Floating a fifth wheel.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by patagoniadave, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. patagoniadave
    Joined: Jun 2015
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    patagoniadave Junior Member

    Hello, this is my first post on this forum, I apologize if I should be posting in a different category.

    I grew up in Arizona, I know absolutely nothing about boats. I had to google the anti bot questions when registering for the forum. I very much want to learn though.

    I travel full time on the road in a fifth wheel http://twoheelers.tumblr.com/ I have developed this nagging, crazy idea that at some point I want to put the rv and truck on a boat/barge/ferry/landing craft and travel that way. Maybe make the great loop. It is a super vague, un researched idea, but I want to start narrowing down my though process. At one point, driving around the country in an rv was a crazy un researched idea.

    Anyway, I was googling around for ideas, found this forum, did some random thread searches, and decided that there may be people here willing to help me work through the mental though process.

    Although when I put rv into the forum search, I did not find anything, I am sure that I am not the first person with this idea. If anyone has some links for reading up on ideas, I would appreciate it.

    Any thoughts on what kind of boats, and sizes I should be looking for? I am not wealthy, and boats seem to be expensive, but then again I though that about rv's, and managed to find one I could afford.

    One very specific question that I have, and maybe I should post a new thread, but.... After I settle on the vessel, would there be a way to power the prop using a pto off of my truck?

    Thanks all
     
  2. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    How about giving us the length of the RV, weight if you know it. and what type of water you plan on using it on. Also how fast or slow do you want to go.
    It is doable, you will need quite a towing vehicle.
     
  3. patagoniadave
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    patagoniadave Junior Member

    All good questions. As to the towing vehicle, I am not picturing ever taking the boat out of the water, so I would not need to tow it. In my mind, I will motor down the shore, or river, dock up, take the rv and or truck off if necessary, re-load, and head out on the water again.

    Currently my rig set up is a Dodge ram 2500 quad cab cummins motor towing a 38 foot fifth wheel, that is 14 feet wide when the slides are open. I have not put a tape measure on the length, but lets say a minimum of 60'X20' for flat deck space. I have not weighed it, but the trailer is 14,000 lbs max, fully loaded. Plus the truck, plus the weight of fresh water, and sewer water, and fuel.

    In theory, I would want to be able to use this on the ocean coast at a minimum. Cruise up and down the East Coast, Island hop in the Caribbean, tour around in the Sea of Cortez that kind of water. I do not know enough about boats to know how fast I should want to go, but I really do not care about speed. I was picturing a slow moving diesel powered barge, then had the crazy idea of powering the boat with the truck engine and a pto.

    I know it will probably be more practical do sell the truck and trailer when I want to get on the water full time, and just buy a boat, but I want to at least do the mental exercise of this idea.

    Thank you.
     
  4. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    A 20' x 60' barge is really not tow able and if you tilt it up vertical your way to high. Your talking front and following vehicles, a ton of regulations, and permits up the wazoo, not to mention severe towing restrictions as to when and how. All this plus big bucks. If you can live with a 10' trailer. it is still doable. I THINK 45' LONG IS THE LIMIT for most states. You might start thinking about a ocean going house boat with a car on deck.
     
  5. patagoniadave
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    patagoniadave Junior Member

    I do not want to tow it. I want to find one already on, or near enough to on the water, and leave it there.

    I want to be able to park my truck and trailer on it, and float them around.

    I want it to be "ocean going" but I do not know what that means technically.

    What I am trying to find out here, is what would be the most practical base to start with, ie. ferry, landing craft, barge, something I am not aware of?

    I am also curious as to if/how I could power it with a pto from the truck, but maybe that should be a different thread?

    I am also curious if there is any kind of CAD database of boats, preferably 3d models?

    Thank you for any and all help
     
  6. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    A barge type boat to drive a pick-up truck on pulling a 38'trailer tells me it will have to be made out of steel. An open barge capable of ocean travel brings up the thought of 100%
    extra flotation' This is beyond my knowledge so I cannot be of any help to you. Good luck to you on your adventure..
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Hi Dave, welcome to the forum.

    Your idea is unique enough that it'll warrant a custom design, particularly if you intend to use this commercially.

    The boat could be PTO powered, but a more conventional arrangement will be much cheaper, more efficient and easier to live with.

    Ocean going is a tough one, which typically mean you're looking a substantial boat pushing the barge or if self propelled, still a significant drive, steering and controls arrangement. Generally barges aren't ocean going (cat. A), this is what container ships or freighters are for. A near shore barge (cat. B), like those to putter cranes around are available in many sizes, but the nature of their size and shape means, they're not really the best thing to employ as a passage maker. They're usually just a big tub, that can get from point A to B, not necessarily efficiently, but reliably and with a level of safety the insurance company can live with.

    If you elect to go this route, expect to spend 2 to 3 times (possibly much more) as much, than a comparable size boat, without the deck volume to house a rig like this.
     
  8. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Most barges are unmanagible as compared to normal boats.

