"newbie" Can you purchase 45' pontoons?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by tea bag, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. tea bag
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    tea bag Junior Member

    I have given serious thought to building my own house boat. Not to live on but more of a weekend thing for my family. I have found this site to be most helpful. I have searched relentlessly for a manufacturer that just sells pontoons. They would need to be 45' long.
    Also, is there a section on here just for house boats, also looking for houseboat build journals. Any info is helpful thanks.
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Is there a reason you want specifically pontoons? They are extremely limiting in regard to what they offer.

    Aluminum tube can be had in many different diameters and literally any length you want. Of course, 45' will mean you'll be welding sections together and this is quite normal. Before looking in to cost of arbitrary materials, you should consider plans and the building materials list that comes with them. Most designers will offer a "bidding list" so you can get an idea of what the material costs may be.

    Designing a boat, even a pontoon mounted houseboat isn't just tying a couple of tubes together and tossing up a stud wall, with a place to hang an outboard aft. Any 50' boat, regardless of hull configuration will require considerable engineering skill. With this skill set might come the idea of rolled and welded tube sections, plus end caps.
     
  3. tea bag
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    tea bag Junior Member

    PAR, thanks for responding. I picked aluminum pontoons because they are less resistant to rust and all in all IMO the most easy and versatile to work with. I am not interested in traveling very far, so speed is not an issue. I will be going from my marina to various coves around a section of the lake. I am very knowledgeable when it comes to building structures and the different types pf adhesives, "gel coat, fiberglass etc." I also do plumbing on the side. I feel it would be a challenge to build and feel very confident in my ability. The knowledge i lack is electrical <-- a huge factor when building a boat. I have friends that do electrical for a living. Instead of ranting on, please know that all bases will be covered for building this boat. Any pontoon manufacturers that you know of please pass along the info. Thanks
     
  4. Village_Idiot
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    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    I think you'd be better served by a barge-style hull. Easier to design and construct, plus you'll have much better payload capacity and below-deck storage, even with extra chambers for safety floatation. The overall hull should be much stronger also versus using aluminum tubes. If you are a good aluminum welder and have good knowledge of hull design, rib structure, etc., you should have little problem building one yourself. Otherwise, there are a number of aluminum barges around, and a number of custom boat/barge builders that will build in aluminum for you.
     
  5. tea bag
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    tea bag Junior Member

    well, i am leaning towards rotonics pontoons. Each pontoon is 36" wide and 4' long. Each one supports about 850lbs. I figured it out and 26 pontoons put the boat at 48' long and will support 22k lbs. I cant imagine how i could even come close to the weight but the plasctic pontoons dont require welding. They are a little pricey i am looking at about $12k.
     
  6. narwhal
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    narwhal Junior Member

    You might check with one of these pontoon manufacturers: http://www.rbbi.com/links/boatmanufacturers.htm#pontoon

    Several years back we rented a pontoon houseboat on the Rideau Waterway for a week. We found its performance to be quite satisfactory; it tracked much straighter than the barge-hull houseboats we had rented elsewhere. The pontoon-houseboat was manufactured by Three Buoys, and had two long aluminum pontoons of about 42' with a shorter aluminum tub at the stern which housed a four-cylinder Mercruiser outdrive, batteries, fuel, and waste tank.
     
  7. tea bag
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    tea bag Junior Member


    narwhal, thanks for the link - I hope the pontoon house boat will handle well. Now I wonder if a 90hp outboard motor will be enough to move it around?
     
  8. narwhal
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    narwhal Junior Member

    That Mercruiser was 110hp, if my memory serves. A 90hp outboard should be sufficient, with the right prop. Several outboard manufacturers make high thrust models designed for non-planing applications, and with one of those you might be OK with less than 90hp.
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Here we go again (this is a frequent occurrence) someone looking to design and build a boat, with absolutely no idea of the calculations or requirements necessary, to successfully take family and friends further out then they can swim back.

    Again, you need plans, not pontoons. Pontoons are the red headed step child or the powe rboating world and rightly so. The fact that you don't know or understand this, suggests your abilities are woefully lacking in the design portion or the build, the structural elements aside. You may be quite confidant in your ability to build, but there is so much more that you haven't a handle on that it's scary, frankly, people's lives will be at risk.

    Get a set of plans or hire a NA, you're not going to design and build a 45' to 50' yacht with any level of success without considerable professional help. This isn't the arrogance of a professional looking for work, though I do have several houseboat plans, but the concern of someone who has seen many, many builds of all types. The likelihood of you completing your yacht (of this size) is in the single digit percentages, statistically. This is because of several reasons, but a primary reason is the misguided believe that building the hull(s) and deck get you half way there, when in fact on a build of this size you'll be lucky to be near 15% (closer to 10%) of the way there (completed). When this reality sets in, most lost interest and the project dies a slow costly, painful death, usually taking a marriage along with it.

