PDA

View Full Version : Houseboat in Salt Water in Florida



mimoo
02-26-2016, 08:43 AM
I am DYING for a houseboat. In a perfect world I would have one of the houseboats that they have on the lakes that are on pontoon hulls with the slides on the back. But I realize that isnt practical in salt water. Has anyone done this? My dream boat is a huge houseboat. Just dont know if our waters around here will allow it. We live in the Panhandle of Florida. Boat would be kept at a marina.

GoVols
02-26-2016, 11:24 AM
There's an 80' Sumerset in Harbor Bay, Destin, FL that's been there for several years. I was at the West Marine store nearby the harbor and struck up a conversation with the clerk about that boat. Very surprisingly, he and a few other guys were commissioned to sail that boat from somewhere in TX through the ICW to get to Destin. He said it was the scarriest thing he's ever done and wouldn't do it again. They ignored a storm warning and figured they'd be find on the ICW, but apparently waves were crashing over the front porch regularly and the captain had the CG in constant contact due to fears of sinking during the storm. They got tossed around a lot and had chairs and tables fall over as well as dishes falling out of the cabinets. What's more, when those giant cruisers would fly by on plane, they'd throw a tidalwave-like wake, which would break over the bow of the houseboat as well. The owner only takes the vessel out to Crab Island by the Ft. Walton bridge when he wants to party, so it never navigates much more than 1 nautical mile from dock to anchor point.

The clerk told me that he's doing the maintenance on the boat and regularly changes out "tons" of anodes that line the entire hull and outdrives to prevent galvanic corrosion.

Having an aluminum hull in salt water can be done, it's just a LOT more preventative maintenance. Also, your resale value will tank as not many wise boaters would want to mess with it after that.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-27-2016, 06:29 AM
Fiberglass houseboats don't fare any worse than fiberglass cruisers if yo change out the deck hardware.

Bamby
02-27-2016, 03:32 PM
How about something like this:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE6s5PfM2TQ

It appears to have about everything a person needs except maybe if they had a large family.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-28-2016, 09:09 AM
Dosen't work

Frantically Relaxing
03-04-2016, 11:30 AM
why do people take tall narrow vertical phone videos of short wide stuff?

BananaTom
03-04-2016, 04:02 PM
I had a 36 foot Gibson in Pensacola, kept it a Bahia Mar Marina on Bayou Chico

FinsToTheRight
04-20-2016, 05:19 PM
I also am interested in putting a houseboat in saltwater. My wife and i's dream is to become liveaboards on a 40+ foot houseboat in the Keys. I have been looking for a boat but I had some questions and some things that need confirmation to my thinking.

1. V-drives better for saltwater or should I look at repowering with outboards? I think I/O's would be to much of a hastle on a full time liveaboard on mooring( to many critters trying to live aboard)

2. Looking to be self relient i.e.
Solar power for most electrical needs like lighting and maybe small refrigerator. Going to try and use mostly 12VDC or 24VDC
Propane will be used for cooking and main refrigerator.
Also a small generator for air conditioning if I can't figure out a way to have it without a generator. ( im a HVAC technician)

What hulls should I be looking at, I know nothing like flat bottom aluminum type house boats in the 50+
I was looking at hulls like the Gibson, Chris Craft aquahome, in fiberglass I already read the NEW BEE WARNING no steel for me although I know large ships are made of steel and I also could make repairs myself as I can weld.

Would also be looking at having a composting toilet and only having to have a grey water tank and pump out (Didn't know if I could maybe get discount on pump out because of grey water only)

Rain water catch system to collect rainwater to help offset showers and freshwater trips to land. My wife also wants a tub so anyway to offset that water consumer is any help.
We have friends that live on a floating home there and I just like the idea of being able to move or get out of dodge if severe weather comes. Also would like to take it down the Mississippi River from STL to get on the tenn-Tom then hopscotch down gulf Coast to final destination FLORIDA KEYS!!!!!

I have done a lot of research but I think experience is always better then hypotheticals any day.

GoVols
04-21-2016, 06:49 AM
I have a 2006 model aluminum pontoon 16x69 houseboat with twin Honda Marine outboards for sale. It’s in Nashville and could be sailed down the Mississippi to get to where you’re going…..

OLD HOUSEBOATER
04-21-2016, 10:14 AM
STRONGLY suggest you purchase an inexpensive boat and get 4 to 5 years experience as an owner behind you. Your dreams are all do able BUT with no experience you would be overwhelmed and give up

Primary navigation skills are not enough to do what you want to do and go where you are going. Boat handling experience is needed because you will be going in areas that require rough water capability and a cool head.

A houseboat is really not recommended for this trip.Yes it's been done BUT more have given up than completed the trip.

If your determined to do do the house boat living bit I strongly suggest the Tennessee River in the Alabama Kentucky Mississippi area. (We lived aboard for 7 years)

Anchored out in the KEYs on a hot Florida summer is really unrealistic.

If you bound and determined, buy the boat you want and Truck it to the location of your choice.

PM Tony B, He's been there,done that.

Rodeny

FinsToTheRight
04-21-2016, 03:46 PM
Yes I agree OHB, the river trip would not be my first expidition lol
I would take the boat out and run its through its paces for a few years here in Kansas as well as I could for a few years before ever thinking of taking on a river or the Gulf. That way im knowledgeable of my craft and know its limitations.

