View Full Version : Houseboat Builder and Location Advice

06-08-2015, 09:50 AM
So my wife and I are retired and in our early 50's. We are looking at selling our house and being more mobile. We were seriously considering doing the full-time RV thing, until we thought about living full-time on a houseboat. So here I am, trying to find as much information about it as I can. Are there builders that are better than others? Some I should stay away from? We are considering an 80-100 footer. What about having one built? Delivery fees would seem to be astronomical. Trying to find an area that allows liveaboards seems tough. Coastal or lake? Obviously we'd want to stay south to eliminate the need that freezing temps brings as far as maintenance. Pacific Northwest isn't ruled out either. Sorry about the many questions but we are a bit overwhelmed at this point. By the way, I'm not a total newbie as far as the water goes. I'm ex-Coast Guard Radarman and Quartermaster, son is in the Navy and Dad is ex-Navy. Thanks in advance for any and all replies! :D

06-08-2015, 11:55 AM
Ron and Bee, there are so many answers to your questions and even questions about your questions. I am on lunch break and will give a few opinions to get you started. 1 this forum is a good source on info. try to listen to the replies you will get. Newbies (sorry edit: Yup we are all still newbies) usually want to argue with these guys who have years of experience and most seem very knowledgeable. 2 If you are considering a new boat you must have a few extra dollars laying around so the transport fee should not be a problem. That fee varies wildly dependent on size and distance. 3 Boats are all compromises usually we go thru a few before we find what works for us so renting a houseboat is a great idea and renting at the location you think you would like is even better. Before anyone can advise you on a manufacturer they will need to know your intended use. I have an aluminum hulled Sumerset that would be an anchor as soon as it was to hit the gulf but is great in my quiet bays. 4 live-a-board marinas can be a tough find but there are places and ways of making that happen. 5 I think you have this one whooped but after a decade of owning the present boat i have seen so many people retiring or close to retirement buy a boat/slip and gone after one year. Usually they never really were boat people, they "liked" the ideal. You should be boat knowledgeable and really that is the most important factor of all, you must be that indefinable thing "a boat person". Take it slow and enjoy learning about this lifestyle.
Houseboats are very different from "a dirt house" though few actually live-a-board, most call it the best vacation spot on earth.

06-08-2015, 02:05 PM
Hi, from one noob to two others. In terms of years, we're old hands, having been fooling with this whole (home-made) houseboat dream for over ten years, but in terms of actual boating experience, we're really still wet behind the ears.

Yeah, what De said!

You have lots of questions to answer.
The first question is WHY? (To save money? Keep moving along. This ain't your thread.)