    If you're dead set on pontoons, stop looking for tubes, you'll just pay out the nose for stuff you'll have to modify anyway. Roll and weld up your own (of course you'll have to engineer the material type, thickness, stiffeners, etc.), it's not hard and considerably less then 12,000 for plastic crap that's very difficult to add to, once it's seen some UV. By the way, round tube pontoons are the worst darn things ever invented for efficiency, so if economy of operation is of interest (fuel bills), consider a different shape or hull form all together.

    A design for a boat of this scale will not be free, nor less then a few hundred bucks, but it will be safe, capable, possibly certifiable and considerable less inclined to drown family members and friends. Even if you spent a grand on plans for a boat like this (some one's stock plans) this is going to be a drop in the bucket, compared to the overall build cost. Cutting corners on the most fundamental elements (hydrodynamics concerns, structural issues, plumbing, electrical, steering, propulsion, electronics, etc.) of the build seems just crazy and pretty much insuring your project will be in the 1% to 2% bracket for likelihood of successful completed, home built yacht.

    One of my houseboats, the 50' "Belle" and certifiable (passengers).

    [​IMG]

    Another of my designs, the 33' "Floom".
     

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  10. Kay9
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Kay9 1600T Master

    Sorry to hijack.
    Par how many passengers can you get a COI for on the Bell? Lakes bays streams. US.

    Also do you have some study plans, and maby a west coast yard that you would recommend?

    K9
     
  11. tea bag
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    tea bag Junior Member

    Can you show me where i said that i was building a boat without any plans?

    Did I say i wanted a powerboat? NO - so why would i care if pontoons are the red head step child??

    Im sorry i did not mention i have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and design fighter planes for a living. I did not think this was necessary for my post, but you obviously do - so there you go.

    Also, i have been boating for all my life and currently run a 26' cabin cruiser, so i am aware of safety on the lake and operational and floatation capacities associated with boating.

    Again, i am not concerned with efficiency as I do not plan to go fast nor far. From your post i can gather that you have ego issues and are somehow justifying your own boats which are probably POS's. You mention marriage in your post and someone with an attitude such as yours has probably been divorced more than once.

    I was unaware i had to post all my plans, blueprints, and the whole ball of wax to get a couple answers. So you can take your negative attitude, crappy houseboat plans, and skewed stats and shove them where the sun does not shine. Please see a psychiatrist , they make medications such as Prosac, Effexor, Lithium etc. You should look into these and relax.

    BTW your house boat looks like something from Gone With the Wind or maybe a Carnival attraction. I guess if your 70 then thats what you like but not me.
     
  12. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Tea Bag,

    Nice soak! Here we go again, you want to build your own houseboat.

    Good for you! Go for it. Be prudent and thorough. Hire a NA when you

    need to. I did it and am safe and happy. If I did it again I'd use pontoons

    instead of a barge.

    -Tom
     
  13. Kay9
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Kay9 1600T Master

    Tea bag.
    You might be reading in a bit more hostility then is required in PAR's message to you.
    Even if you are taking some offense to what he says. It is true, that most people get to a finished hull and then never finish a build. This is why PAR is trying to get you to use somones plans. Ive known PAR here for over 2 years and I know he dosnt care if you use his plans or someone elses. But he, as well as I are certain that you would increase your chances of success with someones plans and designs on the size of vessel you intend to build.

    I hope this helps to clear up what I believe is a missunderstanding.

    K9
     
  14. tea bag
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    tea bag Junior Member

    Ok, there are 6 basic facets to house boats. 1 floatation, 2 structure, 3 propulsion and steering, 4 electrical, 5 HVAC, and 6 plumbing. Yes that is a broad statement but anything associated with BASIC houseboats can fit into 1 of those 6 categories. Yes someone elses design may help, but i am not wired to read and repeat prior procedures. For a living i re-engineer other peoples bad ideas. So i feel that if i consult some people with houseboat building experience, and people with electrical experience related to boats i can make a boat that way I want. I have done alot of research and people with weekender houseboats much prefer pontoons over hulls, especially steel hulls. I am not the majority. The majority would either say buy an old houseboat and restore it or pay $500 for someone elses "possibly" bad boat plans. I got into saltwater reef keeping about 4 years ago and have develped overflow systems, flow systems, and filtration systems that have been widely adopted across all countries. I am by no means bragging but i feel that given time, research and a bit of consultation i can design and personally build one of the most sound houseboats over built. If you know anything about the L10-11 airplane it was one of the most over-engineered planes ever built, therefore it became the most reliable heavy aircraft ever built. If you keep the mindset of over-engineering you cant go wrong. You basically have to take murphy's law out of the equation. Many times in my life i have hired people to do work only to go back and re-work it myself.
     

  15. Kay9
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Central Coast Oregon US.

    Kay9 1600T Master

    Ok, build away.

    This place will also be happy to build or sell you some pontoons.

    ercoa.com/ercoa_facilities.htm

    K9
     
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