Living on a houseboat amongst beautiful views really is a dream. We have been told by several people that they envy our lifestyle, our freedom, our adventure, and that they wish they did something similar when they were younger.
I am officially putting it in writing now that, while it is a fun (and different) lifestyle, it is not for everyone.
First, there are several differences between living on a boat and living on land. The plumbing, for one, is wildly different – and something that we have to explain to every guest that comes over. When you live on a boat, the options are to either have reserve tanks that need to be pumped out regularly or to have a compost toilet. After much research, we chose the latter because that worked best for us, but I stress that was after much research. Many of the older composting designs are gross and would have been horrible to have on a boat. We spent a good deal of money to go for a top of the line model since odor control and cleanliness were primary concerns of ours.
Second, things like showers, sinks, and washing machines work differently on a boat. Since these are clean water items, we were able to route them directly into the lake, but the shower is set up to pump out via a bilge pump that you must remember to switch on when you start the shower. It’s an extra step that you don’t have when living on land.
Likewise, a boat requires different maintenance than a house. While there isn’t a lawn to mow, the chief goal is to make sure the boat stays balanced and doesn’t sink. Boats will always take on water – that’s just a fact – so it is the owner’s priority to make sure bilge pumps are in place and working so water can be filtered out, especially after a thunderstorm. On a houseboat, it is wonderful to add things like cabinets and appliances to make the boat feel more like a home, but it is necessary when adding these things to make sure that the weight is distributed properly to keep the boat from leaning too heavily to one side.
Next, it is a BOAT! Wakes are an issue. Your home is always moving because it is floating. Our home rocks in a storm, it rocks when another boat drives by too quickly and stirs up the water, it tilts slightly if too many people stand on one side, and it sways with the motion of the water. The constant motion isn’t for everyone. We happen to love it. Our home soothes us to sleep every night and makes a storm even more enjoyable. I find myself laughing when a sudden wake knocks me off stride, but there are the occasional wakes that are so bad my dishes clang together and Gigi runs cowering. Those wakes have me cursing the inconsiderate driver that didn’t slow down enough to follow the signs that read “No Wake Zone.”
Last, are the sheer number of people that flood the marina each weekend. To them, the marina is an amusement park – a place to get wasted after jostling for a parking place. Both mine and Andy’s vehicles have been scratched in the melee this summer, and more than once, he has found beer bottles or socks in his truck bed on a Monday morning. It gets a touch irritating to have to wade through drunkards every weekend just to get home.
Still, all of this aside, we wouldn’t trade our current home for one on land. We love the peace, the adventure – even some of the annoyances. Nothing in this life is one hundred percent perfect, but it can be as close to perfection as your attitude allows it to be. Enjoy wherever you are to the fullest!