purchased for 100-200k. That is obviously more than many houseboats but certainly a far cry from the multiple millions that some yachts can run. 

You can also find many great used cruisers that are 30-40 feet for 50-75k. With a boat like this you will be able to cruise with just a couple of people or with many family and friends. 

Always be sure to do your research before purchasing your boat. Make a list of things you would like to do and where you would like to go. Then use that information to make a purchase decision. 

A houseboat can be a great source of fun but they aren’t for everyone and for every situation. Even with the advances in technology and the “crossover” houseboats they are still not the best in every case. 

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Happy boating!

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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