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Southwest Waterfront Boat Home Tour 2017: The 5 best houseboats, revealed

Here are the highlights to Washington, D.C.’s houseboat community opening their doors to the public

All photos by Michelle Goldchain

On Saturday, October 7, Gangplank Marina, the largest live-aboard marina on the East Coast, opened its doors to the public with its fifth semi-annual houseboat tour. Located in Washington, D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront neighborhood by The Wharf, this tour showcased 24 of its live-aboards, ranging from barges to trawlers to sailboats.

Below, take a look at the five most impressive houseboats that were on this year’s tour, ranging from a barge with blue stenciled flowers on the floor to a 58-foot-long houseboat with a kitchen that will make anyone jealous.

All proceeds from the tour supported charities in the Southwest quadrant. The tour is sponsored by the Gangplank Slipholders Association and the Port of Washington Yacht Club.


38-foot-long barge

First up is this bright blue houseboat, known as Serendipity. It doesn’t have an engine, so it remains at the pier 24/7. Inside, it’s fairly spacious with a living room area and a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a wavy tile backsplash. In the bathroom, there is a walk-in shower and a stained glass window.

For an extra dose of color, there are blue stenciled flowers patterned here and there on the hardwood flooring.

Miss Behavin’

38-foot-long barge, made by Mariner Houseboats in 1982

In order to escape the crowded, noisy city that Washington, D.C., can sometimes be, the owner of this houseboat moved to Gangplank Marina, in favor of its low cost and Metro accessibility. After purchasing the home approximately 10 years ago, the structure underwent a two-year renovation.

It’s the little things that really make this boat so unique. Throughout, there are knick knacks that offer an extra dose of personality to the home, as seen in the personalized lifebuoy and the palm tree tile design in the bathroom. Above the boat, there is also a space for lounging.

Jaime Marie

58-foot-long houseboat, built by Merle Tanner in Louisiana in 1974

Spanning 680 square feet of livable space, this houseboat actually isn’t so small when compared to other tiny homes in the D.C. area. In the space, the kitchen features an island with bar seating, stainless steel appliances, and a seating area that then leads to an outdoor lounge space.

In a statement, the owners of the houseboat said that their favorite parts about living on a boat including feeling tucked away from D.C., the friendly community nearby, and how the sun reflects off of the water onto the ceiling in the salon.

Tar Keel

44-foot-long Atlantic Sundeck Trawler with flybridge, built in 1981

This is one of the smaller boats on this list, offering approximately 450 square feet of livable space. Despite how charming the wood-paneled interior looks, the owner said in a statement that he tends to prefer chilling out on the deck when there’s nice weather.

There are a total of two bedrooms and two bathrooms inside along with a shower and a galley kitchen.

Wave Dancer

50-foot-long Gibson Cabin Cruiser Houseboat, built in 1990

While this houseboat is last on the list, it was one of the first live-aboards visitors saw at the recent Gangplank Marina tour. One of the quirkiest design highlights inside is an illustration of a stork designed atop the counter in the kitchen.

The homeowner said in a statement that their favorite part about living at Gangplank Marina is the community that comes with it. They said, “With the proximity to each other ... meeting people is quite natural.”