A houseboat is a boat that is used as one’s home. It is similar to the saying “A house on wheels,” in that you can live in it. There are also houseboats that do not consist of a motor and these are usually kept stationary. Sometimes they are tethered to land and hooked up to electric so that they can use utilities, and there are some that are set-up to use electric own their own power source. There is the house on a float (an American term), and a shanty boat that is referred to as a rough. Western countries have places or people who will rent out houseboats, and others are prvately owned. Whereas, there are several canals in Europe where people will live in their houseboats year round, for instance, there are people in Amsterdam, Paris, and in London do this.
In Zimbabwe, houseboats have been used since back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. In Hong Kong, on the southern side of the island is a community of houseboat living and fishing, it is know as the Aberdeen floating Village. Another such community is in the Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter. Also India, is another place where houseboats are common in the back waters of Kerala. The houseboats here are very large and they move very slowly, and are used for taking leisure trips. This type of houseboat is made by the tieing of ropes and coconut fibers, and they are 60 – 70 ft in lenght and around 15 ft in width at the middle and the wood is Anjali. However, palm leaves and bamboo poles are used in the making o the roof. With the exterior finished with coats of many coats of cashew nut oil.
The place to go if interested in seeing a few of the finest, and more expensive houseboats is Europe. They are all slong the canals of Amsterdam and they even have houseboat hotels. The Kashmir, Srinagar, and Jammu houseboats are generally stationary and usually moored or tethered to land. These kinds of houseboats are made from wood and generally will have intricately carved wood paneling. These are available in different sizes, with a living area, a kitchen and up to three bedrooms. Depending on what you can afford, a luxury houseboat wil have fine furnishings, modern bathroom fittings, and nice carpets.
The luxury houseboat is similar to a hotel, in that it gets rated by the Department of Tourism and while a ‘D’ category stands for it being in the lowest category. Also similar to hotels, houseboats can be in a variety of different locations. While some may be over looking gardens, others could overlook a main road, and there may be some that is sitting out in the water facing the local villages and/or markets. The owner and their family provide a ‘houseboy’, and they themselfs are usually close by. When you hire a houseboat it will include free rides and all meals.
Dutch pioneer floating eco-homes. By Alix Kroeger. BBC News, 1 March 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6405359.stm accessed 27 October 2011