View Full Version : Making a Houseboat Seaworthy

10-16-2016, 10:10 AM
Hi all,
I'm the eldest son in my family, and we've recently bought an 80ft Dutch Barge. A while back it had a working propulsion system, and was regularly used. Since then it has stopped working, and the engine controls and lighting etc has been stripped out and is permanently moored. I was wondering what kind of money you'd expect to spend on restoring it back into working order. And when I say working order, I mean in 'moving' order, it is perfect in every other area.


10-17-2016, 08:34 AM
Hard to answer. This a traditional Dutch Barge built for the European Canal waterways? As far as propulsion, most have either a 4 or 6 cylinder Diesel, transmission, and single screw, rudder that was/is either a chain drive or hydraulic with manual override. I have never seen one here in the States but have seen a lot of them in Europe.

10-17-2016, 09:09 AM
I do know that there is currently a 145hp Ford Engine in it at the moment, and we've been told that the prop shaft has snapped, and that the engine hasn't been used in a very long time. I've attached a photo of it to try and helphttps://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/oz70gw8vnzq4ghi/Barge.PNG?dl=0

10-17-2016, 01:44 PM
That's a beautiful boat! I've always had a soft spot for tbe classic Dutch barges, and fell in love with a 100 year-old sailing barge a few years ago. Fortunately (?), I couldn't figure out what I would do with it, if I were to buy it!

Anyway, you're going to have to have a local mechanic estimate what it will cost you to get the engine running, or if you'll need to replace it. That's probably your biggest expense. After that, the drive train. Mechanical controls and wiring not much, comparatively speaking.

You DO know why they call it a B O A T?

10-17-2016, 03:07 PM
I would start with $10,000.
New engine, transmission, shaft, and propeller.

10-17-2016, 08:14 PM
Where is this Boat located? Steel or Wood hull? What's the history of it? Inquiring minds would love to learn something about them.

10-24-2016, 09:57 AM
Sorry, I've been away and have just got back. The boat's hull is almost entirely steel (If not completely) and is currently moored in an MDL Harbour on the river hamble near Southampton. I found a page where the owners a while back were selling it and they seemed to have a lot of information on it:
'Avontuur was built in Rotterdam Holland in 1909
and was converted from sail to power in 1954
She arrived in the UK in 1975

The current owners have owned "Avontuur" from 1990
undertaking a complete refit from 1995-2000.

The refit included slipping her on the Medina River in Cowes
Re-plating 20% of her hull and building a steel superstructure
All the structural work was designed by a Naval Architect (plans available)

Her wheelhouse was totally rebuilt with all new hatches
The Captains cabin at the stern of the barge has remained
as was originally designed - only the woodwork has been replaced'

So it does have a bit of history, and surely a lot more than is listed here. Here are a few more photos:

It only lets me embed 4 at a time so I'll post them separately.
There's Avontuur nonetheless

10-24-2016, 09:59 AM

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10-24-2016, 03:09 PM
absolutely beautiful classic. bomac marine power in Blairsville,ga specializes in ford lehmans if you need engine help or parts.they also rebuild them.

10-24-2016, 03:43 PM
In terms of A. Ordering the parts and B. Having the engine rebuilt, I live in the UK so not really possible for me. I can always ring them up for support though. I'm not sure if I wrote earlier, but I've found out that the only known problem is the prop shaft has seized. It is possible that there are now new problems due to it's neglect; neglect caused only by the prop shaft, but that's yet to be found out. The steering system works fine, and I know that from personal experience. I know it works but I don't know if it is reliable.
Do you have any experience with the cost or labour of freeing seized prop shafts? It's unlikely due to it's obscureness but I thought I'd ask anyway.

10-24-2016, 06:29 PM
Since you are in "Merry Old England", there should be a good source of information on those type boats there. I know there are plenty of YouTube video's about building and maintaining them. The pictures you put on here of this boat are really nice. Good Luck on getting it "sea-worthy" again.

10-25-2016, 04:06 AM
Nice, one of the costs of dealing with the seized shaft will be placing the vessel on dry dock, or in other words, having is hauled out. It appears this needs to be done to work on the drive shaft. Either it can be machined to repair it, or it needs to be replaced. More than likely, it has rusted in place.

10-25-2016, 04:54 AM
That's a bit of a bummer as the crane in our harbour can only lift 20t, where the boat is over 50t. So I presume we need to get it tugged to a bigger marina upstream. As well as that, is a barge quite an awkward to have lifted out? What with it's centre of gravity being so far out. Now I think about it they can just pull it up parallel to the crane rather than directly facing it. Do you know how much something like that would cost?

10-25-2016, 06:40 AM
I agree it may have rusted in place, what with a steel hull, steel shaft, likely a steel stern tube and LOTS of time. Possibly the stern tube needs to be cut out and rebuilt, too. At least it IS steel, which is easily repaired.

Yes you'll have to tow it to a commercial yard that can handle it. See if you can find out who hauled it last.

10-25-2016, 09:31 AM
There is a bit of good news. The barge was surveyed just before we were sold it, so there is at least a record of where it was lifted out and how much it cost. I haven't had the chance to find it, but I will certainly make the effort soon. The steel situation is good as I know from experience its cost and longevity, and of course the ability to weld (my area).

10-31-2016, 08:30 AM
Wow, what a beauty! I look forward to hearing of your success in getting her back to rights!

10-31-2016, 01:51 PM
There is a bit of good news. The barge was surveyed just before we were sold it, so there is at least a record of where it was lifted out and how much it cost.

That is good news, looking at your pics, it looks like you are moored in an isolated area. I was thinking you may be hundreds of miles from civilization. Based upon how remote it looks.
And yes, a survey is something that I always keep handy to the vessel.

10-31-2016, 02:03 PM
I was reading the survey, and they really go into detail, I did not realise. I thought they would just generalise parts of the boat, but no. In terms of the area, its about ten minutes away from Portsmouth, which is the only city in the UK with a larger population density than London (if that helps in some way). The Hamble leads straight on through into the Solent and is a really nice area. (https://www.google.co.uk/maps/search/hamble+river/@50.8329027,-1.3995769,11.46z)