Risks of moving to a houseboat or float home in B.C.

moving to a houseboat

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In our last article on this topic, we wrote about options and costs of moving into a houseboat or float home in B.C.

But, it’s important to also know the risks of such a move. There can be some unpredictability when moving into a houseboat or floating home. One could argue this is the case even when moving into a home on land. But it’s best to go into this decision with your eyes wide open – knowing what to expect. This is because the dangers of moving onto a water slip can be different than that of land, and not all newcomers to floating home life will be aware of these. Knowledge can keep you prepared for safety too!

Water conditions can change where you live over time, if you move to a houseboat or float home

On this forum, some have testified that lakes can dry up due to drought. So if that happens, where do you go? Do you flip your life upside down and move to a new community? Of course, this applies if you’re moored on a lake. Marinas on the sea may be different.

The harbour needs maintenance to protect your home; who will pay for it?

Lack of dredging (removing sand) can cause your boat to tilt. If that’s the case, you won’t have stable floors. And, as this float homeowner describes, getting water into the drain can be a challenge too! Fixing the problem could be costly, if your local government doesn’t take care of it.

Float homes and houseboats are not immune to destruction.

They can sink. It’s true, especially if their base is on plywood, which can decay more easily, as this web page explains. A float home in Richmond, B.C. sunk into the Fraser River in 2017. So while it may be rare, it is a possibility.

You’ll be living near a dangerous spot for drowning potential.

Someone could fall in the water and drown. This is scary – and although it rarely happens, it’s something to consider. If you are not a good swimmer, or you get caught somehow (who’s to say?), you could drown, as this Ladner man did in 2015. Marinas do have safety measures, but imagine the risk of young kids or elderly falling in the water. Be sure you know what you’re doing before moving so close to water.

Floating homes and houseboats are not like living on immovable land.

Float homes bob around. They are on water after all! If you have vertigo, get motion sick, or just generally don’t do well on unstable, moving bases, this may not be the lifestyle for you. But you thought of that already!

It can be inconvenient to reach your front door.

While not a danger, you can’t park your car near your home. On this forum, one person mentioned that little things like carrying your groceries down a ramp and along a long walk can be a pain, especially if the tide is low. Imagine the hassle of moving onto a float boat too!

To conclude: moving into a float home or boathouse comes with pros and cons

You’ll need to decide if the decision is right for you. While the initial price may be appealing, realize that most people do it for the lifestyle. And while there are risks, you can outweigh those risks against owning a home on land, too.

If you need helping moving into a float home or houseboat in B.C., give us a call! We’d be happy to help.

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