Retirement Houseboat or Floating Home

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

  1. Greenseas2
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    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 not enough to do what people thought they 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 economically afford and enjoy more activities and travel while permitting them to enjoy waterfront views and quiet water travel.

    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 www.Berkeley-Engineering.com and go from there
     
  2. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I am not sure I totally agree with that. It seems much easier to design self powered houseboats, that can move themselves to safety, and even vary the location.

    Maintaining and mooring two boats seems a little self defeating if economy and self sufficiency are the goal. Especially as the motive power in a 'tug' could be used for things like power generation etc in the living environment.
     
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  3. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    I would NEVER have an unpropelled vessel as too many towns ban living aboard for over a limited number of days.

    They think of "houseboat row" in Key West where dozens of hulks lined the near shore.

    A Vessel can anchor as part of the right to Navigate, a floating house would be a problem from day one.

    Even if it is a crappy vessel to move , two old outboards , the fact that it is registered as a boat will save the owners endless grief.

    The retirements are usually fine , its the Greed of the TAX man (some on long island pay what the property COST! , every year in local taxes).

    If kept in a marina , the low cost may be gone , and there is a total lack of privacy.

    I Lived aboard for 22+ years in NYC area , its a great lifestyle , but hardly cheap.

    A slip during the week and a nearby mooring worked for me.

    100% mooring living still REQUIRES access to shore for water , garbage and food.

    FF
     
  4. juiceclark

    juiceclark Previous Member

    That's a little trick some snowbirds are beginning to utilize: Those that reside here, in Sw FL, during the winter love to have a place in NC, TN or GA for the summer. Used to be you could have a small place up there for cheap but not anymore. So, houseboats on the Tennessee River have become very popular. No taxes, no ticks biting the ankles...not all bad.

    Best thing about 'em, if someone from NYC moves in nextdoor, you can just untie your home and move on down the river! (jk Fred!) So many snowbirds live in God forsaken trailers already, a trailer float conversion kit would be all that's necessary to make floating, blue-haired villiages. When the sea becomes angry, like an old man returning soup in a deli, the villiage may be lost but Medicare and Social Security saved! Houseboat retirement villiages could save the United States.
     
  5. FAST FRED
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    a trailer float conversion kit would be all that's necessary to make floating, blue-haired villiages. When the sea becomes angry, like an old man returning soup in a deli, the villiage may be lost,,


    And for sure the LESS will blame George Bush!!

    (Liberal Establishment Socalist Scribes)

    FF
     
  6. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Houseboats in Flagler Beach

    I have been designing the houseboats for Flagler Beach Boatworks and Marina for 3-4 years now, and we have evolved from a rectangular wooden barge to a new custom-designed fiberglass hull. The earlier versions were floating homes, but they came within the structural purvue of local building codes. With our new design, we are changing to bona fide houseboats which will come under the federal government laws with the US Coast Guard. This takes local building codes out of the picture entirely.

    The new hulls will be 16' wide by 52' long, and the houses will be single story only, so that neighbors in surrounding areas will not have their view's spoiled. Also, at 16' wide, wind loadings on the hull and house are too great--cause too much heel--with two stories. A hull 16' wide can be transported on a truck/trailer which eases shipping by road if shipping by water is not possible or desired.

    A link to our designs is:

    http://www.sponbergyachtdesign.com/FlaglerHouseboats.htm

    Go to the very end for the late news on the new design.

    Eric
     
  7. juiceclark

    juiceclark Previous Member

    Awesome...someone will really appreciate the rounded roof and corners when a tropical breeze blows.

    Perhaps you have an experimental model you would like me to sample, say in the keys, for a couple years? I'll install the twin surface drives and C-18 Cats.

    I always wanted to renovate one of these old Chris Craft Aquas. There's so much room for creativity and improvment:
    http://www.yachtworld.com/core/list...rrency=USD&access=Public&listing_id=1721&url=
     
  8. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Eric, I was going to volunteer to be the tester but tony beat me too it, however, if you need more than one I am available.

