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Living On A Houseboat

by Gary Schwulst

My wife and I are asked about living on a houseboat all the time. We cannot answer all your questions because usually one answer causes another question. We will however try our best.

The first thing to know, life on the water has its pro’s and cons. Only you can decide if the life is a fit for you. Thankfully not everyone can live aboard, which is a good thing; it would get crowded out here.

Living aboard is not a cheaper lifestyle, it is just different. We don’t pay property taxes – we pay slip rent; We don’t mow the lawn – we scrub the decks; We don’t go to the store, buy all we want, come home open the automatic garage door, pull in and easily remove our stuff – we walk hundreds of feet of dock, find our car, drive to the store, buying only what we have room for, drive back to the dock, cry, cause we forgot our little cart at the boat, grab all we can and walk back hundreds of feet to the boat, back to the car for the stuff we couldn’t grab; (cancel the gym membership) We don’t pack the car, luggage, family, pets, stuff, always forgetting something and take a vacation – we crank the engines and take it all. You get the idea; living on a boat is different.

Because the choice to move at our pleasure we have chosen to live on Americas Waterways, in other words we are not land locked to one lake. We live on the TN River, which has access to close to 10,000 miles of navigable rivers never taking the boat out of the water.

Financing – yes, 10, 15, even 20 year mortgages are available, with conditions, remember banks consider boats a luxury.
Insurance – yes, to open a question to answer, year of boat, price of boat, type of boat, where you want to live on the boat, you see….
Boat repair/maintenance – yes, boats break, so do houses. Again houseboats as a home is not
cheaper, just different.

Ok, this should get the brain going, give it the twice over, and if you decide “this is the life for me” do your research, and go for your dreams.

Here are several websites to check out, to learn more about river life. Most of these sites don’t specifically address houseboats, if you don’t plan to use the ICW, the Great Lakes or the Gulf of Mexico most of the rivers will be safe for houseboats. – Obvious (check the links, imagine, tips, etc) - The Heartland Cruising Guide - Houseboat Magazine - TN River Magazine


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