I have always dreamed about living on a houseboat.
Would love to hear about it from DLers who have done it. Thanks.
It looked fun when Cary Grant and Sophia Loren did it. One of my favorite movies.
It is a great idea. But in practice, it is overrated.
For instance, you will be eaten alive by mosquitoes if you go outside. If you stay in, it is just a small house with cramped quarters on a unstable foundation. Maintenance is really high compared to a regular house.
You will live forever in fear of storm, flood, etc. Oh, did I forget to mention water moccasin and other snakes?
I prefer a waterfront house with a boathouse but not a houseboat.
OP, in my experience it ends badly.
damp, almost constant swaying and movement, not comfortable in the least, smells, smell of diesel fuel, sketchy neighbors, ripe for thefts
I knew three guys who shared a houseboat. It was awfully crowded.
I lived on a big boat for four years.
Manny! Manny! Manny!
OP, If you've got $6-$10 million to spend, you can get yourself a spacious luxury houseboat/floating island.
I've lived in a converted boat house and it was always damp. I was always running either the a/c or a dehumidifier. My clothes and shoes would go moldy, and anything paper would get wrinkled with water spots. Stainless steel rusted and most of my electronic stuff had a short lifespan.
But it was charming and I miss being directly on the water. It was the only way I'd ever be able to afford waterfront.
Are you talking about a floating house like Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, or a real boat like in Amsterdam?
Real boats tend to be damp and musty (boats leak), and they have horribly low headroom so you always bang your head, but the real problem is plumbing. Forget long hot showers, and get used to using a toilet that only slightly more advanced than shitting into a bucket.
You realize that about 90% of the Amsterdam houseboats discharge their waste directly into the canals, right?
I've lived on boats. I love it but (because?) it forces you to pare down your belongings and be tidy. Everything needs to be stowed away as soon as you are finished otherwise it looks like a disaster. There is not much space but it is very cosy. Damp in the winter if you live in a cold climate.
There's always a low-level concern in the back of your mind, especially if you go away for awhile: is the boat okay? Is the bilge pump working? is the sliding hatch locked? Are there enough lines and fenders out? You'll be watching and following weather reports like you never have before. Hurricanes will have you panicking.
It's the opposite of living in an apt or condo where you never meet/talk to your neighbors. Living in a marina, you will meet and depend on all of them to keep an eye out and vice versa. Like living in a very small community so lots of gossip as well. Most marinas also have toilets and showers if you don't mind the schlep.
If you are talking about one of those floating houses like in Sausalito or Seattle then your experience will be different. If you want a houseboat but don't want to live in a community like that or a marina, then your options are much more limited. Most localities (USA) do not want random live-aboards and do not permit it.