Trailerable houseboat designs

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by silentneko, May 2, 2021.

  1. mitchgrunes
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 61
    Likes: 13, Points: 8
    Location: Maryland

    mitchgrunes Junior Member

    Sounds a little like bears further north.

    So you would feel reasonably comfortable wading back to shore among alligators, if you somehow did have a boat fire, or your boat sank? And I take it you won't be taking your houseboat far enough south for crocodiles.

    On a paddling trip to Florida, there was a mangrove island at a different location than the 2 year old map in my GPS showed, and we had to change our route. My paddling partner said they can uproot and move during storms . Correct? Is there a website where you can find the current locations? Perhaps your vessel will have a sufficiently shallow draft that having to change routes wouldn't be a problem...
     
  2. mitchgrunes
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 61
    Likes: 13, Points: 8
    Location: Maryland

    mitchgrunes Junior Member

    Regardless of your design, would outboard motor(s) have to be too noisy to be fun to develop enough speed to plane a pontoon boat?

    Also, regardless of your design, what do you do if a major wind storm (like a hurricane) blows in, and you don't have enough time to get back to your vehicle and trailer and drive everything to a sheltered location? No way could a tall thin houseboat take high winds and maybe not the waves either if you are offshore or in an inshore section with enough fetch. That is a problem with any reasonably small craft, but a cabin cruiser lies a little lower to the wind than a houseboat, and is likely wider and more stable. Sheltered locations on the water might fill up with other boats in such storms. There must be ways that people make do - I notice there are trailerable houseboats in some Florida Craigslists.

    Anyway, if you took an already-street-legal (pop-up or otherwise) camping trailer, and connected pontoons to the sides, maybe that would work as a houseboat? The pontoons and motor could be strapped on top when on the road. (I assume inflatable pontoons aren't durable enough to be safe.) You could add waterproof storage compartments over the pontoons for extra space. You might have to coat things with anti-fouling pant, and replace the bearings with corrosion resistant ones that can stay immersed in salt water for the duration. If you took a suitable winch, you could pull it out of the water onto a marina ramp and parking lot if there was an emergency from a big wind storm, and if it was a pop-up camper, pop it down to present less cross section to the wind.

    Campgrounds built for RVs and camping trailers usually provide ways to dump your sewage - a nice convenience when the trip is over. If the trip is too long to hold your sewage on board, I don't know if marina sewage connections are compatible with camping trailer connections.
     
  3. mitchgrunes
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 61
    Likes: 13, Points: 8
    Location: Maryland

    mitchgrunes Junior Member

    Actually, forget my idea of using a street legal camping trailer. At first blush, it seemed like a cheap way to make a trailer/boat.

    But boats need to take the force of the waves all over, as well as bouncing over waves, and the need to keep the water entirely out. Camping trailers only need to take normal winds, drive over roads and light duty off-road camprounds, and keep the rain out. So they might not be strong enough or waterproof enough in the right places to function as a boat. The pop-ups also aren't well insulated, so they could get hot during Florida summers. I.E., the very reasons why inexpensive camping trailers are cheaper than cabin cruisers, are also reasons why they would be unsuitable as boats.
     
  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 4,482
    Likes: 783, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    Houseboats are not safe in wind.

    Houseboats are not safe in a fire.

    The way this is dealt with is escape and avoiding high wind operation.

    Escape boats are required by most houseboat charter services.

    Fire extinguishers are a relative joke. Do you know that a fire extinguisher empties itself at a rate of 1# per second? A ten pound firex is empty in 10 seconds. A 35# is empty in 35 seconds.

    Once upon a time, I tried to put out a fire with a 35# can. The fire was a cig butt fire in town. I hit the center of the fire and 30 some seconds of dispense and the fire was not big, but not out. The fire department arrives and puts out the fire and uses two 100# water cans. Guy says the foam firex is fairly useless on most fires if you arrive after the fire started. I plan a washdown pump on my boat and that would work for many fires better...lot better.
     
    mitchgrunes and bajansailor like this.
  5. mitchgrunes
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 61
    Likes: 13, Points: 8
    Location: Maryland

    mitchgrunes Junior Member

    An escape boat on vessels large enough to carry them sounds like a great idea. I'm sure we all know of situations where you can't easily walk or swim to shore even in shallow water. E.g., strong undercurrents, sharp objects, or things that can trap a foot on the bottom, big waves, etc. So does boating with other vessels.

