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Old 07-10-2018, 07:40 PM   #1
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Houseboats?

My youngest son is going off to college (UT Austinó EE major) this fall, so dear wife (DW) and I have been spending some time in Austin getting things situated and enjoying all Austin has to offer, and reminiscing about how much the city has grown. We graduated UT back in 1988-89.

Anyhoo, today we drove over to Lake Travis and stumbled across a super clean 1999 vintage Sharpe Houseboat and met the super nice (and persuasive) older owners, and now DW wants it. Itís 60í, aluminum hull, twin 5.7 gassers with EFI, with hydraulic stern and bow thrusters, and a 12kw Westerbeke gen that runs the 2ton house type heat pump AC unit (which I think is pretty interesting). DW says you canít get a house on the water for this price!

Anyone have any experience with these big floating bricks? I think I can pilot it OK since it has the good thruster setup, as long as the winds are pretty light. Itís been under a covered slip the last 13 years this owner has had it so it looks good, but some of the rail stanchions on the party deck are a bit loose and I wonder what they are screwed into. If itís wood under the fiberglass roof (and I kind of think it is) Iím a little scared of that.

Should we run away, or go for it and party on the deck like (old) rock stars?

Edit: This boat would not be for the kids and friends, unless we are there on the boat. Too much liability.

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Old 07-10-2018, 08:33 PM   #2
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Cool college party pad
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:37 PM   #3
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Wouldn't buy without a serious hull examination for electrolysis. Aluminum is great until it becomes the sacrificial metal from stray current.

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Old 07-10-2018, 08:39 PM   #4
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Maybe find out when was the last time the boat was out of the water for inspection? Any pumps on board?
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Wouldn't buy without a serious hull examination for electrolysis. Aluminum is great until it becomes the sacrificial metal from stray current.

Ted

Great point. Iím an aluminum idiot. Was planning on a full survey but didnít think about hull problems.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:25 PM   #6
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Things that size in Australia are often outboard powered and are rented out to anyone with a pulse.
Guessing they can't be to hard to control.
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:29 PM   #7
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You have no loyalties, Dude. First it was go fast boats, then trawlers, then sails, and now house boats. With that one, when you get mega-waked, youíll have to get out the mop!
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:21 PM   #8
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According to the current owners, the original owners wanted to do the loop on this boat. Starting off in Kentucky I think. The trip never happened.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:35 PM   #9
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Houses appreciate, boats depreciate. After you add up moorage, insurance, maintenance and depreciation is it more or less than what you would spend renting an acceptable apartment. Also are we talking a 4 year time horizon or longer?
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:12 AM   #10
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Look at the lake area , there are so many of this type boat , it does work for lots and lots of folks.


Keep it in the lakes and it will do a good job for you.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:08 AM   #11
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Some houseboats are built like RVs with timber framing covered with aluminum sheet. The smallest leak will let rain water work on the wood and rot it out. That is one reason why the depreciation curve on RVs is so steep. So maybe houseboats are the same, which is why it is priced where it is.


So look at the framing, aluminum members will be far superior to wood.


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Old 07-11-2018, 06:17 AM   #12
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Houseboats?

We have a small fiberglass house boat on a small lake in Kentucky. All of the boats are having pitting of the aluminum, except ours. We have lots of other issues. One was so pitted additional aluminum plating was needed.

Also, in that area of Texas is there the infrastructure to service the boat? If it needs hauled out can it be done without bringing a trailer a long distance? That is how they move houseboats and how they are hauled out for maintenance. At our lake there is a trailer but you have to hire a truck driver then block it yourself after it is pulled out. Then find somebody to work on it or do it yourself. On Lake Cumberland getting boats serviced is not an issue.

Another common problem area is outdrives. A boat is currently in the marina parking lot getting both outdrives replaced.

The other issue I have with houseboats in general is they only leave the dock to get pumped out. People say they are going to take them out but don't. You have to run the generator full time because of the large electrical load. Some do have inverters but most don't. They are very hard to handle in the wind.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:59 AM   #13
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Here are some pictures of a houseboat under construction showing the wood framing.

https://trifectahouseboats.com/2018/...ark/#iLightbox[gallery3458]/0
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:10 AM   #14
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No advice. Just trying to figure out if DW or DH (dear husband) had a little too much firewater....or won Powerball.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:29 AM   #15
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Would be surprised if it was not just plywood under the rails. You would be lucky if it’s exterior grade.
On the bright side look at all of the space for solar panels.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:43 AM   #16
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Houseboats?

Thanks for all the comments.

Tiltrideró I know this houseboat (like most boats) doesnít make financial sense. My existing boat taught me that. Itís just a lifestyle decision, quality of life thing. Not sure how long we would own it, but yes I assume at least 4 years.

DavidóI need to find out some info on the construction of this boat but have not found anything yet. The builder went out of business around 2011 I think. Need to keep looking. I donít want to run into a TT soft deck repair issue. Need to get with some of the repair yards around the lake and ask them.

Kentucky55Ė there is some pitting on the exposed aluminum poles that support the hard top, but havenít hauled it yet for a hull check. There does seem to be pretty good infrastructure for repairs and haul outs, but itís expensive. Last haul for my boat in Fl was like $400, but this thing is like $1500! Owner had it hauled last year for inspection and outdrive service, which they said they did every 5 years. There is a pump out at the slip, and ownership of the nice slip actually comes with the boat (an HOA fee is due monthly along with utilities). The owner took it out yesterday with a big group and they seem to use the boat and take it out quite a bit, but he said most of the houseboats just sit in the slip.

Donsanó no lottery ticket, but firewater might have been involved. However, we woke up the next day and it still seemed like a good (?) idea. I do worry that having two boats one will suffer neglect or not be used, so there is a possibility one might get sold.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:19 AM   #17
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IMO house boats are underappreciated when used in rivers and lakes.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:07 AM   #18
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We have a share in a 50 footer on Lake Powell and we love it! Easy to drive, lots of room, very stable and hardly a single “marine” item onboard. You will need some sort of skiff or scout boat since houseboats are so slow.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:15 AM   #19
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I understand the lifestyle decision as I live on my boat and own a ski cabin. When I buy A boat I only spend money I am willing to walk away from, any money I get in selling the boat I consider bonus. Boats become much more justifiable when they are your primary residence. I like the fact that the moorage comes with the boat deal. I’m not to worried about aluminum in fresh water. You can always weld up aluminum hulls. Now you are just down to, does it leak, does everything work, and is the neighborhood going to work for you as a primary residence.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:50 AM   #20
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I agree with FF and bayview!!! As long as it is a good deal, go for it. Get you a little runabout and you are living high on the hog on Lake Travis!!!!
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