General Question

Afos22's avatar

Is it legal to live on a boat in a lake?

Asked by Afos22 (3504 points ) January 8th, 2013

In the United States, would I run into any legal trouble if I decided to drive a boat out to the middle of a large (state-owned) lake and stay there? Also would there be any permits involved in this endeavor?

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

There would be the issue of the toilet’s holding tanks, for starters.

Sunny2's avatar

Depends on the lake, who it belongs to, and what the established rules are. Check it out before moving or you may be escorted out by the fuzz.

jaytkay's avatar

I don’t know about a lake

I looked into the idea of living on a boat in LA harbor 10 years ago. It was legal and cheap, but my apartment on land was a lot more comfortable and not much more expensive.

But here’s some inspiration for you:
Man lives in a 14-foot canoe in Boston Harbor

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, most states have very strict rules about the size, age and length of time boats are allowed on the lakes. You usually have to buy a permit.

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marinelife's avatar

To live aboard, you have top meet certain requirements and the boat does too.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

You need to research your state and municipal regulations. It’s fine to live on a boat in some areas, yet doing so is prohibited in other areas. Also, as @YARNLADY mentions, you’ll need to cover yourself on the size/type of boat and any required permits or licenses.

Afos22's avatar

I’m not meaning to be ungrateful or mean, but most of the responses have no examples or specifics. If you don’t know don’t answer

YARNLADY's avatar

@Afos22 For more specific information, you would have to provide more specific details. Which lake? Which state. What kind of boat? How many people are going to live there?

Each state has their own regulations, and they often very depending on the other information I have mentioned.

There is no ONE RULE fits all.

Afos22's avatar

Any example of any law restricting living on any state owned lake in any state would be helpful. Unless there aren’t any, in which case, that would be helpful too.

YARNLADY's avatar

You need to contact the specific location you want to use. California has very rigid rules about allowing boats on it’s lakes and waterways for environment protection.

Boxman's avatar

I think Afos22 is right. Nobody can answer you with good advice because we are not sure about where you are or how long you want to stay there. A lot of people do an “overnight” in a boat. But long-term stays are different. You need to contact the authorities who have jurisdiction over the lake that you want to park on. Be warned that government officials often give different versions over the phone, and you are liable for errors, not them. Current documentation, if available, is helpful. Hope you can go to the lake of your choice and stay there happily as long as you like.

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