What kind of boating do you hanker after? Do you want to call a big-city yacht basin home, close to the theater, pro sports, upscale shopping, and lots of other boats and boaters, where your floating home rarely, if ever leaves the dock? (Why, hello, Charleston, SC, Washington DC, Mobile, AL, Seattle WA, and a number of other vibrant and interesting places!) Do you want to be in a lovely quiet man-made lake nestled in the hills of the Back of Beyond, a half-hour to the grocery store, and farther still, to the nearest Interstate highway? (Howdy, TN and KY lakes!) Do you hope to noodle along the ICW, exploring The Ditch as you go, with occasional forays into bigger water as you cross from one section of the canal to the next, from small town to small town? Do you dream of often anchoring out in tropical water, in perfect solitude, snorkeling to catch your breakfast? Do you hope all your friends and relations will come visit as soon as they find out where you're hiding?
All of these will help determine size, hull configuration, layout, and so forth. If you plan to spend most of your time on the move, going from marina to secluded anchorage to town dock, to the next marina, then think about how much you're going to want to pay for transient dock fees per foot, and how much boat you want to wrestle into a tight spot in a crosswind, how much freeboard, how much of an open-water hull you'll wish you had crossing the Chesapeake Bay, how much fuel you'll need to go places, how much power you'll need, both household and boat.
If you hope to pretty much stay put and attract your nearest and dearest, then lots of staterooms and entertaining space will be welcome, and it won't be nearly as important to have a steering station with a central commanding view and the maneuverability of twin engines.
All this to say, spend some time looking at what's out there, and where it is. You might find a great bargain on a nearly-new boat close to where you'd like to live, or close to a waterway that will get you there taking a substantially smaller hit than buying brand new. Talk to the experts. Go to the boat shows.
Think hard about how each candidate-boat would be to live aboard. Let your fingers do the walking through the designs available. Where would you keep the mop? The docklines? Do you want a generous galley or do you rarely cook? To each his/her own. A huge media room would not appeal to us at all, but a big back deck is ideal, right behind the generous galley and salon, where the party always winds up at our house. Will it be easy to run lines for docking? Can you see where you're backing up? How about anchoring out? Are you likely to settle where a shallow draft works in your favor? Are you handy and love a challenge and an ongoing project, or do you hope to find a turnkey palace that only needs an occasional lightbulb changed?
Might you consider renting one to try out the configurations available, to see how they work for the way you expect to live? It's not cheap, but it's probably less expensive than changing your mind once you own a boat that isn't ideal after all.
Again, talk to the experts. Each has his own opinion, his own specific needs that he thinks everybody ought to consider. Filter the results through that lens, and you'll have priceless real-world knowledge.
Seems to me the purchase price of a boat (or a little airplane,) like the cost of a marriage license, is just a modest beginning on the outlay of both time and money required to keep things running smoothly. Bear that in mind.

Good luck-- it's a lot of fun figuring all this out. Just take your time.

Amelia (and Rob)
The Lotus Eater

06-08-2015, 04:04 PM
We lived aboard 7 years at Joe Wheeler Marina In Rogersville Alabama. (Between Huntsville and Florence) The Tennessee River is truly Gods country for houseboat Living. You have access to the Great Lakes North and The Gulf of Mexico south. You have the 4 seasons but southern winters are mild and boating is year around. Another advantage of Heartland Boating is the availability of covered slips

The western states are a meca for houseboating. This is Hot dry country that has an appeal to hundreds of houseboaters. However most are not liveaboards.

If You like to travel a cruising style boat would be the way to go (Ie.Pluckabaum Harbor Master etc). If you like to lay back slo-cruise and enjoy the sights a "Lake Boat" is in order. However: no matter the size of the boat get twin power and seriously consider thrusters. When you go to sell the boat (and you will) these items will make it tons easier.

MOST houseboats are NOT configured for full time liveaboards. Rather they are set up for weekend entertaining. Our boat was a 55 foot Pluckebaum with a master and a cuddy only. The living spaces were large. We had a large bathroom a large pantry,, side by side fridge, washer dryer and house size closets.

STRONGLY suggest you rent for a week minimum at least 4 times to get a feel for it. Aqua Yacht Harbor in Iuka Mississippi is a good place to start. 100 feet is a lot of boat and requires crew. Up to 65 feet boat (properly equipped) is manageable by a husband and wife.

Keep us up to date.

06-08-2015, 09:00 PM
Des, thanks for the reply and info. As I stated in my original post, we are also thinking of doing the RV thing, and like this, we have done so much research that it hurts the head after a while. I plan on doing the same on this endeavor and have no intentions of arguing with the "experts" on here. It's hard to fight with someone who's living this life whereas I have no houseboating experience. We are planning on selling our house and the vast majority of our personal property, so yes, we will have some money for a boat, possibly having one built, but the transport costs really scare me. I've contacted one builder just to see what they have to say about it if I would happen to have a boat built. Chances are the delivery costs will be much too rich for my liking, thus eliminating a new build. As far as the type of boat/manufacturer, that's a tough call to be honest. Since I've started looking into this lifestyle and plan on living on the boat full time, it seems like it boils down to either A) where we can find a marina that allows live-aboards, or B) finding a boat that suits us then finding a marina after that. Our intentions are to sit at the dock for a while, then maybe depart on a trip for a few weeks. We considered KY, but the winters aren't favorable for our liking. We looked at a few TX lakes that may work. We looked at the Corpus Christi area along with the Houston/Galveston area and also the Gulf coast of FL. Yes, I do understand that lake-versus-coastal cruising is a totally different animal from each other. We really aren't extremely picky about location, just as long as we don't have any freezing temps for extended periods. We really don't have an issue with the Pacific Northwest either, so our options are open. We will have three adults, two dogs and a cat on the vessel. I like to think that I'm boat knowledgeable, even though there's always more to learn. I am extremely handy and there's not too much I can't do or haven't done. The same goes with the RV world. You better know how to turn a wrench and know the difference between a left-handed and right-handed hammer. Hahaha There are good manufacturers and bad. I'm sure it's the same in the house boat world. So I guess to sum it up after saying all that I did, we're just in the research phase and our minds are like a sponge at this point, trying to get as much info as we can. I appreciate you taking the time during your lunch to answer my post. Have a great day!

