Course How To

Houseboat Driving Lessons - learn how to park, dock, and drive houseboats

by Peter and Kimberly
(Michigan, USA)

How to Learn How to Park, Drive and Dock my Houseboat

How to Learn How to Park, Drive and Dock my Houseboat

I just bought my first single engine 45 foot houseboat and I am really happy with my purchase. The only problem so far is the hesitation and fear I have about taking it in and out for a ride.

I hate only staying parked at the dock while others are out riding around even when it's windy. The marina where I park the boat is mostly filled with smaller day cruiser boats, so asking for any tips or help hasn't provided me with much good information.

And that brings me to another big point is that it's rather snug around the marina when it comes time to go to the gas dock, pump out service area, going thru the break-wall at the marina entrance, or even putting her back into her slip.

Is there anywhere to take lessons, or books to help me learn to drive and park this fantastic new houseboat? It would probably make my wife feel better if I had some confidence in handling this boat every time we go out.

Any help would be appreciated, Peter and Kimberly from Michigan.

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Reply - Answer
Well Peter and Kimberly, welcome to the site and you are not alone, as I have received hundreds of email from folks just like you looking to learn how to drive and park their houseboats.

The major difference with houseboats in comparison to smaller cruiser express type boats is the lack of prop size and the extra windage from the sheer physical size.

The wind, current, size, and limited visibility are some of the major factors that make it difficult for beginners to dock their boats in total confidence.

Personally I have given many free private lessons to people (new houseboat captains) who were willing to pay large sums of money to learn it all. I would not take any money for my time, yet food and drink was always welcome... :)

Great News - there's a complete guide for you!

There is now some excellent news for all of you new houseboaters that would love to learn all tips and tricks that would like to learn how to completely maneuver your large boats.

There is now a unique HOW TO book for docking your houseboat available from one of the renowned boat captains that I know.

He takes the frightening horror stories away from new boaters, and converts them into confident captains that are looking forward to any opportunity to take their houseboats out for a ride.

I have read the book myself and found that he takes it piece by piece, and shows you step by step how to easily handle any single engine houseboat, all for less than the price of dinner.

I am now personally recommending this e-book as the best and simply the easiest way to learn a wealth of information that would likely take you a lifetime to learn. So stop waiting, and start really enjoying your houseboat now. And the book comes with a money back guarantee.

Learn how to Drive and Dock Houseboats
Learn how to dock like a Pro!!!

You maybe interested in other great educational houseboat books and houseboat videos and dvd's available.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their beginner houseboat docking 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 all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Houseboat Driving Lessons - learn how to park, dock, and drive houseboats

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Driving a Houseboat
by: Monte

Docking a houseboat is a little like playing golf. Sometimes you hit a hole-in-one and slide into the slip without touching, other times it can be like playing from the rough and you have to keep trying to get it in the slot. If you have twin screws, learn how to pivot the boat by controlling each engine's direction. If you have prevailing winds or current, figure out where to "aim" for as you come in. Remember, slow and steady is the name of the game. You have to try and keep enough movement to have "headway" (control) - unless you are about to hit something. There is nothing that can replace practice.

Houseboat Driving Lessons - practice and running your boat
by: Ray

Ian, your recommendations are excellent. My own "learning" experiences for driving larger boats came from a ten minute lesson and a few words of wisdom many years ago.

Written guidelines like your book are great, especially when utilized with "hands on" experience when dealing with just about anything new to us.

The words of wisdom that have stuck with me are "just take it slow and easy". You are bound to make mistakes at first but if going at it slowly, any "whoops" will be minimal along with any damage if any at all.

Having some good strong deckhands aboard to help fend off those docked boats that seem to get in the way while learning and getting the feel of your boat is a big plus.

Take your houseboat out into open waters and practice, practice, practice. Put out some markers and use your imagination for a scenario. Get the feel of her, to see how she responds to every maneuver. KNOW HER LIMITATIONS too.

If there are any "no wake" bouys around, they make good tools to practice around. They won't damage your boat and unless you run over one, they are pretty difficult to hurt.

I have found the main ingredient though is practice. Lots of this along with the written word will have you handling your boat like an old salt in no time. The attitude "I can do this" will see you through it with flying colors.

The best to you. Enjoy your boat for the reason you got her. Ray

Reply - Answer
Well Ray, thanks for the kind words and the excellent testimonial on the power of reading some words of wisdom, and applying that with some practice...

IAN from

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