Where Can You Dock A Houseboat?

Houseboats have become more and more popular over the last few years. Most people love the ideas of houseboats and the idea that they provide a unique way of living or vacationing is a huge bonus. While a house boat might seem exceptionally cool to have, it might not be a spur of the moment purchase choice. 

There are many things to consider before purchasing or even renting a houseboat. The first question you will have to likely want an answer to is where do you dock a houseboat?

Houseboats are normally docked in a marina but they can also be docked on private land as well as virtually any place that is deep enough and has a dock! 

Marinas are a popular choice as not only do marinas offer docks for the houseboat whether it is a smaller boat or an elaborate one, but they generally also offer other services. 

The services that each marina offers varies; however, if you are looking to buy a houseboat these services can be a deciding factor into which specific marina you choose to dock your houseboat at. 

What can I expect when I dock my houseboat?

First and foremost you should expect that the marina will have a way to secure your houseboat. As mentioned before, each marina offers different services that can help to secure your boat and help with the longevity of the boat as well. 

You can choose the perfect marina to dock based on the services you prefer for your houseboat and yourself. As a result of this, you can have high expectations when finding somewhere to dock your boat.

Factors to consider about marinas

Before deciding on a marina to dock your houseboat at or even renting or using a private dock it is important to know what is included at the marina as well as what features and benefits that it will offer you. 

Some important things to consider are: 

Dock and slip prices

It should come as no surprise that you will have to pay marina fees and even specifically slip fees. A boat slip is the portion of the marina in which a boat is berthed or moored, or used for embarking or disembarking. This is the specific space that your houseboat will be at and as such you have to pay for the service.

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Dock and slip sizes

The size of the slip you get will be largely determined by the size of your boat. So in looking for a marina to dock your houseboat, you will have to ensure that the marina you choose has the slip sizes to accommodate the size of your houseboat.

River or lake

The marina for your houseboat  can be on either a lake or a river. If you are a traveler and looking to move away from the land a river or very large lake might be better for you. 

Before docking your boat this is something you may want to know especially if you are planning on seeing a lot of area. Moving a houseboat over land can be difficult as well as expensive so if you want to travel with your houseboat it is a good idea to choose a marina that is located on a river that you can use the boat or on a large or not niter one red lake system (such as the Great Lakes). 

Marina Services offered

Services at the marina can range from services to fix and service your houseboat along with services for the inhabitants of the boat. These services can add to the pleasantness of your experience especially if you live on the boat. Some marinas can act as a small community with all your needs met so you don’t even have to leave the marina when you don’t want to. 

Here are some services that are offered at marinas:

Covered Slips

Now that we have discovered the importance of a slip let’s look at a service marinas tend to offer in regards to slips which are covered slips. Covered slips as the name suggests will be covered to protect your boat from the weather. 

Some marinas offer this service while most do not. There are pros and cons to both covered and uncovered slips with the biggest con being that covered slips are normally much more expensive. 

Covered can keep out the elements such as rain and snow that can destroy the boats as well as make being on one unpleasant. However, when the slip is covered small rodents can  often find their way in to get out of the elements as well and they will destroy your houseboat from the inside. 

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Launching and haul out

Houseboats are generally left in the water year around however if you want it to be put in and out of the water every year it is important to look into if the marina can facilitate this. Oftentimes underwater repairs for the boat have to be done. If this happens you would like for the marina to be able to do this as well.

Winter Storage

This is an important service especially for houseboat owners living in a region prone to snow and extreme weather conditions. This allows for your boat to be safe and still functional after the winter season has passed.

Repair services

Some marina’s offer this service to help you in the event of any needed maintenance or even emergency repairs. If something goes wrong with your boat you will not have to seek outside assistance. There will of course be a cost to using this service but having reliable help can be a lifesaver. 

Fuel and pump-out

This is essential for the movement of your houseboat. If this service is not offered you will have to travel to get fuel and pump out sewage that can become burdening and problematic.

Many marinas will have a fuel boat that can come right to your slip and fill you up as well as have a sewage boat that will empty your tanks right there as well. 

Activities for kids

Houseboat owners are not always solo; some tend to bring the whole family. This is especially true for vacations when school is not in progress. To keep children entertained some marina’s offer recreational activities for children who are living on the boat.

Site security

Most marinas have established very important security procedures and protocols to protect the boats that are docked there. This service protects both the boat and the residents from any unwanted activities such as theft. This also gives the residents peace of mind when leaving their boats for a while or even while staying on board. 

Short term living

Not all states and marina’s permit actual living on houseboats. It is important to know the laws and regulations in your area and also the marina’s rules to determine if short term living can be accommodated on your houseboat.

Laundry and groceries

If you are living on the boat, a service you would probably appreciate is having access to laundry and groceries. This eliminates the need for the residents having to leave the marina constantly to survive. This can simply take away from the experience. 

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Larger boats may have washers and dryers on board but for those that do not, laundry poses a problem so finding a marina that has a laundromat right there can be a huge deal!

Internet and Cellular access

In the 21st Century, it’s almost hard to believe that all marinas do not have these services. Nonetheless, it is still something to check into. For the person who is looking to get away and live in the moment and get away from the real world, this might not be an issue. However, if you will be conducting work from the boat or need to contact family, this is something you will have to ensure is accessible at your marina.

Some marinas are quite a ways off grid so you might not get very good or reliable cell service there. If that place also doesn’t have internet then staying connected with work or family will be incredibly difficult. 

What have we learned?

There is a lot to consider about houseboats especially when looking into purchasing one. Since you cannot just pick your houseboat up and take it home you will first have to figure out where to dock your houseboat. 

Houseboats are normally docked in a marina that can either be by a lake or river. Where exactly you choose to dock your houseboat is a bit more intricate and difficult of a decision. 

Basic information about slip fees and sizes are important in figuring out what you can afford and the different marinas that are accommodating to the size of the boat you would like to purchase. Along with this, you will need to find a marina that has additional services and amenities offered that will suit your needs. 

Each marina is different and not all services are offered everywhere. If you are looking for a place to dock your boat, be sure and check out everything offered and the price of docking. Just because one marina is cheaper does not mean that you should choose it over a slightly more expensive marina with better amenities. 

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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