So if you’re going to build a boat, why not combine it with a tiny house and build one you can spend some time on! Chris Carr’s Darwin ,  is one really great example of houseboat building and great boat design. The great thing is, there are lots of varied plans and designs…different designs for different uses. There are some pioneering folks in Vermont who are involved in a project that will prove the commercial value of a “triloboat” derived sailboat design.
I’m sure the first thing our primitive ancestors thought when they say some bird standing on a floating log was “how many logs would I have to tie together to be able to stand like that?” The beginning of boating. I looked on Craigslist and quickly found a 27’ 1989 Catalina for $9,500 and that included a 2 year old Tohatsu 9.9 kicker. While thinking about ways to retire cheap I thought about the idea of retiring on a houseboat. On Lake Norris in Tennessee it will cost between $250 and $450 a month and there is a waiting list everywhere. At the Gangplank Marina in Washington,DC it will cost you about $12 bucks a month per foot on a yearly basis, plus electricity. Some folks report that they were quoted as much as 20% of the boats value for a years insurance.
To sum it all up, if you add all these costs together it can easily cost $750 and more a month to live full-time on a boat or a houseboat. Most boat owners who live full-time will tell you that they don’t do it to save money, they do it because they love boats and the lifestyle.
Please leave a comment or suggestion on how to make this blog better Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. My reasoning begins with the fact that I am in a wheelchair, and I plan on living aboard this boat full-time upon completion. You seem to have placed quite a bit of thought into many aspects of the design, though I think you'll find that some builders do perform much of what you think they don't, especially on craft of this scale. You'd be best advised to provide this list to a professional, as part of the SOR and go from there. Location: Vancouver Have to say as well this is about the most detailed and thought out boat plan I have seen.
Location: Beam Reach It's all possible, but as PAR has pointed out, get a professional to design it. I also have a concern over using old petrol motors, especially given your disability and size of the boat.
Location: Eustis, FL My 50' design above uses twin well mounted outboards, which solves a lot of issues. Location: Australia You comment on the value of planning and I think this is critical for a project like this. Without doing a detailed plan and cost estimate for the project you may underestimate the amount of time and money required to complete the project and end up well short of your goals. As a final comment, be prepared to handle the innevitable negative feedback that you may get.
Location: Panhandle Florida Respone #1 First off, I very much appreciate everyone's hasty and courteous information.
Local fabrication company is providing free workspace, experienced craftsman to perform quality control, and electricity. I have spent about 3-4 months estimating costs, pitching to companies for voluntary support, setting up all my ducks, logistics, coatings, & material selection.
I have thought talked to the USCG a number of times about what I plan on doing, and their main concerns have been waste related. Location: Panhandle Florida It's late I might have missed something or made it confusing. Location: Eustis, FL Why are you limiting this design with such a restrictive hull form? Location: Cebu the Philippines These are just some thoughts off the top of my head.
Location: Beam Reach Nice barge, and at 139k about a third of of the cost of new.
Its a great project and has many benefits for you but just because it can be done doesnt mean it should be done, my questions relate to the economics of it. I have looked around a great deal at whats on the market, and I just havent found anything that meets my criteria.
This is also a warning bell, unfortunately divine inspiration and boatbuilding do not mix as all too often reality and divinity do not agree. If you are thinking about building a houseboat or even a great little sailboat, check out the Triloboat.
When it comes to building a trailerable pontoon houseboat, I knew that I could build it out of aluminum. Drew Heath designed the Arkiboat, a simple, two-bedroom houseboat built for two couples to use in an estuary near Sydney, Australia. Houseboats, by and large, do their best to recreate the quotidian comforts of the standard dwelling in compact, waterborne form.
For architect Drew Heath, the design of a house for the water near Sydney, Australia, deserved a new approach. As for outdoor space, something for which modern Australian houses are the envy of those confined to cooler climes, a houseboat's deck space is usually kept to the functional minimum at best.
In his own words, Heath wanted to "provide a verandah-type deck around a series of vertical planes to be able to open up the interior to the surrounding seascape." What this amounts to is a clean-lined, modernist pavilion that floats. Rather than steel and glass, Heath has chosen the singular material of natural wood, which alternates with the sky-, woodland- and lake-view openings that parade around the main space and encourage the sensation of indoor-outdoor expansiveness.