    Thanks for pointing out the limitations of fire extinguishers! I ended up looking up effectiveness of fire extinguishers. If what I read is correct, they aren't a complete joke - most unintentional fires are successfully put out by portable fire extinguishers. (According to the people who make fire extinguishers. :)) So I guess they are worthwhile, despite limitations.

    But knowledge, training and practice might help. If what I read is correct, hitting the center of the flame is not "correct". E.g., the most basic usage is to aim at the base of the fire, and sweep side-to-side.

    Based on what little I've read, a gasoline, oil or transmission fluid fire, and even a propane leak fire, may be difficult to put out without extensive knowledge, training and practice, using a water pump. Even a mattress, couch or carpet fire might require proper technique.

    Despite these limits, and my limited knowledge, I intend to continue carrying a small fire extinguisher in my car. But since I mostly kayak, I don't consider a fire likely in or on my boats. There are much more likely dangers, some of which I and my friends have experienced, to worry about. I might try rolling the kayak - not an option for most houseboats.

    I don't know where to get knowledge, training and practice, on putting out fires. Do you?
     
  6. silentneko
    Joined: Jan 2014
    Posts: 73
    Likes: 10, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: United States

    silentneko Junior Member

    Boys, I'm gonna be honest here, I'm a bit dumbfounded at the directions this thread has gone, lol. Ok let me try and address everyone as best I can

    "I don't understand completely what you are looking for."
    I'm looking for plans, that can be build in foam/cedar strip, that are similar to the examples I listed before. Like the Sea Camper or Land and Sea, not a glorified shed on a pontoon boat (no offense to those who like them). No I'm not building in cedar strip, but it the plans can accommodate it then it can be adapted to foam strip.

    "So you would feel reasonably comfortable wading back to shore among alligators, if you somehow did have a boat fire, or your boat sank? And I take it you won't be taking your houseboat far enough south for crocodiles."
    Yes I will take it far enough south for crocs, but honestly they don't scare me. I've been here for 30 years, and have swam in lakes and rivers since I was 10. Gators won't bother you unless you bother them, or go near their nests during mating season. Crocs are more aggressive, but more scarce too. They won't come near you much either.

    "On a paddling trip to Florida, there was a mangrove island at a different location than the 2 year old map in my GPS showed, and we had to change our route. My paddling partner said they can uproot and move during storms . Correct? Is there a website where you can find the current locations? Perhaps your vessel will have a sufficiently shallow draft that having to change routes wouldn't be a problem..."
    No, mangrove islands do not just uproot and move with storms, but the sand bars around them do. As long as you update your Navionics (or other GPS maps) then it's not a big issue. Most areas don't get a lot of movement, but some places like the Ten Thousand Islands in the glades changes often. For a cool bit of history that involves this look up the history on the Dome houses on Marco Island. What ever I build will have a pretty shallow draft.

    "Regardless of your design, would outboard motor(s) have to be too noisy to be fun to develop enough speed to plane a pontoon boat?"
    Not sure what your getting at. My new 4-stroke outboard is pretty quiet. The noisy old 2-strokes dies off a decade ago. Either way I don't want a pontoon boat.

    "Also, regardless of your design, what do you do if a major wind storm (like a hurricane) blows in, and you don't have enough time to get back to your vehicle and trailer and drive everything to a sheltered location? No way could a tall thin houseboat take high winds and maybe not the waves either if you are offshore or in an inshore section with enough fetch. That is a problem with any reasonably small craft, but a cabin cruiser lies a little lower to the wind than a houseboat, and is likely wider and more stable. Sheltered locations on the water might fill up with other boats in such storms. There must be ways that people make do - I notice there are trailerable houseboats in some Florida Craigslists."
    A hurricane blows in? Big storms don't just blow in, you have a good amount of warning if you pay attention. Hurricanes give you days of warning. I'm actually onsite at the airport with NOAA right now. A cabin cruiser will be not much lower in profile then the style boats I've referenced. Again I'm not talking about a trailer bolted onto a pontoon boat, but a full hulled boat with an extended cabin on top. Yes it will move with significant winds, but like any other boat you drop anchor and ride it out with your nose pointed into the wind. We will not likely be offshore much at all, near shore and inshore mostly. There are plenty of places to shelter on the water in Florida, but I would just pull the boat and drive away in most cases. I wouldn't go to far from home if the weather is looking sporty. As far as camping trailers on pontoon boats go, even if it were viable you would get maybe a few trips before the trailer frames start to rust away.

