Boats docked at Slaughterhouse Island. 2006

Houseboats refers to the much anticipated (by some) Greek community's annual houseboating trip during Memorial Day weekend. Quite possibly the most insane, fun, exciting, AMAZING weekend ever is when thousands of college kids gather at Lake Shasta for 4 days and 3 nights of complete drunken debauchery. However, houseboating is not restricted to that weekend alone - getting a group together and renting out one, two, or even three houseboats can be an amazing time, too. The University Covenant Church youth groups also go houseboating on Lake Shasta, probably with slightly different activities.

Note: Houseboats is a university-sanctioned or sponsored event due to ASUCD support of a houseboat dedicated to maintaining the safety of all occupants of the lake during the weekend by means of a combination of Club Finance Council funding and a line-item in the grants budget. Since the student government does pay for paramedics to troll the lake with water, condoms, sun screen, and granola bars, and ASUCD is an element of Student Affairs, the university does de-facto sponsor Houseboats.

RESPONSE FROM UC DAVIS MAY 2014: In an open letter to students, officials in Student Affairs issued a travel advisory in advance of the Memorial Day weekend. “We are aware that students from a variety of local universities travel to Lake Shasta each Memorial Day weekend to participate in house boating activities. While many groups from UC Davis attend, this event is not sanctioned or sponsored by UC Davis. Over the years, students have suffered injuries and a few students have died due to accidents associated with this event. In addition, the Lake Shasta area is generally out of cell range service, making it difficult to obtain medical assistance when needed. We encourage all students to consider the risks associated with attending this event.” The administrators urged students to make informed decisions, and pointed to these relevant resources: Lake Shasta Boating Safety and UC Davis’ Safe Party website . “Every Aggie matters and we encourage you to enjoy your holiday weekend in a responsible manner. On behalf of the university, Student Affairs and ASUCD, we wish you a safe Memorial Day weekend.”

Also the reason so many girls and boys fill the ARC in May is with hopes of achieving their ideal "Houseboat-ready" bod. Girls are in bikinis the entire time so preparations must be made months in advance.

Apparently if you don't have a near death experience while house boating (i.e. passing out in an innertube and falling off, only to be noticed by another reviler who dives in and saves you, or misjudging the hop from houseboat to houseboat and crack your head etc) you are doing it wrong (or at least that is the mentality it seems everyone has, I myself have never been)StevenDaubert

Safeboats and Criticism

Some people chillin on houseboats.

Death was fairly common, given the most excellent combination of alcohol + water + party atmosphere. Since at least one reveler dies every year (not always from Davis), providing a "safe boat" has been a campaign goal of student government officers for a while. This goal was accomplished in 2008, with ASUCD and Onsite Medical Service creating the first Safe Boat. The program has been run every year since. This has caused some controversy because the University doesn't want to assume legal liability for drunk people. Thanks, Risk Management!

Many students are also upset because they don't think the money they pay to go to this school should be used to enable irresponsible behavior by a small portion of the student body. For those who worked hard in high school and dreamt of going to a good university, full of mature and intellectual people, Houseboats can be seen as a huge middle finger. It is the biggest manifestation of the YOLO, plastic, ignorant party scene that sadly has a presence on this campus. Indeed, it can feel like deception to find out college is full of the same people you detested in high school: void of intellectual curiosity but full of discrimination and judgment of those who do not strive to be like them, and anyone who does not fit into a view of the world as a porn set comprised of Barbie and Ken dolls.

According to the Aggie, ASUCD has funded the safeboat since 2008 through a mix of ASUCD funds and fundraising specifically for safeboats. In 2011, the safeboat cost ASUCD $5500. It provides free medical services 24/7, water, condoms, and granola bars. OnSite Medical Service also donates thousands of dollars to this cause by subsidizing over $15,000 in medical costs, providing 10-12 EMT's and Paramedics, medical equipment (including safety blankets, first aid, and trauma management), as well as advanced medical direction throughout the entire weekend at no cost to their patients. OMS provides the Safe in SafeBoats and they are proud to be a part of this ASUCD initiative.

In 2012 the safeboat was only given $500 from ASUCD directly, leading to a heated argument during one of the budget hearings. During the hearings one senator said they thought it would be unfair to expect the people who go to Houseboats to pay an extra dollar or two to ensure their safety.


A view of some of the boats.

