Through cultures and through history, people have chosen to live in water. Well, not underwater but just on the surface. This is done primarily by living on houses on top of the water. Some houses are fixed structures near the beach. However what is more fascinating are the floating houses or houseboats that serve also as means of travel apart from a means of shelter. Such houseboats provide people with the luxury of traveling while still being at home. Nowadays, as more people preferred to live on land, some still want the luxury of being able to stay on water, thus houseboating as a pastime was born, and becoming more popular among vacation goers.

Houseboats All Over the World

Houseboats are basically boats that have been designed to be fit for people to live in. Houseboats in the past were usually moored, and were not motorized. Such houseboats that were used as permanent homes were more common in Southeast Asia. But nowadays, most houseboats for luxury have motors for flexibility in traveling by boating enthusiasts.

There are also houseboats in India, usually found on Dal Lake in the vicinity of Srinagar in Kashmir and Jammu or on Kerala’s backwaters. These indigenous houseboats were slow and used for trading spice and rice to the Kochi port from Kuttanad. Nowadays most of them are used for luxury trips as part of tourism in the area. Kerala houseboats typically are 60 to 70 feet long and around 15 feet wide at the center part. The body of the boat is made of wooden planks fastened by coconut fiber ropes. The roof is usually made of palm leaves on top of bamboo shafts. Cashew and nut oils are used to protect the houseboat’s exteriors.

European houseboats are more built for luxury than as a residence. Along Amsterdan’s long canals, one could see very expensive and fabulous models of luxury houseboats. There are even houseboat hotels in the Netherlands. Such houseboats are usually moored, and the decreasing availability of moorings have made such houseboats even more expensive. It is estimated that there are 2,400 famlies living in houseboats along the waters of the city of Amsterdam and the size of their houseboats vary according to family size and affluence.

In Great Britain, there are narrowboats along canals that are both used as permanent homes and luxury holiday accomodations for hire. These boats were originally meant for transporting fuel and raw materials along the canals during the Industrial revolution. Nowadays, the canals are being used mainly for recreational and leisure purposes and as tourist attractions. The narrow houseboats in turn have been transformed to accommodate visitors. Other houseboats can be foundin the United Kingdom, particularly in the coastal regions and they are also used as vacation shacks.

Way down under in Australia, there are also luxury houseboats, particulaly along the Murray River. There, a lot of motorized houseboats based on pontoons are present. Some have two or even more bedrooms, others even have several storeys or levels. There are houseboats that have private owners used either as permanent homes or as vacation houses. Several houseboats in Austrialia are available for rent and could accommmodate from four to as much as a dozen persons.

Houseboats are just beginning to become popular in the United States. The use of houseboats can be traced back to the 40s when some people needed a means of being able to stay on the water surface for long terms. Many houseboat enthusiasts consider Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland to be the birthplace of American houseboating. Nowadays, there are houseboats that could span more than 2000 square feet, of luxury living space. There are also many houseboats in Portage Bay and Lake Union in the city of Seattle in Washington. A lot of American houseboats are built and designed for use in waterways and inland lakes, but there are some that can be used along the coastal areas. Most American experience houseboating through vacations.

Houseboats can be fun to live in especially if they are built for luxury. They offer exciting ways of living on water. Houseboats are getting more popular than ever and could probably become one of the standard elements of vacations in the future.

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