    Boys, why are we even talking about fire? No, fires on a boat are not a good thing. I am a Firefighter/Paramedic, and can assure you this is a non-issue. My boat will not have an inboard motor, or propane powered cooking. An outboard on a bracket, and a generator on the swim platform to power the AC and hotplate. That's it. As far as limitations of fire extinguishers, your standard ABC dry chem will handle most issues, if you use it right. No, blasting an extinguisher until it is empty might not do much if you aren't hitting the seat of the fire. There are Youtube videos to show you proper operation, but common sense is key. 10 seconds of continuous flow from a dry chem extinguisher is an eternity! If you can't get something under control with a few quick blasts then it's time to look at bailing out. A washdown pump, or any water extinguishers, are pretty much useless on a fuel or electrical fire, which is all you have on a boat most times. Fires on a boat are typically the result of lack of maintenance, or incorrect wiring. Easily avoided.

    Ok well we have ran the gambit of gators, hurricanes, fires, and trailers bolted to pontoons. Lets see if we can circle back around to the original concept of the thread, lol.
     
    bajansailor likes this.
  7. mitchgrunes
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 61
    Likes: 13, Points: 8
    Location: Maryland

    mitchgrunes Junior Member

    Sorry. I had a completely different concept of what you were using the boat for. I assumed that if you wanted a houseboat, you were planning multi-day trips, e.g., going the length of the Flordia coast, or of the ICW.

    If you search Google for +"Trailerable houseboat plans", you find many such pages.

    But I can't help you design or build yours.

    People with big boats (especially wooden boats) have told me that they have more maintenance issues than most homes, and have astonishingly high dock fees, at least near where I live, but since you've owned boats, you know that already.

    A quick web search shows there is no National Electrical Code or National Plumbing Code for boats (though there is for shore connections), but there are some basic USCG and Florida safety rules and inspection requirements:

    www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF
    newboatbuilders.com/pages/index2.html
    myfwc.com/boating/regulations/
    www.fau.edu/ehs/info/florida-boating-handbook.pdf
    www.boatus.com/Assets/www.boatus.com/gov/pdf/ga01-fl-vessel-safety-inspection-info-v2.pdf

    (Of course counties and other localities may add their own.)

    ABYC standards

    abycinc.org/page/standards

    are voluntary. Perhaps they are worth reading anyway, but you have to pay to get the details.
     
  8. silentneko
    Joined: Jan 2014
    Posts: 73
    Likes: 10, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: United States

    silentneko Junior Member

    I'm not sure where the confusion is coming from, maybe the various responses splitting off from the original topic.

    Let me try this again. I have built 4 boats successfully and have experience. We rented a tiny houseboat a few months back it was an 18ft Hobo. Here is another example of it.
    b88cbf82dbd951b890b87fbd048589e6.jpg

    We loved it but it was a bit small for us. We want to take this concept and stretch it maybe 4ft and 1ft wider. So around 22ft by 8.5ft.

    There are some older boats that are similar. Like the Sea Camper, Land and Sea, and Stuery boats pictured below.

    182868108_10222368847867818_771662427550619163_n.jpg
    not-specified-fresh-water-2541845.jpg
    c6aa912d761ba7f52e570bd39200d04f.jpg

    We will spend multiple days on this boat at a time. It would be trailered back to our house after each use. Longer trips are possible, and these designs have made many long range journals safely for decades, so let's get past that.

    I'm just looking for similar plans. Yes there are some old ones, but I want to use more modern materials so the old popular mechanics stuff might not work out.
     
    bajansailor likes this.
  9. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 720
    Likes: 136, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    So far no plans have been posted that meet your requirements, correct? Or did I miss any?

    What is the HP of your 4 stroke outboard motor you want to use?

    From what I've seen a 22' boat at 10 knots needs to plane and needs something like 40 HP for 13 knots (Quest, Spira Winchester). Or 10 HP for 6 knots displacement speed (Gypsy). The GT23 says 25HP for 6 to 10 mph (5.1-8.7 knots).

    The first picture you just posted seems to be optimized for displacement speed with a smooth waterline. The last 3 seem to be optimized for planing looking at the waterline and submerged transom. My guess is they need more power and produce more wake at displacement speed. Sorry if this is wrong or obvious to any experienced boater or if this doesn't really make a big difference.

    So I think first you should nail down the hull form with how much HP and if you want optimized displacement and wake or for planing.