06-08-2015, 09:18 PM
OLD HOUSEBOATER, thanks for the info. We actually looked at that marina and area briefly on-line. Thanks for the advice on the boat options, such as power and thrusters. Trust me, twin screws is mandatory along with the thrusters. My concerns about being on a river is higher than normal water flows during times of excess rainfalls upstream which create a much stronger current. Is that really much of an issue or am I worried about that for nothing? As I stated in my reply to DES above, we are open to location options, either coastal or lake. We currently live out west, in Las Vegas, and I know house boating is huge out our way, but with the lake levels creeping lower and lower that isn't an option for us. Plus they don't allow live-aboards at any of the marinas. I truly don't think a 100 footer is in the works for us. It'll be more along the 75-80 foot range. We are keeping all of our options open on boats, boat types, locations, etc. Thanks everyone for the comments and info!

06-09-2015, 07:07 AM
I think that you are putting too much emphasis on the the cost of moving the boat. I have moved boats five times - a 12x52 footer twice, a 14x72 footer once, and my current 18x80 footer twice. It is not cheap, but compared to what you are going to pay for the boat - especially if building - it should not be a sticking point.

My two cents - decide how you want to use the boat first, then where you want to be, then find a home port marina, then find a boat. Deciding the first three will narrow down what you need in a boat.

06-09-2015, 08:31 AM
Before I dropped at least a half million on a new custom-built 80 to 100 foot boat, I would be inclined to do as Old Houseboater said and start by renting for a week. I would even consider a week each at several possible locations. Informed by those experiences, I would then ease into a used boat. After a year or two of that, I would do a lot better knowing what kind of location, boat, layout, and equipment would suit my lifestyle. My idea of the perfect houseboat has changed from when I first bought a boat; I'm confident that your tastes will likewise be malleable as you try a few things and like some and avoid others. At that point, you might find an existing boat that suits your newly refined tastes. If not, by all means, a new custom might be right up our alley and you will do a good job of specifying what you want in the new boat.

06-09-2015, 12:25 PM
We went to Lake Cumberland with some friends. Wow about any type HB you would want to see! Went there to look at a specific boat thru a broker and saw 6 more that day plus several we were invited onto. Not a bad way to see a bunch of different type boats and styles and the prices were a lot less than new with many boats in almost new condition. Many of the manufacturers used to be there and new boats were parked everywhere, not sure about now.
As far as location I also am in Tennessee on Kentucky Lake which is a part of the Great Loop. Each spring and fall the yachts and cruisers come thru.
For reference, it gets too cold here for my boat in the winter because it does not have any insulation. However I know a few people with insulated boats that stay aboard year round. We had ice around the boat this year but never over 1 1/2" thick.

06-09-2015, 02:06 PM
Since you know "reservoir boating", I understand your fear of the "river".
You do need to see the "Great Loop" area as stated above, and need to become intimate with it.

From the North all the way to Pensacola. You will have allot of fun between those two areas. You will not be land locked. And you can bounce back and forth.

When the river flows in the spring, get into a good marina with a floating dock. The docks lower and rise, and your lines remain as always.

