Start small. If you dream about living on a boat one day, live aboard a docked vessel for a year or two to see how you like it.
Master the basics. Learn everything you can about sailing before trading your home for a houseboat. If you're a recreational boater, you won't have to have a Coast Guard captain's license, but you may need a state operator's license. For links to specific regulations, visit uscgboating.org.
Anticipate sticker shock. Boats, particularly houseboats, are pricey to purchase―and maintain.
Simplify and downsize. Space fills up fast. Take only items you can't live without.
Buy wisely. Appliances can require a lot of room. Doing without will save you space, and headaches.
Stay alert. Always remain aware of your surroundings, watch out for swimmers and fellow boaters, and keep binoculars and VHF radios handy.
Be prepared. Know where to find circuit breakers, fire protection, and cell phones. Get ready for sudden storms by setting your dock lines properly.
Know your role. It's crucial to respect the water, a protected resource, and to follow maritime law while demonstrating good stewardship.
Accessorize. Invest in a dinghy, kayak, or other small vessel. You can enjoy great adventures when guests and children visit.
Make in-town moments count. Residing on the water precludes spontaneous trips to the grocery store or convenience shop. When it comes to trekking inland, efficiency is key.