How Fast Can A Houseboat Go?

How Fast Can A Houseboat Go?

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Houseboats are quite fun and you can certainly have a great time while using one. If you can afford it, you should definitely go for these as these are a great way of relaxing while still only being a few feet away from the fridge or bed! 

You can have a great time on board a houseboat with your family and buying a houseboat is even required as you can even rent these for a vacation or family get together. 

One thing that many people wonder about houseboats is how fast they can actually go. They are certainly giant machines so most people assume that they don’t go very fast but is that right? 

How fast can houseboats really go? 

Houseboats are one of the slowest boat types around with most of them averaging 8-10mph max. Some larger, more expensive ones can go up to 15mph that is really where they top out. 

Obviously 15mph is pretty slow for a boat with even many smaller fishing boats going much faster than that but the main reason for their slowness or how much a houseboat weighs. 

Many houseboats weigh 10,000-20,000lbs with some being even heavier than that! With such huge weight it makes sense that they can’t move through the water very fast. 

Another reason for their slow movement is many houseboats have a lower deck so if they went faster more water would get on the deck and the houseboat could easily become flooded and sink! 

On top of the weight of the boat itself most houseboats will carry large amounts of people as well as their luggage and even the fuel for the trip. 

Many houseboats have big fuel tanks to help you in lasting the whole time of your trip and some of these even come with two fuel tanks but it usually depends on the model of the houseboat. 

These tanks are great for allowing you to stay out on the water a long time but the extra weight from all that fuel will slow you down as well. 

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Many people prefer to rent or buy a houseboat with bigger fuel tanks so that they don’t have to worry about anything during their vacation with your family but again, everything has a trade off. 

The more weight you carry the slower your houseboat will go. 

How fast should a houseboat go? 

Just because a houseboat “can” go 8-10mph doesn’t mean that you should go that fast with it. Just as with a car the faster you go the more fuel you will burn through so if you aren’t wanting to spend a fortune on fuel you will likely want to keep it to under 5mph. 

Another thing to consider when talking about the speed of your houseboat is how comfortable you are with driving it. 

If you or the person driving is relatively new to houseboats and driving them then it is probably a good idea to go even slower to prevent you from accidentally running something over and even running aground.

Since in many states in the USA you aren’t required to have a special license to drive a boat many people think it’s relatively easy. While that is true there are a lot of things that can easily go wrong and the faster you are going the worse the mistake can be. 

For example, houseboats don’t have brakes like a normal vehicle so if you don’t look ahead and slow down in time or steer out of the way it can be really easy to accidentally run something over and damage it or your houseboat. 

Factors to consider while driving and getting a houseboat

Before you start your trip, you should make sure that you do proper research about everything. To make sure that the trip is worry-free, always follow all the instructions carefully. 

Some instructions may be provided by the place you are renting the houseboat from or if you bought one then taking a safety course is a good idea. 

How to operate a houseboat

Anyone above the legal age who also holds a drivers license is typically eligible to drive a houseboat (depending on your state & country). 

Before handing over the boat to you, you will be provided instructions regarding how to drive the houseboat properly if you are renting one and many places will even take it off and put it back on the dock for you (the hardest part for beginners). 

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You may face many problems while driving a houseboat for the first time as driving a houseboat is quite different than driving a car. It is important to take care of all the things properly so you can avoid any mishaps. 

You can also practice driving a normal boat before driving a houseboat to help get the hang of it on a smaller vessel.  This will help you in gaining a little experience about these and will be quite beneficial for you. 

It is always recommended to go slow when you are a beginner with a houseboat so that you can take action as soon as possible and won’t be moving fast at all. You can also go for a houseboat that includes driving it to your destination if you are not very comfortable driving it yourself.

Which houseboat model should you get?

When you are about to rent or even buy a houseboat, you must go through all the different models available to get the perfect one for you.  There are many different models available on the market which suit different requirements. 

Some of these can fit up to 22 passengers while some have the limit of only a couple passengers at a time. You can also look for the model with fiberglass walls to get a luxurious feel on your trip. If you are not so comfortable with fiberglass, you can also go for the ones with wooden walls or some people simply don’t care either way. 

Consider the prices

The charges for renting a houseboat can be quite high sometimes. It is important that the place you are renting or buying houseboat from is trustable and can help you out in the best possible way whenever needed. You should be sure to go through all the possibilities before deciding on which houseboat you want as it may help you out in getting a great deal for your vacation or lifetime. 

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The services provided with the price paid matters a lot too. You should try and find the best value for money instead of just going for the least expensive one. You can often even get your hands on some discount offers if you are planning to stay for a long time when renting one! 

Budget matters a lot too

If you are someone who has a limited budget, it is important that you go through all the options available carefully to find the best one that is within your budget. You can also look online for different houseboats to find the best prices. 

When renting a houseboat some of them won’t have many facilities or features on board hence it is important to go through all the details before agreeing to a contract. If you are looking for some better service, you can even request for some staff members to be present on your boat all the time to provide you with all the things that you require but of course that will come at a steep cost. 

Why choose a houseboat?

If you are still confused if you should rent or buy a houseboat or not then stop stressing yourself so much as to whether you are making the right decision. A houseboat is a great way of relaxing and spending some quality time with your family or friends. 

It is an excellent option for trips and driving a houseboat isn’t too difficult even for beginners. 

It would add a little bit of extra enjoyment to your vacation if you plan it during the spring or the best weather conditions for such trips so not only the houseboat but also when you go is important.  


All in all, houseboats offer a great experience and you can use them quite easily. You won’t have to worry about any of your problems and can relax with your family members and have a great time. 

You surely will love the experience of living on a houseboat even for a short time and it will be a one of a kind time as well. 

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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