The Tenn Tom area has many places where live-a-boards are welcomed.

The Challenge: Learning what you actually want, verses what you think you want.

The Classroom: Rent as stated above. However, be very very very careful. It is addicting!!!

Check out Tony B at this thread and then his other threads:


06-11-2015, 07:29 AM
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!

06-11-2015, 12:23 PM
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.

06-11-2015, 12:35 PM
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.

06-11-2015, 01:48 PM
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?

06-12-2015, 06:55 AM
28k to move from Priest to Center Hill? He got hosed. The permits for that move in TN would be around $6,000.

06-12-2015, 06:58 AM
Handsdown the best houseboat builder is Dennis Pluckebaum. Best Cruising Houseboat ever built.

06-12-2015, 11:57 AM
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.

Mountaineer 67
06-13-2015, 09:53 AM
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.

06-13-2015, 10:18 PM
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!!

06-14-2015, 02:45 PM
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.

06-15-2015, 06:57 AM
I moved my 18x80 from Old Hickory to South Holston. My permits were $3,800. That is $3,500 for 18 foot wide and $300 on top of that for a super load. His was 20' that adds about $2,400 more to the permit. That is where I came up with the $6,000. I know what I paid to have mine moved - it was a four day move. I still say he got hosed. But if he is happy, then that is all that matters.

06-15-2015, 07:07 AM
Your grey water will go overboard - sinks, showers. Your black water - toilets - will go into holding tanks. Some marinas have pump out stations built into the dock every so often. Pretty much all marinas have a "honey" wagon (pontoon boat with at big tank on it) that will come over and pump you out on request. Most marinas will inspect your system as a condition of staying there - they do not want you pumping directly overboard.

There are horror stories out there about houseboat sanitation systems. I have found that they are like anything else on a boat - they need regular maintenance. If you do the regular maintenance and use the correct chemicals, then you will not have problems or odors. Whether you do it like Amelia or the "traditional" way, it is not like regular household plumbing. It requires a bit more effort.

06-15-2015, 08:05 PM
There would be three adults living on the boat. I totally understand the concept behind the composting toilet but I know my wife would never go for it. I know the typical sewage system is totally different on-board a boat and have dealt with them before. While it's not my most favorite thing to do by any means, I 'm fairly confident I could work on it if need be. Thanks for the info on the grey water. I was just under the assumption that the grey and black water all went into a holding tank to be pumped out at a later time. If that was the case then the tanks(s) would get full fairly soon if the grey water was going in there. As far as the "Honey wagon" would anyone happen to know if that is an extra charge, or would that be part of your live-aboard dockage fees? By the way, the boats that I mentioned that we found are located on the Colorado River near Austin. My concern with that is the water level of the river. With the dry weather and lower water levels my concern would be having to move the boat if the levels get too low. So my other question is this- I've seen that the vast majority of the HB's I've looked at have residential A/C's on them. Obviously they work on shore-power, but whatabout when you are running on the generator? If we happen to be anchored out on a hot, breezeless day would we be able to cool off the interior with the A/C running on the genny?

06-16-2015, 07:28 AM
Some marinas include a weekly/monthly pump out, some don't. You will have to check the contract that you sign.

Most of the boats that you are probably looking at will have two 50 amp 220v shore power lines - total of 100 amps. Those boats will have a generator that is anywhere from 12.5 kva to 20 kva. 12.5 gives you 50 amps 220v. That will push your a/c no problem, but if you put enough other load on it, then you will trip the breaker at the genny. I have a 15 kva generator - 67 amps. I have tripped it once - I was trying to trip it to make sure it would trip - I had heat, auxiliary heat, stove eyes, oven, and dryer going.

Now, let's talk about shore power. Most marinas overbook the crap out of their shore power - they assume that only 20-30% of the boats will be occupied at any given time. I had a full 100 amps at my private pedestal in TN - all the way back to the main panel. Down here in GA, there is 100 amp at the pedestal, but two boats share the pedestal. We can, and have, tripped the breaker on the main panel. So, if you are going to be a live aboard, I would make sure I understood what amount of "dedicated" power that I could rely on.

