Why Do People Live On A Houseboat?

The 21st century has been filled with a lot of wild ideas. Some ideas are brilliant while other ideas are still quite puzzling and extremely questionable. It is safe to say that this is the price you pay for being in a progressive world. One idea that can be dubbed by many as a “wild idea” or to others as a “brilliant idea” is living on a houseboat. 

You will be surprised to know that this is not just a 21stcentury idea and can be dated quite a far way back. Living on a houseboat has just become much more sophisticated, and technologically advanced in recent years than it used to be. 

Many people may label it as a wild idea because they don’t truly understand or maybe it is just not their thing. This sparks a conversation and it is often wondered why do people live on a houseboat and what is the reasoning behind it? 

There are a variety of reasons why someone might choose to live on a houseboat. They might just like the freedom of living on the water or it could be the cheapest place that they could find in their city. Most of the time either the budget or the freedom/scenery are the most popular reasons why people choose to live on board a houseboat. 

These two reasons are far from the only ones and honestly the reasons are as varied as the people that choose to live on a houseboat. We will discuss a few of the reasons that people choose to live on board a houseboat below but if you were to ask 100 different people why they do it you would probably get a lot more than just these seven reasons! 

Reasons why people live on a houseboat

Here are 7 common reasons why people might choose to live on a houseboat.

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1. Provides a Basic Need

There are three basic needs that humans require to help sustain their life. These basic needs are food, shelter, and clothing. Living on a houseboat offers the basic need for shelter. Shelter does not necessarily have to be a shelter on land but any place in which you can call home and you have a roof over your head. People who live on a houseboat have found that that particular way of living has fulfilled their basic need for shelter and it provides just as much shelter as other places of dwelling.

2. Has similar features of a home on land

Houses on land have different rooms that serve different purposes, for example, the bedroom, living room and kitchen. It is in the same way that houseboats offer different rooms for different purposes. They might have a different name than a home on land but they have the same type of separation.

Here are the rooms that you can find on a houseboat

  • Stateroom – This is the bedroom. Boat residents can sleep comfortably just as on land.
  • Berth – This is what the bed is called. The term v-berth is also used commonly. V-berth is used, however, when the bed is located at the bow of the boat which takes on a v-shape.
  • Galley – This is the kitchen. Do not worry about starving while on the water. Meals can easily be prepared.
  • Head – This is the bathroom, which is just as functional as on land.
  • Cabin – This is the meeting room of the house or a living room. Another name for the cabin is also a salon.
  • Cockpit – This is a very important room of the boat. Cruising houseboats especially rely on the cockpit. This is where the steering of the boat takes place. While it is commonly known as the cockpit it is also referred to as a bridge.
  • Nav station – This room is where navigation equipment is kept on cruising houseboats.. This is where the boat’s radio, charts, and GPS are located.

3. Has the necessary basic amenities

Houseboats have all the basic amenities that can allow for a comfortable living arrangement. Take, for example, electricity, you can have a light source on your boat via electricity, especially if you live in a marina. Another way to get a light source is from generators or batteries. This is mostly for cruising houseboats that are not stationary and are always on the go.

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Other than the electricity, you can access other utilities such as running water as well. Houseboats have become sophisticated now and many people will even have access to Wi-Fi, cable television, and get cell service. So, people who have made houseboats their home are not missing out.

4. Acts as a money saver

The prices of houses on land have risen all over the world. Finding housing, especially in the city, is often expensive. Many people, even those with a good job, still have to get roommates or pay exorbitant prices for small houses. For some, also living out of the city is still unaffordable.

Many people live on houseboats for this very reason. Prices of houseboats can run very high between the purchasing and renting of the boat, the mooring fees, and also the constant maintenance of the boat. These prices still, for the most part, do not exceed that of getting housing on the land.

For most people, this is a viable alternative that works out cheaper for people in high cost areas. 

5. Offers a different experience

Life is hard and complicated and sometimes it takes a different experience to spark something that can make life more bearable. Houseboat owners can use this as an experience to combat the pressures of life and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life as much as possible.

The knowledge you have living on a boat is far different from on land as you wake up to different elements every day. If you love nature, it can offer an experience where you become more connected with nature too. Some people view the experience as always being on vacation.

6. It is a way of life

Each group has a way of life and culture. The houseboat community has its own way of life as well. Most houseboat owners don’t just live by themselves, but they live in a community and this community is a support system. Each family interacts with each other and develops a certain way of life that they can pass down to the next generation.

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This is similar to other types of communities in the everyday world. You can choose a modest way of life or simply enjoy life on the water. 

7. Offers a Sense of Freedom

People may live on houseboats because of the freedom it offers. It does not subscribe to the traditional way of living. This departing from the norm allows for a sense of freedom and it can also come just by the sheer mobility that houseboat living offers. If you are a traveler this is probably suitable for you because you can move to different places and whenever you want to.

With a houseboat, you can be mobile and adventurous all of the time. 


Living on a houseboat did not just start now but has actually been around for quite some time.  While some people may consider this idea as crazy, it actually is a feasible way of living for many people. 

Some people genuinely have an affection for living on a houseboat and want to live this way! This is the primary reason why people live on a houseboat. 

There are also many other reasons such as it provides shelter, is similar to a home on land, has amenities, saves money, offers an experience, is a way of life, and offers freedom. These reasons are quite compelling and the choice of a person to live on the houseboat should be respected.

Who knows, maybe this might spark an idea for people who were totally against this type of living arrangement to possibly give it a try?

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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