  • Flotation devices
  • At least 4 kegs per boat
  • Hamburgers
  • Hot dogs
  • Kraft Singles
  • Beer bongs. Lots and lots of beer bongs.
  • Casket. For when you accidentally an hero.


  • Sense of shame
  • Self-respect
  • Morality
  • Concern for others
  • Healthy food
  • Healthy relationships


  • Driving a boat while intoxicated is legally the same as driving a car drunk — don't do it
  • Don't wander off by yourself or onto random boats
  • Eat and drink water constantly - beer does not count as hydration
  • Don't jump from boat to boat or off the third story of boats. Really though, it might kill you.
  • Bring water shoes ($7 at Walmart)
  • Don't swim from one island to another - you probably won't make it there or back
  • Don't use your houseboat's generator overnight because of potential carbon monoxide poisoning



  • Deaths: 1
  • Houseboats on Slaughterhouse Island Friday night: 175
  • Houseboats rented on Lake Shasta Friday night: 200


  • Arrests: 15, mostly due to boating under the influence
  • Injuries: 13, varying from broken leg to alcohol poisoning


  • Deaths: 1

Insert your crazy houseboats story here

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Although it's a wonderful time, I must say that houseboats is EXTREMELY dangerous. I'm not talking about sexual assault or fighting. The potential for serious injury or death is simply astounding. I almost died last year when I was really drunk and sleep deprived, tried to climb down the top of my boat, and ended up falling off the side and hitting my throat against the steel railing around the lower deck. Fortunately, I hit the soft spot between my chin and adam's apple, but I narrowly missed crushing my windpipe or breaking my jaw. Another silver lining to this story is the fact that I hit the rail rather than fall into the piss/beer/reservoir water stew that surrounds the island we were docked at. I have many more gruesome stories, but I'll let someone else take over.

Ditto on the weekend being hands down the best weekend ever. My near death experience came when I apparently decided it would be a good idea to bring some beer on an inner tube and just float. Well I kind of started passing out and luckily some people on my boat saw that I was slowly sinking through the middle of the tube on my way to the bottom of the lake and they lassoed me in. Thanks guys. Also a guy on our boat passed out and fell through the top floor hole to the kitchen while we were playing our 6 a.m. Souza game.

Haha I think I heard about the guy falling through the hole on your boat JJ. I obtained the houseboat nickname of "floater" because I too thought it would be a fantastic idea to bring beer on an inter tube and just float all weekend (its genius, except when you pass out haha). I heart houseboats because you basically get to party hop all weekend but instead of a DD all you need is a flotation device! I did manage to find the A-phi senior boat and order them to "chief me" and wake up with permanent marker all over my body with no clue why, ruin 70% of my houseboats clothes (aka everything besides my bikini), play more rounds of 7-11 doubles than i've ever played in my life, pass out every night by 8pm, lose my boat 10 times and have a random guy escort me back each time, and not remember a good solid portion of Saturday afternoon. My near death experience happened when I was straddling a log and just toppled over into the water. Luckily someone saw me and was able to sit me up-right again.

  • There was a Saturday that weekend? Hmmmmmmmmm

Dateline Houseboats 2005:

Another Ore. student dies at Lake Shasta

02:52 PM PDT on Monday, May 30, 2005

By and KMTR Staff

LAKE SHASTA, Calif. — Another Oregon university student has died while on an outing to Lake Shasta.

University of Oregon Student Joel Meyer, 21, of Sisters, Ore., drowned after hitting his head in a fall from a houseboat moored at Lake Shasta's Slaughterhouse Island, Shasta County deputies said.

The accident happened about 4:30 Sunday afternoon. Meyer was pulled from the water by other students with diving gear who were staying on the island. He was taken by helicopter to Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding where he was pronounced dead.

I'm sure you would have seen the AIR-MED helicopter land on the island Sunday Afternoon, assuming you weren't allready passed out!!

2006-11-08 17:06:48   I saw some peeps loading up at Aggie for housebots, 14 kegs... —StevenDaubert

2008-05-20 20:32:16   Im surprised more people from Chico don't make the trip. My first trip was in 07 and only because my friends are redding locals, so we went on a couple of aluminum boats and camped a little bit away from slaughterhouse. The very first night walking around on the shore i managed to sprain my ankle ... but i kept it real and hobbled around all weekend.

