SCOTUS rules houseboats are not Vessels

I just saw this but don’t have the link right now. From what I read, some high faluting lawyer or something similar had his houseboat seized for nonpayment of taxes or something under admiralty law. It got to the SCOTUS and those morons ruled a houseboat is not a vessel and therefore could not be seized that way. GD lawyers…

Can someone find the story and post orforward it to me so we can pick it apart? It seems like a fun one to go after at present.

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Your thoughts?

The SCOTUS based its decision on this:

But for the fact that it floats, nothing about Lozman’s home suggests that it was designed to any practical degree to transport persons or things over water.

1 USC 3 describes vessel as “every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”

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There’s a big difference in my mind between a house boat and float home. Seems reasonable to me.

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What’s a float home?

“Capable” is the key word for me.

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its a house built on a barge and then permanently moored.

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Permanently? That means it will never, ever, ever, ever ever, ever, EVER, get underway.


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Here’s a thought, if I attached an outboard to a barge would it make it a boat? Or, would it still be a barge?

That’s what I think of when hear the term houseboat.

They also call these things houseboats:

but all they are to my way of thinking is flimsy underpowered lake boats and the term is misappropriated.

the “its” there refers to a float home not a house boat


A couple of outboards controlled by WiFi from that balcony and you could take your house for a spin on a lake or canal.
(If at night you’d have to carry lanterns)


Both types are referred to as houseboats in California, so region may have something to do with the nomenclature?

A decision would be different if it was based on ‘capable’ as opposed to ‘designed’.

If the house was built on an ATB style barge that was clearly intended to be moved by a tug would it then be a vessel?

A self propelled barge?

Junk,just pay your taxes. Unbelievable how far people will go.

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I’m thinking of Forbes Island
It is capable of self propulsion but I dont think any reasonable observer would call it a vessel.

there’s the largest out drive I’ve ever seen in the shed to the left of the island

“Just let the government take what’s yours” How about NO.