never owned boat, looking for advice

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by GrandPixel, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. GrandPixel
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: Florida, USA

    GrandPixel Junior Member

    Hi all. I'm very much a beginner here, never owned a boat. I am handy however and have lots of tools, and willing to put some work in.

    I'm looking to either build or purchase a kit for some kind of craft that will provide a large platform for groups up to 20. I'd like it to be about 16'x24', but collapsible to 8' for towing. It doesn't need to be fast, but should have a motor for navigation. I am hoping to have a campfire pit, as long as there are no regulations against it, and also a movie screen.

    My first idea was to build a platform on top of large (12"+) PVC tubes, maybe filled with foam to keep flotation in case of a breach. I don't know how well this would hold up. I'm sure you all could tell me if PVC makes for good pontoons. And I'm sure there are better ideas represented.

    I also came across a company called Rolling Barge. They build floating docks and barges from aluminum frames with 55-gallon barrels underneath. They quoted me about 8500 shipped for the aluminum frame kit with motor transom. I provide the barrels and motor. The main part is 8'x24' with a 4'x24' wing on each side that folds on top of the center. He said it would be close to 12k or more by the time I add barrels, motor, trailer, etc.

    This is the sort of thing I'm looking for. It should have a railing as well. It might be nice to have other features like a ladder to climb up for swimming, a bathroom, and even maybe a second story. Beyond that I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. Any recommendations?

    I'd like to keep the cost down as much as possible. Is this something I can build myself? Are there plans out there? Is Rolling Barge a good option? Like I said I'm a complete beginner and not sure where to start, so forgive my ignorance. Just steer me in the right direction if you can.

    Thanks!
     
  2. GrandPixel
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Location: Florida, USA

    GrandPixel Junior Member

    addendum: I found a thread I started about 6 years ago that I forgot completely about. In it, I said I wanted 25'x40' - that's really overkill. From what I've seen, I know 16x24 is doable. Some people were recommending HDPE floats or HDPE pipe, and I think the barrels recommended by Rolling Barge are HDPE.
     
  3. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    If this conception is intended to be used for any commercial purpose, you have a whole raft (pardon the pun) of regulatory requirements that will need to be met, and I doubt even a recreational use would allow that many people aboard something that size.
     
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

  5. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: United States

    Skyak Senior Member

    What I think you will find is that what you want to do is considered a liability by boat builders and regulators. There are loads of sources for "floating dock". Registering your contraption as a boat might be a problem. Clogging public ramps is another potential problem. Insurance? Problem.

    You want advice? Buy 2 8X24 pontoon boats used and modify them to connect on the water. 2 motors, 2 captains, 2 registrations, both insured, ...
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    You can have one with a motor and one without. Tow them by the hip.
     
  7. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

  8. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Barrels will provide a larger surface for waves to crash into.
     
  9. BobBill
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Minnesotan wakes up daily, in SE MN, a good start,

    BobBill Senior Member

    Barrel Floatation

    FWIW, re floating boathouse, etc.

    I am not sure what is popular floats used along the Gulf Coast to supports boat houses (as opposed to house-boats, in salt or brackish water.

    I live in area wherein boat houses and docks supported by barrels is very popular. I owned one and rebuilt etc to accommodate an 60s cat powerboat, (Powercat). Admittedly, the house/boat house was on the Mississippi, which is relatively calm, but it is dirty...

    Most of these structures are home built, with treated wood, and plastic (empty) barrels are "popped" underneath to support the structure, some of which run 2000 square feet and lived in year round.

    Between Winona, MN, LaCrosse, WI, and some other river towns, I would guess there are hundreds of these floating structures, if not thousands. Many are "squatters" linked to spoil islands from Core of Engineering dredging and river islands.

    I have not messed with these things for sometime, but the two harbors in our community, legal slips etc, use plastic barrels...easy to "pop" into place with a "barrel popper," which I do not believe the rectangular floats offer. One harbor maintains covered slips throughout, on barrels, as I recall.

    I have pics on other computer and will post if I can.

    Barrels are set under extended (maybe 10 footers) wood 2x4's with a piece on end opposite barrel side, that catches the underside of the frame or foundation. The end is pushed down and the barrel (sealed) seeks to rise and rolls up the frame and into place. If slightly off, it can be "kicked" into position.

    I have some acquaintances who troll the river looking for loosed/lost barrels to salvage and resell.
     
  10. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I love that section of the river. We have 2 lots in Brownsville, on 2nd street, overlooking the main channel and the 'Brownsville Bend'.
     

  11. BobBill
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Minnesotan wakes up daily, in SE MN, a good start,

    BobBill Senior Member

    Dig, SamSam, though I do not get down to that area a lot, I know it form years back. Barrels are very popular.
     
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