Myth number four: Slip rent is expensive. Well, yes and no. Yes it is expensive when considered in addition to all the other bills associated with modern life. But by it's self, as your only payment, it's dirt cheap! Here are the slip fees from Island Moorings Marina in Port Aransas, where Dad and I used to keep our Chris Craft:
60' - $522
There is a $60 per month liveaboard fee, and electricity is billed separately. So with a moderately sized vessel (in that 32' or less range), you are lookin' at $315 a month, plus electricity, which won't be much, assuming you don't run the A/C at 60 degrees! Not bad at all from a financial standpoint....
O.k., now that we've dispelled some of the myths, lets get into the meat. A liveaboard boat is going to be a very personal choice, but there are a few generalities to take into consideration to help narrow your choices. Hands down, the most "bang for the buck" comes from houseboats. They give the most interior volume per dollar of most power boats, and even most sailboats. Power boats and sailboats each have their advantages and disadvantages as far as living aboard goes... Powerboats generally have a wide beam, or width, that translates into more interior volume. But (there's always a but, ain't there?) some of that space is eaten up by engines and big fuel tanks. Most sailboats don't have big engines or fuel tanks, but their trimmer, rounder hulls reduce interior volume compared to most powerboats of the same length.
Most larger boats' systems are very similar to RV systems. Propane or electric cooking (some boats have alcohol stoves, which are nearly worthless for cooking, and dangerous in my opinion, due to the nearly invisible flame...), independent 12 volt DC and 120 AC (shore power, and/or onboard generator(s)) electrical systems (some larger vessels have 24 volt, and even 36 volt DC systems for cranking over large diesel engines), holding tanks for waste, water tanks, and their associated pumps.... These systems can be as simple or as complex as you imagination (and wallet) can handle, from a Wal Mart battery, 2 wires, and a light bulb, to multiplex systems with microprocessor control and data busses. The options are nearly endless, though I would opt for the simple systems myself, especially considering a SHTF scenario and possible loss of infrastructure to maintain all that jazzy stuff.
Now for some fun stuff: Modifications, and "home brew houseboats"! Say you found yourself a nice older powerboat for a liveaboard. You're never gonna leave the dock, it's just your floating home. Best to buy a nicer hull with some clapped out engines. Yank those engines out, fuel tanks too, and convert the space into a nice "basement" to store your preps in. Install water storage tanks in place of those fuel tanks. Or maybe build in more bunk space. Your imagination is the limit! You could build yourself a "floater" as we call 'em down here, a floating cabin. A home built houseboat.
I've seen everything from resin coated, foam filled 55 gallon drums, to giant blocks of styrofoam, to old boat hulls used as "foundations" for floaters. I suspect the one pictured here uses the styrofoam method.... Again, one is only limited by their imagination as to what kind of floating home one can create, though local laws, regs and such tend to muck up the works now and again. Check with your local nanny.gov to see what yer "allowed" to do....
If all you're looking for is a floating home, propulsion isn't really that big a deal. You'd be surprised what you can tow (very slowly) with a 12 foot dink and a 15 horse outboard. With the promise of a day on the water (some gas money, and a case of beer....), most folks are more than willing to lend a hand (and a boat) if and when you need to move your houseboat. Large lakes abound here in Texas, so there should be plenty of places to set up shop, and the coast presents many opportunities for waterborne living as well.
Keep in mind that all major lakes in Texas, except Caddo, are man made, and therefore dependent on a dam for their existence. If the dam breaks....... Well, you'd be in for a wild ride, at least. And don't be a pain in the boat! Ha ha. Never, ever dump waste, trash, etc. in the water. If you do drive your house around, mind your wake. You are responsible for damage caused by your wake! Learn and abide by the "rules of the road". Respect fellow boaters, swimmers, fishermen...... And learn the meaning of water tight integrity! Otherwise, you just might get that "sinking feeling". Heh heh. Happy boating!