Holiday Harbor

Houseboating Frequently Asked Questions

The Harbor Cafe at Shasta Lake in California

Q. How do we prepare for our houseboating vacation?
A. Please review your pre-trip package. The management and crew of Holiday Harbor hope that you have the ultimate houseboating experience on Lake Shasta. With this in mind, we have written some information to be helpful for you to prepare for your vacation. Please refer to our website, refer to our houseboat inventory (a list of what the houseboat is equipped with) and suggested things to bring, and study the map of Lake Shasta.

Q. What kind of paperwork do you require to rent a houseboat?
A. We require a rental agreement and a damage deposit. Upon arrival, you will be required to check in at the reservations department located at the Store. You will need to sign our rental agreement, which states that you are the responsible person for the safe operation and care of the vessel and its equipment. Please share this information with your entire crew to ensure that they too conduct themselves accordingly and have lots of fun!

Damage Deposit
A damage deposit in the amount of $300 (excluding holidays or, by discretion of management, $1000) for houseboats rentals will be required in the form of cash or authorization of credit card. For the Toy Box rentals, we require a damage deposit based on the type of vessel you are renting. We recommend a regular credit card versus a debit card. Debit cards will be held from your account up to seven business days, and once this transaction is run, we will be unable to reverse the transaction when the rental returns. The authorization holds your funds and is an automatic release based on the credit card company.

Hull & Outdrive Damage Waiver
On arrival, you will be offered a Hull and Outdrive Damage Waiver of $12.50 per night. This is an optional charge which would cover the hull and outdrive of the houseboats only. This damage waiver is underwritten by Holiday Harbor itself and is not connected in any way to a California registered insurance company. This waiver covers damage to your houseboat vessel only. This does not cover damage you may cause to other vessels. This damage waiver does not cover liability, personal injury, lost inventory, or negligence to or of the operation of vessel. This is only covers damage to the hull and outdrive above the amount of the damage deposit. THIS IS NOT PROP INSURANCE!

Q. What about insurance for the houseboat, our belongings, etc.?
A. Holiday Harbor carries insurance covering the houseboat (vessels) and its liability requirements, but does not cover you, the crew, your personal belongings, nor a cancellation or shortened trip. In many cases, trip, personal health, accident, and homeowner’s insurance covers the above items, but you may wish to check with your own insurance agent. Many homeowner policies will not cover your legal liability while renting a houseboat.

Q. How old must you be to rent a boat?
A. You must be a minimum of 25 years of age to rent & sign a rental agreement for any of the motorized vessels with Holiday Harbor. The persons operating our vessels must be a minimum of 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license. At this time, California doesn’t require a boating safety license but it would be recommended that you check out for boating safety laws prior to your arrival.

Q. Can we bring our pets?
A. Holiday Harbor is pet friendly. Only domesticated pets are allowed on our vessels. Pets must be on a leash at all times when you are on the premises. You must clean up after your pets and dispose in the trash. Please do not dump fecal matter in the lake.

Q. What should I bring?
A. Please review the list of inventory and recommended things to bring located here. The houseboating experience is like an RV on the water. We equip the houseboat with your essential cooking utensils but you must bring your own bedding, bath, and kitchen linens.

Q. What about groceries and sundries–do we need to bring those with us?
A. Our marina has a general store which sells snack foods, beverages, ice, fishing supplies and bait, souvenirs, and Shasta Lake apparel. It is recommended that you purchase your groceries and sundries in advance, prior to your arrival. We are located approximately 18 miles from reasonable shopping for your provisions to accommodate your trip.

