Can You Live On A Houseboat In WA? – Holidays In Oz

Can You Live On A Houseboat In WA?

By the Department of Transportation’s standards, the term “living on board” will be used to describe any resident who stays overnight on their vessel, but specifically, while it is docked at an approved facility. This means anyone wishing to live in other parts of Western Australia will have to follow very consistent rules and regulations.

It will be crucial for anyone wishing to live on a houseboat to consider the fact that there are limited and specific maritime facilities and marinas that allow this type of living. As for a regular boat, there are certain marinas that allow a boat to be permanently docked. So, those planning to live on their boat should check that a marina allows for established boat residences to exist there.

You can live on a houseboat in some parts of Western Australia. Your houseboat in Western Australia can’t be considered a permanent residence. Western Australia only allows for someone to reside on any form of coastal infrastructure for a total duration of six months, unless considered a “special circumstance”, which is decided after filling out a necessary application.

Can You Live On A Boat In Perth?

Perth, the capital city of Western Australia is an extraordinary blend of natural beauty, mixed with the modernization of the urban world. Known far and wide as being Australia’s shining, sunniest capital city, this immaculate location draws domestic and international travellers alike in, year by year. There is an immersive amount of history to learn and experiences to partake in – not to mention close proximities to many different day trip spots and tourist destinations.

This lovely city has a reputation for bringing light and life to both culture, art, entertainment, food, and so much more. The stunning coastlines and waterfront areas are sure to dazzle and amaze with their beauty and abundant activities for the entire family. Many folks love to take trips around the Perth coastal areas searching for the wildlife, like dolphins, that may be seen.

For these reasons and many more, there is truly no surprise behind the fact that many folks would enjoy nothing more than the opportunity to reside in Perth. However, some people would prefer alternative options to merely living within a regular house. For some, they prefer the opportunity to live out on the water – whether in a houseboat or a boat of any kind. This has become a very common alternative, especially for those living in warmer areas.

For those interested, you can certainly live on a houseboat in Perth, but you aren’t allowed to live there permanently. People choosing to live on a houseboat will only be permitted to do so for 6 months – unless it is decided that you are under special circumstances.

There are also many rules and regulationsOpens in a new tab. that someone looking to live on a houseboat or a boat should be aware of. Many of these laws and policies must be followed, or residency rights can be terminated. The rules sometimes slightly vary from marina to marina, so it’s best to check with a specific location.

The Department of Transportation even has rules in regard to the number of people that may reside on a single houseboat or boat – which is generally less than 10% of the total number of occupants that a boat can support. Owners will also have to obtain proper licenses, insurance, certificates, and complete all necessary paperwork.

The Department of Transportation also has to grant someone approval for their living quarters, before they are able to occupy the vessel for residential purposes. To get this approval, a space must have open boat pens, an adequate and approved area to dock, proper moorings, an adequate waste disposal system, approved payments, and more.

Is It Legal To Live On A Boat In Australia?

Yes, it is legal to live on a boat in Australia, however, depending on which part of Australia you are considering, the rules, regulations, and laws may be very different. There are some parts of Australia where the rules are incredibly strict – limiting the livable time aboard a water vessel to only around a month of the year. Other areas allow folks to live on their boat for up to 6 months, and even a year at times. Much like owning and living in a house, there are similarities like taxes, insurance fees, and more.

It’s also worth considering that parts of Australia are not suitable for someone to reside on the water. While an area like Perth in Western Australia is quite calm and acceptable for a houseboat or other vessel, areas like Queensland face different sea conditions. These areas can be far stormier, resulting in the coastal areas being dangerous for living.

Can You Live Permanently On A Houseboat In Australia?

Generally speaking, you cannot live permanently on a houseboat in Australia. Many places throughout the country only allow people to take up residency on a houseboat or boat for a certain number of months in a year (often six months).

Photo Supplied by Britt Stoltzfus Owner of Malolo

There is the option to apply to live longer on a houseboat under special circumstances, but this does have to be approved and for good reason. At the same time, there are certain times of the year when the weather does not adequately support the environment one requires for living on board the water.

How Can I Live On A Boat For Free?

If you want to live on your boat or houseboat in a legal manner, then there is no way to live on your boat for free. In order to take up residency on a boat, one must do so in a designated area – where you will have to pay to dock your boat for the specified amount of time. One must also pay for the appropriate licensing, certificates, and even insurance. Therefore, the only way to live on a boat for free would require one to become entirely self-sufficient.


We have travelled to many great places around Australia and hope to share our travel tips, hacks, and adventures with you. So come with us as we explore the great down under! Read more about us here

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