Frequently Asked Questions our about Houseboats
If it says it is a 6 sleeper, how many people can we put on the boat?
The short answer is “6”. Let us explain our philosophy about this. We’ve been renting boats for over 40 years. Our goal is to provide you with a houseboat for your group to enjoy Raystown Lake for your vacation. We have found that when there are too many people on the boat, 3 things can happen. First people don’t have as much fun because the boat is overcrowded; second, damages often occur, especially if the guests do not have a ‘buy in’ for the rental. Lastly, the fresh and gray water tanks on board are adequate for the number of people on board, if you run out of water, you must bring the boat back to the marina, which can be an inconvenience. When these things happen, nobody is happy……the renter or us. IF you insist on having more people, we will allow up to 2 additional people, but you will be responsible for paying $200 + taxes per person. Contact one of our rental specialists to discuss the dynamics of your group – we will help you figure out which boat would best suit your group.
What qualifications do I need to drive a houseboat?
We really appreciate it when our renters check in with a valid boater education certificate; it tells us that the renter has some knowledge about boating; many of our houseboat renters are boaters anyway so this makes sense. IF this is the first time you are renting a boat and generally aren’t going to be driving boats often, that’s ok. We can provide you with a temporary boater certificate good for ONLY the time of your rental and also good only for the boat you rent. In order for us to do this, we are required by PA Fish and Boat Commission to have you watch a BOAT SAFETY video and take a short quiz before you are issued the certificate. This does extend the check in process.
How hard is it to drive a houseboat?
Our houseboats are designed with a full aluminum hull or pontoons and powered (and propped) to PUSH the boat through the water – they don’t go fast, aren’t supposed to go fast….so just know you’ll have a relaxing tour of the lake. The hardest part of driving a houseboat (I’ve been doing it for 40 years, so I can say this) is driving them in and out of the dock………Well, guess what? We do that for you. The second hardest part of driving a houseboat is mooring the first time. During check in we explain, how to do this with ease
May we stay at the dock?
Absolutely! In fact, if our check in time (enforced so you have enough time with crew members) doesn't work for you, you may come after, and our security will show you to your boat, the next day we complete orientation. The only thing about staying at the dock eliminates is the ability to swim or fish from the boat. We do not allow swimming in the marina because we have electric running to docks; it is about your safety. BUT, if this is ok with you, you are welcome to stay at the dock as much as you wish.
Where do I stay at night?
What people LOVE about Raystown Lake is that it is one of the few lakes that is not developed with homes and docks around the shoreline……..what this means for our houseboaters is you have around 80 miles of shoreline (within our boundaries) to select your place for each evening…or for some folks, for your entire rental. We strongly recommend that you stay in a no-wake area, of which there are many. This provides extra safety for your (and our boat), you don’t have to worry with wakes or boats running at night.
What about kids on board?
Most of our houseboat vacationers are families. For those who have infants and toddlers, know that you need to be aware of the children's location at all times, just as you would at the beach or any water destination. What kept me sane until my son was 5 (and passed my swimming test )was 2 things. Pack and Play on board and his own vest which was put on the minute we got into the parking lot. Also, assign an adult to be with the kids when they are outside, on top deck, using stairways, ladders, etc. Common sense prevails here but you do need to be mindful of the kids on board.
How much gas will I use?
For the past 2 seasons, average gas usage (including both the generator and engine) was $250 per rental period. The range was from $45-$450 per rental period.
What happens if it rains?
No problem. First of all you are safe because of the mountain range that parallels the lake, weather forecasting around here can be inconsistent. We tell our renters to watch the sky. If it looks dark, or if the wind seems to be picking up, it is smart to move into a no wake cove and get tied up. If the storm includes thunder and lightning, keep everyone inside the boat. If not, swimming in the rain can be fun…………ok, so you don’t want to get wet………just stay inside, take a nap, play a game, read and enjoy the sounds of nature cleansing the earth.
Will I need to refuel or get water or pump out service during the rental?
Trust me, you will never ever, ever run out of gas, the tanks are HUGE. Water and storage for waste capacity generally last for a rental period; if you choose to do the 7 day rental, you may want to come in mid-week to fill up water and get the waste pumped. Exceptions to this have been when renters take REALLY long showers (we recommend camp shower or lake bath with castile soap) or if excessive flushes with the potty. Sometimes kids really like to push the pedal! (it is natural, but you may want to explain conservation)
Do the boats have heat and air conditioning?
Absolutely, they have both. If you come pre- or post-season and the weather is a little chilly, we also provide space heaters for the boats. The A/C is similar to an RV (except Houseboat 1 which is central heat and air) they are roof units and they do cool the boat……..unless you keep windows and doors open, then you lose the cold air. Generally if you open all the windows, there is a nice cross breeze for sleeping at night. In the event you get to experience a heat wave, you may want to keep the ceiling fans and A/C on for your comfort.
This is the list of FAQ we most generally hear, if you have other questions, please call or email us and we are happy to help. Our crew is experienced (over 300 years combined) ……and here to try to accommodate you as best as we can.