Bathrooms on Houseboats

blue houseboat

The main difference between a home and a houseboat is obvious. A home is one land and a houseboat is on water. The second biggest difference is the bathroom.

This might depend on the quality of houseboat you live in, but bathrooms on houseboats are not as nice as bathrooms in homes. Why?


You need a water heater for hot water and most houseboats do not have a water heater. You will need to be willing to take cold showers if you want to live on a standard houseboat. Our advice is to shower during the daytime if possible in order for the hot outdoor weather to warm you up fast.


To create the same amount of water pressure a standard faucet in a home produces, you must turn on the water pressure valve in a houseboat. The water will pour out of the valve fast when turned on. This strains the boat so do not leave the valve on for any longer than absolutely necessary. If you forget to turn off the water valve you will drain your freshwater tank very fast.

Most houseboat owners do not drink water from their tank either. The water is not fresh. Houseboat owners will often just drink bottle water instead.


Not all toilets on houseboats have a standard flusher on them. You need to turn the toilet to the fill valve for the toilet to fill up then use a plunger to pump the toilet until the water clears out then turn the switch on the toilet to the drain function. Then turn the fill on a again and plunge a few more times until the toilet bowl is filled with fresh water again.

This is not true of all houseboat toilets but it is something to be aware of. You should also be careful not to flush toilet paper down the toilet either. The pressure is not strong enough. You need a garbage bag for immediate disposal to prevent the bathroom filling up with used toilet paper.

If you can afford a houseboat with a fully functioning bathroom, we recommend it. But if not, you should be aware of these factors before deciding to move from a home to live on a houseboat.