Q. When can we board our houseboat rental?
A. Please be prompt, but not too early. Our boats are not always ready for early arrivals, but it is possible based on workload. Also, if you are running late, please let us know because we will have our crew waiting to give your orientation. Late arrivals after 5:00 p.m. (Value Week and Summer Season) or 4:00 p.m. (Off-Season) may be required to stay the night in the houseboat at the marina docks and receive the check-in and orientation in the morning. Once the houseboat has been checked in, the boat number has been assigned, and vehicle parking permits have been given, you and your party may start the boarding procedure. You will be able to temporarily park in an unloading and loading area close to the docks and then your vehicle will be parked in the designated overflow parking. Holiday Harbor provides carts to transport your belongings from your vehicle to the vessel. At this time, if you have brought your own personal vessels, you may launch. Please do not start the boarding procedures until the check-in procedure has been completed. Any vehicle left in the loading and unloading area for any length of time will be towed at the owner’s expense. All vehicles must have a parking permit.

Q. We have never driven a houseboat or motorized vessel before. Can we really do this?
A. You will be given an orientation of how to operate your houseboat or vessel rental prior to your departure from the marina. All captains must receive the orientation–no matter how experienced they are–since every vessel may be different. During the orientation, the prop and full fuel tank will be checked and noted on the checklist. All controls, features, systems, and their maintenance and safety operations will be shown and explained to you. Navigational procedures such as beaching, anchoring, water safety, boating courtesy, and boat maneuvers will be demonstrated. Over the years, we have found that if people pay attention during the orientation, they have little or no trouble piloting a big houseboat–even on their first try.

Q. What if I forget some of the details you give us during the orientation?
A. Review your On-Board Operation Manual. You will find a detailed operation manual on board to help you troubleshoot any issues–things you might have forgotten or did not understand during the orientation. If you experience any issues during your trip and need assistance, please contact us during our business hours.

Q. We have never been on Lake Shasta. Will you help us with general information and where to go?
A. During your orientation, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about local fishing, favorite coves, and other local tips that will enrich your outdoors experience.

Q. How old does a child have to be to have to wear a life vest while the boat is moving?
A. In every vessel that is 26 feet in length, children 13 years of age or younger must wear a life vest at all times while the boat is moving. We will provide children-size life vests for our ski boat & PWC rentals at the Toy Box rental center. For our houseboat rentals, we do recommend you bring a child-size life vest with you for your trip.

Q. What are the tank capacities of your various houseboats and small boats?
A. Here is a chart of the tank capacities:

BoatFuelFresh WaterSewage TankGreywater Tank
Houseboat55-Gallon 41-Gallon 100-Gallon300-Gallon
Empress & Grand Marquis
Party Cruiser55-Gallon12-Gallon100-GallonDumps in Sewage Tank
Party Barge12-GallonNONE40-GallonNONE
Ski Nautique25–30-GallonNONENONENONE
Fishing Boats5–6-GallonNONENONENONE


Q. How does the rental period end on return?
A. On departure day, we require you to be at the marina no later than the return time. Return times are assigned based on the reservation that was booked. Late returns will be charged an additional fee, based on a per-hour rate. We expect the boat to be returned on time. If you are running late, you must contact our reservations department. Before you arrive at the docks, all dishes must be cleaned and put away, trash must be bagged, and your belongings must be ready to disembark for departure.

Return the houseboat in the same area you left from. Please do not take the houseboat to the gas dock unless otherwise requested. Once the houseboat has been parked, your party will need to retrieve their vehicles, unload belongings from houseboat, and have the houseboat checked off for departure. The captain should report and agree to charges for any losses or damages. Check the boat, fuel, prop, and inventory. Please advise our crew of any mechanical problems or things that need attention so that the boat will be properly serviced for the next rental. Any excessively dirty houseboats that are returned will require additional cleaning and will be charged an additional cleaning fee based on the managers discretion. Please keep the houseboat clean throughout your entire trip and your check-out will be smooth.

Once you receive the final check-out checklist, you will report back to our reservation department to pay for your fuel and any additional fees.

Q. What is the best advice you can give for having a great time on a Lake Shasta houseboating vacation?
A. Whether this is your first time or you’re a repeat offender on Lake Shasta, this is the time to unplug and remove yourself from all the everyday chaos, relax and enjoy the beauty and nature of Lake Shasta, and spend time with your friends and family. Thank you for your time. We are looking forward to making this a great vacation for you!!

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support