Virtually everyone who has died as a result of houseboating has done so soley due to their own stupidity / overintoxication —slammin211s

2008-08-24 15:16:08   Be careful, kiddies! It's all fun and games until someone gets raped or killed. —CurlyGirl26

2009-06-16 03:33:03   You go into Housboats a virgin, you come out a sinner. —HarrisonNoah

2010-05-29 01:45:16   im really lost on houseboats in terms of what exactly goes on...can someone help me out? —davisrox

2010-05-29 08:21:25   I went last year what follows is a synopsis of day 1:

Arrive Friday 10 AM ish, get on boat, back out of dock land across from dock and load kegs. Begin drinking. Boat out to Slaughterhouse island, continue drinking, land there wander around on other folks boats drinking until until you, a: find a member of the opposite sex to pair up with or b: pass out / black out / fight with other sexually unsatisfied males. By now its 7 PM. Rally around midnight and drink a bit more before going to bed 2 to 4 AM ish. Get up around 6-7AM, either get on your boat or hang out with your new friend's boat because everyone leaves the island to return to the docks to pick up their buddies around 10 AM Sat. Then the whole process begins again...

Days two and three were quite hazy but consisted of much the same as above. Monday is essentially a cleaning day. Most everyone's out of booze and the boats all need to be as spotless and intact as possible to avoid the loss of the rental deposit. People who flake here won't be invited back. Don't be a flake.

I did this once and though much fun was had it was so ridiculous that I don't feel like risking my life again. —ARWENNHOLD

2010-06-02 02:07:22   I'm an EMT who worked on the Safeboat this past weekend. Why Slaughterhouse Island was chosen as the party site I have no idea. The water was also much higher than normal this year, so the 212 houseboats (187 of which contained college students) had to try and cram on a smaller island than usual instead of on the wide beach that is normally there.

Overall, we had at least 200 patients. The first day was relatively calm, but the majority of our patient load was on Saturday and Sunday. We had 8 EMTs stationed on the Safeboat, and we were meant to switch between teams of 4 on six- or three-hour shifts. Let's just say that from noon to 6PM on Saturday, all 8 of us were on duty nonstop. Although it felt good to help people out, I'm glad the Safeboat is needed only once a year. —JonathanSheu

2010-06-15 18:09:51   2010 was completely insane, we were the idiots in the 10' raft camped on the island itsself, had an awesome time other than a few guys trying to steal our boat. Next year i may have to try and get tuesday off also just to kinda chill monday and not drive home with a massive hangover —slammin211s

2011-04-21 16:06:03   Preparing to go on Safe Boat 2011! See all you crazy people there! —mperkel

2011-05-26 08:56:25   I don't see why the ASUCD should pay to keep idiots who want to do stupid things safe. —hankim

2011-06-02 11:22:51   @ hankim, You're right. I mean, it's not like millions of our tax dollars are going to other organizations that try to keep people safe while doing stupid things - ya know, like the Police Department? —Darkfallin

  • I have no idea what you're even trying to argue, but the ASUCD is spending everyone's money to promote safety to a very small percentage of students who want to go out and do stupid things on their own while a police department is paid to keep everyone safe by preventing crimes (although some might debate what they actually do).hankim
  • Yup.
  • good fucking god reading that makes me so incensed

2011-06-02 13:10:20   Safeboat provides a lot of benefit at a relatively low cost to ASUCD (most of the money comes from fundraising or donations from other orgs). Plus, most of your tuition money goes to things that the average student gets no direct benefit from anyway, so I've never understood why people single out safeboat as wasteful or special-interest spending. Even if we assume that all the funding came from ASUCD money, with 25k or so undergrads that comes out to like 22 cents a person. In reality, if you include CFC financing, I think ASUCD pays for roughly half the cost, thought that's more of an educated guess (so don't quote me). In conclusion, safeboat provides a great service, that while its not utilized by everybody, does save lives, and that's worth 10-20 cents of my tuition every year. —DylanSchaefer

