FAQ For Houseboat Renters

FAQ For Houseboat Renters

  • Question: We’ve never rented a houseboat before. What should be expect?
    Answer: When you have selected the area you wish to visit and selected the company you wish to rent from, you will need to reserve your houseboat and time slot. Our recommendation is ALWAYS BOOK EARLY to avoid potential disappointment with availability. The questions and answers below will help you have the maximum amount of fun on your houseboating vacation.
  • Question: What should we bring on our houseboat vacation?
    Answer: Generally you will need to bring suitable clothing for everyone, plan on meals for your vacation and any special medications your party might require. Your houseboat rental company can give you more specifics about what to expect and what you will need for the adventure of a lifetime so check directly with them.
  • Question: Will we need to rent other types of boats too?
    Answer: Generally you will find that most operators sill also have a selection of other types of boats that can add a great deal of fun and interest to your trip. For example, a small runabout or PWC can give you mobility when you are parked in secluded cove. It can also provide for water skiing and a greater range of exploration. They can also be useful for running to shoreline purveyors for odds and ends and making new friends on the water.
  • Question: What about safety vests?
    Answer: Your operator will provide general types of Coast Guard vests for your party. They can also help you be in compliance with waterway rules if you require a specialized vest for skiing, etc.

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  • Question: Are my children safe on a houseboat?
    Answer: The fact is that houseboating is one of the safest recreational pastimes that a family can participate in. Make sure you have comfortable life vests for your kids to wear and if there is time before your trip, it is a great idea to have your children learn to swim at an approved swimming facility.
  • Question: What about water safety?
    Answer: The age old adage of using the “buddy system” holds true for water enthusiasts today. The buddy system means that someone does not go swimming alone. They always take a buddy with them to watch them. Never swim alone without your responsible buddy.
  • Question: What about pets?
    Answer: Some pets are a natural around the water… others, not so much. Dogs for example can be great on houseboats if they are not too big and allowed by the operator. If this is your first time houseboating, you may wish to forgo taking the family pet and leave them at home with a responsible guardian. This ensures your maximum time with the other members of your crew with a minimum of distractions. Based on experience, our recommendation is to take your first trip without your pet. Then, when you take your next houseboating vacation, you will know what to expect and be even more comfortable with the idea of taking your pet.
  • Question: What about protection from the elements?
    Answer: Most vacationers really begin to relax to a degree that has been missing from their lives for some time. All the fresh air, long lazy days, long active days, being on the water, being in the sun… all can add up to a challenging environment for some boaters. Remember to bring plenty of sunscreen. Avoiding a burn can go a long way to adding to everyone’s comfort on the vacation. In case of inclement weather, remember that the houseboat is usually very safe in rain and some wind as long as it is properly moored and if possible, protected from strong winds by being anchored at a protective cove or tied at a dock. Relaxation can make members of your party more tired than usual. Take breaks when having fun and remember to keep everyone well hydrated. Many first timers often don’t realize that although they are surrounded by water, they still need to drink fluids.

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  • Question: What about alcohol consumption?
    Answer: With all the fresh air and new outdoor surroundings, it is often easy to unknowingly drink too much alcohol. We recommend that you minimize your alcohol consumption or even eliminate it entirely.
  • Question: How will I drive the houseboat I rent?
    Answer: Great news! Piloting a houseboat is not as hard as it might seem. Although they are relatively large and can be somewhat cumbersome, the fact is that if you stay relaxed and take it easy, you will find that piloting a houseboat can be one of life’s most pleasurable experiences. Generally you will find that your houseboat rental company will take few hours to make sure you are comfortable with piloting the houseboat. It is time well spent and is one of the most fun things you can do on your vacation. After all, piloting your houseboat on the lake or waterway will enable you to see all the sights on your trip in a nice relaxed setting. Imagine a floating condo with a different view anytime you want one. Now that’s the best of both worlds!
  • Question: What about my cell phone?
    Answer: It is a good idea to make sure your cell phone carrier operates in the area you are going to be vacationing in. This was you can be assured that you will have communications with the folks your normally communicate with. Houseboats are often outfitted with special marine radios that are easy to operate and that can be used to call your rental operator or other vessels on the water. They can be a great way to communicate with other boats and to find out more about the area you are in what you might want to explore.
  • Question: The water looks big. How do I know where I am going?
    Answer: Generally your operator will advise you on the best places to visit and how to get there. Often you will find charts that are like maps for roads, that you can find interesting places to see. Some boats will be outfitted with GPS units that can be used to easily find your current location and may even be programmed with waypoints of places of interest. All you will have to do is follow the arrows to reach the destinations.

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  • Question: What else do I need to know about navigating my houseboat?
    Answer: Your operator will refresh your memory of the rules of the road and navigating signal devices along your journey. Remember to locate the depth finder on your boat and refer to it frequently. With this gauge you will be able to determine how much water depth is under your boat. It can help you avoid damage to the propeller and other appendages under the boat. Your operator will inform you as to the minimum depth needed to operate your boat safely.
  • Question: What about linens and dishes?
    Answer: Like staying at any quality resort motel or condo, rental operators will normally provide fresh linens and a well-stocked pantry of cooking and dining accoutrements. Be sure to bring paper cups, plates and plastic silverware if you would rather spend more time having fun that washing dishes.
  • Question: What about fuel for the houseboat?
    Answer: Normally most operators will make sure your boat is full or near full when you arrive. It is common to review the fuel level together…just like when you rent a car. When you are finished with your trip, you will be expected to replace the fuel you have used. Houseboats can be very fuel efficient to operate as their engines are mostly just loafing along as you take in the sights. There can be a lot of variation but expect your boat to use 3-7 gallons per hour of running time as an average. Be sure to ask your operator about the specific usage for your vacation houseboat. If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, be sure to tell your operator so that they can advise you of other facilities to fuel your vessel along your journey if the need arises. Remember that if your houseboat has a generator for making electricity, it will use fuel too and that is generally at an average rate of 1 gallon per hour. Again, your operator is the best source of information.

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  • Question: Our vacation has ended all too soon and we are now planning our next one. What should we do?
    Answer: One of the first things to do is let your rental operator know all about your vacation. Let them know what you liked and really liked about your trip. This helps them make sure that they met and hopefully exceeded your expectations. Then, when you get back home and unpacked and logged back onto the Internet, visit us again and while researching your next houseboat vacation, leave your feedback about the rental company that was your host. Remember, the houseboat rental operators who are members of our network are 100% committed to making sure you have a great time. They love houseboating and they want you to also! Remember to book early to avoid the disappointment of not having your preferred time slot open.
  • Question: Now what?
    Answer: Go and have the time of your life on your houseboat vacation!!