Another Houseboat dream

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by HouseboatDream, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. HouseboatDream
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Florida

    HouseboatDream Junior Member

    I am quite new at this and researching for the purpose of bringing my ideas to an NA and builder. I have no calculations at this time but I do have dimensions(45'x 14') pontoons or tri-toons and ideas regarding a specific floor plan that I hope will work. I have for the past few months, spoken to some in the industry regarding hull choice and design. First let me say that I live in Hudson, FL and would like to live aboard part-time and travel the bays & rivers of Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Punta Gorda & Fort Myers areas. I have very little interest for purchasing old materials. I welcome all ideas & experiences and of course your questions, Thank you.
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 496, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    Forget about the 'toons. These are the least efficient hull type you can employ and with the ownership costs associated on a 45' houseboat, you'd do well to get a much better return on efficiency underway.


    This is a 50' x 16' riverboat and though not as efficient as it could be, way more so than a 'toon version. This was initially designed as a home afloat, so accommodations was the primary goal. Unless you have extensive engineering experiences, designing a 45' yacht, is simply not reasonable. No insult intended, but there are lots of systems and design elements that have to be addressed, which are simply well beyond the novice designer. The same would be try of a backyard build of this scale. It's possible, from a technical point of view, but a completed yacht of this size, by a novice builder would be less then 1% of the prospective builds, in terms of an actual successful launch. Even an experienced small shop builder, would have a great deal of trouble with a project of this scale.

    This said, it could be partly or wholly professional built. You could contract a builder to provide the basic hull, maybe some system "rough ins", etc., after which you finish fitting her out. This is fairly common, though with the huge market glut built up since the economy took a dump, not such a financial advantage.

    What's you design experience? Engineering? Building experience?
    Joined: Oct 2002
    Posts: 4,519
    Likes: 111, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1009
    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Why would you need to have custom built a vessel that has hundreds of used ones available at 1/5 to 1/10 the cost of a custom new build?

    Take a vacation and go to the Tenn lakes area and visit brokers , your dream boat exists.
  4. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 1,374
    Likes: 56, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 746
    Location: Vancouver

    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

  5. HouseboatDream
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Florida

    HouseboatDream Junior Member

    Thanks for the above responses...

    PAR, with all due respect...your model is not my style and my dimensions of 45x14 are max for a few reasons. As for help from a professional builder for hull and/or basic systems, I certainly welcome it. I already have some recommendations & advice regarding pontoons which have not yet deterred me in my quest for more info. But thanks all the same.

    Fast Fred, regarding your advice to search for used at about 80-90% less cost of custom new, has me looking at vessels that are 25-50 yrs old...paying for more transport miles than I'm willing...adds risk to opening a can of worms...increased risk of systems failures due to age...AND the BIGGIE...I want to enjoy time on the water...not doing weekend repairs. At this point I am not discounting your I am in no hurry to decide which side of "risk" I'm willing to I continue my research. Much thanks.

    WVH, "ditto"...but thanks for the search parameters.

    What I am looking for is something on the style of the MetroShip
  6. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
    Posts: 2,209
    Likes: 174, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1244
    Location: Back full time in the UK

    Richard Woods Woods Designs

  7. HouseboatDream
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Florida

    HouseboatDream Junior Member

    Richard Woods, yes I have...about a year ago. After finding his website and watching his then presentation. And as a new member here, I've noticed his posts and I do intend to follow his advice at that time..."to contact him anytime". Thanks
    Joined: Oct 2002
    Posts: 4,519
    Likes: 111, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1009
    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Sad to say with a brand new boat the first year may be outfitting the vessel as you desire.

    A functioning boat that is currently in the service you require will be the least amount of cost/work/effort.

    Of course the simpler the systems the less to maintain ,

    or the less to purchase, install trouble shoot , repair and then maintain.
  9. fredrosse
    Joined: Jan 2005
    Posts: 436
    Likes: 80, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 56
    Location: Philadelphia PA

    fredrosse USACE Steam

    "regarding your advice to search for used at about 80-90% cost of custom new" Note FASTFRED did not state that, he said 10-20% the cost of custom new. A big difference in perspectives there!

    As far as headaches with a used houseboat, there are reliable inspection services that can determine the real condition of used boats, and considering the price differential, there is plenty of room for you to modify and refit according to your wishes and still come out with far less cost than a new build.

    Having said that, I completely understand your wishes to start from scratch building a new houseboat. But understand the real cost differential compared to shopping the used market.
  10. HouseboatDream
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Florida

    HouseboatDream Junior Member

    FAST FRED, I do hope to keep it as simple as I can with either decision...which I know is easier said than done. Thanks again.

    fredrosse, thanks for pointing that out...I was a bit confused by your somewhat quoting "FF"...until I went back to read my response...which I did correct the important omission.

    But I do appreciate your input/advice and that from others here...which is extremely helpful.
  11. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,900
    Likes: 199, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Here's a 14 X 45' design from Glen-l, to be built in plywood, fiberglass or steel.


    The thing with pontoons vs a regular hull, the hull will probably be more efficient, have less draft and will be lower over all (less windage) with more general stability. You will be down low and "in" a hull as compared to on top of pontoons.

    But then again, there are probably plenty of pontoon boats that size. Here is one, 14 x 44, made from used propane tanks.


    Down at the marina here there was a large pontoon commercial "party barge" that used large filament wound tanks for the 'toons, there might be a commercial/industrial size available that would be a correct size. that would possibly get past the expense of "custom" marine fabrication.;674;293

    Since these things are built to high standards and they are not recyclable like metal or plastic, it might be possible to get some industrial "rejects" that would be plenty suitable for pontoons. I doubt the price would be much, as it must cost the manufacturer a lot to get rid of them.

    Here's a large one using spirally wound and welded steel pipe.

    If you search this site for pontoon this or pontoon that or houseboat this or that, you will find other threads about the subject. For each thread, scroll down to the bottom of the page for 'similar threads' to find even more threads.
  12. wilkidan
    Joined: Jul 2015
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Palmetto, FL

    wilkidan New Member


    I have built several houseboats using two developed hulls instead of pontoons. These are much more efficient and can accept more speed since the bow will rise as speed increases. I am located in Palmetto FL. We can build complete or partial. Length can be from 35' to 57' or more. Let me know if there is any interest.
  13. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 1,914
    Likes: 160, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 304
    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    98% of the time telling someone "but it would be so much cheaper to buy exisiting boat in this market than to design and build a new custom is whatever the opposite of "preaching to choir" is. Might as well tell a sport fisher "they sell fish in the store much cheaper than all that gear you buy".

    They wont admit it, but they want to BUILD a new boat much more than they actually want to just sit out on the water.

    How do you think the market gets glutted with used boats?
  14. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 3,300
    Likes: 449, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1279
    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Well there is this..........If you bought a used boat on Kentucky Lake you could drive it home from there, Down the Ten Tom waterway to the Black Warrior River and into the gulf from Mobile Ala. That could be a high adventure. Huckleberry Finn with comforts of home.

  15. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 1,170
    Likes: 40, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 155
    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    And to any who do: please post pictures of your build. :)
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.