Common Misconceptions About Houseboat Living In Seattle

Houseboats have long been a unique and desirable type of living space in Seattle, but they also come with their fair share of misconceptions. Here are some of the most common myths about houseboat living in Seattle, debunked.

Misconception 1: Houseboats Are Floating Shacks

One of the most enduring misconceptions about houseboats is that they are little more than floating shacks or ramshackle huts. In reality, many houseboats in Seattle are beautifully designed and well-maintained, with all the amenities and comforts of a traditional home.

Misconception 2: Houseboats Are Cramped And Cramped

Another common myth about houseboats is that they are cramped and uncomfortable. While it’s true that space can be limited on a houseboat, many modern houseboats offer spacious and well-designed interiors that maximize their available space. The largest floating structure in Seattle is a houseboat (a FOWR-loating On Water Residence) at 4,800 square feet and recently sold just under 4 million.

Misconception 3: Houseboats Must Have Motors

Many people believe that a houseboat must have a motor. In 2014 Legislation was passed to protect houseboats and reclassified them as FOWR’s (Floating On Water Residences). In doing so DOL (Department of Licensing) no longer licenses them as a vessel. Houseboats when sold will close as a floating home with personal property tax and insured as such. They should not have engines or be navigated in Seattle if they are to keep the FOWR Plaque.

Misconception 4: Houseboats Are Unstable And Unsafe

Another common misconception is that houseboats are unstable and prone to sinking. While it’s true that houseboats can be affected by rough water and strong winds, most houseboats in Seattle are designed to be stable and secure. In fact, many houseboat owners say that they feel safer on their houseboats than they do in traditional homes.

Misconception 5: Houseboat Living Is Isolated And Lonely

Some people believe that living on a houseboat is a lonely and isolated experience. In reality, many houseboat communities in Seattle are vibrant and social, with regular events and activities for residents to enjoy. Plus, with easy access to the city’s many attractions, houseboat living can be a lively and engaging experience.


  • Did you know: New houseboats can be built only if replacing an existing Seattle City approved FOWR and you must apply for a building permit for new construction through the City of Seattle. Many rules and regulations apply, so make sure to gather this propper information before destroying or removing your existing floating on water residence (Houseboat).


In conclusion, living on a houseboat in Seattle is not the cramped and unsafe experience that some people might imagine. Many houseboats are beautifully designed, spacious, and well-maintained, with modern amenities and comfortable interiors. Additionally, houseboat living in Seattle is not isolated or lonely, as many houseboat communities are social and active. If you’re considering purchasing a houseboat, there are many great options for houseboats for sale in Seattle. You should always work with a floating property specialist when buying a houseboat or floating home.

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