    From what I interpret you're looking for:
    • simple flat bottom power dory / semi dory style hull
    • planing / semi-planing at 10 knots
    • sharp V entry for choppy coastal waters
    • hull quickly turns into flat and level floor in the middle
    • designed for foam core building, developable surfaces
    • some flare to minimize wave slapping at anchor (does it?)
    When I was looking for "what is this stupid simple boat hull actually called" I didn't find this exactly, even though it seems to me (novice) as a simple to build and logical hull for a boat. At least to me it seems like it should have no huge downsides compared to the advantage of a simple to build boat and not needing a raised sole off the hull.

    There are the spira pacific dory and carolina dory and his mullet skiff which are close to this but designed for cheap lumber. All three are designed to plane with 40hp but the carolina dory seems to me a little bit more suitable for slower displacement speeds.

    You could redesign these and build these with vacuum infusion on a 22' x 4.25' vacuum table.
    Infuse the curving bow and V entry single side and the rest double side, "stitch and glue" them together. Then laminate the inside.
    Design it with "intelligent infusion" in mind so with rebates that can be glued together easily. And rebates for the interior furniture as well. Build the cabin out of cheap XPS and fiberglass. Not too sturdy but can be repaired.

    I'd consider building something like myself as a 24' trailerable house boat / tiny house but I haven't seen plans for exactly this either.
    I have finally managed to construct a V entry with a developable surface in Fusion 360! Yes small victory but it's a bit complicated to do this with parameterized sketches.

    Attached is render of the ugliest houseboat. It's 24' / 7.4m x 2.5m and completely flat after 2.4m from the bow. There are many ugly house boat designs but this one is mine haha.

    V Entry Pacific Dory v4 4.jpg
     
    bajansailor likes this.
  10. silentneko
    Joined: Jan 2014
    Posts: 73
    Likes: 10, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: United States

    silentneko Junior Member

    I don't think the rendering is that bad. I'd probably lower the forward deck for utility and put it in water instead of a dry lake bed.

    This would be a hand laminated Carbon Core and epoxy build, no infusion needed, but possible. I don't really want to go the stitch and glue route again, just foam strip for a more dynamic shape.

    I'm not concerned about the size of the motor, but likely wouldn't exceed 115hp for economy purposes. I have a 60hp on my boat now and it has plenty of power for what I'm looking to do. The little Hobo we rented had a 40hp on it, but really a 25hp would have been fine as it didn't do much better then 6mph.

    I realize now that a full displacement hull is not ideal in this sized boat, so I am good with semi planing or even a low hp planing hull if it comes to it.

    The Gypsy and Quest are the closest to what I'm looking for so far. I'll have to look more at Spira's plans again as the frame spacing might be close enough to accommodate foam strip.

    I'm not well versed in CAD programs. I do better with actual scale modeling, so I might go that route for a bit.
     
    Dejay likes this.
  11. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 720
    Likes: 136, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    I suspect build method might be a reason for the lack of designs for this size boat. If the advantages of rob denney's intelligent infusion prove out (and I believe / hope it will) then that could allow designing and building a boat in this range much easier and faster than traditional stitch and glue or wood composite.
     
  12. silentneko
    Joined: Jan 2014
    Posts: 73
    Likes: 10, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: United States

    silentneko Junior Member

    The build method is following the Chris Morejohn style. I don't know if you are familiar, but he was the original designer and builder of Hells Bay Boatworks. He has built a ton of boats using this method, and done a lot of testing. Without vacuum you do use more resin and add some weight, but strength is not significantly different if you are a decent laminator.
    He started offering his plans again a few years back like the Conchfish, Lithium, and Beryllium, and has been working on a book for the last few years.

    Outside of that, most any build method can be adapted to it fairly easily as long as the frame spacing is close enough to support the foam strips.
     
  13. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 720
    Likes: 136, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Thanks, that's interesting, didn't know about him.
     
  14. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 1,942
    Likes: 632, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor


  15. silentneko
    Joined: Jan 2014
    Posts: 73
    Likes: 10, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 31
    Location: United States

    silentneko Junior Member

    Here is a thread he had on Microskiff. It details a bit of his process, as well as his thoughts on materials, like basalt cloth. I've known quite a few guys who have used his methods and all were successful and happy with the results. Obviously I would need to increase the core thickness a little as well as add a few extra layers of glass, but it will still be strong and light compared to a fiberglass hull.

    Starting Beryllium 18.5, Boron 17.9 and Puffer fish 19... https://www.microskiff.com/threads/starting-beryllium-18-5-boron-17-9-and-puffer-fish-19-skiff-builds.72870/
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.