View Full Version : Question about Houseboats Hull design

02-14-2018, 11:58 AM
Just a quick question: Which hull design would be more efficient and practical for a Houseboat? A "Barge" style hull, a Pontoon, or a Catamaran hull? An acquaintance of mine and I were discussing this a few days ago and we were to the point (since neither of us are Marine Engineers) of arguing it out using hypothetical situations (BIG water capable, fuel efficiency, load carrying capable, speed). He had an old houseboat for a while built on Aluminum Pontoon Logs but could not handle anything more than a slight chop without water splashing onto the deck. He kept it on Lake Hartwell for a long time and it finally sunk during a heavy thunder storm. He was going to replace it with a "Barge" style hull houseboat (didn't say the size) but was afraid it would cost too much to run. So, what would be the ideal hull type for a houseboat that could handle cruising open water on not so ideal days?

02-15-2018, 06:13 AM
What do you consider "open water"? Hartwell is an inland lake. There is no true houseboat design that will be comfortable in anything other than light chop.

Miller Tyme
02-15-2018, 06:40 AM
What do you consider "open water"? Hartwell is an inland lake. There is no true houseboat design that will be comfortable in anything other than light chop.

I can think of a few, Pluckybaum, Montecello River Yachts, Bluewaters, Boatels & some Whitcrafts.

02-16-2018, 08:48 AM
I got caught in 4's to 5's in tropical winds of 45+ mph, in my 36' Gibson.
I was rough going but we survived the night.

At that time I wished I had a Bluewater

02-16-2018, 11:10 AM
I've had 3 pontoon houseboats and 2 gibsons. the pontoons were pretty much bullet proof.

02-16-2018, 01:52 PM
I can think of a few, Pluckybaum, Montecello River Yachts, Bluewaters, Boatels & some Whitcrafts.

It depends on what he is talking about. I took it as lake style boats - hence the question about "big water".

02-18-2018, 09:32 AM
Okay, big water, open water, LARGE lakes that have no wind protection and capable of building up 4-6 foot waves in a hurry. I have been on the Mississippi River and have been "assaulted" by 4-5 foot waves when the wind and current opposed each other (not to be confused with Pushboats/Barges wakes). Also would possibly doing some open water coastal cruising down through Florida, possible jumping over to the Bahamas, down through the Florida Keys and back up the West cost of Florida. Having lived in the Florida Keys for a number of years, I have seen conventional HB's (Flat bottomed barge style hulls) running the inside passage where the water averaged 4-6 foot deep and much calmer wave action. I have also helped tow more than one off a sandbar or two. I worked with a couple that maintained a HB in Key Largo that was based on a tri-toon design. While comfortable for living purposes, they both had the complaint that it was a noisy boat when the waves slapped the pontoons and did not have the storage space they really wanted, nor did it really have the freeboard that allowed them to go out on anything but the calmest days. I'd also be looking at inboard Diesel Power as opposed to a Gas motor(s) for more economical cruising. 10-15 knot cruise speed would be perfect. Coming back up onto the mainland (like up the Tim-Tom into the larger rivers and lakes), the draft would not matter as much, I still would prefer something that is more "seaworthy". So, just my thoughts on a possible "new" design of houseboat since I can not find anything like that commercially available already (or are they?).

02-19-2018, 07:22 AM
See post #3. Those will probably get you everything other than crossing over to the Bahamas.

02-19-2018, 09:11 AM
Bluewater Houseboat


02-19-2018, 09:13 AM
Like this one:


02-20-2018, 02:04 PM
I know that there have been some folks that took a Bluewater Yacht across the Gulf Stream, but only in very calm conditions. I do not think you would want to be in one with 5' following seas - the freeboard is just too low.

02-22-2018, 06:29 AM
There was a man that had a BW 55 here for a while. Had twin Crusader gas engines and ate him alive in fuel. He finally sold it to an outfit down in Florida that came and got it. When they "hoisted" it out of the water, one of the prop shafts came right out. It was a nice looking vessel though and I think it is still down in Ft Lauderdale (it's the last place I saw it anyway).

02-22-2018, 07:52 AM
We have a good bit of freeboard, some 3 feet, on our homemade catamaran pontoons. That said, it's a very rough ride on the notorious Albemarle Sound when we suddenly have 20mph wind blow up, a fetch of 40 miles, and hello, what's this, 3-foot beam seas? Oooof. One time we ended up tacking all the way home, at 45 degrees to the waves. Nope. Not going to take this crate to sea.

02-24-2018, 07:03 AM
Hmmm, I would have thought that the "ride" would have been a bit smoother. I have been out on Cat Hull's a good bit and found that they did not rock and roll like a mono hull. I have been out on not so nice days on a Pontoon Boat also and found that a noisy, bouncy ride. I guess it all comes down to how the hulls are shaped, the width/length of the whole boat. I have looked around at some hull designs on several sites that people have come up with for open water cruising with the House Boat upper and Ocean Capable Cat hull to ride it on. There some examples that seemed to work well for them. Look on YouTube and you can find them. IF I was a younger man, had the time and money, I think I could build something that would do the trick. Still always like to "dream".

02-27-2018, 06:12 AM
Catamarans can be WORSE than monohulls. In many cases they have TOO MUCH stability, making for a quick, uncomfortable roll as the hull attempts to "follow" the contour of the water.

Adding weight aloft MAY help. Invite a whole bunch of friends (you bring the beer) and take them for a ride on a choppy day.