This 30-square-meter (320-square-foot) "pavilion on water" benefits further from a modernist sensibility. The effect goes beyond avoiding a change in level: it creates a much more open and free-flowing relationship than on other seagoing homes, which are usually sunk by a few steps, so that the living space becomes a sort of half-basement apartment. Though it is set up higher, the pavilion form is still low-lying and rather subtle in the natural context. The program is simple, with a living and kitchen area at the front with the steering mechanism, the main sleeping room at the rear, and a small second bedroom and bathroom in between.
Supported on two stainless-steel pontoons and driven by two 25-horsepower motors, the houseboat is lake-worthy, but, admittedly, not made for rough seas. It was designed to be used in an estuary to the north of Sydney Harbour, "for quiet, windless and waveless bays." In such a serene environment, it makes sense to rely on a low-power, simple modern design from which to enjoy the surroundings. The master bedroom of the Arkiboat features operable glass-and-wood wall panels on three of its four sides. My husband is building a 50' x 16' houseboat with out plans, from scratch, out of his own head - no plans, no blueprint, however with lots of unsought advice from me, from very amused neighbors, and generous total strangers.
The homemade houseboat is still a work-in-progress, but there's now a lovely galley with enough space to comfortably prepare dinner for a dozen. We had some hull damage in a storm a few months ago, and we're awaiting both fine weather and strong help to remove those crunched sections of hull and patch them.
From Key West, Florida to Kodiak, Alaska or even down under in Murray, Australia they are rolling out the houseboat plans and laying out  the tools. That’s OK, but think of the pride you’ll have cruising along in a beautiful small houseboat you built with your own hands!
Built on sections of treated plywood pontoons, it can easily be cruised along the Albermarle sound for day trips or lived on full-time. This little barge houseboat is so nice that even the old-time boat building snobs who usually turn their noses up at the flat-bottomed crowd are giving it up for Kerry Elwood and his homemade houseboat.

Some houseboats are just big floating barges that stay anchored in a marina and hook up to the shore for all the conveniences of a regular home. The construction of your own houseboat would do much to satisfy all the primal “boat building” urges that reside in the heart of man. So he makes a great big raft out of logs and ties them together with “coconut fiber rope” and floats across the river. I’ve figured out the cost of a small houseboat several ways and it always comes out to at least $15,000. And did he do a great job or what! The Darwin, is one of the coolest looking little houseboats around, and he figures it cost him about $12,000 to $15,000 to build it. True, its not a “houseboat” or even a tiny home but it’s a live aboard boat that does pretty much the same thing. Even if I never hoisted the mainsail I could slide along the waterways for about ? gallon an hour. For more on houseboat insurance read Insurance If you are still reading at this point I think you too are dreaming about building a houseboat. I am very physically fit and not a master, but a some what skilled craftsman in many fields associated with this kind of construction.
I will post pictures of the various designs in reply to this initial post in a couple days as I get questions pertaining to them.
She has a flat bottom, lots of internal volume for out of sight mechanical and many other features. It's fine for you to have worked up some virtual models, but the software just does what you tell it to do and doesn't tell you if the shapes you've employed are appropriate for your SOR.
There is no way you are getting out of jail for less than several hundred k on a boat this size if it going to be liveable and last. As hinted to by others, I'm concerned about local and global loading concerns, being adequately addressed, on a vessel of this scale. People have differing experience and are always going to bring different perspectives to a project. When I posted the first huge post, I didn't want to add anymore than information about the hull.
The boat began in class to acquaint myself with the various drafting and 3d modeling programs. So far I have secured materials, equipment, plans for protective coatings, construction space, transportation, dry dock for finishing and launch, requirements from the USCG, and applications for HIN#. I could understand this approach with a houseboat, who's role is essentially a static one, but if you'd like some efficiency underway and not to hear every passing wake slap under the bow or topside flare . A portable generator is good enough to recharge a modest sized battery bank on an overcast day. And remodeling is almost always taking someone elses problem, unless you want to spend 80k on the boat and then another 50k remodeling. The designer and builder, Dave Zeiger has put an amazing amount of foresight and thought into the design of this boat. Well, time flies, and after a lot of welding, the three pontoons have been pressure tested and are just about ready.You will notice in the photo, that there's a V shape at the bottom of the two exterior pontoons, as I believe these to help in tracking, or directional stability. I'm sure many of our readers would love to have all the tools, welders, and a setup like that.Just a quick note, I hope that the V shape on the bottoms of the two exterior pontoons are going to provide enough slow tracking or directional stability?My reasoning is that on some of the aluminum pontoon houseboats that I have seen usually have some form of small keel welded along the length.
