Retiement Houseboat or Floating Home

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Greenseas2, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: USA

    Greenseas2 Senior Member

    Many of the threads in this forum justity an effort to design a floating home or house boat for retirees and middle income families. One thing that becomes more and more evident is that retirement incomes are inot enough to do what people thought it would or planned for. Ashore , home ownership and maintenance along with the many taxes, utilities and other expenses have eaten away at retirement incomes. From observing the growing number of live aboard boats in anchorages, the canals and other waterways, there is plenty of evidence that there is an increasing migration of not on senior citizens, but younger people to living aboard. Living aboard avoids many of the shoreside expenses and permits people to afford and enjoy more activities and travel while permitting them to enjoy waterfront views.

    All is not a bowl of cherries however. Anything floating still has to be maintained and moved when heavy weather approaches. During the last few storms in the southeast, towing companies were overwhelmed and could only tow about hald of the boats. In view of this fact, the best setup for retirement live aboards wound be to have a relatively small, but comfortable and well equipped house boat/floating home and a towing vessel of some sort to move it from place to place. There is plenty of room for input to this thread for both the houseboat and the towing vessel. To start off, let's look at the houseboats and tugs at and go from there
  2. EricSmith
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    Location: Annapolis Md/& Florida

    EricSmith Eric Smith

    Practical houseboats are available

    I'm new to forum. I own Bay Yacht Agency which has been selling the Harbor Home 58 and Aqua Cat 42. We call them Hybrid houseboats because they are self powered, and transportable by land or sea.

    We have incorporated a host of features, including a completely green model with incinerator toilets and treated grey water. The boats are insullated, all-weather and make very comfortable live-aboards, guest houses, or vacation homes.

    See our Annapolitan model slide show with considerable detail at:

    Visit our Hybrid houseboat page at:
    I welcome questions or suggestions. Demos available at deep discounts.
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Maintaining a boat and paying marina fees is usually more expensive than owning a house. Also, they devaluate rapidly compared to a home which keeps or increases its value.
  4. keith66
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: Essex UK

    keith66 Senior Member

    Houseboats provide a means of cheap housing for people who might not be able to afford conventional housing. Unfortunately houseboats tend to bring their own problems, Old tore out wrecks sold to people with little knowledge & unable to afford anything better. You can look in the backwaters of many places in the UK to see what i mean, and once established they are there for keeps.
    Where does the sewerage go? where does the trash go? you guessed it in the tide.
    Local authorities dont have the funding or inclination to address the problem, i cant see it getting any better.
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    In the USA it is a crime to dump sewage in tidal waters. It is enforced to different degrees depending on the area. Since the poster is from the USA, the cost of living on a houseboat should include everything that is required by Law.
  6. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    cthippo Senior Member

    Composting and incinerating toilets are both options with zero discharge.
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "" compared to a home which keeps or increases its value.""

    Guess you haven't read a UK or US news paper since 2007?

    The problem with a house afloat is few are large enough to do with out land contact.

    Usually DAILY contact , unless you grow your own food , refine your own energy and digest your waste products.

    This means the WORST of both worlds.

    The Coast Guard will decide on all the nautical laws you will observe ,

    and where you anchor , or tie up will decide how much you pay for power , parking and garbage disposal.
    Even fresh water can be billed in some locations.Dollar a gallon sound good?

    One would need to OWN a shore spot in order to keep the cost low , and then its the locals , not you, that will decide if they will allow your lifestyle.

    The only way around this is to not have a "house afloat" but to have a well equipped cruising boat and GO CRUISING.

    Far fewer hassles spending 4 days at a fine anchorage than 4 years!

  8. EricSmith
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    Location: Annapolis Md/& Florida

    EricSmith Eric Smith

    Houseboat practicality

    The houseboats we offer can be made self contained. They are C.G. certified as boats to start and that mitigates many issues. They can have incincerator toilets and treated grey water--legal in most waters, including virtually all waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

    Our products can be fully insullated and winterized for year round living. We call them Hybrid Houseboats because they are self powered (outboards with inboard controls--move easily at 10K or so) and their beam makes them suitable for overland travel or slips in most marinas.

    Another idea for those who want to have them at a waterfront lot, rather than a Marina is to buy an unbuildable (won't perk, etc.) waterfront lot and moor the boat there with a moored, (no pilings required) floating dock to the land and you could have land space with storage and parking. Make the boat self-contained, and add a watermaker eliminating all utility issues, or use shoreside utilities if available. This could greatly enhance the value of the lot and create a value-added real estate investment.

    There are generally no specific regulations against this as long as you don't build permanent docks, etc. but of course you would need to check this out carefully.

    Again, they are also suitable for behind a current residence as a guest house, studio, office, etc.

