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Handicap Accessible Houseboats?

by Jeanne
(Auburn Hills, MI)

Houseboats that are handicap accessible

Houseboats that are handicap accessible

Are there any handicap accessible houseboats out there? If so, are any of them renovated by the owner(s)? If you've renovated a houseboat, and made it handicapped accessible, I'd be very interested in hearing from you.

My boyfriend and I are planning on moving to Florida, and we want to live on a houseboat. Because of my disability related needs, he's planning to buy a houseboat and remodel it to meet my needs.

If you know of any resources in this area, I'd also appreciate hearing from you. All help is appreciated. Thanks, Jeanne

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Reply - Answer
Hi Jeanne, that's an important question since there is a definite need for more handicap accessible houseboats. There's many houseboat manufacturers that have started making the small changes to fully accommodate the demand for the handicap market needs.

If you're buying a new houseboat, the new houseboat manufacturers are able easily modify them and make the layout to work for you.

If you're looking at used houseboats for sale, I imagine that you will have to plan on modifying one and making the layout changes yourself.

Hope some of our readers will be able to share their experiences and comments here.

Hope this all helps,
IAN - from

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Trailerable houseboat for abled and wheelchair bound persons
by: Billabong houseboats

We build a trailerable houseboat for both abled and disabled persons. We currently have an Advertisement on EBAY (Australia). See ID 284251900748

Our houseboat fits in a 20 foot container and can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Gibson lover
by: Kelly C.

I know that Gibson made several models that were handicap rated. I just was on one at Fox Chapel marina and It was so nicely done. Every amenity was accessible, even the decks forward and aft.

Handicap Accessible Houseboats
by: Tom

Amelia; I think it's Catamaran Cruisers, Aqua Lodge you're thinking of.

I'm a quadriplegic and I've always dreamed of a houseboat though money and dependency make this mostly a dream. I've always assumed you could even set up a remote control and propel your boat from anywhere aboard.

I'm currently in a garden apartment roughly the size of a houseboat so I can imagine can't I?

We'll build Handicap-accessible houseboat
by: Rod Gibbons

My name is Rod Gibbons, and I'm the founder of Eco-Sea Cottages.

Because each of our houseboats are custom-built to the owner's requests, we'd have no problem providing wider doors, hand rails, and whatever other user-friendly features you'd like to have.

And we'd still provide you with our "Free delivery anywhere in the 48 states."

Kindest Regards -- Rod

Houseboat for disabled older man
by: Bro. John Bsp.

I am looking for a houseboat to live on. It is just me and my Service Dog. I live on the MS.

Gulf Coast where I retired from MO. but did not know I bought in a flood zone. Don't ask, don't tell, I apparently.

After Katrina and two hurricanes since, I am tired of the FEMA mandated expensive Hurricane Ins. I love the Gulf Coast waters and am ready to live on a houseboat that when a Hurricane approaches, I can travel North on inland waters or even the MS. river which is only 50 miles away.

Is there anyone that can point me in the direction where I can find a houseboat that is powerchair (electric wheelchair) accessible?

Thank you and God bless you for considering to assist me.

In Christ presence, Bro John Bsp.

Powerchair bound with one leg
by: Bro. John Bsp

I live on the MS. Gulf Coast, in a flood zone. I am through with rebuilding after several hurricanes.

I am alone with service dog and a 6.9 lb. small Shih Tzu. So just for us, I am looking into moving into a houseboat. We get fair warnings when a hurricane is heading our way.

My plans would be to go inland on the MS. River 50 miles from where I am now living. Anyone have any ideas about a place to look for an accessible houseboat?

I love the Gulf Waters but all coastal areas are being vacated. Thanks to FEMA's, impossible to pay for Hurricane Ins. I don't want to move inland and know I can live on the Gulf Waters.

Please if you know how one can be outfitted for a powerchair (electric wheelchair,) please leave me a message.

God Bless Bro.


interested in Handicap Accessible Houseboats
by: Anonymous

Tony, I would be interested in hearing more about the accessible houseboat. Our son, who also uses a chair, loves being on the water.

Handicap Accessible Houseboat
by: Tony Cole

We have a wonderful luxury houseboat for sale that was specifically built to accommodate our son who is in a wheelchair.

He is 26 years old and completely dependent. The master suite, the hallways, and doorways were all built to accommodate his needs.

Additionally we have a lift to take him to the top deck and have a davit that allows to put him in the water and put him on a Sea-Doo for riding with me.


Handicap Accessible Houseboat
by: Sherry

Our houseboat is Handicap Accessible as the people before us has a son that was in a wheelchair.

The head has grab bars halfway up the wall so he could grab them. The head door is quite wide. The front and back slider have wide openings. It is 12'x41'.

You could take out the coffee table and turn the bed side ways and there would be plenty of room for a wheelchair to pass through from end to end.

Modifying Houseboats for Wheelchair Access
by: AR Boater

We owned an early 70's model 28 foot pontoon houseboat when my wife had her auto accident that left her a paraplegic.

We had to remove the rails around the front deck and have a metal fabrication shop widen the access gates to accomdate the width of her wheelchair.

We had a mobile home repair company replace the cabin door with a wider door. The head was too small to bother with, so we didn't attempt to make it accessible.

A few years later we decided to move up to a larger boat - it was a 38' Stardust cruiser. We gutted it and made it as accessible as possible, but this particular design had the step down between the living area and the galley.

Due to the roof lines, it just wasn't practical to make it all one level. We used 2x10 boards to create a ramp to move her down to the lower level. It was less than ideal since she had to have assistance going from one level to the other.

We sold that boat several years ago, but I really miss our times on the water. Would love to hear from anyone in wheelchair that has rented a houseboat.

Houseboats that are handicapped accessible?
by: Amelia

What are your needs, Jeanne? Are you wheelchair-bound, or can you negotiate stairs at all? What's the minimum-width you can tolerate for a passageway? Is it important to be able to go places with your boat, or is just living on water enough?

Most manufactured houseboats seem to have rather narrow passageways, narrow doors, and some stairs, often just two or three, in order to cram all the bedrooms people want in, but I've seen a few that are built to look like cottages on aluminum pontoons, complete with peaked roof and picket fence.

Wish I could remember the brand. They usually have quite a nice open floorplan that might work well for you, but I shouldn't think they would be suitable for much weather, saltwater or wave action.

On the other hand, if you have lots of time and money, you could probably buy a used houseboat with a sturdy hull, and gut the thing to get rid of the steps and enlarge some of the little bedrooms into ones that would have wide doors and room to turn around in.

You'd also want to re-do the galley and head, to lower the countertops, have room for your legs to fit underneath, and install grab-rails as needed.

It would be a huge job, but I'll bet you could have exactly what you need, and a fun project as well.
Best of luck to you!

Handicap Accessible Houseboats
by: Jeanne

Thanks for the reply about handicap accessible houseboats. Surely there are those out there who have a need (needs) for accessibility in a houseboat.

Again, if you've had to renovate a houseboat or any other type of boat to be handicap accessible, please post your tips and comments. Jeanne

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