Literally houses on water

Houseboats

Literally houses on water

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The houseboat is a boat that has been designed or remade for permanent living on board. A houseboat can be a boat of almost any type of hull; the main thing is that there should be enough space for living.

The market offers houseboats with planing hulls as well as displacement boats, catamarans, pontoons and even barges. They can be equipped with various types of engines: outboard or inboard, gas or diesel. Some houseboats are not equipped with motors at all. In this case, it is fair to talk about floating houses.

The bigger the houseboat, the more expensive it is to rent and maintain it. For a boat used as a permanent residence, characteristics such as low draft and good stability are important. In European countries where the cost of ordinary accommodation is high, small houseboats with the possibility of transportation by trailer are popular. The most famous and, at the same time, the most expensive (due to the limited number of berths) houseboat community in Europe is in Amsterdam.

In the UK, narrowboats – small boats built during the Industrial Revolution to transport fuel and raw materials through urban– are popular. There are large houseboat communities in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Houseboats are also common in third world countries. For example, on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe, you can rent a houseboat to watch the wild life of the African savannah: its inhabitants often come there on a watering hole.

In recent years, houseboats have started to gain popularity in Russia where they were affectionately nicknamed «floating datchas».