Are Houseboats Drifting Away?

2143 North Northlake Way #18

2143 North Northlake Way

Are Seattle Houseboats Drifting Away?

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about Seattle houseboats in the news lately.  And if you receive your news from just one source, it might sound like Seattle houseboats are drifting away.

So what’s really going on? What is the dispute over?  One could argue it’s really about should private people be taking over public space.

In broad terms, the dispute is about freeing up the shorelines on parts of Lake Union.  According to the state law, water dependent (vs water oriented) businesses and industries, shoreline restoration and public access are all given priority.  With this in mind, some city council members say shorelines should be preserved for recreational and water-dependent uses (aka not houseboats).  Yet other city committee representatives say they want to protect the Seattle lifestyle of houseboats.  Yep, definitely confusing.  But one thing is crystal clear:  current houseboat owners and liveaboards say they’re tired of battling for their chosen lifestyle, investment, and freedom to live and just want to be left alone after years of this with the city.

Big agencies like The Planning Land Use and Sustainability Committee, State Department of Ecology, Coast Guard, and Lake Union Liveaboard Association are all trying to come to an agreement about what defines a houseboat.  The due date of January 14th is fast approaching to make this distinction and it’s complex to say the least.  By current standards, a houseboat is treated as a water oriented vessel.  Most should have propulsion, safety equipment, steering and navigational lights, and all already have a black water holding tank, also title and registration. One must beg the question: How is this standard different than say a sailboat, yacht or ferry which are all legal and not up for debate.

Some LULU members (Lake Union Liveaboard Association) remind city officials that houseboats have been around Seattle waters even before it was a city.  Naturally, anger and resentment have come to an all time high for the liveaboards, houseboat builders, marina owners, local vendors and businesses.

I want to be clear there is a difference between houseboats and floating homes in Seattle.  The 500 floating homes in Lake Union and Portage Bay are completely void of these litigation’s.  Floating homes, unlike houseboats, are floating structures usually consisting of logs or concrete which are connected to city water/sewer and are considered “real property” and remain in place by a very heavy moorage arm and do not move from their location.

I understand with the growing population and the fascination of such an intriguing lifestyle, the state/city would want certain regulations intact.  There are essentially two arguments going on simultaneously:  preserving the shoreline for recreational and “water-dependent” use and the defining a houseboat.  The houseboat community is no stranger to reinforcing their lifestyle to the city.  These are folks who care deeply about their lake and go to great lengths to pacify others in order to remain there.  This will not change and it will not change without a fight.

If you’d like more information about houseboats or floating homes please feel free to contact me via email at [email protected]




Bainbridge Island Houseboat? Yes! Check Out This Lifetime Opportunity!

Bainbridge Island Houseboat?  Yes!  Check Out This Lifetime Opportunity!

Bainbridge Island waterfront home

Bainbridge Island Vintage and Historical Well Kept and updated Housebarge.

Hard to put all those words in one sentence all the time, but this gem has it all, truly.  I was absolutely delighted to get the call from the seller who knew I sold houseboats.  He called me and I was on board this beauty the next day and so happy that I did it because it is special.  There are many words for this beauty, but special is very fitting. Bainbridge Island houseboat

  • 1+ Bedroom (also has den/sunroom that could be used as second sleeping space if needed)
  • 1 FULL bathroom (yes – spacious, big counter, and full sized bathroom)
  • 800-900 square feet according to last survey
  • recently hauled out with documentation
  • very inexpensive monthly moorage
  • new roof top deck with view of Seattle skyline – this would be great for fireworks!!!
  • kitchen, dining room, and large living room
  • high ceiling
  • skylights
  • entry haul with front doors on either side depending on how you are docked
  • closets galore

The only opportunity to own well known houseboat in Eagle Harbor Marina on lovely Bainbridge Island.

Bainbridge Island houseboatClassic structure is extremely well done with new features:  roof top deck opens to Seattle skyline, sunroom expands out to deck via sliding doors & full bath has on demand hot water and porthole window to Cascade views. Living spaces warmed by multiple sources of heat and clubhouse has laundry, sauna, gardens, storage & ample parking.

 Built in the 1950s on Bainbridge Island, this lovely home is called Le Barge and decked out perfectly.  It is the very quintessential houseboat in the Seattle area nestled in Eagle Harbor Marina on sought after Bainbridge Island. Live among high end Bainbridge Island waterfront homes and enjoy life afloat with views of the city, island, sound, and more.   This houseboat is great for weekend get away or full time live aboard owners.


Full listing with photos: Bainbridge Island Houseboat for sale

For more information:  Courtney Cooper: [email protected]  206-850-8841


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