Building a Floating Camp

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by jdehart, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. jdehart
    Joined: Jul 2016
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    jdehart Junior Member

    I need some input on a floating camp we are in the beginning stages of building. Extreme beginning planning stage! haha

    We have two 55'L x 3'6"W x 3'4"H steel pontoons and want to put a structure that is 16'W x 35'L on them. The plan is to build the "foundation" to be 20'W x 55'L and place the structure as to have a front deck of 12', a rear deck of 8', and side walkways of 2' each. We also want to put a loft upstairs which would fall towards the rear of the camp. Does this seem "doable" and if so how tall before we get to a sketchy range? We were thinking it would be 14' tall with a flat (with a slight incline for drainage) roof.

    Any ideas, comments, and critiques are VERY welcome!
     
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are a bunch of questions you'll need to provide answers for, then some engineering can take place. How many people will be aboard (max amount), plate thickness for the 'toons and any internal reinforcements they might have. Accommodations expectations, equipment and gear ideas, etc., etc., etc. All these things, plus considerably more, so an accurate weight study can be performed. This is necessary, just to get it to float (trim) relatively level. Then there's a series of safety considerations, possible some regulation compliance and the list goes on. This may seem a reasonably simple thing, but it's not once you get into the details, particularly the safety and regulatory areas of concern.
     

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  3. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    I don't mean on your parade, but this is south Louisiana, the home of cheap deck barges and shallow water. You can pick up a 55'x30 barge almost anywhere that will be far easier to do this on than pontoons, and probably be much shallower.

    There is even a company in Delacroix (I think) that does this commercially.

    The other option is deck barge plus mobile home = instant camp.
     
  4. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Stumble has practical advice.

    As for the pontoons.....lets say that they are skinned with 7 gage steel, about 3/16 thick. In that case each of the toons will weigh something north of 5700 pounds. If quarter inch plate, figure somewhere near 7000 pounds. Each of the floats will be capable of supporting something like 40,000 pounds. Subtract the weight of the float itself.....say 7000 and you have a maximum capacity of about 33,000. But that is only if the thing is sunken all the way to the top.

    You certainly do not want to use all the potential flotation so lets say that you wish to limit the draft to 18 inches. If 3 foot 4 inches is the width then the immersed part will hold up about 15,000 pounds.... then subtract the 7000 pounds that the toon might weigh....and you have 8000 pounds per pontoon to play with.

    Disclaimer: These are all strictly ball park arithmetic estimates and may not be taken as the gospel. Those numbers are only a starting place to suggest that pontoons are not the best way to go for your particular application. The easiest deal would probably be to get one of the barges that Stumble proposed.
     
  5. jdehart
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    jdehart Junior Member

    It's perfectly fine! This is why I posted...I have looked at deck barges but have not found any that won't have me paying an arm and a leg. The pontoons were given to us so it was kind of hard to pass up. lol
     
  6. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Just for fun I went looking, the asking price for a reconditioned 40x20x5 barge runs about $35-40k, and you can pick up an ex Navy self powered 90x22x5 barge for about $90k

    http://www.maritimesales.com/HBG10.htm

    They really are dime a dozen down here, heck give me a few months and I can probably find a wreck of a deck barge for free if you promise to come get it. Scrap values aren't worth that much, so 'selling' it to the local breaker generally means they will take it for free if you get it to them.
     
  7. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

  8. jdehart
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    jdehart Junior Member

    I did figure that they would support about 40,000 pounds each and I believe the 5,000/lb per pontoon is about right. So lets say a total of 80,000 lbs for both less the weight of the pontoons would bring it to 70,000 lbs and divide that in half I was figuring that the both together would hold 35,000 lbs.

    Does this sound correct? If so, my main question really would be what height I could get with this base?? I can modify the size of the structure but would still want to have the loft.

    Thanks for all of the input!!
     
  9. jdehart
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    jdehart Junior Member

  10. jdehart
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    jdehart Junior Member

    Well let me know if you find anything!
     
  11. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Well, since you already have the pontoons and you are discussing a camp rather than a boat, I thought I would combine that with the above advice in an out of the box way.

    Are you familiar with trimarans that have amas that are swing mounted so that the boat can be towed or take advantage of narrower slips?

    Imagine for a moment that your camp used a barge and the pontoons. The superstructure, usable no matter the position of the pontoons would likely be about as wide as the three combined with no bridge deck. Maybe just a bit narrower. This would be a suitable configuration for towing from place to place. Once at an anchorage the pontoons could be swung out and an accordion folded deck lowered into place giving you a generous "yard" on either side. This could be combined with an awning and mosquito netting too if desired.

    A less complex option is, of course, a fixed tri structure (no reason the central barge couldn't be longer than the pontoons). This would have the advantage of offering a place for launching and retrieving boats.
     
  12. jdehart
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    jdehart Junior Member

    Hmmm...had not thought of that. I will definitely do some research on this.
     
  13. rberrey
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    rberrey Senior Member

    I would find an old cabin cruser with no moter , put the pontoons on both sides , tie them together with angle iron , build a deck frount , and back .
     
  14. Scot McPherson
    Joined: Jan 2017
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    what are you using this for? You said Camp, but do you mean more like a floating cabin? If you are doing "a camp", like with kids or even adults being paying customers, you really ought to do your homework regarding insurance before you do anything else. Call insurance companies and get a quote....It may be a whole lot more than you expected.
     

  15. jdehart
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    jdehart Junior Member

    My idea for the camp is a 20' x 55' foundation with a 16' x 32' living area with loft and it will be used as a getaway in the bayous of Louisiana. Lol
    Not used for rental - just personal use and hopefully a permanent residence once the kids are gone.
     
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