The houseboats used for cruising on the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, are innovative adaptations of the traditional cargo carriers along the network of inland water navigation routes in the western coastal lowlands of the state, especially in southern Kerala. Such cargo crafts made of local tropical woods like jack tree, teak and coconut fiber ropes, were made in different sizes and capacities for carrying loads. There were skilled carpenters in Kerala, who made such country crafts using local materials. Different types of watercrafts were made for different uses. The famous snake boats were for military / army logistics to quickly transport soldiers and materials along and across wide and long waterways during the early and medieval centuries.
Usually houseboats are defined as places to live in on rivers or estuaries or lakes. Families without regular houses, used to live permanently in the houseboats. But in Kerala, floating houses were not common. The present-day houseboats are meant to take tourists on sightseeing tours in the extensive backwaters of Kerala. The natural beauty and scenery of the backwaters can be enjoyed by cruising on the houseboats comfortably.