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Thread: Can a steel boat last "forever"?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Posts
    1

    Question Can a steel boat last "forever"?

    Hello all,

    I purchased an old houseboat from 1920 that needs some work. Is it a reasonable expectation that the steel hull will last for another lifetime if I continue to take it out of the water to paint and patch up the steel as needed every 3 years or so.

    It's been in the shipyard for a year and they are moving frustratingly slowly. I'm not even sure they will be able to get the engine (old DAF 475 diesel engine from 1973) to run and it seems difficult to find people who know how to work with it in Belgium.

    I think replacing the engine with an electric one is the way forward, since it's much cleaner and virtually maintenance-free, but that will be very costly (probably 50k+ euros, I was quoted 36500 for the batteries alone, whereas I paid 27500 for the boat). Ultimately I think that is what I should do whenever it comes time to replace the engine, but I want to be confident that the boat will last my lifetime (about 60 years left) before I make such a large investment that isn't really transferable to another boat.

    I put some pictures of the boat in question on https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C...a_(ship,_1920)

  2. #2
    Administrator Zilpo55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Cumberland, KY
    Posts
    210
    Welcome to the forum, trougnouf! That is a fascinating looking houseboat! Very different from most we see here in the US. I would love to see some interior photos sometime.

    I have no personal experience with steel hulls, but I know some other members on here have. Other boaters that I know have said steel hulls most often rust and fail from the inside. I see no reason why a well maintained hull couldn't last "forever". I don't know about your area, but many marinas here in the US no longer allow steel hull boats because they can quickly become a liability if neglected.

    Good luck with your project!

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Posts
    1
    Great houseboat!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    2
    Cool houseboat! On average, steel boats last around 40 to 75 years. But, the life expectancy can vary from 25 years to as high as 100 years, depending mainly on how often the boat is subjected to regular maintenance and how often it is repainted.

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