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Marine Guide

What Are Houseboats?

Last updated on April 9th, 2021
What is a houseboat?

What Is A Houseboat?

A houseboat as the name suggests is a boat that is constructed or modified to be used as a home. They are a result of a unique combination of housing and boating and are used for residential or recreational purposes. They are used as an alternate residency in many parts of the world. In some countries like Canada and the USA, they are also called float houses or shanty boats.

Types Of Houseboats

Many of them are not run by motors and are usually moored. Most of the time they are kept stationary at one point and only come here the land for providing utilities like food or loading.

There are other houseboats that have engines on them for the purpose of propelling. Float houses however are not suited for large or oceanic areas in water and are usually found in small water bodies like rivers or lakes.

Also read: Different types of boats

Houseboats Across the World

Most houseboats are privately owned for rented out for vacations throughout the year. They are most common in European cities like Amsterdam, Paris, and London but are not necessarily limited to them. There are many other places in the world where they are popular.

For example, Berlin and many other cities of Germany have houseboat neighborhoods. They are also quite popular in Serbia for recreation, living, clubbing, and dining. They are largely found in Belgrade and on river islands. In the United Kingdom, they are used for recreational purposes as well as residency. More than 15000 people in the UK live on houseboats.

In Canada how sports are especially popular in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia going to the abundance of suitable rivers and lakes. Other places in Canada where houseboats are popular at Toronto and Yellowknife.

Shanty Boats

Shanty Boats

In the United States, Seattle is one of the biggest homes of houseboats. The city has a lot of houseboat neighborhoods. They’re also popular in the states of Oregon, California, New Jersey, and Virginia. Houseboats are also important for commerce in the country.

In Australia, houseboats are populated in the state of Victoria on the Murray River. They are also widely used as a holiday activity in New Zealand.

Coming to Asia, houseboats and fishing communities exist in Hong Kong.

India has one of the largest markets of houseboats in the world. Houseboats are most popular in India in the state of Kerala and Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.

In Kerala, houseboats have become major tourist attractions. These are modified kettuvallam boats. Kettuvallams were traditionally used for transportation of goods but were discontinued due to the advent of other faster means of land-based transport like roads and railways.

Kettuvalam, in response, was modified to travel through the beautiful backwaters of Kerala. In Malayalam (language spoken in Kerala), ‘kettu’ means to tie and ‘vallom’ means boat.

In Kashmir, houseboats are known as Shikaras and ply mainly in the Dal lake of Srinagar for tourists.

Houseboats in Kashmir

Houseboats in Kashmir

Also read: What is a Kayak?

How Are Houseboats Made?

How houseboats are constructed depends largely on the water zones where it is going to be located and the purpose that they will be serving as each of them require specific designing. For example, residential houseboats need to have a firm base structure and the material used in its construction should be strong and durable.

They need to be close to the places where basic utilities can be found. They also need to have a proper waste management system.

In the same manner houseboats design for vacationing need to be equipped with all the necessary amenities and waste disposal systems including a system for safety. Vacationing houseboats need to be more luxurious than residential ones with refrigeration, air conditioning, and other amenities.

The generators used in most houseboats are powered by gasoline. The carbon monoxide exhaust from them has become a major problem. Hence, nowadays, houseboats are required to undergo a number of evaluations for carbon monoxide levels and equality in the past decade. This has successfully been able to prevent many accidents and even deaths.

Houseboats are some of the smallest and the most unique types of boats. They have started coming into use in only the past few decades and have become quite popular in recent times and have also been successful in spelling communal development in recent years.

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