Can You Live On A Houseboat Year Around?

Living on a houseboat is a big dream for many people but it certainly is achievable if you work hard for it. All kinds of people work hard their whole lives to finally retire and live their dream of being on the water. Lakes, rivers, and just water in general is attractive to lots of people and buying a houseboat to spend their lives on the water seems like a dream come true to many people. 

But the question arises whether you can live on a houseboat all year round? Wouldn’t it be difficult and unusual? Is it safe to live on a houseboat for the entire year? These and many other questions often remain unanswered which in turn causes people to not buy a houseboat at all. 

In this article we will try to answer all the necessary questions and will help you decide whether or not to buy a houseboat to live on it all year round.

Living on a houseboat is something that you can do all year long depending on where you live at and the climate there. Living on a houseboat is also quite safe and it is often safer than many neighborhoods as marinas are normally quite a close knit community and since there are normally not very valuable items on board the boats crime is very low as well. 

If you are in a colder climate then living on a houseboat may not be very comfortable in the cold of winter but if you have access to a series of lakes or rivers and can head south during that time of year then that could work out great for you. 

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There are a variety of benefits and advantages to living on a houseboat. We will discuss some of those benefits of a houseboat below. 

Benefits of living on a houseboat

  1. Beautiful scenery along with your morning tea and evening snacks.
  2. Gets a vacation feeling as soon as you get back from work
  3. Fresh fish are available all the time. You can go fishing every day if you choose.
  4. You do not have to maintain a yard or cut the grass every week. Hang some hanging pots and voila! You have your garden ready.
  5. It will give you a luxurious lifestyle that many people cannot afford or live.

Due to these benefits, many people work their whole lives until they finally achieve their dream of living on a houseboat. There are certainly far more benefits than just these 5 as well.  Honestly you could list hundreds of cool things that you can experience while on board a houseboat from million dollar views every single day to the amazing wildlife that you are sure to see. 

Factors to consider before buying a houseboat

There are quite a few different factors that you need to consider before moving out into a houseboat for the rest of your life with your family. These are some of the factors that are problematic for most people because they don’t take these things into account before they purchase the houseboat or move on board. 


To be very honest, the houseboats can be quite expensive especially if you buy them brand new. They  can certainly eat into your life earnings as a new one ranges in price from $100,000 to over $1 million. 

You can certainly buy used houseboats for cheaper and that is the route that most people choose rather than buying an expensive brand new one. You should be sure and consider the cost factor before deciding whether to buy a houseboat or not.

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Ongoing costs

The purchase cost is different from the ongoing costs. You need to keep constantly spending money on your houseboat for its maintenance, insurance, fuel, and much more. The expenses of living on a houseboat will range from $10,000 to $50,000 a year or more! The amount of money that you spend will vary depending on if you have a dock in the marina, how far you travel (fuel costs) and many other things as well. In general living on board a houseboat has much less ongoing costs than living in an apartment or house would have. 


You need to watch the space that you need for your day to day activity. If you have a large number of items to store then a houseboat is probably not for you. It offers you limited space and you won’t have a lot of room for heirlooms or anything beyond the basics. 

Can you live on a houseboat for a whole year?

This is the major question that arises when you are trying to decide whether buying a houseboat is a good idea for you or not. Living on a houseboat for the entire year brings about a whole host of other complications. For example, does the houseboat have good insulation or will the cold winds of winter and the heat from summer come right in? Do you know how to fix it if there is no insulation?

Heat or cold is just the beginning as well. There are many things that can break on a houseboat and if you don’t know how to do proper upkeep or repairs it could end up costing you a small fortune! 

Most people will pay a monthly dock fee at the marina that will allow you to dock your boat there some or all of the year (depending on your climate). This is more expensive than simply finding a spot to anchor every night but it is also much more convenient. 

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The winters on a houseboat can become terribly cold (again, depending on where you live). The metal walls of your houseboat and all of the windows and openings on your houseboat will make it quite cold unless you take steps to fix that issue. People usually don’t live on houseboats during winters due to the chilling winds and thin non-insulated walls. 

Some marinas may close for the winter as well so be sure and check out how the marina you are docking at works and if possible take your houseboat south for the winter! 

Final thoughts

Along with the advantages, a houseboat has certain disadvantages too. You might not have much of a social life outside of the marina and the bugs and mosquitoes can certainly bother you in certain seasons. 

You also may not have a mailbox and it might be difficult for you to receive mail or packages. Some marinas allow mail and boxes to be delivered there while others will require you to have a box or PO Box where you get your mail. 

There are certainly other disadvantages besides these but in our opinion the advantages of living on board far outweighs the disadvantages. 

Living on the water and floating for the rest of your life is certainly not meant for everyone. If you have the courage and are ready to take on the good and bad that a houseboat is going to give you then go for it!

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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