Where Can Houseboats Go?

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Houseboats have come a long way and even though their history dates back to the early centuries, the growth in the design of houseboats has surged recently. Houseboats have been transformed from simple board and rope structures to grand and luxurious mansions. Before, houseboats were seen as more boats than homes but now that thought has turned around, and houseboats are now viewed as a house rather than a boat. 

However, the fundamental element of houseboats is that it is a boat that was modified into a home. Therefore, the fact remains that it must be able to traverse open waters such as oceans, seas, and lakes, right? Can houseboats actually go to all of those places? Where exactly can a houseboat actually go? 

Houseboats can go anywhere where the water is deep enough for them and also not very rough. That means houseboats can’t be used on the ocean or seas but will do just fine on lakes, rivers, canals, etc. 

The reason traditional houseboats can’t go on rough water is they normally sit very close to the water so if the waves are more than a few feet tall the houseboat will get easily swamped and sink. Some of the latest houseboats are built on giant pontoons or even with traditional hulls that allow them to handle rougher water but in general houseboats can only go on smoother waterways. 

In the rest of this article, we will dive a  little bit deeper into the subject of whether houseboats can travel on open waters, and where exactly they can go?

Where can houseboats go? 

Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you can take your houseboat almost anywhere. The keyword is almost as you can not take your houseboats on the ocean as mentioned above. 

The technology behind houseboats allows you to travel virtually anywhere, so if you desire to go sightseeing in your country or a particular region, a houseboat can be a suitable answer. You will be able to traverse the waters while touring, from the comfort from your own home.

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However, this is restricted to only rivers, lakes, and so on as houseboats are not designed to traverse oceans and seas, and they will not be able to hold up against large turbulent waves. This can naturally lead to severe damage being done to the houseboat, which can further lead to the sinking of the houseboat, especially when the winds pick up. 

What’s more, if this occurs in open seas, the likelihood of being rescued is rather slim. This is why it is necessary that you only stick to river systems and lakes with almost every houseboat that there is. 

Many houseboats, both newer and older models, may declare that they can be used in salt water, but that does not mean that you should go in the oceans and seas. This is why many countries, especially the United States, advise against doing this.

Where should you go with your houseboat?

Despite not being able to traverse open seas and oceans, there are still many water bodies such as lakes and rivers that you can enjoy. Everywhere else is always open for you to explore and have fun. 

In many countries, you can find tons of lakes and rivers that interconnect across a region. If it goes along with your country’s laws, you have the option to take your houseboat up and down many rivers while you explore the local area and all that it has to offer.

For instance, in the United States, there is the Mississippi River that ranges about 2350 miles spanning between the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Minnesota. Since the pace of houseboats is rather slow (about 8-10 miles an hour), you are able to enjoy hours and hours of travel along the river while you enjoy the constantly changing scenery. In fact, at this pace, you will be able to squeeze out about 336 hours traveling its entire length. 

If you are moving on the river 8 hours a day that is over a month and a half of just going in one direction if you choose to travel along the river. If you aren’t trying to hurry and want to stop at the little towns along the way it could conceivably take you 3 months or more to go up or down the entire Mississippi. 

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For the lakes, there is much that you can do as well. Many houseboat owners choose to cruise the grand lakes that are littered across the country. One such lake system is the Great Lakes that span a considerable distance of about 2039 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. At the same rate of 8 miles an hour, you would take about 290 hours to traverse the entire system. If this is the adventure you are seeking, it will take you about 2 months if you aren’t trying to push as fast as possible and stop along the way. 

You can even combine the Great Lakes with the Mississippi and spend 6 months or longer going the entire distance! 

Moreover, the Great Lakes, in addition to the Mississippi River, have a lot to offer you in the form of towns, tourist attractions, sights where you can bask in the rich food and culture of the area. It would make a great summer vacation for you and your family since it provides you with about 2-3 months of summer fun for each waterway. 

Even though you may not be able to explore the ocean waters, with so much to explore inland, you will likely not miss it.

Best boats to use for the ocean

If it is crucial for you to travel the oceans, then don’t worry, we have great suggestions for you as well. So instead of opting for a houseboat, then you should use a yacht or cabin cruiser. These are better suited for the turbulent harsh ocean waves and are much less likely to sink. 

However, when many people see the word yacht, their minds immediately think of a high price point. This is even coupled with the thought that you will need a crew and staff to work on the yacht. 

I am happy to say that it is not necessarily the case. 

You can find many yachts that range between $90,000- $220,000. Due to the price, you can naturally assume that the yachts come with more luxuries than the typical houseboat, which is true but you do not have to fork over millions of dollars like the rich and wealthy to enjoy these luxuries. Moreover, again, yachts give you the opportunity to traverse and explore the open seas.

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Now, if a yacht is not what you are looking for, you can also look towards purchasing a cabin cruiser. These are cheaper than yachts, and you also have the option to save more money if you buy them used rather than new. 

Generally, the price of an excellent quality, used cabin cruiser, is about $55,000- $80,000 and can stretch up to 40 feet. With this length, you can easily host your family and friends as you cruise the open seas.

We also advise you to make smart choices with your purchases. Generate a list, weighing the pros and cons of each boat, and see if it fits your needs. Whether it is a houseboat, yacht, or cabin cruiser, the decision is up to you.

What have we learned? 

Owning a houseboat may be the answer to many people’s prayers. It gives you the chance to explore freshwater areas from the comfort of your own home. However, there is a downside. You can not take the houseboat on to the oceans. 

Thankfully, there are other options for you to try if this is a necessity. You opt to purchase a cabin cruiser or a yacht, each offering their own unique features and price tags. 

You will find many unique local attractions and natural charms along the rivers, lakes, and lagoons as you cruise by on your houseboat. You can easily stop at all of them along the way and at the end of the day you just head back to the water and get to sleep in the comfort of your own home.

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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