Houseboat Living - what laws, rules, or regulations affect house boats?

by Anita
(Hopkinsville, Ky. USA)

Houseboat Living - laws, rules, regulations on house boats?

Houseboat Living - laws, rules, regulations on house boats?

When it comes to houseboat living, what are the laws and regulations about living on house boats? Do they vary from state to state?

Thanks for any help, Anita



Reply - Answer
Well Anita, welcome to the houseboat forums, and congratulations on asking a popular question about living on a houseboat?

You will find that the laws, rules and regulations DO vary from state to state, and that is what makes it even more difficult to find a suitable location.

In some areas, they have time limit requirements stipulating that you can not spend more than 7 days at a time in one location, others it could be 30 days.

In other states, it is allowed, however it's not a topic that is highly publicized.

Houseboat living is not a popular subject amongst many government departments and officials, as there are many rumors and urban legends surrounding the type of clientele that live-aboard houseboaters supposedly attract.

It brings up many controversial discussions like the effects it can have on waterfront property, property taxes, pollution, and the environment amongst so many others.

If you're looking for more in depth information, have a look at the following links:

US Army Corps of Engineers

US Coast Guard Boating

USCG State Boating Laws


Personally, I find this is a very emotional subject for all houseboaters alike, and I assume that there will be some comments, and suggestions about the differences in various states?


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about how their states laws, rules and regulations have affected their houseboat living experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.


Thanks again for sharing, IAN - from www.all-about-houseboats.com

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Comments for Houseboat Living - what laws, rules, or regulations affect house boats?

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Houseboat Living - considering a change.
by: Mark Hupp

Hi i'm new to this idea and was looking for some input as I am considering building a house boat (not a shack on pontoons).

My wife and I decided not to tie up what funds we do have on a home due to all the unpredictability of the market and considered life on the water. My wife and I are both 45 years of age and are looking for something different, and we live in Oregon and are considering a reservoir in our area to reside BUT... I can't seem to find any rights/wrongs/rules/regs in regard to doing such a thing.

Any Information regarding this would be helpful as I have no idea what I need to do.

Thanks, Mark

Houseboat Living Laws
by: Ray

Because of the many people who have chosen to give up dry land living for a better life on the water, I would like to suggest that houseboat full time liveaboards form some type of coalition to obtain some legal rights, just as we had when we had a regular house.

Those would include the "Castle Doctrine", freedom from unwarranted boarding-search and sizures, the rights to possess the same items we would have had in a land based house, ie: food products, weapons, random boardings and any other issues we would have constitutional rights to possess if we were on land.

I understand that Marina's have the right to deny us docking as full time liveaboards but there are some that look at us in a more favorable light.

Personally, I have never had a problem but as I am planning on more extensive travels on the water ways, this problem will always exist and encounters with non understanding water cops will most likely be inevitable.

I found a very nice marina that is favorable towards liveaboards and allowed me to use their physical address as my own and let me even put my own mail box next to theirs. They also treat houseboat travelers with the utmost respect.

My point is, I guess, it is about time for we houseboaters to stand up for OUR rights. We are a minority so with the right legal help, we should be able to obtain our constitutional rights just like anyone else.

I would welcome any comments, suggestions, criticism and/or help. Thanks, Ray Russell

Living on your houseboat.
by: Vickie

I have my houseboat docked on Lake Mead and I was told you can stay up to 6 months. We were not told this when we bought it even though we said we'd be here full time. Push for the answer before the big investment is all I can say.

Living aboard laws
by: Bill V. Fla.

First let me say that not only states, are different, but areas are different also. Salt water bays and marinas have one set of laws, while rivers and estuaries, have another.

This all refers to parking your houseboat. Now I don't know of any laws that say you can't live on your boat. The Coast Guard has no laws for houseboats.

The state requires you to license it if you have it powered. There are no laws on what material you use to build with. You just have to have holding / pump out tanks, or the kind that turns sewage into safe water.

You must still use all navagational rules when operating.

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