Mar 262012

If you live on a houseboat here is a story you need to be paying very close attention to…

Supreme Court to decide if houseboat is a house or a boat.

You can read the story for all the details but the decision in this case could have far reaching consequences for anyone living on a vessel that isn’t quite a boat nor a house. There are a bunch of them here in Key West that fit that description. You may remember this picture from the weekend…


There are a couple dozen of these structures located in Garrison Bight which house many folks. There are many other similar types of structures all over the waters of the Keys. Many are questionable in their design and ability to float. Now, are they considered houses? If so then they are subject to the same laws and taxes that apply to land based houses. Or are they vessels? Then they are subject to maritime law.

Personally I side with the maritime law. If it’s on the water it’s a vessel no matter what the design. Call it a houseboat, a barge, whatever, if it floats it’s a vessel. But that’s just me. And I’m not hardly qualified to decide. But it will be interesting to see how this plays out. The case has a bunch of other side issues between a city who wanted to steal property and a scammer who wanted to live for free. But the underlying issue of vessel vs. house is the important one to watch. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

Capt. Fritter

  One Response to “Is it a boat or a house?…”

  1. Interesting story. Even the city couldn’t decide but used each definition in turn as it suited it’s own case. That, it seems to me, must be illegal in itself.