06-16-2015, 02:33 PM
There would be three adults living on the boat. I totally understand the concept behind the composting toilet but I know my wife would never go for it.

Yeah, I sympathize. Though I'm no delicate little flower, needing to be shielded from physiological reality, I felt the same way. (I am not a fan of outhouses, and surely not a hairy-legged earth-mother.) I soon realized that the time spent obsessing over boat head maintenance, seemingly unavoidable smell, macerator malfunctions, loud whooshing noises in the middle of the night echoing around the marina, keeping spare joker valves and other stuff on hand, dealing with foul hose replacement, waiting for a desperately-needed pumpout, especially when there's a long line ahead, and you had other plans for that afternoon. I wasn't keen on the expensive chemicals and the problem of running out of them, and the storage space and weight penalty given up to hauling hundreds of pounds of raw sewage around, were all beginning to sound like drawbacks to me. What finally cinched the deal was when our idiot nanny-state pols decided to require a pump-out log, to be kept assiduously up to date, and policed by the local water cops, whose reputation for intelligent and even-handed enforcement is not very good. That was just one meddlesome hassle too far. The head we ended up with sounded too good to be true, and really is just fine, considering the pricey and finicky 'oh-so-nicey-nice' alternatives. We are still happy. And much to my delight, our loo has nothing in common with the little house out back. But, to each her own. I understand, and hope your experience is entirely trouble-free.

06-16-2015, 03:52 PM
i don't know why all the negative comments about using the heads that 90% of all boats have with holding tanks. I've had the standard heads and holding tanks on every boat except this one that I have owned and have "never" had a "smelly odor" or any problems. sure, I've replaced impellors,joker valves. was it a dirty and stinky job? no it wasn't.if it was as bad as its made out to be they wouldn't have them. everyone to their own choices!

06-16-2015, 04:21 PM
I use a 5 gallon lowes bucket and saw dust. Just stir it with a stick. Who needs to pay $900 for that?

06-16-2015, 09:17 PM
Again, thanks everyone for the replies and the information. You all are awesome! As far as the shore power....I know for RV's that a good surge protector is a must, checking for correct polarity, ground and of course protecting against power surges. I would assume that this is highly desirable for a HB also. I had a 40ft blow-boat (sailboat) in southern Florida many, many years ago that I didn't even hook-up to shore power so I'm not very familiar with it in the marine enviroment. If it's a must have item, which I would think it would be, are the HB's of today, say from year 2000 and newer, equipped with one? Now onto the subject of the marine heads. Well, it's a pretty crappy subject no matter how you look at it. I think that's just something I will have to discuss with the dear old wife. Hahaha Ultimately she will have the final say.

06-17-2015, 05:32 AM
I have surge protectors on some electronics, but no whole boat protection.

If you are really that concerned, then you need to invest in an isolation transformer.

06-17-2015, 09:14 AM
So sorry. I didn't mean to step on any toes. One is often very invested in the choices one has made, or settled for, as the case may be, and tends to be defensive about them. Trouble is, as a former serious sailor, I have never been on a boat with a head that didn't smell, at least a little, like sewage. Admittedly, I've spent very little time on fancy custom-built houseboats, so I am delighted to learn that my impressions have been erroneous. As I said, I was ready to fork out for the top of the line Raritan, when the idiot NC politicians decided to outlaw hold-and-treat systems, and add to the pointless paperwork. At which point I said, "nuts to that," and started over with the research.
I confess, I did find the idea amusing that there are women who wouldn't tolerate something as dead-simple and stink-free as a composting head, (having for decades dealt with quite a wide variety of, um, biological issues, that came with the honorifics "Mom" and "Grandmama.")
So, as I said, I'm glad you have no odor or maintenance headaches, have water and power to spare, and are happy with the pumpout situation at your dock. I'd never suggest anybody replace what is already paid for, and works absolutely perfectly, with a less sophisticated option.