How Do Houseboats Get Water?


How Do Houseboats Get Water?

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If you are just looking into getting a houseboat or are just curious about houseboats one of the first questions that people have is how do houseboats get water. In this article I will do my best to answer that question. 

Houseboats get water in a few basic ways. They are: 

  • Pumped on board
  • Carried on board
  • Water filtration system

I will cover each of those methods in the rest of this article. 

Pumped On Board

This is the most obvious of the 3 and is the most common. When a houseboat is docked at a marina they will often have access to electrical and water hookups. It is at this time that you can fill the water tanks on your houseboat with fresh water. 

Most houseboat fresh water tanks will be around the 100 gallon size but they can vary quite a bit by different manufactures. If you are planning on living on board it would be a good idea to upgrade your fresh water tank to hold additional water. 

Most people won’t use more than 100 gallons in between dockings as you will also have to empty your sewage tanks as well so staying out indefinitely isn’t a good option for most people. When you dock to empty your sewage tanks you can also take on fresh water at that time. 

Carried On Board

If you are beaches or anchored off shore and are running low on water you can certainly carry fresh water on board using refillable water containers such as that you would see at Walmart, Target, etc. Although those water containers will work in a pinch they are far from an ideal way to bring fresh water on board your boat. 

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The most common size for those water bottles is 5 gallons which means that to fill a 100 gallon tank you would need to carry 20 5 gallon bottles on board! At 42 pounds each (the weight of the water and bottle) you would have to move over 800 pounds every time you wanted to fill your tank!!! 

You can certainly see why this should only be done in an emergency.

Water Filtration System 

This is one of the best ways to get your fresh water as you don’t have to dock to do it (although you will still have to empty your septic tanks). There are many different water filtration systems on the market but you have to make sure that the one you choose will not only filter out dirt but also any viruses, bacteria, or other harmful things that may be in the lake or river water. 

Life straw has released a water filtration system that is reasonably priced but it only filters 2-3 gallons per hour. That means it would take – little over 2 days to entirely fill your tank. The issue with this water filtration system and many others is that you have to replace the filters and that can be costly. 

The Life Straw system can filter 4,755 gallons of water before the filter needs changed. If you have a 100 gallon water tank then you can refill it 47 times before the filter will need to be replaced. If you are living on board your houseboat with your family then you shouldn’t have to replace the filter but once every year or so. If it is just a couple of people on board it could last you multiple years before it needs replaced! 

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As reasonably priced as the Life Straw system is even if you never plan on needing to take water directly from the lake or river it isn’t a bad idea to have it on board to make sure you will always have clean water to drink! 

There are of course other filtration systems that you can get on your boat but for most people spending tons of money on a filtration system just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. 

Whatever way you decide to get your water onto your houseboat always be sure to have enough on board for your entire trip. You certainly don’t want to head back to dock because you forgot to fill up with water! 

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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