Houseboat Moorings


If you are new to living afloat, And have any dependents, I strongly recommend you to buy your new home already on an established residential mooring. This means the mooring has planning permission for residential use and you have official residents status at that address, essential for bank accounts, driving licence, benefits etc.

ENSURE that there is a properly installed sewage disposal system . Static Houseboats should have motor driven pumps and connections to the onshore system. (You do not want your family and guests to be floating on raw sewage – especially if it is a tidal mooring and the sewage soaked mud is exposed twice a day)

Ensure there are adequate fire hydrants installed.  You can ask the local fire service. ( a NON-tidal mooring where water is permanently available is usually OK as the fire appliances can pump this water directly).

Ensure there is plenty of space between houseboats, more if they are higher. Just imagine a fire in one boat on one side with a wind driving the flames towards the rest of the mooring and you will have a good idea of how safe it is in case of fire.

Look to see how many Houseboats on the marina are for sale.

More than five to ten percent is a warning sign. more than twenty percent represents a queue of owners desperate to leave (for whatever reason). Furthermore it suggests it will take a very long time to sell any  static houseboat on that Mooring.

If you are continuously cruising or on a mooring that doesn’t have residential planning permission, there may be many others living on the same mooring and it is worth asking their advice as to the local situation and how things happen in that area. If you have family responsibilities, a mooring with residential planning permission has to be favourite.

(ESSENTIAL for a STATIC houseboat is a long leasehold OR Freehold Mooring.

Many lives have been shattered when their static (= unpowered) houseboat has been told their rented mooring is no longer available.

These moorings are disappearing fast due to development and you have no protection as you would in a house or caravan.

It then cost many of them thousands of pounds to have the boat towed away and broken up for scrap. Study the mooring agreement and imagine the worst case scenario – THAT is the risk you are taking. The true valuation of a Static houseboat WITHOUT a long leasehold OR Freehold Mooring is the scrap value of the weight of metal, less the cost of towing away and breaking up plus what you can get on ebay for any re-saleable contents. ) NEVER buy any houseboat without an “Out of the Water Survey” If that costs too much (get a quote first) Then it will cost too much every 4 years for maintenance and insurance survey.

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Deck hatches as Fire escapes

It is vital that every home has adequate fire escapes. On a Houseboat this means at least one at each end.

Many Cruising boats have a forward hatch, but it might need to be made wider. Another aspect of hatches is that many old wooden hatches leak.

So here is what I did when I had to replace two original wooden Hatches on my steel decked vessel Kiwi III. They were leaking. not easily locked and not very easy to open from inside.

First I removed the hatches and the wood frames.

Then measured the aperture cut in the steel deck.

Then I looked at the new hatches available for modern yachts. See examples here .

Choose the best fit that complies with these standard requirements :-  Escape routes and exits to be not more than 5 m distance. Not passing over cookers and if separated by a solid partition not leading past a
cooker or engine space. Minimum clear opening of 450 mm diameter or 380 mm smallest dimension if
not circular.

Taken from  BS EN ISO 9094 Small Craft – Fire Protection.

cut your deck hole larger if needed (wood, GRP or steel) drill the holes, apply mastic and bolt the hatch in place.

Now you have an elegant strong waterproof hatch that provides extra daylight through the toughened glass and has effective modern locks, much more practical for summertime ventilation – all you have to do now is fix a stable ladder if none  exists.

Shoud last a lifetime and look great !

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