100ft static houseboat: leaks, cement and advice!

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by jaycey001, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. jaycey001
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    jaycey001 New Member


    I am in the process of buying a few acres of land with river frontage, however as part of the deal I also have to take on a static 100ft converted ammunitions barge.

    I have some experience with boats having lived, converted and fitted out a few over the last 10 years BUT I have never taken on such an old boat with such issues....

    Firstly she is on a mud berth on tidal water in Suffolk (U.K) and has been painted every two years down to the mud level but due to her size and lack of an engine has never been out of the water. About 3 years ago she sprung a leak which was repaired by cementing the inside of the hull, which was advised by a surveyor, since then the whole bilge up to the water line has also been cemented. I have never come across this method of repairing a hull, is it standard practice on older boats?

    What is the longevity of this method and is it likely to cause problems later on in her life?

    if anyone has any information on the pros and cons of cementing a barge hull I would be very grateful.

    Many thanks
  2. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Cementing was probably the least costly solution, but I doubt it will last, unless it is a clever mixture that expands and contracts exactly like the hull does.
    And even then, the hull corrodes away without anyone knowing the progress, so one day after an exceptional high tide you will get very wet feet!
  3. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    what material is used to make the main hull? If there is no practical way to lift it out of the mud/water, there may be no practical alternative. Is it worth salvaging? Or maybe it should be dismantled and hauled off. Can it be towed out and sunk as a man made reef? likely that will require permission.

    I have seen concrete used in repairs on both wood and steel hulls, and there were many ferro-cement barges made during WWII since it was a cheap and fast way to make barges for moving supplies around. If it is a ferro-cement hull than concrete is the only practical way to fix it.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A 100' ammunition barge? Steel would be the logical material and filled with concrete, is now just a pad, with a rusting membrane around it, for the house structure to sit on. Eventually, things will rust and fall off and the concrete slug will be all that remains. Think of it as a man made island. Repairs will not be worth the trouble, so when the time comes, use some well placed sticks of TNT and enjoy the show.
  5. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    Mind that you are taking on the disposal of said vessel.
    Could be costly..
  6. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    I doubt the cost of maintaining the relic is worth what it will cost you. You need engineer(s) to help you with the cost decision.

    If you have to keep it, I can only think it will become a money pit.

  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Cement is used for emergency repairs, but is not permanent. Is the barge floating at high tide or always aground? If it is never floating, you can just fill the bilges with cement and rocks.
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    After the TNT event, you can assemble the bits and make a nice faux rock garden.
  9. jaycey001
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    jaycey001 New Member

    Thanks for the comments, Unfortunately this is a rather nice boat, with several bedrooms which was marketed for £400,000 a few years ago and previously used as a successful bed and breakfast so the TNT idea isn't my favourite!

    I expect the cost of sheathing the hull would be exorbitant considering she would need towing a long way to find a suitable yard, So I expect I will have to sell her separately and start a new build (despite my resolution after every boat so far to never do it again :confused:)

    Thanks again for the comments

    Best wishes

  10. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Cement and steel are good friends...thats why they repaired it with cement.

    You should hire a surveyor to have a good look. Perhaps a bit more cement and a bit of TLC might prolong her life.
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