Costs of Keeping a Houseboat



Most houseboat owners agree that living aboard is less expensive than living on dry land in a “bricks and mortar” house. Since the initial costs can be quite pricey, many are turned off by the idea of living on water. However, like the many expenses of living on land, there are a good share for houseboat dwellers. Some of the expenses include fresh water, electricity, gasoline or diesel, mooring, insurance, and maintenance. Even though these necessities are rather similar for a house on land, it is much harder to find these while in the middle of a lake.

The first big headache is the initial purchase of a houseboat. Usually banks will not finance you for that type of loan unless it is against something else you own. Buying a houseboat is much cheaper in the long run because it will take a shorter amount of time to pay it off. Which in turn allows you save up money for repairs or a nicer houseboat in the future. The price of a houseboat can be whatever cost you want. Nowadays houseboats are fit for anyone’s lifestyle and budget, so just keep looking around until you find one that is right for you.


The next tough one will be finding a place to moor your boat. Even though you will be living aboard your boat at all times, you will still need to rent the space from the marina or local government depending on the lake. Mooring can range from $5-$600 a month depending on the location and size of boat. In addition to the mooring fees you may also be hit with a habitation fee as well for those that stay aboard year round. This fee is based solely on the size of your vessel, so the bigger the boat the more money you can expect to dish out.

Fresh water, electricity and gasoline or diesel are the necessities for your houseboat while living aboard. Typically the marina that you moor or reside near should provide these for you. It will be an additional charge on top of the mooring fees. The cost for electricity can cost anywhere from $5-$30 a month, which depends on your state residency and usage. Gasoline and diesel is the same price for your car, so riding around all day may become quite expensive with increasing oil prices.

To keep your boat safe and covered for accidental collisions, it is best to have insurance. If you have financed your boat, then you will be required to have insurance. Check around to see what the best rate is for you. The cost can vary so significantly based upon the boat’s age and your boating experience.

There are many expenses for a houseboat. However, once the initial costs are covered living aboard can be rather inexpensive, so you can enjoy the fantastic views and sun while eating breakfast and brushing your teeth.