Floating in Place

Experience a new way to stay on the Sound

By: Marty Wentzel

For the longest time, Gig Harbor awaited my family’s visit. It lays claim to everything we savor in a city: an oceanfront setting, intriguing history, charismatic shops and restaurants and recreation by land and sea. Problem was we couldn’t decide where to stay. Finally, on a whim, I looked up “gig” in the dictionary and found not only the definition “a small, light boat” but inspiration for our accommodations. When in Gig Harbor, why not stay on a gig?

That’s how we ended up boarding a Pleasure Craft Marina houseboat, the latest lodgings to steer into the sweet little town on South Puget Sound. Six floating, fiberglass cabins dock along a private, gated pier one-hour’s drive from Seattle and steps away from the attractions of the maritime destination.

Reminiscent of an RV, each 45-foot two-bedroom houseboat features one long series of rooms, with sliding dividing walls. From the moment I stepped inside, I knew it was designed by a highly organized thinker. The clean white decor and clever use of mirrors made the space feel bigger than its 525 square feet, and a remarkable number of amenities came together like a puzzle. The microwave oven sat snug in the wall above the three-burner propane stove, which cuddled up to the refrigerator and freezer. The dining room table sat six, although our daughter preferred eating on a stool by the bar. The one-guest-at-a-time bathroom still managed to squeeze in a full shower. The living room couch opened into a third two-person bed, and a flat-screen TV and radio/tape/CD player fit in without creating clutter.

Our favorite houseboat hangout was the forward sundeck, providing a direct view of Mt. Rainier, snow-capped symbol of the Pacific Northwest. Kicking back on deck chairs, we waved to the passing parade of rowboats, sailboats, inflatables, kayaks, motorboats and dinghies. In the morning, we ate breakfast by the water while counting seabirds. At night, the same spot treated us to twinkling stars and harbor lights.

The houseboats entered the market in early June. Since then, clients have heard about them through word of mouth and flyers, said Anne Lane, who handles bookings for the Pleasure Craft Marina houseboats.

“We’ve been sold out most weekends this summer,” Lane said, “but it’s hard to predict business starting in September.”

Clients should know that when they book a Pleasure Craft Marina houseboat, taking it out for a spin is strictly taboo. But if they’re anything like my family and me, they’ll have a high time at sea without ever leaving the marina.


Pleasure Craft Marina Houseboats
3215 Harbor View Dr.
Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Be Aware: Bath towels, soap, toilet paper, dish detergent and paper towels are provided. Clients should bring additional toiletries like shampoo and hair dryers. The kitchen is well-stocked with cooking and dining needs, including a coffeemaker.
Rates: Nightly rates range from $149-$179. Ask about rates for weekly rentals. Honeymoon, birthday, anniversary and special occasion packages are available.
Commission: 10 percent