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Thread: Newbie seeking advice on which old houseboat to buy for major renovation/modern home

  1. #11
    Senior Member Stmbtwle's Avatar
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    Homebuilt boats tend to be heavy. My experience is that pontoons don't carry weight all that well, and they will draw MORE water than a similar sized flat bottomed barge hull. If I were to do as you propose I'd get a good ALUMINUM barge hull and go from there. Old fiberglass hulls are usually reinforced with wood, and have rot issues. Even though I love my diesel, for a boat that isn't expected to move a whole lot I'd stick with outboard power. I/O would be my LAST choice, after paddles. My next houseboat probably won't have an engine, it'll have a remote controlled push-boat that will double as a launch.

    I'd get the widest hull I could find, and build out to the edge for maximum space in a given length. If you REALLY think you need walkways, add catwalks (I've never found the need).

    Keep everything on one level if possible, split-levels are a PIA.

    Just my opinion.
    She's a tired old barge but she's paid for... http://s71.beta.photobucket.com/user...24993.pbw.html

  2. #12
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Go for it, build your own. But know this.

    Insurance will be near possible to obtain.

    Even just Liability. Ask Amelia.

    It would be better to get a 50 foot or greater existing pontoon boat.

    Survey it, insure it, and then rebuild it.

    As it appears you are self employed, insurance on the vessel, and then an umbrella is highly recommended.
    Last edited by BananaTom; 08-19-2014 at 07:44 AM.

  3. #13
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Look at the fiberglass barge a buddy of mine just picked up on this thread.

    He is making a reef hauler out of it, but it would work in your application.

    A little small, but would work.

    http://www.pensacolafishingforum.com...rk-asap-402058

  4. #14
    Senior Member 42gibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack88 View Post
    To all who chimed in, thanks for the advice so far.

    There were a couple suggestions to just buy an old houseboat, add water, and enjoy. There's NO WAY we'd be satisfied with that. Like I mentioned in the original post, we are looking for an ultra modern floating home, not an old RV on pontoons! So I think building or doing a total remodel is the only way to go. By the way, this isn't something I'd be doing myself in the backyard or on weekends. I'd rather be running my business and paying someone else to do that work!

    A couple people said we needed a pontoon-style hull. That's what I was thinking as well. What about the shallow draft and rocky bottom/shoreline issues I mentioned? Does that mean we should only be looking at aluminum?

    So we've got suggestions of Crest and Catamaran Cruisers as potential candidates- any others you guys can think of that I should be looking at? Remember, in the end, I want it to look like this: http://www.arkiboat.com.au/index_files/Page953.htm or this http://www.pinterest.com/pin/155022412143333631/

    I was also wondering, are there any kit houseboats you can buy?
    And if I were to go the completely custom route, how much would a bare aluminum double pontoon with decking cost me?
    we had a 15x52 playcraft pontoon houseboat and you could virtually not hurt it,it was like a tank.when we sell our Gibson were looking for another one.
    44 gibson executive
    on the muskingum river & ohio river
    marietta,ohio

  5. #15
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    "A couple people said we needed a pontoon-style hull. That's what I was thinking as well. What about the shallow draft and rocky bottom/shoreline issues I mentioned? Does that mean we should only be looking at aluminum?"

    Yes, aluminum pontoons are compartmented. After looking at the pictures I would suggest you contact the builder of the pictured boat and go from there. I would suggest more freeboard though. And 2 low HP high thrust outboards.

    From your picture gallery IMHO you will not be satisfied with anything less than new construction. I wouldn't want to put that much effort on an old hull. Likewise shoot for 45 X14 as an absolute minimum. Material cost for a decent size boat is not significantly more than a cramped smaller boat.

    Keep us updated on your progress.
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    We really like our two Yamaha T-60s. They were expensive, but so far seem quite sturdy, smooth, and quiet. The time a fuel line came loose and we needed to limp back to the dock, having that second motor was a blessing. It's nice that our unwieldy-looking craft turns on a dime, and tracks straight. I think this thing would be difficult to get into our slip with just one engine.

    Oh, about insurance: we (finally!) got full insurance through Amica Insurance Company. Great people to deal with. The guy who came and did a preliminary survey at their request was a hoot. Amica calls every year to see if we are finished building it yet. LOL.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 42gibson View Post
    I redid a crest houser (15x43) in 2000. a complete new roof including trusses,2 new side walls,all new decks.a new 90horse evinrude (6000) back then,all new electric and plumbing,new head,all new interior walls,new paneling.it took me and my brother 4 months of constant work and 26,000$ but worth every minute of it and would do it again.by the way,thats the 3rd one I've redone.
    42gibson- have you found that its more cost effective to rebuild an existing hull as opposed to starting from scratch with a new hull?

    Amelia- Why did you guys decide to build from scratch as opposed to a major remodel of an existing houseboat? Do you have a thread you could send me a link to showing your build?

    I'd like to compare the costs of starting from scratch as opposed to doing a major overhaul. For example, for a 12x40 bare hull in aluminum (pontoon or barge), what should I expect to pay?

  8. #18
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    http://www.u-fabboats.com/

    Go at least 14' wide
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Jack, here's the link to a lengthy, but infrequently updated blog. https://sites.google.com/site/robreiheld/houseboat. . Wayyy too much information.
    Why start from scratch? Good question, one to which I have no real answer, only a rueful shake of the head.
    My husband. Lord love him. He has always been one to do things the hard way, and he loved the idea of a major retirement project. Nobody ever built a boat like ours, and for good reason. Still, this idea of building his own shanty boat had been in the back of his mind since he was ten years old. The appeal of a luxurious lake-bound floating trailer, even one with lots of bells and whistles, did not appeal in the slightest. My earnest lobbying for an ocean-going sailing catamaran fell on deaf ears. So, he built a little model to show me what he had in mind. No plans. No list of materials. No budget. Not a bit of yacht design experience, and precious little actual boating experience. He and his grandpa had built a house together when he was a kid, but that was a long time ago. He frankly doesn't seem to care if he ever finishes it. And in that, he seems to be on target. bless his heart...as we say here in the Deep South.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLD HOUSEBOATER View Post
    http://www.u-fabboats.com/

    Go at least 14' wide
    I agree, the wider, the better. But I'm really hoping to build this thing as light as possible, so that transporting it by road is a real option. During the course of my research, I've found that 12' wide is a lot easier than 14' in regard to road permits, lead cars, etc.... But I do agree, 14' would be ideal.

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