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Difference between living on a yacht and living on a houseboat?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Blue Ghost, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    Does anyone have any insight into living on the difference between the two? I've spent the night on sailing vessels, but never on a "houseboat".

    Can anyone tell me what the difference is?
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Sinking when the seas get rough and many dollars. But a houseboat will have a lot more space than a sailboat of the same size.
  3. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    I lived on sailboats and loved it.
    A houseboat is more like a floating barge and are made to stay in one place.
    With a sailboat, or for that matter a power boat, you can pull the anchor, or un-tie the dock lines and go anywhere, anytime.
    (Weather permitting of course)

    No comparison between a house boat and a proper sea going vessel.
    Apples and oranges.
  4. revluc

    revluc Member

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    Where are you going to use it? Inland lake/river or on the coast?
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You're talking about a housebarge not a houseboat. Houseboats are self-propelled. There used to be a custom built beauty over at Hall of Fame marina back in the 1990's that was designed to handle some seas. But most are like the Gibsons, Holiday Mansions and Three Buoys. Party platforms and bachelor pads that go to the party. They're not recommended for open water (oceans) or docking on windy days. You find them mostly on inland lakes. Then you have the houseyachts that can handle a little more like the Blue Waters and Harbor Masters.
  6. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Ha Ed, never heard that before:)
    The Blue Waters sure have an ambiguous name.
    Never owned one so I can't comment.
    (But I will do it anyways)
    Yes, compared to a Houseboat (barge) they may me sweet, but compared to an ocean going yacht, they may be less so.

    I am just old fashioned, if it floats and if it have an engine, it should be safe on the ocean or on a body of water bigger than a bay or a swimming pool.
  7. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The big houseboat brands being built today are Stardust, Sumerset, Sharpe and Thoroughbred, all within miles of each other in Kentucky and Bravado in the Lake Powell area of Arizona. The vast majority of houseboats are on lakes. Most move slowly but are excellent entertainment boats. All the brands I mentioned are aluminum. The houseboat industry was nearly destroyed in 2008-09 as none of the builders had any orders for new boats. The largest dealer of houseboats went our of business. The beauty of a houseboat for their intended use is that they're far less expensive than a yacht or other type boat of the same size.

    As to the fiberglass houseboat builders, price has pretty well done them in. Gibson is for sale. Nautiline long gone.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    As long as you only wish it and don't expect it you'll be ok. Quite frankly half the smaller motoryachts, convertibles, etc. would barely pass that test either. Fortunately most end up as dock queens anyway.
  9. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Yeah, there is "degrees" of seaworthiness for sure.
    I did not consider sh!tty boats when I made my sweeping statement:)
  10. refugio

    refugio New Member

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    I'm not sure what a houseboat is in the "Subsector of Deneb" (where the "Regina Subsector of Spinward Marches Sector" is located and, yes, I had to Google that!). But in the PNW that term refers to a floating house semi-permanently moored to shore. As in "Sleepless in Seattle".

    The other responses seem to focus on the rectangular vessels used on protected water like Lake Powell and Inland areas like rivers. If your vision includes a giant water slide from the top / boat deck, that's your kind of boat.

    Over the years there have been a number of variations on the houseboat / yacht combination theme, such as the Uniflite 45 "Yacht Home".

    In general this style of vessel (assuming the OP was not talking about a floating home) has squared off interior spaces with RV-like built-ins and the ability to use RV or small apartment furniture (like couches, futons, and chairs) that would more challenging on a traditional vessel. And they are (to generalize further) built with RV quality fittings. There are generally large "basement" storage areas that are less likely to be filled with marine equipment and plumbing. If you dream of putting patio furniture on top of your boat, this may be the type of vessel for you.
  11. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    All right, thanks all. I saw a few online that were going real cheap, and was thinking of splurging. It seemed like an interesting idea, but I wasn't sure how water, sewer and electricity were handled, and what the costs were. The one that I had my eye on has since been snatched up, but it is still a possibility.

    The houseboats moored in San Francisco look like they belong to some eccentric artistic types, or old timers who've been around a long time, while houseboats that I've seen in other places look like they belong to retired folks.

    It's still an idea. I may or may not go for one. If I had the cash, I'd just buy a 65+ footer (non-houseboat) and live out my life.

