We have gone on a houseboat trip on Shuswap Lake for 9 years and it has become one of our favorite ways to holiday. We have gone with friends, with kids, with grandkids and alone. We have gone for a long weekend, for a week and for two weeks. We have gone in sunny hot weather and when the boat is rocking from a storm blowing down the lake. The company we usually book with is based out of Sicamous, BC.
Our routine begins with packing. Any of you that know me, know that I am a list person. And of course, I have a list for packing when we go on the houseboat. Although the houseboat company supplies a lot of what you will need for your vacation, you still need to pack clothing, personal items, food, bedding, lounge chairs and any entertainment items you might want (books, DVDs, etc). It will look like a crazy pile when you get it altogether. We bring our boat with us so much of what we bring gets packed into our boat for the trip to the lake.
We usually try to book a preboard. This means that you can get on the houseboat the evening you get to the lake rather than staying in a hotel. That way you can unpack and be ready to go in the morning. Or, if the weather is good, they will let you launch that evening still. When you arrive at the houseboat dock they will supply you with carts to tote your supplies to down to the houseboat. Some companies will pull full carts down to the dock for you and others require you to push them yourself.
Before you head out you need to complete a checklist of what is on the houseboat and get a lesson on how to captain it. The company will get you headed in the right direction and then will jump off and it is up to you to take it out of the channel and onto the lake. I usually take our boat out of the channel and my husband brings the houseboat. Once we are out of the close confines of the channel we tie our boat to the back of the houseboat and pull it until we get close to our destination.
When we get close to our favorite beaching area, we untie our boat and I keep it out in the lake while my husband secures the houseboat to the beach. Houseboats must be secured to a beach at night. You can’t be floating around out there in the dark! He drives it into the beach and secures it with the provided stakes. This is not an easy job to do by yourself but he has perfected the process! When he is ready he calls me in and we tie the boat to one of the lines securing the houseboat. When determining which line to tie it to, it is always a good idea to see which way the wind is blowing. You don’t want the boat to be slamming up against the houseboat if the weather gets rough. Been there, done that!
All of this sounds like a big job I know but it isn’t long and you are doing this –
- Busy August!
- Houseboating Vacation Part Two