Any greater sea-living aspirations are often left to the overreaching desires, and budgets, of the yachting set. The Arkiboat is similar, as Heath admits, to many boats, in that circulation occurs along the surrounding deck, but here the core "house" is level with the deck.
Keeping the house well above water level means that the experience of the surroundings is much more immediate, with wind, air and sun permeating all of the spaces. A generous roof overhang protects the interior from harsh, direct sunlight, and shelters the immediate deck area, contributing, as in most modernist pavilions, to the indoor-outdoor experience. Windows and sliding doors mean that the scenery is a constant presence, rather than occasionally glimpsed.
A narrow deck provides circulation space and also serves to extend the rooms beyond their operable walls. After three years of cutting, gluing, screwing framing and fitting pressure-treated plywood, it now begins to look like an actual shanty houseboat, roof and all, and now we've come to the slow-picky stage, deciding on systems and figuring out how to install them - wiring, plumbing, outboards, and the like. That's a great point that I never considered, would it be better to have instruments grouped together, or grouped according to Port or Starboard engines. Some of your suggestions are already firmly in the gotta-have bin: anchor windlass and marine air-conditioning, for instance. The way he built the pontoons in sections and then bolted them together is a unique way of houseboat building and definitely worth some extra study and consideration.
See the fun and the challenges, as well as some serious setbacks he encountered building this great houseboat.
If you ask me this boat shouldn’t be in the water …it should be in a boat museum! In fact, they have already made their first trip down the Hudson river to New York and delivered agricultural goods all along the way!
Also, it would be much easier to push along at hull speed and way more acceptable in most marinas.
Add to that a pump-out fee of $60 if you’re not in a marina with free pump out and the price could run $520 to $640 a month. You can get a yearly pump-out contract for about $400 to $500 and the dock usually supplies the water.
But, if you desire different and possibly interesting lifestyle it is a great alternative to sitting in your 2 bedroom condo looking out the window for the mailman to go by. Lets just assume I have all the funds, equipment, tools, labor, space, and know how at my disposal. Check out the guy who built a huge self designed cat on sailing anarchy on a budget, basically it still cost him70 plus k and its nothing more than a floating wreck. Many projects like this seem to start out of the notion that living aboard a vessel will somehow be cheaper than living ashore but I suspect that many don't end up that way (or at least not with a comparable standard of living). Now that I have seen your concerns I can address the precursor to this situation, which fuels the endeavor.
I have probably designed over 100 different vessels based on all the marine architecture I can find. Local fiberglass boat builder is helping me to build the seamless fiberglass cabin shell that will be mounted to a frame welded to the aluminum hull. I have been following the directions of many people to make sure I am within regulations, safety, and efficiency.
This will allow me to either go to the roof or into the hull without having to pick myself up. With regard to your ability to build, maintain and service aspects of the boat, no 50 footer can be looked after without some help, and given your disability you will need more than most.
I suggest spending money with a qualified naval architect getting your brief sorted and an estimate of costs. Their website is full of information on the boat and how to sail her, along with some great accounts of some of their trips. Eager to get this unlikely show on the road, even before it's got windows, galley and head, we've called a number of outboard motor salesmen and described the problem to head-scratching incredulity. I would imagine since there is no "law or standard" regarding instrument placement, you're free to install them to your preference. The boat tracks nicely, turns in its own length, (7mph at 2000rpm, still breaking 'em in, so haven't gotten to WOT yet) and seems both quiet and stable.
While commercial houseboat sales in the US have dropped  from over 500 a year  12 years ago to  around 100 a year  this year, its still possible to build  your own houseboat and enjoy  fun of living on a houseboat.

I am doing what no boat builder would ever do; I made enough space for every repair to be easily accessible and simple.
Have you considered slipping the vessel on an annual basis and the structural, timing and access requirements of this activity? Your project will be better off if you can bring yourself to take onboard the advice of others (as you yourself anticipate doing in the opening post).
