Lifeboat Conversion to a Houseboat during COVID

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by DouglasM, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    I hope this thread will be useful to anyone else out there converting a lifeboat.
    PART ONE: The Decision.
    Buying a lifeboat for conversion means you probably have limited funds. For $2700 plus another $2000 in shipping if needed, you get a rock solid hull and an engine with limited hours. Paying to have it converted doesn't seem to make any sense. If you have the money to have others do the work, simply buy a purpose built model. If you like to use your hands and head and enjoy construction projects, it is the cheapest and most rewarding way to get something you can spend living on the water.
    PART TWO: Sourcing a lifeboat. Proximity is everything. Shipping is expensive and often requires a crane. I bid $2700 online at IronPlanet to purchase a 32' x 11' enclosed lifeboat. It cost another $2200 for the crane and the truck. aboat.jpg
     
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  2. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    invt.png sun'.png .. and ...
    For $4700 I have a rock solid hull and a 70hp diesel engine along with a lot of gear I am not sure what to do with yet. Most likely the air and water tanks will be repurposed for grey water. The external fire extinguisher lines might make a nifty shower.. to be decided.
    PART THREE: Power. After reviewing a bunch of questionable used marine generators on EBay and the nifty new ones ($12K and up) I looked at construction generators. About $3-5K. Problem is these are not meant to be below decks or run in a marine environment. My priorities are #1 affordable and #2 quiet. After a good deal of research I decided on solar. It is affordable and can be augmented as power needs increase. And it's nice and quiet. So for my immediate needs of running a chop saw, sanders, and other misc tools as well as a few LED lights, I decided on the following parts from Amazon.
    LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery 12V 100Ah with Built-in BMS, Perfect for Replace Most of Backup Power and Off Grid Applications $615.00
    AIMS PICOGLF40W12V120V 4000 Watt and 12,000 Watt Surge 12 VDC Input to 120 VAC Output Pure Sine Inverter Charger Backup Power
    $1,116.00
    DOKIO Semi-Flexible Solar Panel 4X100W(400W) 12V Lightweight Monocrystalline for Caravan RV Boat Camper
    $347.77
    HQST 40A 12/24V MPPT Solar Charge Controller, Compatible with Sealed, Gel, Flooded, Gel, Lithium, User Define View attachment 165318 View attachment 165318 View attachment 165319 View attachment 165319 d Batteries$114.00
    And $100 in connectors and wire.
    ALL IN $2178. This should do for now. Best part is that if more power is needed in the future, more storage can be added and if needed another alternator on the diesel engine.
    That's it for now. Will post pics and instructions on tear-out and wiring electrical next.
    2/19/21
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
  3. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,032
    Likes: 668, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

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  4. boatntime
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 2, Points: 3, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: virginia

    boatntime New Member

    We have the same project going. Please call me. 703-346-1498
    239FBC40-B0F1-45A6-8C8D-63932326047A.jpeg
     
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  5. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 721
    Likes: 137, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Wow awesome project. Best of luck to you both and can't wait to see updates! :)
     
  6. Govna
    Joined: Jun 2021
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Louisiana

    Govna New Member

    Ahoy fellow Lifeboaters. I picked up one of these for 10K in Alabama and paid another 3K to have it motored to my location on its own keel via intracoastal waterway to a marina in south Louisiana.
    Fortunately for me, the previous owner performed extensive work to convert it to live aboard status prior to my purchase. It is not quite exactly where I want it but have embarked on my own to get it there. I am glad to see others doing the same.
    I have uploaded some exterior pics and look forward to following this thread and updates as we all progress.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    I am a little confused about what was done.

    The area for the skipper looks precarious and uneven to walk. Thus the flybridge or party deck also looks hard to access. And of course the party deck is super ugly with those oversized galvanized pipes.

    I wonder why there is no aft deck area. It seems like a flat deck aft would have been a lot nicer and the only tradeoff was some indoor living spaces. Then the helm could have been made accessible from a riser and a nice set of stairs.

    A window across the front would also help it in the looks department.

    Sorry if I seem critical. Just not the way I'd have done it. The woman in the picture looks like she is standing on a less than level surface.
     
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  8. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    Like this picture...why would you leave the aft hump and then put 600-1000 pounds on top of a self righting boat.

    Sorry if I seem critical. I just don't get it. Do you have to crawl in?


