There is something about building a houseboat that just gets into a guy’s brain. They’re not totally crazy, they’re just crazy about houseboats! And maybe, building a houseboat isn’t really as crazy as it might sound or that hard either. With modern woods, fasteners and epoxy finishes a nice houseboat can be built and lived on for decades. The boat on the left is The Darwin. Built in Michigan by Chris Carr following George Beuhler’s RiverWalker design, with some extra touches by Chris.
How about this beauty. This houseboat picture on the right is so awesome it doesn’t look real, ..but it is. Its a big houseboat, 50’ long and 16’ wide. Too hard you say? It’s a good thing Rob Reiheld didn’t think that way when he set out to build a houseboat. He didn’t think it too impossible. In fact he had no houseboat plans when he started, just a dream. But when this retired doctor turned modern-day Noah dreamed of building a houseboat he went large. The result is a classic houseboat that’s constantly turning heads. Built on treated plywood pontoon sections, it can cruise along the Albermarle sound for day trips or lived on full-time.The way he built the pontoons in sections and then bolted them together is a unique way of building and definitely worth some study and consideration. Along the way, he managed to get the whole family involved. Visit his site and learn all about his building adventure. See the fun and the challenges, as well as some serious setbacks he encountered building this great houseboat. The pictures alone are worth a visit to his blog at, www.sites.google.com/site/robreiheld/houseboat
So, I’m dreaming about building a houseboat, like a tiny home design, and putting it on a barge deck or maybe pontoons. , Of course, this would be strictly for protected-water use, I don’t think we’ll be sailing it over to the Bahamas.
The great thing is, there are lots of varied designs…different designs for different uses. Some houseboats are just big floating barges that stay anchored in a marina and hook up to the shore for all the conveniences of a regular home. But that’s no fun !. . . A little house boat is what I’m talking about. Building a little houseboat that you can motor about in and still enjoy some of the comforts of home. And when building a houseboat there are dozens of plans to choose from.
The last thing you want to think about is the ”cost of living on a houseboat” because you can’t really put a price on adventure.But in order to know exactly what you’re getting into follow this link and learn all about the costs of living on a houseboat from the folks at Newboat.com. They have compiled a great list of costs to help you plan your next move. check out their original website. http://www.yournewboat.com/boatingtips_Costs.html
Retire on a houseboat ?
“Can it be done?” The answer is always yes . . . if you have enough money just about anything can be done.But our real question is can it be done CHEAP! Well, let’s look at the numbers.
One family in North Florida pays about $12 bucks a foot (per month) at a marina. so, for a 32’ boat its about $400 buck a month. Add to that a pump-out fee of $60 if you’re not in a marina with free pump out and the price could run $520 to $640 a month.
A man in Apalachicola pays $400 a month for his 50’ houseboat to tie up at a dock. This includes electricity and water.
On Lake Norris in Tennessee it will cost between $250 and $450 a month and there is a waiting list everywhere. This doesn’t include electricity or pump-outs. You can get a yearly pump-out contract for about $400 to $500 and the dock usually supplies the water.
At the Gangplank Marina in Washington,DC it will cost you about $12 bucks a month per foot on a yearly basis, plus electricity. Liveaboards will be charged an additional $150 a month for pump-out and use fees. So, a 32’ boat will cost about $535. Not bad for a view of the Washington Monument. (2013 prices)
This is a sample of the costs at marinas and docks. It doesn’t include the cost of insurance. Just like a home, a boat should have insurance. This insurance can run $1,500 bucks a year for small size boat. Some insurance companies offer boat insurance as part of a larger package, so check with your homeowner’s insurance company first. This is a cost that will have to be added into your monthly costs. While it is true that boat insurance is not required, most marinas will require it. They don’t want you puttering in and around their million dollar yachts without the insurance to pay for the damage.
Do You Need Boat Insurance ?
Boat insurance is an interesting subject. Many people have reported that they simply don’t carry it. Many folks sailing the Pacific and the Caribbean opt to carry none. It eventually boils down to two questions,
1. can you afford to lose the value of your boat without insurance? As in “nothing left showing but bubbles”?
2. do the marinas you frequent require you to carry insurance? Most larger ones do.
Some folks report that they were quoted as much as 20% of the boats value for a years insurance. Most people would definitely think twice about that price.
To sum it all up, if you add all these costs together it can easily cost $750 and more a month to live full-time on a boat or a houseboat. this is not exactly cheap but its not expensive either. But, if you desire different and possibly interesting lifestyle it is a great alternative to sitting in your 2 bedroom condo looking out the window for the mailman to go by.
Most boat owners who live full-time will tell you that they don’t do it to save money, they do it because they love boats and the lifestyle. For more on houseboat insurance read Insurance
If you desire to learn from a current full-time boater on a small sailboat check out: shantyboat-retirement-home.blogspot.com/
( Extra: read about houseboats near Washington, DC )