WASHINGTON — A house that sits on the water is a floating home, not a vessel, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
The 7-2 decision upholds laws in California, Washington and other states that say houseboats are governed by local laws applying to homes, not maritime law that regulates vessels.
Justice Stephen Breyer said a vessel is something that is “actually used for transportation.” It is not “anything that floats,” he added.
The high court ruling is a victory for a Florida man who parked his gray, two-story houseboat at a marina in Riviera Beach, Fla. City officials later seized it for unpaid fees and had it destroyed. Their decision was upheld under federal maritime law.