Was also thinking more boat like hull then pontoon style or low deck "flat bottom" hulls. But thank you GoVols
Plus I think aluminum pontoons in saltwater all day everyday I would have corrosion problems left right.

DitchRider
07-16-2016, 03:11 PM
We've had our 50' Gibson in the salt in the Keys and in Stuart. No issues, we stay on top of maintenance.

We're now looking at moving up. If you're still in the market send me a message. Happy to share war stories.

BananaTom
07-18-2016, 12:45 PM
FYI: Mimoo purchased a nice Trawler in Marco Island, and brought it home to Pensacola.

Truckerbill
08-08-2016, 01:18 PM
Back in the early 80's (81 or 82-old mind ain't too sharp anymore), I helped take a 65' Aluminum hulled HB from Naples, Florida to Key West via the ICW shallow water route. Took 5 days (anchored at sunset) to get down taking the long route. Average water depth was about 6' and the HB drafted approx 4' (stern drive). We would have jumped off and run straight across Florida Bay to Marathon but the weather just would not allow it. It rained on us for 2 solid days though and we kicked up a lot of mud in places. Over all, it was a great trip with very little problems. We docked it at NAS Boca Chica marina (he was retired Navy) and the owner stayed there till the next summer and then retraced his route back up to Naples. I'm just glad I wasn't paying the fuel bill and it really was a fun, relaxing, trip.

BananaTom
08-09-2016, 07:35 AM
Back in the early 80's (81 or 82-old mind ain't too sharp anymore), I helped take a 65' Aluminum hulled HB from Naples, Florida to Key West via the ICW shallow water route. Took 5 days (anchored at sunset) to get down taking the long route. Average water depth was about 6' and the HB drafted approx 4' (stern drive). We would have jumped off and run straight across Florida Bay to Marathon but the weather just would not allow it. It rained on us for 2 solid days though and we kicked up a lot of mud in places. Over all, it was a great trip with very little problems. We docked it at NAS Boca Chica marina (he was retired Navy) and the owner stayed there till the next summer and then retraced his route back up to Naples. I'm just glad I wasn't paying the fuel bill and it really was a fun, relaxing, trip.

Sounds like a great Trip!!!

PS: Welcome Aboard!!!

Truckerbill
08-09-2016, 09:00 AM
It was a great trip. Got to see my first Sawfish close up! Been here a while, just never could post till now. I was stationed at Key West for almost 9 years and have seen more than a few House Boats make the trip down the Keys. Unfortunately, many wind up staying and then going down hill fast due to the harsh Sun and weather conditions. For years, there was an area in Key West that was "home" for these Houseboats, known as Houseboat Row. When coming off Stock Island onto Key West, turn toward the beach (left) and they were on the left. Most of these were old derelicts that marina's no longer allowed to dock. Some were cobbled together from old hulls and were just disasters waiting to happen. Last time I was in Key West, the county (Monroe) was getting rid of them. Now Houseboat Row is in Garrison Bight and totally different Houseboats are docked there (actually, most are purposely built floating homes with a few traditional Houseboats sprinkled in). As far as I know, there is only one marina in the Lower Keys capable of hauling out a large Houseboat and it is on Stock Island (Oceanside Marina I think the name is). As far as getting out on the Atlantic side of the Keys with a traditional flat-bottomed Houseboat, Summer is the time to do that. Weather during the summer tends to be a good bit better and the Sea's are usually fairly flat. Winter time usually brings in 15 to 20 knot winds consistently and lumpy seas. I don't think I have ever seen a Houseboat travel up or down the Keys on the "outside", always on the Florida Bay (or the North side). Up to date charts, a good sounder, and sharp eyes are needed to make the trip. Markers are there most of the time but know how to navigate well because storms do move them from time to time. Lobster/Crab bouy's are everywhere during seasons and you have to watch out for them. Commercial Fishermen down there don't care if they block the channel with them and FWC, while technically neutral, will side with them more than not. Try not to hit the traps because they will tear the snot out of an outdrive. Safe-Haven's are plenty if a Houseboater gets caught out in weather. Plenty of islands to hide behind and most bridges are high enough for houseboats to get under and through. Keep track of the tides at all times. We got stranded for 8 hours like that. Even on the Florida Bay side of the Keys, the waves can get up. I've seen 6' seas when the winds got up. One thing I can say about boating down there is, the FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission), the Coast Guard, and the Monroe County Marine Patrol (Sheriff) were all good about allowing a float plan to be filed and checking up on the boaters. Cell Phone coverage was pretty good most of the time also. So, this is just some first-hand knowledge from way back that may be of some help to someone planning a trip down. Most Marina's will allow short term dockage of Houseboats but plan on staying on the hook if you spend much time in the Keys. There are not many slips that will accommodate a 100' Houseboat down there (or even anything over 60'). Keep plenty of fuel in reserve also. You will need to keep power up and running all the time. Summer time means HOT and that means running AC units to not only keep down the temp but also the humidity. Winter time, well, expect heat also. Average temps are still in the 80's during the days and cool nights. A lot of boats run Solar Panels to help generate enough juice to run things but I think a genset runs most of the time also. So, if you wanna make that trip, it's great fun, a great experience, and I did say "FUN"!