    CD49BCB8-CCBD-4D01-8BD9-849A4FB404CB.jpeg
     
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  9. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,032
    Likes: 668, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Govna.

    Here is another good thread on this Forum about lifeboat conversions -
    What could be done with an enclosed lifeboat? https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/what-could-be-done-with-an-enclosed-lifeboat.63238/

    Including links to these articles about Stødig :
    Stødig: How two architects transformed a ferry lifeboat into a home with hygge https://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/editorial-features/stodig-how-two-architects-transformed-a-ferry-lifeboat-into-a-home-with-hygge--42443

    Two men and a dog chasing an Arctic dream in a lifeboat https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-52395200

    Re Govna's 'new' boat - I am in agreement with Fallguy here - it does look positively hazardous for the skipper to get to the helm station on the roof.
    And that timber deck does look like somebody just chopped part of the deck off the front porch of their house, and plonked it on the poor boat.
    I would be inclined to get rid of it and have wire lifelines in stanchions rather than the pipe rail, along with a toerail on each side and good non skid paint on the roof.
    I would also agree with Fallguy's suggestion re an aft cockpit and a lower helm station, as outlined in orange on the photo.
     
  10. Lloyd Too
    Joined: May 2020
    Posts: 13
    Likes: 9, Points: 3
    Location: Wind Point, WI

    Lloyd Too Junior Member

    I'm thinking that we all agree and would love to "hear" what your hopes, dreams, and plans are because taking one on as a project is very intriguing. Please stay in touch here.
     
  11. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    Thank you for the pictures. The most challenging aspect of this project is redesigning it so it is more practical.
     
  12. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    Thanks for your remarks. I am designing the bridge to be enclosed and look forward to your comments.
     
  13. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

  14. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    It has been a while since my last post. I removed the hull extinguishing pipes and in the process fell off and broke several ribs. What an idiot I am! Now, several months later I have sourced the hot/cold water handling systems, air horn, lights, flooring, windows for the enclosed bridge, additional electrics, generator, and most importantly pallet frames to provide a scaffold around the boat so I don't fall on my arse again! Having spent more than a few hours research I was able to purchase the following components for $ 1,875.00 to continue the build. This will keep me busy for months to come.

    (8) EGA Products Pallet Stacking Frames $ 200.00 (scaffolding)
    (2) Marine Sliding Glass Windows $ 200.00 (new, bridge port and starboard)
    (2) Globe Motors A47-B10A-15T2-000 12v Tubeaxial Fans $ 25.00 (engine room)
    Oak Plank Flooring $ 40.00 (interior deck)
    (2) Center Line Series 200 Exhaust Valve Kits $ 35.00 (new for hot water and generator)
    Bendix 28B187-24-A AC Diesel Generator $ 75.00 (12 hours on clock but not run in a few years, needs some TLC)
    (4) Beebe Bros. EBT2000B20-5 Electric Hoists $ 125.00
    (2) Port-A-Filler Water Tanks $ 80.00 ( fresh/grey water)
    (2) Cornell-Carr Heated Marine Windows $ 155.00 (new 1" thick, for bridge windows facing bow)
    P55 LTD 12506973 Vehicular Power Steering Pump Assembly $ 80.00 (for bridge, new)
    Nordic Air GSQ346ZABNW00G1 A/C Unit $ 25.00 (probably headed for the dump,)
    Western Shelter DWHM-350 Water Heater $ 470.00 (almost new, unlimited diesel fire hot water in a nice compact unit!!)
    Air Horn Kit $ 360.00 (new, solid brass 2' long with tank and compressor!)

    I was also able to find the Navy maintenance and spec manuals for all the systems on the ship including the Sabb diesel engine in English. Reply if y0u would like copies and thanks all for your input.
    -DM
     

  15. DouglasM
    Joined: Feb 2021
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 3, Points: 3
    Location: Wilmington NC

    DouglasM Junior Member

    Thanks for you interest. My biggest concern at this point is the displacement and center of gravity on the vessel. It now very light for her specs. since I have gutted the interior including 5 large air tanks in the bow. The engine and fuel tank are the only significant weight in the hull. If an enclosed bridge is added to stern, the bow will ride high. Not good. I am considering putting the generator, water heater, water tanks in the bow. Not ideal given the exhaust, but hot water and generator would normally be used only at anchor.

    upload_2021-7-24_1-3-10.jpeg upload_2021-7-24_1-10-53.png
     
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