Homemade Houseboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JCal, May 24, 2018.

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  1. JCal
    Joined: May 2018
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    Location: Louisiana

    JCal Junior Member


    Sure thing!

    The camp is to be floated in the southern swamps of Louisiana. The particular place i will float it is in a hideaway in the woods, with low boat traffic and with high waves unlikely to reach the houseboat. It will be a place to get away and relax and it'll double as a hunting camp.

    My skills are average at best. Only basic knowledge and common sense really. Its a group project. I know welders and carpenters that will give me insight and lend a helping hand. Machinery isn't a big issue either.

    Budget is tight. Don't really have a ton to spend on a camp so we decided to make do with what we have instead.

    As far as for things lying around, if you can name it we probably have it. Luckily we know some people in industries near us that are also willing to help.
     
  2. AnthonyW
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    Location: Cape Town, South Africa

    AnthonyW Senior Member

    If I may, I think you may want to qualify - if this is a floating stationary camp site then the construction could be somewhat different to what people on this forum describe as a houseboat. Making a small floating island with milk bottles in cargo nets, securely tied to a steel frame with piping and drums, and anchored in some form, may make a good temporary stationary structure in relatively shallow and sheltered swamp water. If however you want to motor around on it, then you are moving more into boat 'territory'. Can you advise? I am speculating but you may get very different responses depending on the intention. Floating platform for camping would likely be about flotation and structural strength (and some safety). You can happily build in multitudes of safety and with abandon and if this adds weight then add more cheapish drum flotation or plastic bottles in nets. You could merrily over engineer it. But if the intention is a motoring house boat to travel a bit on a river with tides and flows, then this brings about a much richer and more complex set of requirements and parameters, and some sincerely concerned naval architects (of which I am not one, but I boat loads of respect for those on this forum, even there is sometimes little love between some of them) will start wanting to heavily manage your expectations and safety.

    Maybe tell people more if it is a floating stationary camp, or a boat with a house platform?
     
  3. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    You could use clean plastic barrels which you can get for around $15 each. It just takes a simple frame to hold them, and this kid shows how he did it. You can add drums or more rows of drums to make it larger.






     
  4. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    JCal those pipes are heavy. You could sell them for scrap and have several hundred dollars to apply to your project. Depending on the condition of the pipes, they may have some salvage value that exceeds the scrap iron price.

    Pipes of that size are often used as structural elements such as columns for buildings or other axial load bearing applications. They are not what you need for your camper project but they may very well have some other uses.
     
  5. JCal
    Joined: May 2018
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    Location: Louisiana

    JCal Junior Member


    That's the idea I'm leaning more towards now. Me and my dad have been looking at Styrofoam prices and have decided to scrap to pipes and invest in Styrofoam. Thanks for your help :)
     
  6. JCal
    Joined: May 2018
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    Location: Louisiana

    JCal Junior Member


    That's awesome man! I guess i should have been more clear when i wrote my post. I wrote houseboat which what I'm really aiming for is a stationary floating camp. I really like this guys idea for a party barge though, so that will be my next project for sure
     
  7. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

  8. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

  9. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    A house for boats is pretty much what I thought a boathouse was.

    I know "houseboat" was traditionally used along the Mississippi for homes on barges, some apparently quite large, many of which were moved by poles. I don't know if there was a formal point at which "shanty" became "houseboat", maybe it was a matter of appearance and the owner's social station?
     
  10. JSL
    Joined: Nov 2012
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    Location: Delta BC

    JSL Senior Member

    Some Canadian 'west coast' English
    Boat house is a house(fixed or floating) for 'sheltered' mooring of a boat
    Houseboat is a propelled house (ie: a boxy boat). Can move fast or slow.
    Float home is a home (house, apartment, etc) that is moored on the water & not propelled. What JCal appears to be after.

    Styrofoam blocks are a very common for float homes but not the most durable. They have to be boxed in or encapsulated to secure and lessen damage.
    Make sure you have sufficient amount and the house weight is evenly distributed so you have adequate freeboard and no list or heel.
    Check out with city hall: You may have to comply with local regulations.
     
  11. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Yes.

    Some years ago the Court ruled that a floating structure not meant to get underway on its own power, no matter if it could be towed or not, was not a vessel and so couldn't be just seized under the laws governing ships.

    You may recall that incident where the city spent far more than the cost of the houseboat and still lost their case.

    They may also have permits required for building it, or at least any shed you erect to build it in.

    But the flip side is, not being under said law means they can issue zoning and other regulations ... probably provided they aren't stepping on federal toes of course. I believe this may be backing at least one State's efforts to deal with those not paying property tax by requiring all such homes to move 5 miles every month.

    Me, humorously: in Texas there is no registration fee on any human powered vehicles ... doesn't specify EFFECTIVE propulsion though so if it was me I'd hook up an exercise bike with a steering wheel to a prop and rudder on a small shanty and ... viola a HPV.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  12. JSL
    Joined: Nov 2012
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    Location: Delta BC

    JSL Senior Member

    here is a sample 'houseboat'.???
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    He must be hooking up to shore power to recharge the batteries for those 4 refrigerators while he's scooting around.

    Actually, for a fishing shanty boat that never leaves sheltered waters it may be as useful as it is homely. I would guess he's operating some nets / traps if he is filling up those refrigerators. Or maybe he just takes "friends" (who may not be officially paying him) out fishing?
     
  14. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell Ahhhhh...

    JCal,
    Look for a set of plans from a reputable source and build what you want, what suits your needs and budget.
    Don't build from what's laying around in the back yard for free as you'll very likely, very, very likely, be disappointed with the outcome.
    Few seem to understand this concept, but many have learned it the hard way.
    Good luck.
     

  15. trip the light fandango
    Joined: Apr 2018
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    Location: Rhyll Phillip Island Victoria Australia

    trip the light fandango Senior Member

    Hi JCal, that poly styrene block starts out marvelous but after a while it saturates, it still floats but at about half the float. It isn't the little balls it is made of that saturate , more the gaps between each ball. it is going to make a serious mess after a few years if left unprotected. Some fish or critter may think it's food too.. pvc pipe needs strapping and caps but gee it's tough, those blue plastic drums are cheap and easy to get,just a thought, cheers.
     
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