If you have never been Houseboating, it can be different than budgeting and planning other vacations. It’s important to consider any and all possible costs that can add up if you’re not prepared for them. Houseboats are well stocked, but there are some things you’ll need to bring from home such as food, beverages, and linens. There are some additional charges that can occur at the marina that you need to plan for. Items like watercraft fuel, ski boat and other watercraft rentals, cleaning fees, pet deposits, and any other incidentals that can occur along the way.

Parking Fees

Your group will arrive at the marina and park their vehicles for the duration of the trip. There may be daily or flat fees for parking each vehicle. Contact the marina before you arrive so that each driver is aware of any parking fees.


Dining on the houseboat can be a great way to share recipes, experience new tastes and spend time with your group. It can also be stressful if planning and preparing isn’t done first, and believe us, you don’t want to be that person who didn’t bring enough to share.


Usually it’s easiest to have everybody bring what they want to drink plus a case of water. Use the ice chests provided on the houseboat* for drinks, they’ll stay colder on ice.

Also, frequent opening of the boat’s refrigerator door to access drinks will prevent the refrigerator from performing adequately, and nothing will be very cold.


Watersports add an exciting dimension to the trip and most boaters bring a small boat or personal watercraft (PWC) along to enhance the houseboat experience. PWCs are not only exhilarating, but are an ideal way to explore our scenic California waterways. In addition, inflatable rafts, tubes, air mattresses, flotation cushions, canoes, kayaks, wakeboards, water- ski, kneeboards, stand up paddle boards (SUPs), and anything else that floats can add variety to your vacation. If you don’t bring your own, most of these items can be rented by the day or week from most marina stores*.


Both the houseboat and other boats or watercrafts that you have on your trip will need fuel, and some watercrafts such as jet skis or waverunners may need oil. Fuel consumption will vary depending on the usage. It’s a good plan to have everyone bring extra cash for contributing to the fun fund.

Cleaning Fees

Most marinas charge a refundable security deposit in addition to the remaining rental charges prior to the trip starting date. These fees vary, and so does their coverage.


Pets are part of the family and find houseboating and exploring the shoreline extremely fun. Most houseboats allow pets, but not all of them do, so it’s imperative that you check with your chosen marina before bringing Fido along. There are often additional deposits required when bringing pets aboard.


If you’re planning on hiking or dining out, exploring the local towns or taking any other excursion, plan for addition costs, including additional transportation costs, along the way.

*Not all vessels offer the same equipment, insurance, or experience. Please check with your marina of interest directly for specific information about the equipment and services available at each location.