Landlubbers are being invited to meet river dwellers in Hounslow during an open day this month.
But how much do you know about living on a houseboat?
We asked boaters in Brentford, who are throwing their doors open to the public on Saturday (April 16), to compile their top eye-opening facts about the floating lifestyle.
Here's what they came up with:
Snug in winter
Boats are WARM and DRY in winter! Small spaces heat up quickly. A 3kw wood burner chucks out enough heat to keep a narrowboat warm without any extra heating costs - burning wood and coal.
Very water efficient
On my boat I use approx 150 gallons of fresh water A MONTH. In the equivalent single person household that would be closer to 800 gallons per month. With no flushing loo, dishwasher or washing machine, consumption is drastically reduced!
Narrowboat hulls less than 8mm thick
Most people live in steel narrowboats (not wood) and on average the hull is 6mm-8mm thick.
Boats need their bottoms scrubbed and painted every three to five years! With docking fees, repairs and paint this can cost upwards of £2,500.
MOTs for boats
Boats have the equivalent of MOTs. They are called Boat Safety Certificates, are required every four years and are highly regulated by the Canals and River Trust.
Built to carry up to 24 tonnes
Narrowboats were originally working boats used to carry the equivalent to 20-24 tonnes of cargo like coal, grain, aggregates, brick, manure etc. Families of six or more used to live in the small back cabin with the cargo hold taking up 75% of the length of the boat.
Licence fee to pay
Boats pay an annual licence fee to use the waterways.
Residential moorings have disposal points for "black water" or human waste so it joins the sewage system.
Strange noises at night
Strange noises at night on the canals are usually ducks eating algae off the hull.
Gurgling and slapping
On tidal waters, it is the gurgling and slapping of a returning high tide you hear.
You get to know the local wildlife well. Just yesterday a swan crash-landed on top of my neighbour's boat, unharmed, and we often see a kingfisher perched on the mooring ropes bobbing his head looking for fish
* Information provided by Sarah Escott and Vicki Cooke from Malthouse Wharf, and Dianne Preston from Town Wharf
See inside boats, view art and tuck into cream teas
Boaters living off Catherine Wheel Road, Brentford, will showcase their art and music during the open day on Saturday, April 16.
Dianne Preston said: "We want to show that we are a friendly vibrant long established community that adds colour and life to Brentford.
"We are keen to share the details of our boat based lifestyle and advocate our moorings as viable, sustainable and friendly communities."
Visitors will be free to wander around the moorings at Town Wharf, Malthouse Wharf and Johnsons Island, which between them are home to 30 people living on 22 boats, from midday to 6pm.
They can meet boaters and take a glimpse inside some of the vessels, speak to local historians and tuck into cream teas.
There will be activities for children, and the chance to browse the studios of artists on Johnsons Island, whose work will be on display at The Brewery Tap pub, in Catherine Wheel Road.
The day will end with a free performance at The Brewery Tap by musicians from Town Wharf, starting at 6pm.
The open day comes as boat dwellers elsewhere in Brentford are locked in a battle with Hounslow Council , which wants to build a new marina on the Thames.