    Great idea. Now design one that I can drive my 35 foot motorhome onto and sail away.
     
  9. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Hi Eric

    Good concept - they are very unnapealing to me aesthetically.

    I suppose its a function of the taste of the people who buy them.

    I will have to think about some suitable designs for my retirement
     
  10. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    To all,

    Thanks for your comments. Both floating homes on my website are for sale if anyone wants them--deep discounts available. Eventually, they will all be the new hull design with houses that look like houses and not boats.

    To reply to RWatson, two schools of thought come to light with regard to houseboats. Some want them to look like boats--boat styling, marine gear, etc.--and others want them to look like houses. I don't think that e'er the twain shall meet, so you pick your market and move ahead. My client likes the house concept, not the boat concept.

    The other factor of course is cost. My client offers very simple yet practical designs for not much money. The projected prices of the new houseboats is supposed to fall in around US$150,000, plus marina leasing if you stay in the Flagler marina. That seems to be an attractive price. If the price goes over $200,000, the market drops off considerably. So we are looking for ways to make these houseboats quickly and inexpensively. If you want to customize the house, that is certainly possible, and we can go with any style you might want, and even work with an interior designer of your choice. The style that we show is kind of a south Florida old style residential home. But other styles that I have contemplated include A-frame, round roof, log cabin, contemporary Florida suberb, ultra-modern, ultra marine, anything you want.

    Also, if anyone is interested in other styles and two stories, then the barges have to be wider and more heavily ballasted. Transportation from the construction site to the float site also has to be considered and factored into the cost. And do you want to use the home as a means of transportation or as a floating home--that will govern how much propulsion power and what type of propulsion to install.

    One dream concept that I have is to have a totally green home where your electricity comes from solar and wind power, the water supply comes from rain and/or osmosis, and the sewage treatment is totally self-contained. All this employs existing technology. With regard to the sewage treatment, there is a company here in Florida, Agrimond, Inc., that makes such a sewage treatment system called Marine Dragonfly. Their website is:

    http://www.dragonflymarine.com/

    I have visited with them and seen the system. Saw one installed in a large motorhome coach, and I saw another installed in a river cruise dinner boat. They have also installed systems in cruise ships. Trying to get it smaller to fit in a home is a bit of a challenge, but they did it for the motorhome, so it can be done. It's a little expensive right now, about $25,000 for the motorhome. But the cost is sure to come down as the need for it increases.

    For everyone's benefit, I attach some renderings of the hull and drawings of the general arrangement.

    Eric
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2013
  11. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Thai or Bali style Houseboat

    Bali or Thai style houseboat

    I'm over in Thailand on holiday, and to look thru a few composite boatbuilding operations.

    The thought has occurred to me after spending a delightful afternoon on a bamboo raft vessel for lunch and siesta, that it might be quite nice to have a seaside cottage in the style of a Bali or Thai style built on a floating platform for mobility along the coastline.

    Has anyone ever seen such a vessel, raft, barge??
     
  12. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Some photos of that lunch on the lake
     

    Attached Files:

  13. tinhorn
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    tinhorn Senior Member

    I sure do like that green prototype, Eric. I lived nearly twelve years in a 14x30 house, and it was surrounded by dust, not water. That houseboat would be quite a step up!

    Many years ago I worked for a shop where we built contingency shelters for the state of Alaska. No running water, so the toilet was electric, and only priced at around $1500.
     
  14. brian eiland
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    More Pics & Bamboo Construction

    I found some more photos on the lake, and some of them show quite well the simple bamboo construction, etc
     

    Attached Files:


  15. brian eiland
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Thai Bali architecture

    This is a Buddhist temple in one small town (ALL towns have at least one), so it is not likely something you would replicate, but it does give that feeling of architecture that is Thai ...and Bali
     

    Attached Files:

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