"Aqua Lodge" houseboats docked at a marina are houses according to Virginia state agencies. But they are boats according to the Tennessee manufacturer.
Bob Grabb, head of habitat management for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, notes tat many of the Aqua Lodges at docked at Bay Marine lack engines and serve as weekend cottages. "They are what we're calling house barges," he says. Virginia state agencies are concerned about house boats decreasing waterfront property values, and the impact of house boats on diminishing oyster reefs and environmentally sensitive submerged aquatic grass beds.
Aqua Lodges come with a picket fence and shutters, they are also equipped with a bracket for an outboard motor and a helm. Aqua Lodge spokesperson Barry Miller claims, "They're boats. What [state agencies] are trying to do is segregate my boat from anybody else's and restrict my trade just because they don't like the way it looks." One property owner, who can see the marina where 11 Aqua Lodges are docked, complained to state authorities about the house boats. She says, "It looks like a trailer park in the water."