Postindustrial Logo

Marissa Myer, originally from Bethel Park, just outside Pittsburgh, has been living on a houseboat on and off with her dog Kenai since 2018, after she graduated from Graceland University in Iowa. (Photographs courtesy of Marissa Meyer)

Boathouse living

A recent college grad chooses life on the water

~

By Jason Dicker


To some, living on a houseboat may seem a tad unconventional. But for avowed waterperson Marissa Myer, there’s no place better than her floating home.

The 24-year-old Myer, originally from Bethel Park, just outside Pittsburgh, has been living on a houseboat on and off with her dog Kenai since 2018, after she graduated from Graceland University in Iowa.

“The ocean is my number one passion, along with loving life.”

“The ocean is my number one passion, along with loving life,” Myer said. “I just thought no better way than having my first house being a boat house, instead of somewhere that will latch me down in one spot.”

Myer documents her high-seas lifestyle on her YouTube channel Houseboat Girl, where she offers tips for people looking to make a go of water living. When she’s not producing new videos, she works in marketing for an Annapolis marina.

One of the greatest challenges of living on a houseboat is the small space. To live on a houseboat, you have to be low maintenance, Myer said.

“For example, I am lucky enough to not have all my belongings in there (houseboat) and had some of my stuff in storage or family places,” she said. “ You kind of learn to use less stuff, because having a lot…can get messy in the boathouse.”

The allure of the open water isn’t the only reason Myer lives on her boat, “Janet Sue,” named after her mother.

Myer notes that it’s cheaper than owning an actual house — solar panels attached to the boat keep her utility costs low.

She said she paid $48,000 for the houseboat — less than the cost of most homes.

But there are the occasional disadvantages to life on the water —  the Janet Sue was damaged by Hurricane Isaias last year.  The engine was ruined, and some of the windows were broken out, she said.

Myer said The Janet Sue will be repaired soon, and she plans to move to Annapolis. 

“I’m excited to go back,” she said.

Jason Dicker is a student at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he is editor of the student paper. He is originally from Pittsburgh.

Related Stories

Support us today for as little as $5 per month. Subscribe now

Support Postindustrial

A morning roundup of headlines about the Rust Belt and Appalachia, delivered straight to your inbox.