There are over fourteen thousand RV parks in the United States. Wow, how we love to travel, and to take a dwelling with us. So how does that work in an archipelago? You can bring your RV on the Alaska Marine Highway System, our ferry system, and stay at RV parks here.
This post is not about that kind of RV, though. You see, the four round, black pontoons on most RV's work fine on the highway, but won't even float it for a few seconds in the ocean.
Around Southeast there are quite a few floathouses. Kind of a local form of RV. Some are permanent dwellings, too.
Fair damsel, above, is enjoying the cruise in the floathouse tower.
In days past floathouses were built on a raft of logs. Now it is more common to build a wood deck atop plastic floats, and then build the cabin or house on the deck.
This isn't like towing a camper down the highway at 60 mph. Floathouses usually tow at about three or four knots...that's four or five miles per hour.
In autumn an Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game floathouse is towed back in to Wrangell for the winter. In the photo below the research vessel "Kestrel" is slowing to disconnect the towline to the floathouse. The small boats by the floathouse will take it the rest of the way in to port.
Most harbors have limits on the number of liveaboards within the harbor. Some harbors allow a number of floathouses, and some don't allow any. Almost all harbors in Southeast Alaska have liveaboard fees.
Now before you decide on this lifestyle, think about it for a minute...
If you drop your keys while stepping from the dock to the deck, then there is a very small chance that the professional diver can find them in the mud on the bottom of the harbor.
Your house would rock in the wind, or if a boat throws a wake in passing.
Regular maintenance on the foundation prevents the house from sinking.
There are advantages, too!
If you want to move then you don't have to pack. Just tow your house to another town.
No lawn to mow!
And if it doesn't work out on the water then a sturdy floathouse can be pulled ashore.
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