How to Live on a Houseboat in Florida

Living on a boat – whether for vacation or for a leisurely getaway, provides you with a thrill like no other. Not to forget the freedom of travel as well as privacy, which act as an icing on the cake. You get to have adventures along with unending recreations when onboard too!

One of the best places to consider living in a houseboat in, would be Florida – for obvious reasons too. 

For starters, Florida is known to provide you with dozens and dozens of great places to visit, thanks to its formidable climatic conditions. Also it’s cost of insurance as well as the lax laws which are governed there is often considered helpful to onboard living (in some areas). 

There are many places in Florida that are great for houseboat living such as Tampa Bay – which is not only quite far from the hustle and bustle of the city, but also provides for one of the best on-board lifestyles in all of the USA!

Read on to know more!

What factors should you consider before deciding to live on a houseboat in Florida?

When you’re planning to take up residence on a houseboat in Florida, there are certain factors you should definitely take into consideration before taking the plunge. 

A few of these factors to consider are: 

The houseboat living conditions 

This is of prime importance, especially if you intend on spending many days at a time on your houseboat or if you plan on taking up residence on your houseboat. Logistics, change of address and certain other factors, which will be discussed in detail below, are to be considered before making this all important move.

Related Post  The 10 Best Houseboat Lakes in California

The type of water involved 

Different water types provide for different living experiences. Thus, based on your preferences, whether you enjoy fishing or if you prefer deep sea diving as well as cruising through the ocean and the like. This will definitely be one of the primary factors you will have to consider before taking up the houseboat life in Florida.

Your ability to be adaptable to weather and climatic changes

Weather changes will impact you much more when on a houseboat than if you were residing on land. There maybe rain, hurricanes, flooding, as well as many other forms of extreme weather conditions that you will face in Florida. All of these you should keep in mind before deciding on a houseboat there. 

Although the weather may be great in Florida many days of the year, a backup plan is always advisable – come what may.

It is also normally quite hot in Florida during the summer so if your houseboat doesn’t have any sort of AC you will quickly find yourself wishing you had purchased a home rather than living on the water dying of heat! 

Cost of the houseboat as well houseboat types

People usually opt for houseboats because of the cost of living which is quite low, in comparison to living on land. However, depending on where you plan to reside in Florida will determine how much your expenses will end up being. 

It is important to consider not just the actual purchase price of the houseboat but also the cost of docking the boat, maintaining it, and more. 

The type of boat you choose to live on will also have a big effect on how much you love your houseboat life. Having a boat with a wide deck space can be considered ideal for living in Florida as you can suntan virtually year around if you can stand the heat!

How much would it cost to live on a houseboat in Florida?

Prices to live on a houseboat in Florida varies from place to place. The price usually depends on your proximity to the larger cities in and around Florida. If you’re lucky, you might end up finding a decent slip for a 40-foot houseboat at only $500 a month (provided you’re willing to shell out that much, or if you don’t have a dock of your own). However, this same amount might go up quite a bit more if you were planning on moving closer towards the developing or developed water fronts.

Related Post  Can You Rent A Houseboat On Lake Tahoe?

Nonetheless, you should know that there are quite a few affordable marinas as well, but if you wish to live anywhere near downtown areas for whatever reason it may be, then you will have to pay more – there are no two ways about that.

Often you can find a dock on private property that can be rented for much cheaper than renting a slip in a marina but with that comes other difficulties such as not having water, electricity or sewage services. You have to decide whether the monthly cost at a marina is worth it or if it’s better for you to live more “off grid”. 

Why opt for a houseboat in Florida?

Florida is known for its beautiful waterfronts at Tampa Bay as well as St. Petersburg which is pretty close by. These places are known for their various arrays of fine dining as well as regular dining options, recreational opportunities as well as plenty of shopping too. 

Infact, if you opt for either of these two places then you will not have to spend every waking moment of yours with desires to trek miles overland only with a simple agenda to eat or go for shopping – because everything is that close and in plenty. 

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

What are the rules and regulations for houseboat living in Florida? 

Florida has made various changes in its rules and regulations with regards to houseboats. You should take the time to learn all of them before embarking on the journey to take up residence on a houseboat.

For starters, there are the anchoring laws which in most places aren’t considered an issue anymore. These laws are regarding how long you can stay put in the same area, anywhere around Florida. 

Related Post  3 Popular Houseboat Destinations

No town or city should now have the right to ask you to leave after a stipulated amount of time.

You have the liberty to drop anchor in any of Florida’s waters – as long as the place legally allows for anchoring. However, in case the area has been marked for mooring, then you will not be allowed to anchor. Other than that, you’re good to go.

Another thing to keep in mind is, if your houseboat is in a state of navigation – that is to say that if it has engines and can steer, then it is considered that you aren’t ‘living’ aboard.

It is believed that the reason behind this understanding is to allow for boarding without having a search warrant. Nonetheless, don’t worry about invasion of privacy because that is protected under the sixth amendment to the bill of rights.

If you have all this figured out and sorted, then there seems to be no other reason which might end up stopping you from taking residence in your houseboat in the waters of Florida. You’ll still continue to be as much a citizen of America as anyone else, so there is nothing else left to worry about.


Living on a houseboat in Florida or virtually any other location sounds like fun and certainly might be for some people but that doesn’t mean you should sell your house and everything you own and buy a houseboat. 

Moving down to a much smaller place can have a bad effect on some people so if you are considering living on a houseboat full time it would be a good idea to take a trial run of a few weeks or months before you make a permanent decision. 

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.

Recent Posts