Frequently Asked Questions

We've got the answers to all your questions - and some you'd never think to ask. Choose a topic below to read through a list of questions and answers. If you have a question of your own that we haven't answered here, feel free to contact us.

 


What will it cost to rent a houseboat for our vacation?

Each Houseboat Vacation with Waterway is based on the size of the boat, the season, features and the number of people it can accommodate.

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How far ahead do I have to book a vacation?

We recommend you reserve your houseboat rental 6 months to a year in advance, but we can usually accommodate most requests, as long as you have some flexibility in dates and houseboat models. Remember that our off seasons offer some spectacular weather, are less crowded and are available at a very affordable price. It's also always worthwhile calling us even on short notice, as we occasionally get cancellations that allow us to help you with those last minute vacation plans. If you are requiring very specific dates for your vacation, we highly recommend that you book 12 months in advance.

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What other costs are involved with houseboating vacations?

Your costs are minimal. You pay for the gas and propane you use during your vacation and daily insurance during your trip. Your gas costs will vary depending on how you operate your boat and how much time you spend cruising. Most of our customers spend around $110-$150/day on gas, this is an estimate only but is a good figure for budgeting purposes. Propane also will vary with use and would average between $50-100 per trip. In addition, each sailing will be charged a $50 environmental fee. Your insurance will be $34/day plus applicable taxes.

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When do I have to pay for my houseboat holiday?

We require a $750 ($1,500 for the magnificent Legacy) Reservation Deposit (which is applied directly to your rental) on booking. Your full rental plus taxes will be due 60/90 days (depends on boat model) prior to your sailing date. A $2,500 - $7,500 security/damage deposit is due upon arrival and refundable on return - less any damages.

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When does my vacation start?

The boarding times for AM sailings are 8:00 AM until 12:00 noon. Bon Voyage** will board between 6:00 and 8:00 PM and Pre-boarding will be between 8:00 and 10:00 PM. Our office opens at 8:00 AM. If you arrive prior to boarding time, we will give you a pager and let you know when your houseboat rental is ready to go.

PLEASE NOTE: The times above are our goal, however we are at the mercy of a number of factors, including but not limited to what time our previous guests return to dock. Please help us by adhering to your assigned return time. We will do everything we can to assure that the times stated above are met. We thank you for your patience.

** Bon Voyage sailings may be limited to Mara Lake on the night of departure, especially as light wanes later in the season or in the event of unavoidable late departures. We do not offer the program before June 1st, or after August 31st, due to the amount of daylight available. If we are unable to get you off dock that evening you will be refunded the difference between the cost of a Bon Voyage and an early board.

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Do we need experience to drive a houseboat?

We do require you to have a valid drivers license and our knowledgeable dock staff will instruct you on all aspects of your houseboat operation. We highly recommend that you obtain a Pleasure Craft  Operator Card prior to your arrival. This is an easy course available online at:

Get Your Pleasure Craft Operating Card

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How old do you have to be to rent a houseboat?

Captains and co-captains must have a valid driver's license and be at least 19 years of age (25 years of age for the Legacy class houseboats).

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How long will it take us to drive to Sicamous?

6 hours from Calgary or Vancouver, 7 hours from Spokane, Washington and 8 hours from Seattle or 11 hours from Portland, Oregon.

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Where is Sicamous?

Sicamous is located on Shuswap Lake between Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley and Kamloops in the Thompson Nicola Valley.

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What is the lake like?

Shuswap Lake is a natural lake with no dams on it. It is a deep lake but warms up to about 23 C or 75 F in July and August. People are swimming in the lake from the middle of May right up until mid or even late September. Fishing is excellent in the early spring and late fall.

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Do you allow pets on board your houseboats and what is the cost?

We recommend that you find alternate accommodation for your pets, as they seldom enjoy being confined on the houseboat, but yes we will consider small pets (limited to cats and small dogs). Please discuss with our Reservations Specialists about the pet policy.

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What does the houseboat come equipped with?

Most of the time boats are equipped with bimini top, rear deck shower, complimentary high speed internet hook-up, TV/CD player, fish finder, DVD, water slide, 4-8 person hot tubs, propane barbecues, VHF radios, fridges, stoves, swim grids, child resistant railings, fully equipped kitchens, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, filtered water, cooler, 110 Volt power converters, microwave, private staterooms. We also have boats that are equipped with dishwasher, double fridges, at least 2 bathrooms, fireplace, washer and/or dryer, and many have satellite dish, upper deck wet bar, and seadoo ramps.

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What should I bring from home?

You supply all your bedding, pillows, blankets, bath mats, towels, etc. Basically if you launder it at home you should bring it from home. We offer some optional rentals such as linens and deck chairs/tables, but if you have room, by all means, bring them from home as well. We do suggest you remember games, sun screen, hats, sunglasses, DVD’s or CD's as well as golf clubs or water toys.

