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Houseboating Questions

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Saylorsburg...
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Houseboating Questions

My family (husband, myself, 3 kids ages 5-13) are excited for our upcoming rental from Houseboat Holidays in August. (We're taking my mother-in-law along, too.)

We have some question that we're hoping someone can answer: Do you recommend we take or rent a canoe/kayak/dighy?

We are considering it because my husband (who is going to the houseboat captain) thinks it might help if we need to get a rope to a dock to tie up, or in case all the dock space is taken at some islands and we want to just anchor and take the dighy to shore. Or, just to explore in places that we can't get the house boat.

Also, how early in the day or how often is all the dock space filled at the Canadian Park Islands? (Our rental includes a pass for free dockage at the Canadian Parks.) What about on the New York side?

How much hassle will we have to cross the border multiple times? We are all US citizens with passports.

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Houseboating Questions

Hi Family1991,

Welcome to the GANANOQUE (1000 Islands) TRAVEL FORUM.

And I see you are also NEW to the FORUMS... so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

As you can see by looking back thru (or doing a FORUM SEARCH) there are not a lot of past topics on Houseboating in the 1000 Islands.

The majority of your Questions will be best asked to the Company who is renting you the Houseboat (particularly so for the question on a dingy etc)

Based on chats I've had with Boaters over the years, the Parks Canada - St Lawrence Islands National Park Islands are high in demand when it comes to docking... information about the Park and Docking info can be found on their website.

Canada Parks - St Lawrence Islands National Park = www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/on/lawren/index.aspx

As for the other islands... the majority of them are privately owned... so other than the mainland Towns & Villages not a lot of places that you can just pull up to and expore freely.

As for the Border...

You will have to call in and report by cellphone... or call in when you land... or proceed to a Customs Office whenever you come ashore.

Details can be found on the Canadian Border Services Agency Website, and the US Customs & Border Protection Website (see info here on the 1000 Islands International Tourism Website) = www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/…

NOTE - Thru the heart of the 1000 Islands the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Shipping Lane is on the US Side of the River... the giant ocean going vessels & Lakers that use this channel can produce a HUGE Wake that can be problematic to boaters... especially novices.

Again in all cases... info on Navigation, The Border Crossings, and how to make the most of your Houseboat Holiday I suggest that you consult / defer to the advice given out by the Company from whom you are doing the boat rental from.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 08 August 2011, 19:36
Saylorsburg...
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9 posts
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2. Re: Houseboating Questions

Thanks for the reply!

I had been to the websites, and I have asked most of the questions of the rental company. They said the canoe/kayak/dighy was up to us. I was hoping someone with past experience could give us a boater's perspective.

I did not find much on houseboating in the Thousand Islands on TripAdvisor.

We canoe regularly on a lake here in PA, but have never done a large boat before. Thanks for the tip on the wakes.

I will try to post an update to the fourm when we return, and will also do a review of the rental company, if there is a way to post that.

Saylorsburg...
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3. Re: Houseboating Questions

Just got back from our houseboating vacation. It was amazing! We totally recommend it and Houseboat Holidays. (I requested to have Houseboat Holidays listed on TripAdvisor, and I will review them if they get added.)

Here are the answers to my own questions, in case anyone else searches this in the future:

We did rent a canoe from Ahoy Rentals in Kingston (they delivered and picked up) and are really glad we did. We like to canoe, and really enjoyed doing that from the houseboat. Also, there was one night that we couldn't find a place to dock and anchored just off one island. We used the canoe to get to shore and to check the anchor.

We saw others who stowed the canoe on the roof while underway, but it was too large to store on deck, and was too heavy for us to lift to the roof from the water, so we towed it. It was a bit of a hassle as you need to have someone there to tend the tow lines when starting and stopping, but worth it to us.

In mid-August, we found that dock space at some islands fills up by mid-day, others by around 3-4pm, some later. But, the first day, when the weather was a bit rainy, it was us and one other boat on Gordon Island for the whole night. (But, when we went back a couple days later, there was nowhere to dock at Gordon at 4:30pm.)

For border crossing, we got a tip from Houseboat Holidays to get to Boldt Castle by 10am, which we did, and there was no line. Reporting back into Canada is much easier: just about any marina has a customs phone. We used Andress Boat works in Rockport.

Houseboat Holidays gives you well-marked charts, showing easy navigation routes that you can use to drive from buoy to buoy. No marine radio, compass, or GPS onboard, and bringing your own is helpful, but not necessary. Since we never boated before, we found it very helpful to learn how to tie a bow line, bow line on a bight, and cleat hitch and practice docking with one of the free simulators you can find online. (Boats take 10-15 seconds to respond to helm changes, and that takes some practice to get used to.) BoatingUS has a more involved 3D simulator that helps teach how to read charts and navigate from buoy to buoy.

Great vacation! Highly recommend it!

Ottawa, Canada
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48 reviews
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4. Re: Houseboating Questions

Hi Family1991,

Great TripReport... thanks so much for posting and sharing with others.

Sounds like you all had a good time... your info will most definitely go a long way to helping out other Travellers.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS... Must say I was surprised to hear that there was NO Marine Radio on board... I sort of thought that was a Safety MUST HAVE !!

Keedysville...
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5. Re: Houseboating Questions

HI

sounds like you had a great time. We are planning a houseboat trip in August 2012. Did you have a plan or destination for each day? Did you find it difficult to find restaurants? Did you ever dock close to the shore with just an anchor? Any advice is greatly appreciated. retiredDiana

6. Re: Houseboating Questions

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