Tiny Houseboats:

Living in a tiny home on the water 


The new thing is to live in a tiny home, maybe on a bus revamped and made for you to live on with your dog and your best friend. What if you could take that tiny home and move it on to the water, live in a tiny home with the view of the ocean, where you can move the boat and travel the open seas. Your home becomes a vessel for exploring the open waters during the day, and perfect for docking at a marina for the night. You can choose to boat the open waters, or you can choose to stay in your marina and enjoy the marina life. The question lies, if you could shrink your house and put it on pontoons and set sail, would you?


What Is a Tiny Houseboat? 


A tiny houseboat is exactly what it sounds like. A houseboat, but very tiny. Most of these houseboats are anywhere from 22 ft to 30 ft long and 6 ft to 10 ft wide. These houseboats are perfect for anyone looking to live a minimalist lifestyle. If you’ve been on the hunt for a tiny home why not make it on the water. They are great if you are looking to invest in a tiny home but, want to be near the water. You can change the dream and be on a houseboat instead. Your floating home with small quarters will include everything you need for small living. There’s often even more than one patio. Often manufactures make roof top decks for you and your guests to enjoy. If keeping your boat for four seasons is what you’re after then look into a wood-burning stove inside to keep you warm. 

What Does a Tiny Houseboat Cost?


The cost of a tiny houseboat is a lot less than a regular house, or even a larger houseboat. You can look at the cost being anywhere from $10,000 – $20,000, although we have seen tiny houseboats cost under $5,000. The most expensive part of the houseboat will be your base where you will have your pontoons. If you want your houseboat to be four seasons then you’ll have to make sure your pontoons are durable for winter and are grounded. 

When creating your budget for your tiny houseboat, it’s important that you keep aside any extra money for repairs and unexpected issues that may arise. You never know when you will have to replace a part on your houseboat, or if your generator gives out. Keeping this budget would be the same way you do in your regular home. You can reference Houseboat 101 one of our previous posts on how to maintain your houseboat.


Where Do I Find a Tiny Houseboat? 


Find a tiny houseboat can be as an easy as a Google search, but you may want something customized for you. You can design your own tiny houseboat the same way you design a tiny house. The first thing to look for is finding a platform with pontoons. If you find a tiny home manufacture, they probably would be willing to tailor it to a houseboat. You can also find a local boat builder in your area and see if they will build your dream home. Local boat listings also have many used houseboats. If your dream is to find the houseboat that checks all your boxes finding a houseboat builder is the best way to do that. They will be more than willing to customize this with you. Pontoonz boats, https://pontoonzboats.com/ makes houseboats from pontoons as well as rafts. This is an example of a manufacture that can make your dream come true. 


Where Do I Get My Power?


When you’re sailing through the lake or ocean, you may not be thinking about how you will power your refrigerator or even your TV for the evening. This would have never been a question in a regular home, but now that you’re considering living on the water, things are a bit different. You will have a couple of options, if you plan to keep your boat permanently at the marina then you will be able to rely on the marina’s power. If you plan to move around, you can have a generator, solar panels, propane or even power a battery from cruising around on your houseboat. You can even have a combination of all of the above if that works best for you. The best part about living on the houseboat is that everything is up to you and completely under your control. 


If you choose to use solar panels, make sure you save space on your rooftop deck for the placement panels.  


Can I Visit a Different Country with My Tiny Houseboat?


Crossing country lines can be exciting as you’re exploring a different place with your home. Imagine going to a different country and bringing your house with you everywhere you go. Before entering a different country, it is important to do research and find out what you will need for documentation as well as vaccines. When you arrive in a different country, it is important to call border security to let them know you have arrived so that you can notify them, and they can check out your boat. Whenever crossing borders make sure you have the proper equipment aboard as each country has their own set of rules for boating safety. Once you’re sure you have all the proper equipment as well as documentation, you can set sail to your new country and explore. 


What to Bring:

  • Passport
  • Boat Registration
  • Travel Insurance
  • Proper Pet Documentation
  • Boaters License or Safety Card


Can I Trailer My Houseboat?


The short answer is yes, the long answer is… well it depends. Each state or province has their own regulations of transporting large cargo. It may be too tall or too wide. Looking into each state or province regulations are your best bet. If you plan to travel with your houseboat when building find out which restrictions you’ll have to abide by.


Pets and Tiny Houseboats


Pets are an important part of our lives and if you can’t bring them to your new home than it might not be worth moving there… Right? I have seen people with full-size dogs on their tiny houseboats. With a well-trained dog, you can live anywhere. If your dog could live in an apartment, they will do fine on a houseboat. 


You may be wondering where your dog will do its business. If you are travelling the open waters, you may find a small beach or a piece of land that isn’t someone’s property you can always stop letting your dog out. If you are at the marina, there is always a lot of green space around the marina for you to walk your dog. 


Can I Get Wi-Fi and TV on My Tiny Houseboat?


Being connected via the internet is a super important part of being on your boat. Maybe you’re blogging about living on the houseboat, or you’re posting a lot on social media about your experience. Maybe you’re working from home and you need the internet to connect with your job. Well, you won’t be able to have a typical internet source like you do in a regular house. Looking into satellite internet or mobile internet from your cell phone provider are all options. Sometimes marinas have Wi-Fi that you can use for free. 


If you’re looking to have TV on your tiny houseboat then you won’t be able to have a line going to your house. You will also have to invest in satellite TV When you’re travelling on the water, if someone wants to be able to watch TV you can do that because satellite works anywhere. 


Can I Rent a Tiny Houseboat?


If you have ever been to a European country with canals, you have passed many houseboats. Most of the canals are filled with houseboats. In Amsterdam, Netherlands, their canals are lined with houseboats. Europe is one of the best places to rent houseboats, especially if you’re looking to test the waters (no pun intended) of the minimalist lifestyle. We gathered some AirBNB houseboat postings that would be perfect to rent.


Sanford Florida 


This tiny houseboat is perfect for two guests. It is right out of Downtown Sanford so you can get 500 sq ft of 365 views of water views. This tiny houseboat has the look of a real house but on the water. 




3D view of the space:


Wakefield, Quebec


The River Den is a 2 guest 1 bedroom 1 bed half bath unique tiny houseboat. They don’t have a fridge so you would have to use a cooler that is provided by the host. With amazing views and a stunning roof top deck, this is a must try if you’re interested in having a tiny houseboat experience. 




Charleston, South Carolina 


This unique 4 guest 1 bedroom 2 beds 1 bath is perfect for anyone interested in testing out a tiny houseboat that is very cottage style. The boat is located downtown Charleston so you can get the feel of a busy marina to experience if this is the way you’d like to live. 




Lake Cumberland, Kentucky


Harbor Cottage House Boats is a company that rents their incredible tiny houseboats, but they are also a manufacture for the boats. If you fall in love with one of their boats, you can inquire about them building you your own houseboat.  




Living on a tiny houseboat instead of a regular tiny home has some huge benefits. The ability to move your houseboat around and visit different parts of the water all from the comfort of your couch is an experience in itself. If you have a hard time staying in one spot too long, a tiny houseboat is perfect for you. 

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