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How fast will my houseboat go and where do I go at night?

Your houseboat will travel up to 6 knots or 7 miles an hour. We do recommend a specific travel speed to allow you to achieve the best fuel consumption. Before dark you must "beach" your houseboat. You will be instructed on how to do this during your Captain's Orientation and you will quickly realize there are countless beaches to call your own or to share with neighboring boaters.

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Does the lake get rough or will I get seasick?

For the most part Shuswap Lake is fairly calm, in fact you will notice a lack of sailboards and sailboats due to this reason. We do get brief windy periods from time to time. Your houseboat has a very wide stable base and for the most part you will not even notice the winds.

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What is there to do on the Lake?

The activities on the lake are only limited by your imagination. Shuswap Lake offers 3 golf courses to play, white water rafting, fine dining, taverns and pubs, parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, hiking, fishing, mountain bike trails, historical sites to visit, archaeological sites and of course beaches, beaches and more beaches.

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I hear there are a lot of houseboats on the lake, will I get any privacy?

Shuswap Lake has over 650 miles/1,000 kilometers of shoreline, there are numerous beaches large enough to accommodate several boats or small beaches just big enough for one. So if you are looking for privacy find your beach early and call it home for the evening, if you are interested in meeting new people or making new friends pick one of the larger beaches and await your neighbors' arrival.

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Do the houseboat doors lock?

Most of the doors will lock, but as a good portion of the lake is not accessible by roads, we have never experienced a need for them to be used.

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I hear they charge to use Provincial Parks on the Lake and how much does it cost?

Yes, the provincial government does charge for park usage but Waterway Houseboats purchases a fleet package so all of our boats can use the provincial parks at no charge to you, the guest.

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What type of fish are in the lake and when is a good time for fishing?

Shuswap Lake has rainbow trout, lake trout and Kokanee. Salmon run in the fall. Early spring and late fall are the best times for fishing, but the experienced fisherman usually manages to go home with a story or two.

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When is the best time to come for good weather?

Our tanning season usually starts in the middle of May and continues right up to the middle of September. Of course this does not mean we get endless sun, but the air maintains a comfortable temperature even in the less than perfect weather conditions.

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What is the average temperature during July and August?

We range between 18 C / 65 F - 36 C / 96 F but can get up to 40 C / 104 F from time to time.

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Can I water ski behind my houseboat?

No, your houseboat is designed to maintain a leisurely pace so you can enjoy the scenery the Shuswap has to offer.

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How many people can I put on my houseboat over your recommended number?

You are not allowed any more people on the boat than the allotted coast guard and insurance approved capacity.

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If I have friends coming to join us, do you have a way of transporting them to my boat or must I come back to pick them up?

We will call a water taxi service to taxi you out on the lake. you will be charged by the taxi company.

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What do we do in the case of a medical emergency on the lake?

Your boat is equipped with a VHF Radio to link you to our home base at all times. This radio is monitored 24 hours a day by up to 3 different employees. So no matter what time of day or night you require our assistance we will have somebody standing by for you.

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Will our family be able to contact us if necessary?

Yes, just make sure your family has our office phone number, and we will relay any messages to you via your V.H.F. radio. However you must be monitoring your radio to receive the message. We require all guests fill out a Boat Manifest prior to leaving dock. This manifest ensures that we know which boat every guest is on in the event of a family emergency.

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Will my cellular phone work on the lake?

Some work quite well, others not very well at all or only at specific locations. You should still give family and friends our office number, as this will be your best way of ensuring their messages reach you. If necessary we will advise you where the nearest telephone is to you so you can speak to the caller in person.

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Is there any extra precautions we need to take with children on board?

Children will have a wonderful time on board a houseboat, but certainly require attentive supervision. Waterway recognizes this and offers this service to our guests with children:

For your peace of mind....

Waterway Houseboats is pleased to offer Safety Turtles for a nominal fee of $50 per trip as a tool in assisting in your child’s security. These devices do not substitute for proper parental supervision. Reserve at the time of your booking.

Safety Turtle helps to protect your children.
Safety Turtle is the only safety device that protects your children from water accidents by sounding an alarm the instant he or she falls or ventures into the water.

Safety Turtle is an effective "last line of defense" to protect your children. Simply lock the Turtle wristband around your child's wrist. If he or she falls into the water, a loud alarm will sound at the Base Station.

  • A Standard Safety Turtle alarm system consists of one Base Station (AC powered) and one or more Turtle wristbands.
  • The Base Station should be placed inside the house, within 100 feet (30 meters) of the pool or body of water.
  • Turtle wristbands are available in six attractive colors. Any number of Turtles of the same color can be used with one Base Station.

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