Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Seattle’s Houseboat Sub-Culture

In Seattle, there is an entire sub-culture that lives on houseboats, mostly urban professionals. Unlike many parts of the world, the houseboats in Seattle are truly designed as houses, and have to meet city standards. They can only dock in designated areas, and they are solely for living, they don’t have any means of propulsion. They are not truly boats, but houses floating on the water.

I lived in one for two weeks, many years ago. I never got used to it. I worried about sinking all the time.





Seattle is quirky. Houseboats, caffeine-addiction, super-technology, fitness addicts, airplanes (home of Boeing) and one of the most literate cities in the United States. Washington state has the highest minimum wage in the nation – $7.93 per hour.

January 3, 2007 - Posted by | Cross Cultural, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Seattle, Social Issues


  1. Interesting, never knew that

    Comment by Purgatory | January 3, 2007 | Reply

  2. i’ve always wanted a house boat since i heard about them.

    theyd be great here cos you could attach a motor and putter all the way down to dubai for the weekend 😀

    Comment by sknk | January 3, 2007 | Reply

  3. I visited seatle back in 2001 for a couple of days, and to tell you tthe truth i LOVED it !! i remeber while driving bye the bay my friend was telling me that it had a massive earthqauke and this city was biult again from scrach.
    guess what hapened after that !?
    i wake up with the sheraton swaying back and forth !
    the strange thing was that instead of running for my life, i decided since i was on the 20 something floor id just go back to bed and what ever happens happens !! hehe

    so as you see Seatle was an experience and i loved it 🙂

    Comment by Abdulaziz | January 3, 2007 | Reply

  4. Purg – you really need to visit Seattle – in the Summer. I know you hate the Seahawks, but Seattle is so much more. And full of happily introverted eccentrics.

    Abdulaziz – Oh! Your comment made me laugh! I am so glad you liked Seattle, and I hope you will visit again. You inspired another Seattle post, on earthquakes and snowstorms.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 3, 2007 | Reply

  5. SKNK – had to rescue you from spam again. . . go figure. Yep, you might just be a great houseboat person. Do they have them in “truly Asia?”

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 3, 2007 | Reply

  6. They had boat houses in Miami when I lived there years ago. I always wanted to life on one, they seemed so romantic and cozy. I was told I’d have a hard time getting used to the constant motion (can’t even tolerate a water bed). They outlawed them eventually, because they dumped their sewage into the river.

    Comment by Riannan | January 4, 2007 | Reply

  7. I don’t know how the sewage thing works here – they are so strict about everything here, compulsively GREEN, mandatory recycling, etc . . . I’m sure they have some controls but I don’t know what.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 5, 2007 | Reply

  8. Houseboats are just another way to stretch out waterfront property in a very expensive and classy way. Its kind of like a permanent moorage for a boat. You really do not own the property that it sits on as it is over the water but I am sure that you pay moorage fees?. Since they are not meant to be used like boats I can only see one purpose for them… Waterfront property extended past the shoreline. I am not sure if it is less or more expensive than actual waterfront property. I would like the versatility of feeling like you are floating and actually being surrounded by water. I always did like that when I was on the sailboat. When you get off the boat you feel like you are rocking but you are on solid ground it is pretty cool. Those are called sea legs mate!

    Comment by Becky | September 3, 2008 | Reply

  9. LLLOOOLLL, Becky! The houseboats used to be alternative housing, reasonably priced. I suspect today they are more expensive – and the ones I have seen are modern and well built, they look expensive. Are you living on a houseboat?

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 3, 2008 | Reply

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