What It's Like To Live On The Water: Seattle's Floating Houses


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Categories: On The Water

Fish nor Fowl

A houseboat is neither one nor the other, neither house nor boat. A house isn’t meant to float; a boat isn’t meant to remain fixed to the shore. A houseboat doesn’t wholly belong to concrete earth or mutable water. Instead, it occupies the borderland, the crack between worlds where it is possible to dream without constraint. What more perfect shell for dreams is imaginable than waves lapping against the hull, fog rising from the water, a fire burning behind the grate and shadows polishing the walls?

Houseboats are populated by lawyers, doctors, dentists, tax accountants but are still considered bohemian by most of us. We look askance at the impracticality, the impermanence, the lack of real estate or resale value. Communities of houseboats occupy the periphery, the edge of respectability, like trailer parks. 

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The fact is, however, in spite of living in a space that doesn't come attached to real estate, such luxury homes range from $150,000 to $5 million dollars in price - or even more.  I can see the complications of a scenario where say too many homes were built on a lake, and the owner of a floating home marina decided to build a hotel on the water and quit renting space.... and a bunch of homes were displaced with nowhere to park.  If you were reliant on hard wired electric, that could be a problem.  If you place was self sufficient on solar or wind power, it wouldn't be so bad, but hmm... "my home is adrift in the lake, and when I take the boat back to it, it is where it is" is a scenario I suppose we want to avoid lol.  

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I enjoyed reading up on Washington State's Laws for floating houses, since I was curious how that might play out.

Washington State Regulations for floating homes

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