Holiday homes, restaurants, even cities may soon be coming to a quiet beach or harbour near you, reports Sam Fortescue
As boats become ever more like homes on water, something else is changing: designers and builders have been turning their attention to the market for floating buildings. New concepts to emerge range from a thatched beach cottage atop a catamaran hull to an entire floating city, generating its own food and power. The one thing they have in common is they’re movable structures that can be parked wherever they can drop the hook. And soon they could be coming to a peaceful estuary near you.
There is an opportunity here, of course, to create additional living and leisure space in areas where the land is already choked with people. Imagine being able to moor a temporary holiday village off Bournemouth Beach, for example, or create a restaurant off Dartmouth without affecting the townscape.
But the flip side of the coin is that someone could park a large floating structure right in front of your sea view, or occupy a quiet, sensitive environment. Imagine, as sailors, falling asleep in a deserted anchorage and waking up with a throbbing beach bar right next to us!
“If a craft is movable and can drop an anchor, it would be classed as ‘any other vessel’ and would not need consent,” confirms Martin Willis, executive officer of the UK Harbour Masters’ Association. “But if it’s a commercial business, it’d be subject to the relevant regulation – there are no rights to come in and open a business in a harbour without the Harbour Master’s consent.” Alternatively, it may fall under MCA coding as a passenger craft.
In some parts of the world,