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What is a houseboat, and what are floating homes?

by Stan

Stationary Floating Homes versus Self-Propelled Houseboats

Stationary Floating Homes versus Self-Propelled Houseboats

As you have established yourselves as an informational resource, you should become aware that there is a real, legally-defined and functional difference between a "houseboat" and a "floating home."

A houseboat is defined as a self-propelled, powered vessel that is capable of maneuvering on its own.

A floating home is permanently moored and has no means of self-propulsion.

Most of what you describe on your website as existing in Sausalito are floating homes and floating home marina, NOT houseboats.

There are very few houseboats in the area, and they are exclusively moored in recreational marinas, not floating home marinas.

I have no idea what you mean by "floating house" as this term has no legal definition.

Also, most of the marinas you listed for Sausalito are recreational, not floating home marinas.

I think it would be a good thing for you to correct your website, and start spreading more accurate information. You are not doing a real service to your readers, otherwise.

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Reply - Answer
Well Stan, I think you're right, the term is "floating home" and not "floating house".

I have used the term unique "floating house communities" on the headline, and sprinkled throughout the Sausalito Houseboat Rentals and unique Floating House communities page. and therefore could have used the legally defined term "floating homes".

I do appreciate your feedback and comments on the definition and the differences. You're are lucky though, to be living in such a beautiful, and unique floating home communities of the world.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their Sausalito Floating Home and Houseboat experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found at the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for What is a houseboat, and what are floating homes?

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Stan, What are you going on about?
by: Anonymous

What are your sources Stan?

There is not such thing as a standard or legal definition and it's perfectly fine to use terms such as floating houses, floating homes, floating dwellings, boathouses, amphibious houses, on-water residence, etc

If Lozman's case proved something, it was the lack of consensus of the definition under the almightily law....

Because the floating dwelling was on top of navigable waters and was physically capable of being towed across the high seas, there was a valid argument that such structures fall under maritime law and are therefore governed by federal admiralty statutes.

The term "vessel" is defined in Section 3 of the U.S. Code as "every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water."

(b) For the purpose of this subsection, "floating on-water residence", "means any floating structure other than floating homes, that: (i) Is designed or used primarily as a residence on the water and has detachable utilities; (...)

5(ii) "Floating home" means a single-family dwelling unit constructed on a float, that is moored, anchored, or otherwise secured in waters, and is not a vessel, even though it may be capable of being towed.

Do marinas in Florida allow caretakers in the owners absence?
by: Anonymous

There is a marina in key west Florida that seems to have "flexible rules". One of the current issues is about just who can stay on an owners vessel (boat, houseboat, floating home) when the owner is away: call this person a caretaker.

Is there a Florida regulation addressing this caretaker legality? Please help!

by: Anonymous

Nothing is immovable in US, we can live on a houseboat or a floating home. Tax laws evolving on how to tax the boat/house.

Utilities may hamper where placed. Richie rich don't want their view blocked. Never ending interpretations.

Houseboat marinas:
by: Anonymous

you are correct in the definition of a floating home and a houseboat in California. The Lozman decision by the US Supreme Court gave us a federal legal definition of a floating home.

Before the Floating Home laws the BCDC determined who could be a marina with floating homes, at the time called "Houseboats". There were about 9 marinas at the time and they were granted permits to have "fill" in the bay in the form of houseboat, now called floating homes. If you request a list of Houseboat/Recreational marinas from the BCDC you can see what marinas were given permits and how many permits.

When the Floating Home Laws were passed with the sponsorship of the Floating homes located in Marin City confusion started as to who was a legal marine and who was not, which turned out to be a major benefit for private marina owners in their dealings with legal floating homes. It is a interesting story with all kinds of dirt.

by: Anonymous

There are many terms and classifications, depending on where you are.
In Amsterdam [Netherlands, not New York!] they have a dizzying array of legal classifications, which change from time to time depending on the authorities.
Many of our boats are essentially permanently moored, with water, electricity, sewer, gas, cable, and phone lines connected. Yet still have their motors and steering gear in operational order.

We have legal fixed street addresses for what we call a "woonshcip", or houseboat.
Others are concrete hulls and just float. There are lots of possible variations; some are collared to huge pilings driven into the mud. But the Dutch supreme court has ruled that no mater what, if it floats, it's a vessel and not immovable property.

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