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Difference between a houseboat and a narrow boat.

Can anyone describe for me the difference between a houseboat and a narrowboat? Is it just that anything which isn't a narrowboat and can be residential is a houseboat or is it more complicated than that?

Asked by: Corrine Shimmon  | 4.06pm, Thursday 23 September


WW says:

The phrases are used interchangeably by people with limited experience of boats (much as the word "barge" is used).
Traditionally, a "houseboat" has been one that is basically immoveable, such as the "flat-a-float" that is a steel pontoon, with the superstructure much like a floating mobile home- these are still found for rent on the Broads, for instance.
British Waterways still has a number of "houseboat certificates" which were designed for purely residential boats (mostly around London) which, as far as I can ascertain, where usually never moved and incapable of moving under their own power.
The phrase houseboat is not used much these days, and should probably be avoided, as it does tend to confuse people! The only time it is used is as part of the BW classification, which is virtually redundant.

Mark Langley  | 10.23AM, Friday 24 September

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