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Thread: Houseboat Builder and Location Advice

  1. #11
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    If you're living aboard, you MUST get an insulated boat (aka winter package).

    Do you want a land-locked lake or a lake along a navagatable river? Answering that question will definitely define the boat you're looking for. If you plan to run it a lot, then there are diesel HBs out there. If you're looking at a land-locked lake, then gas would be best.

    Also, most manufacturers include the cost of delivery in the price of their boats. For instance, Destination Yachts has the 1st 500 miles free. My friend sold his 2012 20X88' Horizon to someone who's moving to Center Hill next week. He told me they're spending $28K for that move......it's about an hour drive! The road permits are killers, but the bulk of the cost is setting up and taking down the upper deck of the boat so it'll fit under bridges.

    There was a houseboat show at State Dock on Cumberland Lake in Kentucky last weekend. Trifecta Corp. (makers of Sumerset, Thoroughbred, Stardust) had some very beautiful boats there! Sumerset had a beautiful new 18'X80' for sale for $369K at the show and it sold on the 2nd day. Destination Yachts had a new smaller boat there that started at only $150K.

    Sailabration makes a pontoon style boat, like mine. This way, you don't need to worry about worn boots or gimbal bearings. Pontoon boats are bulkheaded every so often, which makes them practically unsinkable - like the Titanic! LOL! Sailabration is every 8' and Destination Yachts is every 5'. The pontoons are much easier to steer as well b/c the motors are in the far corners of the boat, instead of the center of the stern, like on the monohulls.

    One thing's for sure, if you're building, the sky and your imagination is the limit on what your boat can be and how much it'll cost. If you buy used, be prepared to replace flooring and some of the decor b/c I'm convinced that people intentionally decorate them as tacky as possible!

    Good luck!
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  2. #12
    Senior Member 42gibson's Avatar
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    we used brothers marine transport out of Murfreesboro tn. on 2 moves and john was by far hands down cheaper than any other mover,was on time to pick up the boats and delivered on time and went out of his way to make sure we were happy.
    44 gibson executive
    on the muskingum river & ohio river
    marietta,ohio

  3. #13
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Good point about insulation. Nights tend to be cool, days can be hot, and the more insulation you have, the less you'll spend on heating and cooling. There's also the sound-muffling benefit. Sound carries very well over water, and houseboats, including ours, are surprisingly noisy, with partying neighbors, motorboats, jet skis, sailboat rigging, and wavelets splashing against the hull all night... you get used to it, but to be able to cut back on that some is excellent.

    LOL, Mr. Vols, about the tacky decor. Truth! Maybe that's part of the fun.

  4. #14
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    I wonder if spray-in insulation would work on a houseboat. I read a brochure from one of the current manufacturers where they boast an R9 level of insulation in the walls....houses have between R13 and R15 though, so it doesn't seem that would be too good. Foam might cause an issue with mold, since you're on the water though. Any thoughts?
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  5. #15
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
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    28k to move from Priest to Center Hill? He got hosed. The permits for that move in TN would be around $6,000.

  6. #16
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    Handsdown the best houseboat builder is Dennis Pluckebaum. Best Cruising Houseboat ever built.
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  7. #17
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easttnboater View Post
    28k to move from Priest to Center Hill? He got hosed. The permits for that move in TN would be around $6,000.
    $6K would be for a standard sized HB, but since this is 20' wide, it will take up the whole interstate, which makes the permits even more expensive, according to my friend that hauls oversized loads for a living. The boat has an extensive upper deck with twin bars, HUGE helm seating / lounging area, very big hard top biminis for bar area and over helm, hot tub, and lots of furniture too. I don't know, they new owner is probably throwing in some preventitive maintenance while it's out of the water, which is also driving up the cost. If it's out of the water, you do it!

    Bottom line is, if you're buying a late model boat, try to buy it at the body of water you want to be at, otherwise, you're going to blow the depreciation savings / benefit on moving expenses. Otherwise, you'll be better off simply buying a new boat altogether.
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  8. #18
    Junior Member
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    MM 101.1 on the Ohio River - Moundsville Wv
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    I second what old Houseboater said.... Pluckebaum is the best, no one else even comes close... But you pay for what you get. Our 67' Coastal was nearly 800,000$ in 1980 and the original owner whom commissioned the build, furnished the engines and driveline. My wife and 3 children and I live aboard it full time now on the Ohio river, not in a harbor either. This winter alone we had floods, wind storms, locked into a foot of ice, trees and large debris come racing by when the river is up. We went up over 15' in elevation at one point during high water, large tow boats creating 4' rollers and numerous other events. You have to be tough to live on the river, but we wouldn't trade our river life for anything.
    Mountaineers are always free... Or at least until your taxes go unpaid.

  9. #19
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    What can I say but "WOW"! What a great wealth of information from everyone on here! We looked at the Great Loop and boats capable of doing it. While I know we wouldn't have any issues doing any of the trips, I think we kind of ruled that option out. We've been looking around and am considering a lake in Texas. One of the lakes we're looking at is Lake Conroe about an hour north of Houston. We haven't visited the area as of yet, but I have found at least one marina that allows, and appears to cater, to live-aboards. Now the issue is that I haven't found any boats for sale on that lake on-line. I have found three Sumerset HB's for sale in the Austin area, which is about 150 miles away. The years are 2000, 2002 and 2006. There's a few for sale here in Las Vegas/Lake Mead area and I'll probably give the dealer a call just so that we can walk through them and get an idea of floor plans, mechanicals, etc. After looking at so many boats on-line, I just have to agree with some of the gaudy decorating. How could a person ruin a boat by decorating it so that it looks like a retirement home from the 60's blew up in there?? I know these may be stupid questions, but I'm trying to relate the same things to an RV, which I'm pretty familiar with, but am I correct in understanding that all waste, such as black and grey water, all go into the same tank, or is there separate tanks for each? Also, as a full time live-aboard, do most marinas provide dockside waste-pump service, or do you have to untie the boat everytime you need the tanks emptied and move to a separate pier? Sorry if these seem like the elementary, eye-rolling type of questions, but these are the type of things that we're trying to understand before we commit to this type of life. And I'm sure there will be many, many more to come also! Thanks again everyone!!

  10. #20
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    More than you wanted to know: I can't help you with the traditional boat-head-holding-tank question, because we don't have one. As a former cruising sailor, I never encountered a boat where the head didn't have a lingering aroma all its own. When it came time to plumb our houseboat, we were open to different ideas. Hate to sound like a broken record, or a born-again-and-again street-corner preacher, but if there are just two of you living aboard, and you want to avoid the hassles, expense, and pumpout nastiness and the inevitable repairs, hose replacement, stinky head, and so forth, common to boat heads and sewage disposal, do investigate the various "composting" heads. There are three main manufacturers, ranging from $500 to $1200 or so, and the vast majority of people who have them are very pleased with them. We opted for the cheapest kind, and are entirely content. We don't ever have to pump out. I'm pleased to say, we have no black-water holding tank. Our grey water is directly discharged into the vast Albemarle Sound, but we do have a spare tank we can shunt it into, if ever we get to a place where that is mandated. This system isn't near as granola-crunchy hippie-ville as it seems. Disposal details available upon request... or just do your own research. Suffice it to say, it's fast, clean, easy, and no stench.

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