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Complaints while Anchoring or Mooring our Houseboat

by Carl

Complaints from Anchoring Houseboat near Island and Bays

Complaints from Anchoring Houseboat near Island and Bays

We get complaints while mooring or anchoring our houseboat. Is there a rule of thumb or specific law regarding where to anchor a houseboat? There is a large area on Okaloosa Island where I would like to keep my houseboat but get complaints wherever I go.

I need to know if I have any rights as to where I can anchor my houseboat.

Thanks for any help, Carl

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Reply - Answer
Carl, that's an interesting question, since I'm not aware of any laws or restrictions regarding anchoring your houseboat. There is a difference between short-term and long-term anchoring though.

We have traveled to different areas and have never really been bothered, however we have been places where we could tell that the waterfront property owners weren't overly excited that we had anchored near their properties.

If I were you I would have a quick chat with your local Power Squadron, Coast Guard, or local Authorities to see what they have to say about it.

Lastly, hopefully some of our other readers will post comments on some of their specific experiences from their areas.

IAN - from

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Comments for Complaints while Anchoring or Mooring our Houseboat

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Mooring placement on Lake Monroe in Florida
by: Anonymous

I like this answer and agree getting along is the best policy. I too was wondering if putting a mooring down in Lake Monroe Fl was in violation of any ordinance.

There is a restricted area, but many boats are anchored on the lake itself. We have had a mooring in place for 15 years out of the restricted area, and its never been questioned.

We are good boaters and adhere to the rules and have a boat at the marina also.

A good idea
by: Lisa

Being Canadian, it's really all about being good neighbors. How would you feel if some stranger you never met set up a trailer in front of your house...

Especially when you spent allot of money to get the amazing view that the trailer is now interfering with.... Same thing with a houseboat..

I would see if you could speak with the land owners and maybe find someone who doesn't mind because they are gone during the week. They might even welcome it because you could then help with a little oversight on the property while they are away.

It might take some time but the advantages if you think about them are something that most cabin or homeowners are not thinking of. They only focus on the negatives. I know in the Okanagan many people rent out their property in the summer and stay during the winter and others stay during the summer and fly south in the winter.

Offering to maybe keep an eye the property while they are away could lower their insurance rates and offer you a semi permanent mooring site.

Use some social media and Kijiji and other avenues to find people that rent for the summer and never forget you could put the word out to friends and family what you are looking for which is always the best option as this does involve trust and people are more inclined to trust friends and even friends of friends.

This still allows you to do what you love and travel around but you might have allot more options and a friendlier relationship with any neighbors. Don't forget to get references. Character references are most important.

Call your local RCMP office to find out the local bylaws and laws governing houseboats. Keep the relationship with any landowners respectful and make it clear what you expect and what they can expect from you.

You will find that like with any neighbors that if you are standoffish or arrogant about YOUR RIGHTS then that can easily make life difficult for everyone.

Good Luck and Happy Houseboating

Who owns the land beneath the lake ?
by: Winnetka IL Boater

Before we all had cars, trucks and highways ~~ We used horses and traveled by boats. The Great Lakes was a "super-highway" and American Maritime Laws where drafted after we broke away from the Kings rules.

Anti-Anchoring ordinances from local towns on land have no jurisdiction and are invalid on Federal Navigational waters, like the Great Lakes.

All the land beneath the water is owned by Our Federal Government and is for the enjoyment for all its Citizens, Public Lands so to speak.

Warm places like Florida, CA and Hawaii all battle against anchored boats and have lost in court. If the land owners really did own the land under the water there would be huge fences set-up with orange Keep Out signs all over America.

Mooring Laws in BC / Living on a houseboat on Kootenay Lake
by: Oracle Explorer

Just wondering if anyone knows the laws for mooring a huseboat in random locations in BC. I live on a houseboat on Kootenay Lake. I have heard that there is nothing anyone can do to stop this, but I'm not sure if this is correct?

I have also heard that the Coast Guard does have some sort of authority, just not sure what the laws are. Help would be great.


How Long to Anchor in front of Properties?
by: Gary

I am planning a 1400 mile houseboat trip, and I was thinking about houseboat anchoring. I wonder where, or how long we can stay anchored, or anchor house boats in front of waterfront properties in the USA?

Do you have any information on anchoring out at night. As I understand it you can drop the hook anywhere in the USA, except where it is marked, in the shipping lanes, and not tied to a navigation buoy or marker.

Is there a time limit as to how long you can stay in one spot?

I have a small houseboat and have traveled on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, the rivers south to Mobile, as well as the Florida ICW and rivers.

I have spent many nights anchoring out on my houseboat and never had a problem, but have some friends who have lake front properties say I can`t just stay in front of someones home.

Any information on how long, or where I can anchor a houseboat, would be greatly appreciated. Gary.

by: Beached

One place that comes to mind where at least one waterfront owner got irate was Boot Key Harbor Fl. I believe he had some pull with the local Law Enforcement types as well because he got his way in a crowded anchorage.

I wonder whether the people that weren't happy with your presence was for other reason then you having a houseboat.

I can think of several here:

Your boat is a mess and it smells up the place.
You have noisy adults, kids or pets aboard.
You anchor too close to other boats.
You run a generator at all hours and it belches disgusting fumes.
You do maintenance on your boat ie. Running sanders, saws, planers or scraping paint. Even painting in a anchorage isn't going over well.

You dump "stuff"overboard.

You have a history of dragging anchorand word got around.
You run around undressed( although in some parts, that would be the norm) :-))

Myself having anchored in Washinton State, British Columbia, all Gulf States, as well as the East Coast State, New York Canal systems, Lake Ontario, and the Trent Severn.

I do not recall ever hearing complaints about houseboats being at anchor ( I was not on a houseboat so I should have heard the "bitchin")

What is scary to me is the lack of boating know how with rental units. Lets face it, there is nothing as unmanouverable as some of the single engine houseboats with a clueless person on the helm in a crosswind, and then a Mississippi barge adrift. In those situations my wife and I were prepared to fend off or run for our lives in case of a barge.

So, unless any of the above applies to you, be bold, next time you hear some folks muttering, row up to the complainer and ask.

Houseboat Anchoring - anchorage laws
by: Fred

When it comes to the laws regarding anchoring and mooring, you may find the following PDF on Anchoring Rights of interest.

This legal opinion PDF seems to state that if you are not a floating structure or live-aboard vessel and you are outside any legally establishid mooring field... then local governments cannot establish or enforce regulations about anchoring. So do as you please.

However, I am still researching the subject for my own reasons and am not sure how state and federal rules/regs/laws/etc. may apply.

In any case, the boating public is best represented and served when we try to live in peace and harmony with our surroundings (landlubbers included)

For what its worth...

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