View Full Version : Glass or Aluminium, Flat bottom or multi-hull

08-21-2016, 06:54 AM
Just for discussion sake, would you rather have a Fiberglass or Aluminium hull? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Which is better if used "occasionally" in Brackish/Salt water? Inboard, I/O, or Outboard?

Type of hull: I have done some cruising on the traditional flat-bottomed houseboats. Only been on one that had a semi-planing hull and it was an "okay" ride but seemed to rock and roll when stopped a good bit. I have cruised a bit on Pontoon hulls also and found that they seemed too close to the water (very little freeboard). While stable at anchor, just couldn't stop wondering if a big wake came up, how much wash would come on deck. Got to go recently for a nice ride on a Power Catamaran (48'). Really pleasantly surprised at how well it rode, took waves, how little draft it had, and how fuel efficient it was. It got me to thinking about if a HB cabin layout was built on the Cat Hull, wouldn't it be the best of both worlds? Does anyone build such a beast?

What is the Forums thoughts?

08-21-2016, 06:47 PM

Starting at the low end-



08-22-2016, 10:01 AM
That's pretty cool! I wonder how it would work out as a "live-aboard"?

08-23-2016, 05:34 AM
There was one of these on my previous dock. It is basically three rooms inside - kitchen/den/dining, bathroom, and bedroom. This one also had a loft with a mattress. You drove it from a console on the front deck. I believe that it had a 150 Suzuki outboard on it. It also had a 4kw aircooled generator in a box on the back. Basic construction was much more like a motorhome than a houseboat.

Would it work as a live aboard? Depends on what you want. They are small boats with very limited outside deck space

08-23-2016, 05:48 AM
We have had two at our dock, one still there. Very well built and seem to hold up well. One had a wash down interior and the present one is being used every weekend. There was also a lil Hobo next dock over and he was out on the water every weekend.
I like them and they are built one town over from me. However one of the owners is still with us but in his words "upgraded" to a aluminum hull. It has more room and rocks less. It seems to me that the pontoon style sometimes gets waves from the side and will drop into the valley of a wave then ride the top. Not a deal killer just a note.
The company will custom build one to your specs and are very nice to work with according to every owner I have talked to.

08-24-2016, 09:04 AM
I'd be looking somewhere in the 60X20 size range. Framing the cabin, I would think about Aluminum Frames, not wood that will rot quickly. Several years ago, I saw a homemade Pontoon Barge with about a 35' camper trailer (with slideouts) built onto it in the Eufaula Alabama area. Single outboard (looked like maybe a 50 Merc) pushing it along. The main problem I saw was that it rode very low in the water and passing boats wakes would wash the deck. That's a MAJOR concern of mine. The closest place to me that has House boats is on Lake Blackshear (Warwick, Ga) and most are owned by the State Park. There have been a few Homebuilt HB's in the Albany, Ga area over the years but as far as I know, none are floating anymore, even had a Bluewater Yacht here for a few years. Lake Seminole (Bainbridge, Ga) has some HB's on it and I often wonder just how far up the Flint River they can go. So far, no one has been able to tell me how far up-river a large HB can go toward Albany (haven't found any charts either). I live above the Dam in Albany so if I wanted to get back here, I would have to find a docking area below the dam and hope no one breaks in while I'm not on the boat. I'm always trying to come up with some kind of plan on how I can make a HB that will (as Timex used to say) "Can take a licking, and Keep on ticking". I still think the Cat design is viable.

08-25-2016, 05:49 AM
If you want it to be able to take a licking, then you are looking at metal hulls. Also, 20' wide is going to make slip availability a problem in a lot of areas.

09-03-2016, 03:38 PM
For that size houseboat you are almost exclusively looking at aluminum. Each material has it's advantages, but for plain old getting knocked around, aluminum will take a lot of punches. It will look like s... after a while but keep right on going. Up here in the Pacific Northwest the boats of choice for getting banged around are all aluminum.