Literally houses on water

Houseboats

Literally houses on water

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A houseboat is a boat designed for living onboard. Essentially houses on the water, built for year-round use, houseboats are mainly used on inland waterways – rivers, canals, and lakes.

Houseboats are common on the rivers and canals of Amsterdam, London, and Paris, as well as on the lakes of the USA. There are also floating villages in Africa and India. There are plans to build a luxury village on water In Dubai in UAE, off the coast of the St. Petersburg Island. Although its 78 Floating Seahorse villas will be permanently anchored, they still belong to the very diverse class of houseboats.

Stability at anchor, a shallow draft, the reliability of the hull, and the volume of the interior are the most important characteristics of a houseboat.

First a house and only then a boat, a houseboat should be comfortable and have a waste disposal system, good ventilation, thermal insulation, and water supply (sea water desalination and purification) and heating systems (for example, an electric and / or diesel boiler).

Most houseboats are not fully autonomous — they are designed to be moored in places where shore electricity and water are available. However, there are companies on the market that offer autonomous houseboats, additionally fitted with heat pumps, solar panels, and heat-recovery ventilation systems.

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How are houseboats built?

Houseboats are rarely designed for extensive sea passages, so the deep-V hull is almost never used for this class of boats. Flatter bottom hull shapes are popular, ranging from semi-V to pontoons. A catamaran-type hull is also used. If a houseboat is intended for year-round use, the underwater part of its hull is made of steel. Steel hulls freeze into ice in winter and do not need to be pulled ashore. Aluminum is another popular material for houseboats.

Some houseboat designs, however, can boast very unusual choices of material for their hulls. For example, the underwater part of a floating villa in the Floating Seahorse project in Dubai is made of concrete and the rest is fiberglass. The villas have a double bottom with ballast in the form of steel sheets used to make the houseboat sit still at a certain level in the water.

What types of engines are used on houseboats?

There are two types of on-water villas: floating houses and houseboats as such. Floating houses are meant to be tugged and are not motorized. Houseboats can be powered by different types of marine motors, starting with outboards on smaller, less expensive models. More sophisticated versions come with inboard engines — sterndrives, shaft drives, or jet drives. The latter option is preferable for shallow waters.

As most houseboats are intended for use on inland waterways, draft is a significant factor in choosing the type of propulsion. Engine power, however, is not crucial since houseboats are not designed to go fast.

There are two types of overwater villas: floating houses and houseboats as such. Floating houses are meant to be tugged and are not motorized. Houseboats can be powered by different types of engines.Houseboats can be powered by different types of engines. As most of them are intended for use on inland waterways, draft is a significant factor in choosing the type of propulsion. But engine power is in last place, since houseboats are not designed for fast driving.

Inexpensive houseboats are powered with outboard motors. More expensive versions come with inboard engines — sterndrives, shaft drives or jet drives. The latter option is preferable for shallow waters.