Stardust is the oldest continually operating houseboat builder in the USA and continually sets the mark in the industry. This builder believes the future for houseboat manufacturing lies in the introduction of modern materials, technologies and design and construction methods. The Monticello Ky., builder has worked to improve the performance of the boats through hull design and power plant development. For example, its 105-foot houseboat that was at the 2011 Houseboat Expo uses approximately one-half the fuel of a comparable conventional boat.
Other innovations introduced recently include the first in a series of boats that incorporates its newly patented web frame hull construction. According to Stardust, they have been able to prove that this design is many times more rigid than the customary plywood and fiberglass sides. The builder has also incorporated custom cut glass side windows that are flush to its new fiberglass sidewalls. These features are all accomplished via computer-controlled machinery.
But perhaps the most important feature is that Stardust has eliminated wood in the sidewalls of the vessels and uses its patented wall design that incorporates aluminum, polyurethane foam and fiberglass. This design will ensure its boats will never experience the wood rot that can occur with conventional houseboat sidewalls. These new features are a great asset in continuing with its goal of making the houseboat more stylish and yacht-like.
Stardust received orders for several boats in 2011, and only one utilized the conventional wood wall. Also, the manufacturer is pleased to note that 50 percent of its business in 2011 was export. Although the Kentucky-based manufacturer is still below its capacity, they are pleased with the return of business to the industry.