Montana Committee Rules Against Increased Houseboat Regulations

April 2017 News Web Exclusive

According to Daily Inter Lake, the Montana Legislature decided against passing limitations on houseboats this session.

Rep. Mark Noland, R-Bigfork, stated that he won’t try to revive House Bill 489 to bring regulations on houseboats after the Senate Natural Resources Committee tabled it last week on a 9-3 vote.

The measure was first brought up after Noland reported hearing complaints from Somers and Lakeside residents against a pair of floating homes in the area. But because houseboats don’t neatly fit into existing boating regulations, officials from Montana’s three natural resource and environmental departments said their jurisdiction only went so far as covering correct waste disposal and maintaining visible lights at night.

This measure would have authorized the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to require vessels moored in state waters to move at least a mile every two weeks, as well as creating a new fee schedule for charging houseboaters and other large vessel owners registered in Montana.

“With this bill, I feel like we’re directly being targeted,” houseboater Ben Lard stated during the hearing. “The lakes in this state are for everyone, not just for waterfront homeowners.”

For more details about the hearing and the pros and cons of each side, check out the full report at

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