    This opens up another idea. Use them as a professional office at a Marina. In Annapolis, for instance, there are limits on non-maritime businesses having marina offices, but no such prohibitions against using your "boat" as an office.

    Then there are tax advantages if you rent them for whatever purpose--better than a rental home, in fact, you could write off 100% in 2011! (See our boat as a business

    So, lots of possibilities, with many proven solutions to overcome the traditional issues. In the end, you need to want to live on a houseboat and enjoy the lifestyle, or have another use precluded by land based solutions--or it may just not make sense. Certainly, it is not just a matter of price.
  9. WickedGood

    WickedGood Guest

    I have been thinking that they would be a rather nice cottage to put on a lake or coastal backwater.

    Should not cost all that much to build. The Barge bottom can be bought COTS and the house itself can be presure treated 2x4s & Plywood glued & screwed with a styrofoam core for insulation. I would go with a composite sheet roofing and use the rainwater runoff to fill my potty water tanks. Add reverse ozmosis and a incinerator tolit and a woodstove to burn paper/cardboard waste and heat the house. You could add a windmill to generate electricity and battery storage banks.

    A steel hull barge would be the perfect place to put a few thousand gallons water, #2 fuel oil storage tanks and a generator, FHW Oil burner, Potable water heat storage tanks, a couple hundred Deep Cycle storage batteries, a UPS System and still have room for a little workshop in the Basement.

    40ft by 100 ft Should be big enough to make a 2 story 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath unit. Kitchen, Living Room a nice outside deck with Gas Grill Bar B Que, Bar & hot tub and landing area to tie up the center console, jet skies etc...

    We can Moor them with Hazzlett Elaestic Mooring systems and ride out hurricanes or if in the mountains in a lake just keep bubblers going in winter

    Would anyone like to build a fleet of them and rent them out?

    I estimate that we could build a prototype for less than $500K and if we went into production we could get it down to about $350,000 per Houseboat

    Could sell them outright at $1to $2 million a pop depending on extras like Marble Kitchens, Italian Quarry Tile floors,Hardwood Floors, Redwood/Cedar siding, Sauna etc...

    Capt Walt


  10. EricSmith
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    Location: Annapolis Md/& Florida

    EricSmith Eric Smith

    Houseboats as investment

    Harbor homes has already developed a fleet with rental units in GA. They offer models with from 2-3 bedrooms on one level at about 58'. Land and sea transportable--fit in normal slips. Less regulation hassle as they qualify as a U.S. C.G. documented vessel. They are transportable by land or sea. Fit in normal slips and have a relatively small footprint.

    Bay Yacht Agency has a Boat as a business plan that supports putting a boat up for rental. This plan has been in effect for over 30 years with over 600 participants and counting.

    See our houseboat page at: for more information on the boats, locations, uses and programs.
  11. Bowcrest
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: Dorset UK

    Bowcrest Junior Member

    State of the Art House-Boats (Floating Homes) are now in many cases way ahead of conventional land based homes. Built to very exacting standards you can have onboard sewage disposal units installed for very reasonable money and the water that is then discharged is to IMO standards and drinkable. If your unit is on a proper residential mooring where you pay Local Council Tax Band A then your household rubbish will be collected in the normal way. its true to say that in much of Europe even though it is illegal to dump into canals & rivers the facilities to deal with waste do not exist.

    We build Floating Homes which surpass their Land Based cousins and offer far superior accommodation for a fraction of the cost - but mooring are the key!

    Take a look at our web site:

  12. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Dutch Barges also

    Interesting site you have there Tony. I'll have to look thru it a bit more when I have a little more time.

    Noticed your Dutch Barge listings as well. You might pay a visit to a few other discussions on this subject on these forums:
  13. keysdisease
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: South Florida USA

    keysdisease Senior Member

    Safe harbor

    Being a native of South Florida and having witnessed Storm preperations and aftermath many times, at least in Hurricane prone areas a consideration should be "where are you going to move to if a hurricane approaches?

    There are not enough "safe havens" in South Florida now for all the boats that need them and what qualifies as a "safe haven" often isn't much or any safer than your home slip. This condition is probably typical around most waterfront urban centers.

    Do you make arrangements at a yard to haul out? Most of the "safe" empty slips inland or up a river will be spoken for long before you start asking. If the boat has real travel capabilities then getting away from the storm is an option. In my own experience getting away from a storm 50 or even better 100 miles makes a MAJOR difference in conditions.

    Just playing devils advocate. I have lived aboard and know the + / - involved.

  14. Bowcrest
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: Dorset UK

    Bowcrest Junior Member

    Hi and thank you. The links appear to be broken right now so can't check out whats there but will try again later. I'm hoping the forum will generate some interest in living in /on Floating Homes so we will se what happens.


  15. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Wouldn't it be fun to be underway dashing from a hurricane when 100 MPH winds started to blow!

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