How To Drive A Twin-Engine Houseboat

Houseboats are becoming extremely popular, especially in places that have small streams and inland waterways that support fishing activities. What is a houseboat? A houseboat is a boat with a few rooms (and a deck or a porch at the end) that is traditionally built on a flat-bottomed hull. 

Initially, houseboats would not consume electricity but after the development of the internal combustion engine, powered houseboats have become commonplace. These houseboats are easier to move as well (the older ones have to be towed to change position). They are preferred as they are a cost-effective option and they serve as summer homes or vacation getaways for many people. 

Why do people prefer to live in houseboats?

Traditionally, houseboats were restricted to tourists and nomadic travellers. Of late, they have become equally popular among common people as a replacement for actual homes. Today, houseboats are an appealing option for students, retirees, entrepreneurs, etc… who find it hard to keep up with the rising costs of housing in many areas. Purchasing a home is a time-consuming process and involves hiring lawyers and realtors and spending large amounts of money! 

For people who strive to keep their living costs down, houseboats are a cost-effective living space. It is also preferred by nature lovers who wish to stay close to nature, away from the hustle and pollution that are an inevitable part of city life.

Here is a list of a few common reasons why people are increasingly choosing to stay in houseboats, over an actual home.

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It is cheaper

Houseboats are cheaper in more ways than one. You do not have to worry about filing your yearly property taxes and you are free from the herculean task of registration formalities associated with real estate. 

Buying a houseboat is also more affordable than buying a house in many places. Living on a houseboat, you are blissfully devoid of activities such as pulling out the weeds, maintaining sprinklers, or shovelling snow. Thus, the overall cost of maintenance is low as well. 

The scenic beauty

Waking up to nature’s sounds is a delightful experience. The sounds of the water, fish and the birds cooing are a pleasant environment to wake up to! The beauty and ambiance of a houseboat are unparalleled and revitalizing mornings on your houseboat will help you kickstart your day on a happy and energetic note.

The size factor

Houseboats are considerably smaller than typical residential spaces. Thus, you will only have room for the things that are absolutely necessary. Due to the small size, the maintenance of houseboats is easier than maintaining a home. For people who embrace the minimalistic style of living, houseboats are a good choice.

A wide range of enjoyable activities

Houseboats have more recreational facilities than an actual home does but the setup is such that, you still feel like you are at home while being able to do the activities that you would, while on a vacation. While on a houseboat, you can indulge in fishing, water sports and explore marine life. 

Due to their size, they may not be ideal for large families however students, couples and travelers see houseboats as a viable option for long term living. Once you start living on a houseboat, you will start craving for more time with mother nature!

How to drive a houseboat with two engines?

Now that you have some solid and compelling reasons to try living on a houseboat, you must have some basic knowledge of how to drive a houseboat. If you are not so sure about this, you may rent a houseboat with a driver and then carefully watch how they do it. 

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Driving a houseboat should be relatively easy for anyone with experience in driving any vehicle (such as a car, truck etc.). The houseboat has a steering wheel quite similar to that of a car. To control a houseboat with twin-engines, you should educate yourself on the respective instructions using the instruction manual. Like any other vehicle, you need to first start the engine. The method to do this varies for boats depending on their engine type.

Every houseboat has a couple of gauges to indicate details such as the amount of fuel, the speed, and the pressure level. In place of the gas and brake pedals that are found in a car, houseboats have levers.

Discussed below are a few factors that determine how easy or difficult, driving your houseboat will be. 


Docking is an important skill in handling a houseboat. Docking a twin-engine houseboat is actually easier than one with a single-engine. Once you have finished your ride, you have to dock your houseboat at an appropriate position on the shore. The agency from which you have rented your houseboat will often offer assistance in docking if you are a newbie. 

With practice, you will eventually become a pro in docking and undocking. Also, there are several videos online, to guide you with docking and maneuvering your houseboat.

The size

Houseboats come in varying sizes and capacities. As with any other engine-powered vehicle, driving a houseboat with a smaller capacity is much easier and simpler than a larger one. If you are inexperienced in handling a houseboat, it is advisable to pick one with a smaller capacity. 

Following the rules

Just as roadways and airways have a set of traffic rules to abide by, waterways have rules as well. Houseboats usually have a specific restricted route and need to maintain lower speeds. If the route is marked with buoys, strictly follow them. Be aware of the allowed routes and the speed limit and stick to the rules. This way you can eliminate maximum risk and have a safe experience.

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Are houseboats safe?

Houseboat services are not functional during extremely stormy or rainy times of year due to the risk of floods. If you come across agencies renting out houseboats during stormy seasons, stay away as they can be dangerous. During all other times, houseboats are quite functional and safe. 

Look for agencies that provide complete privacy and security but at the same time provide a helpful crew on board or at minimum the instruction to help you learn how to properly handle and use the houseboat. 

Houseboats are available in a wide range of prices depending on their size, capacity and the services provided on board. Contact your agency for complete information on prices and services offered. Choose a package that suits you the best and have a great time!


Driving a twin engine houseboat is done using a wheel similar to a car wheel while the engine speed is controlled using a lever. One large difference when driving a houseboat as compared to a normal vehicle is that that houseboats don’t have brakes! You have to slow the boat by putting the engines into reverse. That will sow the boat down but it isn’t like brakes where you can actually stop easily. 

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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