    It would fit in no marinas .

    With the low price of a say used 25 ft IO , ($5000) why would you bother with a monster"

    The key to boating is the "Round Trip" what the boat coat to buy , what you finally sell it for.

    "Improvements , operating costs/dockage/insurance and maint / repairs don't count, those are personal expenses for use of the boat..

    A common popular boat in OK shape is usually the easiest to have a ZERO, round trip.
     
  9. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Some sort of modified landing craft might work as a starting point of the design spiral. In Alaska they have aluminum crafts like that.
    Ocean going think you will have a major rust problems with the Fifth Wheel me thinks..
    BR Teddy
     
  10. patagoniadave
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    patagoniadave Junior Member

    Hi all, thanks for the feedback. I know it is a crazy idea, and probably impractical, and I will probably just buy a regular boat if I do this at all. I just like to track my strange ideas out when I come up with them.

    Par, thank you for the feedback on the pto drive. In my mind having one motor had to be more efficient than having two, but I think the logistics of setup would be too much. Also, how would I steer the boat from the truck?

    Fast Fred, fantastic point about the marina, what would be a limiting size factor for marinas? I think a 25 foot boat would be too small. My girlfriend and I live full time in the rv with two dogs, and we both work full time. The footprint we have now is just big enough. That being said, I am sure there are standard boats out there that fit our space needs. I have seen houseboats being towed down the road that could double as an rv, and there is this lake faring motor home (that I cannot afford, and would not trust on rough water) http://www.camillc.com/terrawind.htm. What would be a roughly equally square footage boat (300 living) that I should look for, that an average person could afford to buy?

    TeddyDiver, I was kind of leaning towards a landing craft platform, or one of those mini ferry's like the ones in Galveston or up the coast from Corpus Christie. Part of the problem is that I don't know what is the definition of ocean going, or what makes for a comfortable ocean trip. Also, I cannot afford the used one with no engine that I priced out online. The rust is a good point as well, my truck and trailer start to weep orange just parked on the beach.

    Again, thanks all for humoring my questions. We will be at least a month in the Keys this winter, sounds like a good time to do boat research. Maybe I will find someone who wants to swap a truck and trailer for a boat plus or minus value differential.

    Is there a CAD library of boats anywhere? I do CAD all day every day, it would be fun to work on a project for myself, even if it is going no where.
     
  11. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Propably the very reason Japanese were rarely meeting the Marines on the beach was stink of vomite.. :p
     
  12. patagoniadave
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    patagoniadave Junior Member

    haha, I should find out if I still get seasick before going too crazy with this idea.
     
  13. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Most marinas acceot boats that are usually 3 times longer than they are wide.

    45 ft ? 15 or so beam , all is well.

    The marina cost will be roughly $1,00 per foot of overall length (including EVERYTHING) to $ 5.00 per foot per night.

    Some charge for electric , some do not.Most have monthly rates , but not all accept folks that live aboard full time.

    Having dogs aboard and attempting to live aboard anchored out is a monster of a task.

    Dink landing , car parking , mail, garbage , water , fuel is just the start.
     
  14. patagoniadave
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    patagoniadave Junior Member

    We would be living the same lifestyle we live now. Travel to a place, anchor up for a week or two, travel to the next place. This is one of the reasons I wanted to take the truck, I would have land transportation at each site. Sounds like I am probably going to want a standard boat.
     

  15. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    get a used house boat, with a couple of scooters. If you need something larger for land transport rent or hire a taxi only where you need it. It would save you a lot of money.

    The amount of fuel you would burn with a barge that big, let along the cost of having a custom rig like that built, would far out weigh the cost of storing your land vehicles until you are read to go back to land living. or sell your current rig, buy the boat, and than when ready to return to land, buy a new/used truck and fifth wheel (they are common and easy to find great prices when someone is desperate to unload it).

    Before you sell everything and determined to have a life at the sea, spend some time on rented or borrowed houseboats. go to the boat shows and work something out. A two week vacation will tell you if you like the idea of living full time out of a house boat. It might be cheaper to just throw a small fishing boat and motor on the roof of the tow truck rather than live on a boat.

    I had thought of little cabin sailboat with a removable cabin, that can be attached to a flat bed trailer. To function as both a self contained small sailboat, and a tiny travel trailer (it would have both bunks and a mini kitchen), but the complexities and costs, even if I build it myself, would be cheaper to own one of each separately. I am an experienced professional engineer, and I have built over 20 small boats, and have rebuilt a number of cars and trucks, and have owned travel trailers. So I am familar with what it takes to do it, but it would not be worth it other than for the novelty value. Also consider, there are not many places where you can drive your rig off the barge onto a dock or boat ramp.

    I suspect the same thing would be true with a barge for the truck and fifth wheel, vs. owning a houseboat and keep the truck and fifth wheel separately. A lot of extra cost without a tangible benefit. There is a reason there is no market for such a vessel.
     
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