Houseboats in NSW
Do you plan on using a houseboat on NSW waters? Here is what you need to know about registration, approvals, operation and mooring.
What is a houseboat
A houseboat is a vessel, floating object, structure or other apparatus (eg pontoon) that provides accommodation on water.
Can you live on a houseboat in NSW
Marine legislation does not permit a person to permanently live on a houseboat in NSW.
Registration and approvals
Transport for NSW only grants registrations for recreational vessels. It does not register vessels that will be used for commercial purposes. To register your houseboat, see Boat and vessel registration.
If you plan to use your houseboat for commercial purposes then you must contact the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Commercial use includes renting your houseboat.
AMSA will guide you on what you must do to register your houseboat as a Domestic Commercial Vessel.
You may need to lodge a Development Application (DA) to operate a houseboat, particularly if you plan to use it for commercial purposes. Check with your local council to see whether you need to submit a DA.
If you do need approval from your local council, you must provide Transport with proof that approval has been granted. Without proof of council approval, you may not be able to use your houseboat on NSW waterways.
Renting your houseboat
If you plan on renting out your houseboat, you will need to check with these agencies to make sure you meet their requirements:
- Maritime Branch of Transport for NSW
- local council of the waterway
- Department of Planning and Environment.
Operating a houseboat
As the owner or operator of a houseboat, it is your responsibility to know the Rules for using NSW waterways.
You should also be familiar with:
- marine legislation
- the Environmental Assessment and Planning Act 1979 (EP&A Act)
- the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (SEPP)
- relevant State, Regional and Local Environmental Plans.
Some waterways have restrictions regarding where and how you can use a houseboat. We encourage you to discuss what restrictions may apply to your local waterway with a local Boating Safety Officer.
For more information about using houseboats on NSW waterways see our Houseboats on NSW Waterways fact sheet (PDF, 187.71 KB) or contact us on 13 12 36 .
Mooring and anchoring
Private moorings granted by Transport allow vessels to be permanently stored on the water in designated mooring areas in NSW. Conditions apply and there are waiting periods in some mooring areas.
To see private mooring locations in NSW, use our Private Mooring Map.
For more information, see Private moorings.
You can stay at anchor in one place for up to 28 days on a houseboat. You must then move to another area. Across NSW, you are limited to a maximum of 90 days a year at anchor.