• The best rental houseboats are clean, fueled,mechanically sound, and fully furnished. Operatorsprovide rescue in case the boat breaksdown and a long list of options and equipment(eg, linen or dinghy rentals, extra insurances, andentertainment electronics). Private rentals can befound, but you're on your own.
• Take the checkout seriously. Houseboating isstill boating. You're responsible for your own electricalservice, plumbing, water and sewage, docking,anchoring, navigation, and compliance withlocal environmental laws.
• Early in the cruise, give the family a safetybriefing. Discuss the carbon monoxide and smokealarms, bilge sniffers, fire extinguishers, escapehatches, man overboard procedures, radio rules,Mayday calls, and swim rules.
• Costs range from $1000 a week for a smallerhouseboat in low season to $3500 to $5000 a weekfor the largest boats in high season. Extras usuallyinclude fuel, dockage, mandatory insurance, and asecurity deposit.