    Thanks again for the replies :)
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    For a houseboat water, sewage and electricity are handled the same as on any boat (a hose from shore for water, a holding tank, often no more than 15-30 gallons, that needs to be pumped out and a shore-power cord). Housebarges are generally handled the same except they generally have larger holding tanks , but some municipalities require solid shore connections for electric, water and a pump-off to a cesspool or sewer. A friend of mine used to use one of those toilets that incinerate the waste and he'd periodically empty it into his garbage. If you choose to reside on any type of vessel that you don't intend to cruise make sure your area has a pumpout boat or truck that comes to you. Many areas require you to bring the vessel over to a pumpout station (generally the fuel dock). Pumping overboard isn't an option near land almost anywhere. Getting rid of your waste, whether by pumping out or buying an incinerating toilet, is an expense you wouldn't have with a land home.
  13. refugio

    refugio New Member

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    By San Francisco do you mean Sausalito? Which has houses on floats (like Seattle's Lake Union)?
    I'm still not clear what you are asking about, but this makes me think you DO mean the floating home and not the inland houseboats, which would have similar water, sewer, and electricity systems.

    The biggest issue for living aboard either a boat or a floating home is moorage. Floating homes typically require a special permit, which is very difficult to obtain and thus very expensive. The floating homes themselves can have almost no value but if it comes with advantageous moorage (end tie, nice view, owned or long term lease) could be very expensive. The docks in these communities provide the utilities you were wondering about, but they are a huge PITA to keep operational as everything is always moving.

    Living aboard a boat (of any type) is quite a bit easier. Rules vary from community to facility, but most places allow a few liveaboards (it's actually good for security). Shorepower connection is obvious, and there are various approaches to having constant city-pressure water - but be aware that the city can supply water faster than bilge pumps can eliminate it should something fail. So most use keep a supply hose connected but turned off. Sewage is big problem unless you are fortunate (?) enough to be next to a pump out facility. There's a marine on Bainbridge Island that has it's own portable pumpout for residents to use, but this is not a fun process and most liveaboards up in the PNW set up service with a roving boat that periodically comes by and sucks it all out (you don't have to be there at the time).

    Another cost that must be taken into account is titling and insurance. Gone are the days when any floating piece of junk could occupy a marina slip - states and municipalities have added requirements for current registration and insurance and it's only a matter of time until this is universal in the US.

    Hope that helps...
  14. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Senior Member

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    You forgot Pluckebaum, really nice boats.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Yes, I did.

    They will build most anything you want too. They even built a high performance 50' boat.
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Seems the OP is near satisfied so I'll wonder a bit;

    For some of the kids out there that may remember the old Surf Side 6 shows and floating restaurant, We had the sister ship (60x20 barge) built for Jim Beam as an floating reception barge with mini apartment. Before us, the reception area was converted to living space, the drop down bar and kitchen were intact and the mini apartment converted into an office.

    What fun to live on. Sliding glass doors on three sides. We just steeped out onto my Vega 20 or the folks pontoon boat and quickly aweigh on the river you went.

    My Pop used to just open a sliding glass door and poke a cane pole out from his recliner while watching TV.

    Life was just that easy till,,,,

    My folks stayed on-board till maintenance and regulations (prissy neighbors) got to be too much.

    Last we heard she floundered in the mouth of the Trout river in North Jax and was lost/scraped by her next owners.

    Like to hear if anybody remembers what a Vega 20 was.
  17. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    Well, back in 1979 when I was a poor student in the US of A, I did live part time in a Vega.
    A sleeping bag and a few bananas would keep me going for days.
    Never a lack of beer or female company either.
    Good old days, would trade anything to do it over again.

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  18. Ward

    Ward Senior Member

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  19. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    I'll pass on the McBarge.

    It looks like someone jacked up the price on the boat in question to three times what was being asked a few weeks ago. That really angers me. There's another boat that looks like a fixer upper, and has lots of feminine touches on it (dream catcher, flowers and what not) ... I'll pass. I had my eye on a condo in around the same area, but the guy selling it is in escrow now ... this too makes me unhappy. Big deal. Still, that was the perfect place ... man.

    The housboats in SF are on an estuary next too the railroad yard and south of China Basin. They're visible from the 280 extension leading into downtown SF. They've been there for decades.
  20. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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