Classification Scheme for Houseboats

A houseboat holiday in Kerala is increasingly becoming popular with domestic and international tourists. Consequently, the increasing number of houseboats plying in the backwaters has multiplied in numbers. In such a situation there is an urgent need to evaluate the safety and service standards of houseboats and classify them accordingly as per established standards. This stand was adopted as the first step by the Kerala Government towards sustaining tourism activity.

Criteria for classification of houseboats

luxury backwater cruises

Gold star Kerala Houseboat

(Houseboats Under this category)
A/C Deluxe and Luxury Houseboats
kerala deluxe houseboat

Silver Star Kerala Houseboat

(Houseboats Under this category)
NON A/C Standard Houseboats
deluxe houseboat alleppey

Green Palm Kerala Houseboat

(Houseboats Under this category)
Non mechanized Punting / Electric Engine houseboats
those are NON polluting

Houseboats fulfilling these essential conditions are prescribed by the Department of Tourism and an additional five of the ten optional conditions will be awarded the status of Gold Star / Deluxe houseboats.

Houseboat Operator generally fulfilling the essential conditions will be awarded the Silver Star.

Essential conditions for approval for the sanction of Houseboats

The General construction of the houseboats in Kerala should be good; the hull and vallavara should be of good condition; flooring should be of marine plywood.
Size of rooms in houseboats at Alleppey should not be lesser than specifications mentioned below:
Bed rooms 80 sq. ft (minimum width - 7 ft)
Living/ dining 80 sq. ft
Kitchen 20 sq. ft
Attached toilet 20 sq. ft (minimum width - 3 ft)
Common toilet 10 sq. ft
Passages 3 ft wide
Bedrooms should be provided with attached toilets. The toilets for guests should be of western style and should be cleanly maintained. A common toilet for the staff of the houseboat should also be provided.
The kitchen must have provision for protection from hazards by fire:
Houseboats at Alleppey must use fire-proof materials
Having on hand at least two fire extinguishers
Storage hold in the kitchen must be hygienic. Food materials on board should be packed properly and stored in a clean environment.
Fuel storage should not be near the kitchen.
Houseboats in Kerala should have at least 2 life buoys and 2 fire buckets.
Furniture provided at the Alleppey houseboats should be of good quality.
Clean and good quality linen and toiletries should be used. Crockery and glassware should be of excellent quality.
Houseboats must maintain and regularly update log books and tourist records.
The Houseboat should have obtained a valid license from an appropriate authority for plying in the Kerala backwaters.
Name, KIV (Kerala Inland Vessel) number and approval number should be painted on both sides of the houseboat.

Optional Conditions for approval of Kerala Houseboats

The general construction of the houseboats at Alleppey should show distinctive qualities of luxury. Houseboats should be furnished with superior quality carpets, curtains, furniture etc.
Alternative arrangements for discharging solid wastes and sewage & scientifically designed septic tanks and chemical toilets.
Houseboat should be battery operated.
Provision for 24 hour electricity on board the houseboat for lights and fans.
Provision for 24 hour hot and cold running water in the houseboat.
Availability of facility for purifying water on board the houseboat.
The houseboat must have a provision of a refrigerator or ice-box on board.
Arrangements for providing guests a menu of their choice on the houseboat.
Staff members interacting with guests at Kerala Houseboats should be experienced and conversable in the English.
Houseboats approved by the Department of Tourism should fly a flag inscribed with the mnemonic of the accorded status. The flag will be approved by the Department of Tourism. Those satisfying the essential conditions and adhering to eco-friendly measures prescribed by the Department of Tourism will be awarded the Green Palm Certificate
Alternate arrangements should be made to discharge solid wastes and sewage by providing scientifically designed septic tanks or bio-chemical toilets.
Alternate sources of energy for fuel, like solar power, to be used for heating, lighting etc.
Arrangement of a system of separating the recyclable from non-recyclable garbage. Thereby organizing the disposal of non-biodegradable garbage in such a manner so that the natural environment is not harmed.
Use of paper bags, cloth bags and other alternatives instead of polythene bags, wherever possible.
Use of recycled paper for stationery and other publicity materials.
Use of locally available ethnic materials for construction of houseboats and furniture. At least 75% of the workers in a houseboat should be employed from districts of the houseboat's operation.
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