The houseboat and its characteristics

What is it like to live on a houseboat?

It gently swings under you as you fall asleep.

When you look out the window, you see the best element of all: water.

And yet you can easily pick up your mail from the mailbox at your own address.

For many people, life on a boat is a dream. And for many, bureaucracy seems overwhelming with the burning question ahead of time: How can I get in touch?

With houseboats you can create the perfect combination. And make your dream of life on the water come true.

Living on a houseboat
Living on a houseboat

What exactly is a residential ship?

houseboats offer you a firmly anchored home. In contrast to houseboats, which are motorized and designed for travel, the residential ship is moored at a fixed berth and also has its own address there.

A residential ship can therefore be your primary home!

Since this is not about roadworthiness, discarded passenger or cargo ships are an option — an often cheaper option that makes optimal use of the resource cycle. Many never had an engine and served as accommodation in their first lives, e.g. for power maintenance or maintenance of shipping routes.

By the way, in English, the term is used simultaneously with”Floating Homes”, which are more specially built single-family houses on the water for us.

houseboats Of course, there are also working motors, albeit as an exception. These ships usually require a special permit to use them as their primary residence.

Where can you find the perfect berth?

Good berths are highly contested, especially in big cities. There are only around 100 seats in Berlin — there is still a lot of catching up to do, especially compared to cities like Amsterdam with 2500 berths for residential ships!

But that shouldn't stop you, but rather set priorities: First secure the berth, then the Buy a houseboat. However, it is best to look for places that already exist, because the approval process can be lengthy and expensive. By the way, mooring fees are between 1200 and 6000 euros, depending on the city.

Once you've found the right place, everything goes very quickly and you can report your move to the authorities!

Wohnschiff berth

What does life on a houseboat look like?

Moving is a big decision. And finally, the long-cherished dream shouldn't suddenly come up with unpleasant everyday surprises.

What you can expect when living on a houseboat:

  • Close to water and nature
  • neighbourliness from other enthusiastic houseboat fans
  • Warm living spaces even in winter (e.g. through heating oil systems or solar heating)
  • Manually emptying the ship's own Wastewater and faecal collection plants
  • Every 4 — 10 years the Inspection by TÜV— on the dry deck!
  • Attachment to swimming pontoons, if your future berth on a body of water with changing water level Lies
  • Fluctuating maintenance costs— such as additional costs in the event of frost and ice.
  • No driver's license required (for ships/boats without engines)

So you don't have to sacrifice convenience — if you maintain the most important infrastructure.

houseboat bathroom
Houseboat interior

How do you buy the right residential ship?

There are 2 variants available here: Either you buy a turnkey ship or you do the conversion yourself.

Ultimately, this is also a question of how you want to invest the energy: financially or through the use of time.

Building your own requires a lot of skill and even more time. However, you will also be paid with living space that meets your exact needs.

If you want to save yourself the hassle, there are turnkey houseboats and boats from around 2000€/sqm.

Just spend the night on a residential ship and compare your wishes with reality!

Wohnschiff berth

Are you still not sure exactly what your needs are?

Perhaps a houseboat with a drive?
We specialize in making your wish for living space on the water so specific that you know exactly which boat you need. Get in touch!

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About the author
Tim Krenke

As an experienced houseboat expert, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying a houseboat. I am looking forward to your message!

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