Are there different categories of houseboats?

Houseboats come in two basic categories. The first category is non-cruising houseboats, which are the most common kind of houseboat. Although they might have a sail or a small engine, they aren't meant for travel. They have limited to no mobility and spend most of the time anchored or tied up in a dock or marina. Cruising houseboats, also called bluewater houseboats, are equipped to move in the water. These are good for people who want to use their homes for excursions and not merely to live on the water. Cruising houseboats may have sails but mostly rely on fuel (engines) for mobility.

Aside from the addition of a "nav" (navigation) station and a cockpit or bridge, a houseboat is built pretty much like any other house or apartment, only smaller. These are the names of the rooms in a houseboat:


Cabin - A room where passengers can sit together; also called a salon or living room.

  • Stateroom - bedroom (the bed is called the berth)
  • Galley - kitchen
  • Head - bathroom

A non-cruising houseboat is connected to a water hookup and has a sewage line like a regular house. A cruising houseboat needs to have two tanks: one with water for drinking and washing, and a holding tank for sewage.

Non-cruising houseboats can be hooked up to electricity at the marina where they are docked. Cruising houseboats use rechargeable batteries or generators to power appliances, such as refrigerators and televisions, while they are out at sea.

Renting houseboats for vacations is becoming a popular tourist activity in the Unites States. Some cities, like Seattle, Washington, and New York City, even have houseboating neighborhoods. You can rent a houseboat in the 79th Street Boat Basin off the shores of NYC for as little as $500 a month [source: New York Times].