A houseboat is a terrific place to spend your vacation time, and many find that a houseboat can be an excellent permanent home. The key to keeping your houseboat in good shape really boils down to preventive maintenance, so keeping 10% of the boat’s value in reserve is a smart plan.
Determine Your Use
How and where will you use your boat? Are you planning to live on it full time? There are many features of houseboat repair that can be done on your schedule, but the preventive maintenance to keep you ship-shape will require regular attention even if you are not using your boat.
Depending on your travel goals, a pontoon-style may be exactly what you need. If you are planning to live on your houseboat full time, you may prefer a full-hull boat. Square footage will be tight in either case.
Be Honest About Your DIY Capabilities
Once you are on your boat, it’s important that you take a look at your mechanical needs. If you have mechanical skills, you can likely find Mercury outboard parts to keep in reserve for regular maintenance.
Updates to the inside of your boat will need to be carefully considered. This is not a spot where you can simply put up a shelf or paint a wall. Conditions on a houseboat will be
If you have a mooring spot and have power hookups, much of boat life is a lot like RV life. However, you may also want to invest in solar power to give yourself the option to live off-grid.
Make Sure You Can Get Maintenance Done
In addition to preventive maintenance, getting your motor checked regularly and maintained at regular intervals is critical to your safety. Consider taking a class on engine repair before you invest in a houseboat so you can be sure that, should something fail, you can at least get back to shore and get some help.
Learn to Drive a Houseboat
If you can manage a pontoon, you can likely drive a houseboat. There are rules and etiquette about the right of way, and you will want to keep an eye out for smaller crafts.
You may also want to invest in a smaller craft. A jet ski can make getting to shore much simpler, so stocking up on supplies and getting rid of trash doesn’t require you to dock.
Manage a Sizable Down Payment
You can finance a houseboat, but you will need a sizable down payment. It will take up to 30% down to qualify for your houseboat loan.
Before you can qualify for the loan, you will need to get the structure inspected. Consider hiring a mechanic and a boat builder with your own funds to take an in-depth look at your intended purchase. If there are big repairs in your future, you can still buy your boat, but you can get it at a better price and be ready for the expense.
Budget for Transport, Storage and Mooring
If you are not on your boat full time, you will need a storage spot. If you’re moored, you will need to pay a docking fee, and hookups will cost more. Once you pay for your boat, you will still have expenses if you plan to stay near the shore. For those who want to be on the open water all the time, make sure you have the necessary mechanical skills to easily start and move your houseboat in the event of traffic or weather.
For those who choose to join up with a houseboat community on one of the big lakes in the United States, be aware that you may also have homeowners association fees. You will also need to pay a relicensing fee each year that will vary depending on the size of your boat.
Life on a houseboat can be amazing. You can enjoy fresh air, birds and other wildlife, and the calm of close contact with water. It will take some work to make sure that your boat is safe, secure, and ready for travel. However, the investment can be entirely worth it for those who love the boating life.