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I thought it might be helpful to include some questions commonly asked by people who are considering the option of float homes for the first time. Please be sure to contact me if I can add or clarify any information for you.
Q. What makes a Floathome village distinguishable from any other marina?

A. In the Greater Vancouver area, as in most areas where there is local government, live-aboard boats and floathomes are either prohibited or strictly regulated, although some would say without too much success. Government authorities are quite rightly concerned with the discharge of sewage, fire control, proper potable water, parking, aesthetics and taxation. Almost all marinas in this area have been designed and built to accommodate pleasure boats or fishing boats of varying sizes. However there are exceptions such as marinas with a mix of boats and float homes. They were not intended for permanent full time dwelling units for people. The marinas and their facilities were simply not designed to accommodate floating structures such as floathomes and the loads they put on docks and pilings or their power and sewage demands. Most marine villages have been specifically engineered to meet all of the requirements for proper, full service floathome living. The docks are designed to provide proper spatial separation for fire safety considerations, noise attenuation and to maximize view opportunities.


Q. What do you mean by “full services”?
A. Usually the docks in the Floathome Village portion of the marina are designed and engineered to provide all necessary life safety and comfort infrastructure normally associated with a home on land. For example, the dock surface is concrete, as opposed to wood, both for durability and to reduce the possibility of slipping when walking on them. Each Marine Lot (or site where a floathome may be situated) is serviced with:

* safe, proper potable water connections to the municipal supply;
* sewage collection system which will collect the sewage and deliver it to the municipal infrastructure;
* domestic power supply to properly power homes;
* state of the art cablevision and cnternet cabling;
* fire control stations right on the docks;
* natural gas services;
* domestic garbage collection;
* recycling center.


Q. I want to rent one before buying so I can try out the lifestyle.
A. This is a frequently asked question; unfortunately most float homes are owner occupied. Occasionally float home owners may wish to rent their float homes during a period of extended absence.

The bright side is that Ladner is blessed with two floating B&B's so you can test drive the experience!


Q. Are floathomes small and rustic? I want something bigger and grander!
A. Many older floathomes are rustic and small. They can be very charming but of questionable construction quality with inadequate means of flotation. Some are quite unsafe. Floathomes can be constructed to incorporate just about any design element you can imagine; from basements to elevators, from hot tubs to wine cellars. Your imagination (and financial realities) are your limits. Some marinas do have Floating Home Design Guidelines which will govern the process of design of floathomes that will moor in the marina. These guidelines will help to ensure an attractive, secure and thoughtful development and thereby help protect your investment. Guidelines are not designed to stifle creativity; in fact innovation, novelty and even whimsy are often strongly encouraged. Details of the Floathome Design Guidelines are usually discussed with each floathome owner before they enter into an agreement to moor their proposed or existing floathome.


Q. Are floathomes safe?
A. If the floathome has been constructed in accordance with the proper engineering and construction standards and the marina where the floathome is moored has also been constructed to proper engineering and life-safety standards for a floathome village use, then yes, floathomes are very safe. The key is proper engineering and construction to proper standards. In the absence of proof of proper construction and engineering, a floathome is not welcome in most reputable floathome marinas.


Q. Will I get sea sick?
A. The answer to this depends on your susceptibility to motion sickness. Floathomes do not rock very much. They are very stable, but they do move. It takes some getting used to at first but most people quickly adapt, gain their sea legs and think no more about it. The movement you will notice is the rising and falling of your home in conjunction with the tides. Sometimes, when the tide is low, the ramps from docks to shore can be steep. This is considered part of the charm of marine living.



Q. Do I pay real property taxes for my Floathome?
A. In a word, yes. Floathomes are subject to municipal real property taxes just as other forms of buildings attract such taxes. You are taxed on the full fair market value of the floathome and your leasehold interest in the Marine Lot.


Q. What other costs will I have to pay?
A. In addition to any sub-lease payments made to the marina for your Marine Lot you will have to pay insurance on your floathome, natural gas consumption, power consumption, telephone and cable service charges just as you would in any other type of housing you owned.


Q. May I moor a boat to my Floathome?
A. Some - particularly, the strata communities, include a boat slip alongside the float home without an additional charge. The intention is that your “commuter” or recreation crafts such as kayaks or day sailor boat is alongside. Any larger vessels must be moored in the boat portion of the marina. Most marinas are happy to rent you a space for your boat if they have a space available.

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