Where To Moor A Houseboat?

We are now at a period in human civilization where anything is possible and this includes living on a boat. Many people choose to live on a houseboat quite often and not just for vacations but some people choose to live on them full time as well. The thrill and freeness of having a house that you can move anytime you want has a lot of people looking to find this type of living arrangement. 

If you live on the houseboat or if you are just a traveler who is stopping on your journey, you will have to moor your houseboat somewhere. Finding a place to moor a houseboat can become a tedious and frustrating process but in this article we will try to demystify the experience a little and help you learn where you can typically moor your houseboat at. 

Mooring is a process in which you pull the houseboat up to the pier or anchor buoy and tie your houseboat to it. This helps keep your houseboat stable and is an important safety measure when the boat is not cruising. 

In order to moor a houseboat, you can choose between five main types of moorings which are: 

  • Canal mooring
  • Private river mooring
  • River mooring
  • Marina mooring 
  • Boatyard mooring

Which type of mooring you choose and where exactly you choose to moor a houseboat is largely dependent on the size and type of houseboat you have, finances and your preferences among other things.

Besides mooring you can also anchor your boat by securing it to the shore by virtually driving it up on land and attaching the anchors to trees or burying them in the sand. This is commonly referred to as beaching your houseboat but we wanted to mention it to clarify the difference between it and mooring. 

While beaching your houseboat is typically allowed virtually anywhere along the waterway (depending on where and who owns the property) and normally won’t cost you anything to do, mooring will normally have daily or weekly costs associated with using the spot or item for mooring your houseboat. 

Main Types Of Moorings

There are many different sites where you can moor your houseboat. Each type of mooring entails specific conditions and  the conditions of each will determine what type of mooring sites you will want to use for your houseboat. 

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Around the world, each type of moor and condition may vary but the fundamentals will always  be the same.

Canal Mooring

Canal mooring is typically  a temporary place to moor your houseboat. Most canals are owned by the government and they have to ensure boat owners are treated fairly. Along with this, they also have to be sure and allow for free passage of all vessels so houseboats can normally only moor for a limited period of time. 

This type of mooring can best be utilized during a stopover on your way to another destination.

Private River Mooring

This is a river that is attached to private properties. To have access you will either have to discuss a purchase or lease with the private owner. 

These types of moorings are rare but can be found in some areas of the world so it’s something to be aware of. 

River Mooring

This type of mooring is a favorite for some but the moving water can pose a problem if you aren’t careful. If the river is not a secured location during strong currents it may be difficult to access your houseboat or the mooring entirely so these can certainly be hit or miss depending on the recent weather and time of year. 

Marina Mooring

Marina mooring is one of the most favored and frequently used types of mooring as it offers many different choices. With most marinas you can moor your houseboat, dock it, or simply stop over to refuel before moving on. 

Since there are typically many different marinas along a river or lake you will normally be able to find the perfect marina and perfect place to tie up your houseboat. 

Marina mooring facilitates both temporary and permanent living needs so if you are looking for a vacation home or a home on the water permanently there is a marina that can facilitate either one. Along with this many marinas form communities that allow for an active social life with various recreational activities. Marinas will also normally provide additional services such as good security, repairs, and servicing which make marinas a great place to moor your boat if you are in need of anything. 

In recent years many marinas have become a one-stop-shop but you should check ahead of time to make sure as there are some that still offer nothing but bare bones service. 

Boatyard Mooring

This is considered a cheaper mooring alternative however, it is mostly a temporary living arrangement. This kind of mooring site is typically used to conduct boat repairs and it isn’t designed for you to moor your houseboat if it isn’t in need of repairs. 

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A houseboat owner  can take their boat to this site, moor, and then live on the boat until it is fixed.

Some boatyards will allow you to moor there overnight even if you don’t need repairs but those are normally places that are further out of the way so they aren’t as busy. 

Which type of mooring should I choose?

The type of mooring you choose to moor your houseboat is one hundred percent based on you and your preferences. There are many deciding factors that have to be thought about to make a good decision on which type of mooring is good for you, the boat owner. Here are some things that you need to think about before deciding. 

Size and Type of Boat

The size and type of your houseboat are very important. Not all moors can secure a larger houseboat so if you have one that is bigger than knowing this ahead of time can be helpful. 

Finding out the capacity and space at each mooring site can help you decide what is best to keep your houseboat, especially if your boat is considerably larger than normal. 

Living arrangements

The living arrangement is a major factor when deciding where to moor your houseboat. You can either choose to live permanently or temporarily but each type of moor will traditionally have certain conditions and as a result, you will need the necessary documentation to live permanently on a boat in an authorized place. 

Not all moors allow for long temporary periods such as month vacations let alone years either so you will have to know this detail before making a final decision on where to moor at. .

Safety of the location

The safety of the location is important but it is more important in some locations than others depending on the area you are in. You should consider the safety of the location to not only protect yourself and your property but also to save yourself from a giant headache if something were to happen when you were moored. 

It is just as if you were buying a home. You would want to ensure that you are moving into a neighborhood that is not unsafe and you are not prone to having a bunch of things stolen or much worse. Oftentimes mooring sites are remote so being careful of the location is necessary.


Money is always at least a portion of the deciding factor in anything. Mooring is not necessarily cheap either as the fees and charges can run extremely high depending on your areas. 

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Often people don’t think about these additional costs until they’ve already purchased a houseboat so now their budget will be stretched even further towards the breaking point. 

Mooring fees are not a one time payment and as a result, it is good to ensure you are getting somewhere that you can keep up with the amount of money you will have to pay for a long period of time. Don’t decide to moor somewhere and then a few days or weeks later realize you are spending far too much and are too broke to put fuel in your tank! 

It is a good idea to call around and find out the different prices available in your area so you will be able to find an ideal place to moor your houseboat that is still within your budget. 

Suitable mooring spot

When choosing a type of mooring you will still want to choose a suitable spot. This is strictly up to personal preference but most people will want certain scenery, a position that’s close to towns near you, a remote area, or certain amenities as well. 

Finding that right spot is important so that it adds to your life rather than taking away from it. 

What is the takeaway?

Living on a houseboat has a lot of perks no matter whether it’s temporarily or permanent. Before enjoying this time on board you will need to  find a place to moor your houseboat which can be rather difficult. 

There are five main types of places that you can choose from to moor your houseboat each having different pros and cons to them. These places are Canal Mooring, Private River Mooring, River Mooring, Marina Mooring, and boatyard mooring. 

To further figure out where to moor your houseboat and which type of place to choose there are still a few things that need to be thought through. 

Some of these things are the size and type of the boat, living arrangements, the safety of the location, finances, and suitable mooring spot. Once you’ve considered all of these different things you ought to be able to decide much more easily where you want to moor your houseboat at. 

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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