On the Market

Would You Spend $700,000 to Live in this Floating Former Chapel?

The property last sold in 2021 for $400,000
blue and white floating chapel
The vessel was converted into a home following a $1.3 million renovation.Photo: Courtesy of Special Finds

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a former chapel, it now won’t take divine intervention to make it happen. But there’s a buoyant caveat: It’s a floating former chapel, currently docked in Palmetto, Florida, and it has just hit the market for $699,000.

The unique property is being sold furnished.

Photo: Gary Sweetman, courtesy of Special Finds

The home, known as Former Chapel on the Bay, is listed on Special Finds, a real estate marketplace dedicated to unique properties. According to the listing, the house was originally designed and built as a buoyant wedding venue by naval architects Daniel J. Avoures and Associates, but it was transformed into a livable houseboat after a $1.3 million renovation. While the space now features an open-plan living room, modern kitchen, and two bedrooms, many of the original holy details—such as stained glass windows and a 30-foot steeple—remain. The living space spans 1,050 square feet, while the entire home is 1,800 square feet. Though currently in the Sunshine State, the home can move on its own thanks to two Cummins Diesel engines. Standard amenities, such as air conditioning, are included, and an eight-kilowatt generator powers appliances like as the TV and refrigerator.

The kitchen is equipped with modern appliances, which are powered by a generator.

Photo: Gary Sweetman, courtesy of Special Finds

As the original naval architects explain, the first owner of the Former Chapel on the Bay was inspired by a similar vessel he’d seen in Australia and wanted to bring the creative offering to the United States. However, seabound churches already had a surprisingly rich history in the US, particularly in northeast port cities. In 1834, Episcopal sailors founded the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, which aimed to provide sailors with health care, education, and pastoral services. As part of their mission, the organization created the country’s first floating church, Church of Our Savior, which was moored near lower Manhattan. A similar organization, The Seamen’s Church Institute of Philadelphia and South Jersey, created another floating church that served mariners in the Delaware River. While a half dozen or so were constructed throughout the 19th century, most of these vessels were abandoned or landlocked by the beginning of the 20th century.

The home has a primary suite with an attached bathroom and a guest room.

Photo: Gary Sweetman, courtesy of Special Finds

According to the listing, Former Chapel on the Bay is now one of only two floating chapels in the world (the other is still in Australia). It was last sold in September of 2021 for $399,999 and is currently up for grabs with all furnishings included.