I would not have come this far if it wasn't for the people who are coming out of the woodwork to advise me with their experience. My design may not look the same as professionally built boats, but it addresses all the same constrictions to prevent torsion, support sufficient loads, and suitable material performance. I also have various engineers to help me build the electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc systems. Have a look at the labour portion and see how much you can do personally or get donated, deduct from the total build estimate, add 30% and see if you can realisitically fund it. The head room might be a tad to low, but if it comes up a little short in the comfort department, it makes up for it in the simplicity of construction. On of the best features with this design is that the floor can be insulated for year round use. Some insurance companies offer boat insurance as part of a larger package, so check with your homeowner’s insurance company first.
I will be able to essentially go to Lowes or Autozone or even WalMart to get supplies for repairs and maintenance. I have done quite a bit of consulting on every area of the project, and I am here to get more. Also the right most drawing on the top row, shows some sort of weird perspective, or is it just me?
There is no way a boat like this is cheaper to live on than a house, what you save rates and yard care you pay many times over in routine maintenance. Go ahead click the book and sign-up, it's free and filled with great articles, tips, information and website updates.
I, being a professional builder and remodeler, saw every thing at a glance that would need attention, but my wife was just in love with it, so there went my bargaining power, out the window! Part of the funding stipulations require me to be involved in everything as much as physically possible. No, we can't haul it out-- too big, but we can tow it to a nearby boat ramp to install a pair of 60-75-hp outboards. Small and unobtrusive, it gives good situational awareness.We bought a portable air-conditioner, but it really doesn't do a very effective job. Building a little houseboat that you can motor about in and still enjoy some of the comforts of home. If everyone that was told it is too hard just quit; then we would have never made huge advances over human history.
Me and the videographer have been building a documentary since 2009 based on IHMC's research, and day to day life as a paraplegic.
I am going to post a reply with screenshots of the individual prefab pieces then a completely assembled shot. I will need very little electricity for daily life, except when I use my welder and similar equipment, but a good generator will supply power. A few salesmen have actually come to call, to see the challenge close up, but as yet, we have not gotten the first written quote. With modern plywood, fasteners and epoxy finishes a nice small houseboat can be built and enjoyed for decades. They don’t want you puttering in and around their million dollar yachts without the insurance to pay for the damage.
The boat is going to be the final piece to the documentary before we make a final cut for the Sundance Film Festival. I first want to get settled on the boat, and see the clearances nearby for overpasses and such before placing the panels and greenhouse.
Hi there pee rats Dose any houseboat partizan outthere consume elaborated plans for houseboat pontoon grammatical construction for loading capacitance of building houseboat pontoon design. There is, no doubt, a very expensive alternative system that would require extensive renovations, but we're not at that point yet.
I found Calder's book, seemingly by holy intervention, and have learned so much not only about ABYC codes for all these systems, but WHY these things are recommended. If you lose control in docking or in a high wind you might need the insurance to build a houseboat for someone else! In the following paragraphs I will outline in great detail my plans, and why I am taking the hard road. In my relationship with IHMC I have built a friendship with several people, but one in particular has taken an interest in this project. I have also designed a 3' waterwheel generator I could build from aluminum to harness river power.
I know they are more maintenance than the modern outboards, but I prefer them in the hull where I can access them more on my level. For a year I prayed saying If He wanted me to build this, that He would have to send someone to me that tells me to build it, and then gives me the money to do it. He has a way of explaining things so even I can understand it.If you want to put your boat together in a safe, intelligent, efficient, and elegant manner, get this book. I had nearly given up when I was talking to a man at IHMC, after our conversation he informed me that he was going to write me a check and I was to build a houseboat. Also please take note of things you feel I am not doing correctly, or you would do differently.
God is raising up experienced people from all over my area to help me accomplish the project. I am looking well into this manner, but come hell or high water (preferably high water) this boat will be built. If when installed it does not have adequate pressure I will install another pump to supplement.
The incinerator will be installed into a sealed fiberglass compartment with access panels where needed. The tanks will be housed in a sealed fiberglass compartment, and each tank(s) will be designated to each piece of equipment as capacity requires. I am going to work with several battery manufacturing companies (competition makes cheaper prices) to custom build batteries for electrical storage appropriate for my needs.
Wire will also be run out of the compartment to the control panel then to its designated place in sealed conduit. For example, carburetor engines, manual switchboard for routing electricity, winches with pulleys, etc.
No boat builder would take the time to label everything inside the hull down to the wires inside the conduit then give you the key to it all. Things like switches, filters, fuses, hoses, bolts and nuts, etc will be easy to have on board with low overhead costs. I plan on having a fully accessible, functional vessel that I can live on comfortably for as long as I choose with proper maintenance.

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