Renting a Houseboat Logistics, Lake Powell

For our 5 day/4 night trip we had a deluxe 48’ boat for 4 people that could sleep up to 12 – 3 bedroom areas (the smallest is an alcove off the corridor to the back door of the boat),  the dining table and couch both convert into beds and two double sleeping mats on the upper deck. Quarters would be pretty cramped for all but the closest of friends with the boat fully occupied.

There is one bathroom with a 10 gallon hot water tank. We had difficulty getting consistent hot water.


We found the kitchen barely adequate to cook simple meals. The oven takes forever to get hot, if ever it does. We gave up on it. The microware took about twice as long as a normal one. The propane stove top worked normally as well as the gas grill on the front of the boat. The refrigerators have ample space but they can’t be trusted for perishables such as meat. They have a large ice chest on the front deck for those, which worked well with 3 blocks of ice that lasted the entire 4-night trip in early October. They have most of the basic cooking utensils but absolutely no cooking ingredients. The available kitchen equipment and cleaning supplies were true to the list provided.

Planning Your Trip

At optimum fuel economy the houseboat travels about 5mph but depending on the water level you may be able to take shortcuts between mile markers to save time. Although it seemed we went slower between some markers, like around 22 to 25, there were other areas where we went faster such that on the longer trips between camps we averaged about 5-6 mileage markers per hour.

If you want to camp at specific canyons be sure to check the conditions at the current water level, as access to some canyons can literally dry up when the water level is low. For example, during our trip there was no access to Cathedral Canyon and in Padre Bay the access from between Gunsight Canyon and Padre Canyon was above the water level.

Renting, Payment and Checking in

There is only one houseboat rental concession for Lake Powell, Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas. We rented the houseboat out of Wahweap Marina online through their informative website. We didn’t have a lot of options as this was a late decision – made in late July – to rent a boat for mid-October. Fees are paid in advance including a $600 deposit.

The check-in process was straightforward and went smoothly – 10 minutes of paperwork, followed by a boat walk-through to show you how everything works. There’s a motorized cart porter service that will transport your belongings from your car to the boat. It’s free but tips are appreciated. If you are uncomfortable taking the boat in and out of the marina they will provide a pilot for you.

The return process went equally smoothly. There were no other boats at the gas pump when we returned to the marina. You need to fill the boat with gas and show the receipt to the checkout attendant. Again if you have difficult maneuvering the boat a pilot is provided to help you get the boat to the gas pump and then to a bay at the marina. The checkout attendant is most interested in the condition of the propellers, the only thing not covered by insurance. Once the boat is checked out the same motorized carts are available for transportation of your belonging back to your car. Without any delays the whole process took about an hour.

For links to all the posts in this series see the Houseboating on Lake Powell page.

October 11-15, 2020