  • To be fair, Han isn't singling out Safeboat. He's pretty rabid about all ASUCD spending, including things like the (now defunct) ASPAPERS, trying to ferret out hidden funding and other uses of student funds. -jw
  • most of your tuition money goes to things that the average student gets no direct benefit from anyway — exactly what my complaint is. This should not happen. I had to work my ass off and put myself in debt to pay for programs that did not contribute to the educational or research missions of the university. You make the mistake of thinking that critics of the safeboats program are just against this particular handout to the Greek community. No, this is just one of the more ridiculous examples of student funds being used to enable irresponsibility. I think most critics would say abolish the CFC and most of ASUCD, too.—WilliamLewis
  • You don't see anything wrong with the fact that most of our "tuition money goes to things that the average student gets no direct benefit from?" It may take me a little over a minute to earn those twenty-two cents, but why should that money be spent on condoms for frat boys? Also, what major benefits are there from keeping idiots alive? And of course you happen to be a member of the frat with the first UC Davis student to die of alcohol poisoning in about a century. —hankim
  • Exactly my point- you aren't really against safeboat, you're against any use of your money that doesn't benefit you directly. Which makes safeboat somewhat of an odd target in my opinion, a) because it uses relatively little student funds and b) it saves lives (even if it apparently is lives that are less worthy that yours, han). And I don't like my fees being spent on abnormally large salaries for an overly large administration or on rebuilding the campus every 5 years or so, but I do support things like safeboat, even though I have never used it. Also, I'm not sure what you're trying to insinuate by bringing my fraternity into this, but for the record, Phi Delta Theta is a different iteration of the one that existed when that guy died, he did not die at a fraternity event, and PDT is an alcohol-free fraternity now.
    • People are out there purposely putting their lives in danger to have fun. Why should other students pay for something like that? It's the principle of the thing and that money could be better used somewhere else. And at least pretty much anyone going to the school uses the buildings. —hankim
      • It's a fair enough point. I think a couple thousand bucks for saving lives is worth my student fees, even if the people that need saving are knowingly risking their health in the first place. But I suppose we have different philosophies and we'll have to agree to disagree.
        • @ hankim - Because that's what you do in a decent society - you take care of people. —Darkfallin
          • Taking care of people is fine, but when you use the money paid by students, who expect their money to go towards their education, and pay for the safety of a small minority of people who deliberately put themselves in risky situations for the sake of fun, that is not fine. —hankim
            • So you also oppose the use of ASUCD funds to support Tipsy Taxi? —jsogul
              • Han is a fiscal conservative he opposes everything Daubert
                • What Daubert said. If you like to go out and get wasted, do it on your own dime. All the students who are too busy to go out drinking all the time because they have jobs or would prefer to do other activities shouldn't be paying for those who enjoy partying. If anything, it's practically welfare for those who can afford to spend most of their nights partying. —hankim
                  • Tipsy Taxi saves the lives of other drivers who would be on the road/sidewalks at the same time as those drunk drivers, Safeboats helps those who willingly put themselves at risk.
                    • Those people should be paying for taxis or getting designated drivers instead of having us subsidize their fun. "Pay for our rides home or we're going to kill someone on our way home" should not be an acceptable method to get "fun" subsidized. —hankim
                      • I sort of agree. The only exception should be if the students can prove with receipts that they got drunk off of Aggie Lager. In those cases, UCD should foot the taxi bill. —ScottMeehleib

2012-05-31 05:57:30   Hypothetical Question: I'm planning on throwing this HUGE Caravan Party where we'll be renting a bunch of RVs and driving to and from SoCal. It'll be a weekend long event full of booze, fun, and DANGER. We'll be jumping off from RV to RV... DRUNK. The chances of there being a fatal accident will be VERY HIGH. This weekend long event will contribute absolutely NOTHING to Academia BUT it's open to ALL STUDENTS (although it's clear and implicit target audience is the Q/PoC community). Should ASUCD fund a SAFE-RV for this revelry? —Yadannn

  • No, ASUCD should make a phone call to the CHP because you've basically just admitted to drunk driving. Hypothetically speaking, of course. —BrentLaabs

2012-06-01 12:19:11   there was one death this year from a UCSC alumni.

2013-09-17 19:50:45   "Also, some people are upset because they don't think student government funds should be used to enable irresponsible behavior by a small portion of the student body." Damn right I'm PISSED. I don't want a single cent of the money I pay to go here to fund these idiots who don't even deserve be going to UC Davis anyway. If you pay for all this crap, you can pay for your own safety. Oh, but its not just safeboats, we also have to pay for your freaking condoms and granola bars! This is an ugly remnant of wannabe ivy-league preps who are the source of virtually all of modern America's social ills. Put another way... this is impeding natural selection. Those who are dumb enough to mix booze, rowdy greeks, and boats should get Darwin Awards. —broolstoryco