“Can I bring my coffee machine?” A quick guide to electricity on houseboats.

Of all the questions prospective houseboat hirers have for us, by far the most frequently asked are about electricity on board.

So here’s our quick guide…

Houseboats, just like your car, have a 12 Volt DC electrical system connected to batteries and the engines/solar panels that recharge them.

Your houseboat has between three and six batteries on board;

• One/two to start the engine.
• Two-four to provide electricity for all onboard systems such as the lights, fridge and instruments such as your GPS.

This means that 12 Volt power is always available on board.

Additionally, all our houseboats also have at least one ‘inverter’ on board. An inverter is a small piece of equipment that is designed to transform DC current into AC current at any frequency or voltage.

In layman’s terms the inverter converts 12v power commonly found on boats into the same 240v power that you have at home.

What does this mean when you’re on your houseboat holiday?

Charging your mobile ‘phone
All our houseboats have USB charging facilities on board with multiple USB ports available. These USB ports are used for charging mobile phones and other small electrical items like iPads or camera battery chargers.

If you think that you’re going to need to charge multiple phones at the same time, then you can bring along a USB splitter or bring a power bank that can be charged overnight on the boat and then used the next day to charge your phones.

Can I charge my laptop on board my houseboat?
This is where the inverter comes in. Simply plug your standard 240v charging cable into the inverter and you can charge a laptop.

What CAN’T I run on my houseboat’s electricity system?
As previously mentioned the electricity system on your houseboat is 12v and this means that the following appliances won’t work aboard:

• Engels fridges.
• Hairdryers.
• Sandwich makers.
• Rice cookers.
• Toasters.
• Electric kettles.
• Breadmakers.
• Sandwich makers.
• Microwaves.
• Coffee makers.

In fact, pretty much every household appliance.

I have Sleep Apnea, can I still go on a houseboat holiday?
Yes! You can bring a CPAP machine with you on your houseboat but we ask that you advise us beforehand so that we can ensure the correct equipment for powering your machine is on board. In most cases we can provide an additional battery and inverter for dedicated use with your CPAP machine – or you can bring your own.

Watching TV on your houseboat.
Most of our boats have Smart TVs on board. As well as being able to watch the digital channels of the major TV networks, if you have an account with a streaming platform such as Netflix, Stan, Binge, Prime etc you will be able to use your account to watch those.

At the time of writing 15 of our fleet of 16 boats have Smart TVs. Our houseboat Pelican has a terrestrial TV (this means no reception in certain areas).

If you have any questions about the power available on your houseboat drop us a line at or give us a call on (08) 9535 9898.

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