Welcome to the Floating Homes Association

Tenas Chuck Dock

We are an Association of people who live on or own floating homes in Seattle, Washington, USA.

A floating home is a house on a raft semi-permanently moored to a dock. It is always attached to city utilities, including the sewer. These features, and a slug of government regulations, distinguish floating homes from live-aboards and other kinds of boats.

History has squeezed our range down to just Portage Bay and Lake Union within the boundaries of Seattle. There are about 500 legal floating home moorages left from a high of several thousand after World War II.

We've mounted this web site to give the world a peek at us and to help us talk among ourselves.

If you want to learn more, check out our About or Community pages or browse our most recent Newsletter. If you're already a dock denizen, or just interested, please join in the conversation.



Sunday, September 7
12 to 5 PM

Find us on Facebook at Seattle Floating Homes Tour

We are pleased to announce our biennial Floating Homes Tour in 2014!

Tickets will go on sale in mid-July, via Brown Paper Tickets (www.brownpapertickets.com). Tickets will sell for $30 each (plus handling fee).  

Capacity is limited, so advance purchase is recommended. If there are tickets remaining, they will be available for sale the day of the tour, starting at 11 AM on East Lake Union at the tour staging area at 2370 Fairview Ave E.  

Proceeds from the event benefit the Floating Homes Association whose mission is to support and nurture the floating home community and maintain the health of the marine environment.  

This year’s tour will feature homes on the Westlake shore and Eastlake shore of Lake Union. The admission price includes electric boat and bus shuttle transportation between the two sides of the lake. This is a self-guided walking tour and participants should expect to walk between docks, beginning at any home they wish.  Comfortable, slip-on shoes are strongly recommended.  There are stairs and uneven surfaces on some of the docks.  Participants will be required to remove their shoes or put slippers over their shoes; slippers will be provided.  No backpacks or strollers will be allowed in the homes.

The tour will take place rain or shine, and participants of all ages will be required to have a ticket, with the exception of babes in arms.  Free espresso drinks and restroom facilities will be provided.  Refreshment stands will be set up to offer food and drink for purchase.

Find us on Facebook at Seattle Floating Homes Tour to discover more about the tour, view and share photographs, and learn fun facts about Seattle’s houseboat community. 

Juvenile Salmon Use in Lake Union in Relation to Floating Home Complexes

Pentec Logo 120705-1 April 29, 2010 Table of Contents

Juvenile Salmon Use in Lake Union in Relation to Floating Home Complexes
Seattle, Washington

Snorkeling Survey

Snorkeling Survey
Photos by Pentec.
Log of all photos submitted with this report.


During the spring and summer of 2009, Pentec Environmental conducted a juvenile salmon study in Lake Union for the Floating Home Association (FHA).

The principal objective of the study was to conduct site-specific surveys to provide the City of Seattle with improved scientific data with which to develop reasonable guidance and regulations for floating homes; these data were intended to clarify the actual significance, if any, of these structures to outmigrating juvenile salmon.

Observational data were collected around 9 floating home complexes by fisheries biologists at above water and snorkel transect stations using standardized methodologies. To augment findings, the results from recent acoustic tagging studies conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) were also included in this report.

Results and conclusions are as follows:

  • Based on above water and snorkel observation events, juvenile salmonids do not appear to be associated with the Lake Union nearshore either at floating home communities or at the Gas Works Park reference site. Only 1 of 97 observations events conducted between late-April and early-July revealed the presence of juvenile Chinook salmon proximal to floating homes.
  • These findings are consistent with juvenile Chinook salmon acoustic tagging studies conducted during the 2007 and 2008 outmigratory period. These studies showed a pattern of use in Lake Union and throughout the Ship Canal characterized by a general offshore use of aquatic habitats. Juvenile salmonids largely selected against nearshore habitats in South Lake Union and Gas Works Park.
  • Above water and snorkel results showed that nearshore habitats in the vicinity of floating home complexes were used by several fish species, most abundant was the small forage species threespine stickleback. Several other warm water resident species were present in low to moderate numbers including smallmouth bass, yellow perch, prickly sculpin and sunfish. Most warm water residents were juveniles that would not pose a predatory risk to juvenile salmon.
  • No large adult smallmouth bass, northern pikeminnow, or other predatory fish were observed during observation events near or beneath the structures of floating home complexes.
  • The prevalent offshore behavior of juvenile salmon in Lake Union is likely influenced by a number of physical and biotic factors including prey abundance, predator avoidance, and the high level of nearshore development already present in the lake.