When Your Ship Comes in for Winter

November 2019 Multimedia By Kevin Devoto

For people who love adventure and travel, houseboats are an excellent option. A less conventional option than RVs, houseboats allow you to sail from port to port in the comfort of your own home. You can choose your own pace and destinations, unlike most cruises, and you can customize your décor and meals. However, with a houseboat, you do have to decide what to do with it in the off-season. Some people choose to sail year-round by migrating to warmer areas during the winter. If you prefer to primarily stay in one area that does have colder temperatures, you may have to abandon ship in the winter. You might stay in an apartment, or perhaps you still own a house from before your houseboat days. Either way, you can keep on making use of your houseboat even during the offseason in these ways.

 Repair

The offseason is a perfect time to conduct maintenance on your boat. All of the little problems that developed in your months of exploring can now have your undivided attention. Take care of any broken parts of your houseboat while you’re not using it. You should also inspect every area to make sure that no problems are about to develop that could derail next summer’s vacation plans. You can have a professional come to provide you with some houseboat help if the prospect of electrical work or replacing mechanical parts on your boat overwhelms you. Never attempt a repair that you do not feel confident about. You might worsen the problem or cause new ones.

Improve

If you’re sick of the appearance of your houseboat and need a change, now is the time to do so. You’ll get a break from the same furniture and wall colors as you live somewhere else for a few months. Give yourself a few weeks after the season ends to think through any changes you want to make. Once you’re sure that you want to change something, you’ll have a few months to plan your budget and buy everything. Make sure to purchase sturdy, water-resistant furniture and other items so that you do not have to replace them quickly.

In addition to the appearance of your houseboat, you can also improve the appliances that you have. Consider switching to energy-efficient devices to save energy as well as help the environment. If you have older lights, switch to LEDs. Check the wiring or have an electrician inspect it, especially if you are changing the voltage of your devices.

Rent

Some people do not like to use their houseboat year-round, but others do. If you fall in the first category and you own your boat, consider renting it to someone who does not have one. Before renting, have your houseboat professionally inspected to make sure that it is in the best condition possible. Make a note of the condition of every room as well as the outside so that you can make note of any damages that result from the renters. Check your insurance company for the policy on renting. Whoever you rent your boat to should know how to safely operate a boat as well as how to complete any emergency repairs. You should probably meet with potential renters several times in person before allowing them to leave with your property. Formalize the deal with a legal contract so that everyone knows who will be responsible for paying for damages. While these steps may seem like a lot of work, they will ensure that you can rent your houseboat without worrying about what could go wrong. Instead, you can relax on land for a while and make money at the same time.

Don’t just let your houseboat sit during the offseason. Use the time to repair and improve it, and then make extra money by renting it out. You’ll make money and be ready for a wonderful vacation once the warm weather returns.

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