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Old 07-28-2016, 12:19 PM   #1
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From Trawler to Houseboat

So I have lived on a 33' sailboat, then a 40' trawler and now looking to live on a 45' - 50' houseboat. I do enjoy living on the water; BUT I find, as I get older, that i like more nice things: a recliner, a full sofa, a queen size bed, a full shower, less stairs.

I found as a liveaboard, I rarely left the dock. It just did not happen; so why not have more space, less stairs, more luxuries?

Having lived aboard for more than 10 years on the east coast, I will be returning to the Cumberland River and TN River systems.

I know, as a true blooded sailor, I shall have to buy a smallish sailboat to "play" with.

So. Anyone else done this?
Can give ideas on houseboats? What to look for? Brands to be wary of?
Good liveaboard marinas for a houseboat on these river systems?

And, I suppose, just to know I am not the only crazy one out here with desires for boating, but wanting some of the extras an older guy just wants.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:22 PM   #2
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You are not crazy, you are being honest with yourself.

If you have found that you enjoy marina life, why not maximize it with a houseboat.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:49 PM   #3
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Great idea.....they call them houseboats for a reason.

If I didn't have plans to hit the Bahamas or Cuba...I would have bought a houseboat in a second over my trawler.
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:07 PM   #4
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Like any other boat get a survey and go for it. My dad had a houseboat when I was a kid and they are big fun. Couple of friends have them on a local lake and they'd be awful easy to live on full time.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:23 PM   #5
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Couple slips down from me in Crisfield, MD is an older couple with a houseboat. They've had it for a number of years and took it (AICW) to the Florida Keys, twice! Cost a lot of money in gasoline, but it's doable if you wait for weather windows.

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Old 10-30-2016, 02:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopelliTim View Post
So I have lived on a 33' sailboat, then a 40' trawler and now looking to live on a 45' - 50' houseboat. I do enjoy living on the water; BUT I find, as I get older, that i like more nice things: a recliner, a full sofa, a queen size bed, a full shower, less stairs.
I've done the sailboat, I'm doing the trawler....I refuse to believe that a houseboat is inevitable.
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Old 10-30-2016, 03:06 PM   #7
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Having spent the last few days on the TN River, I fully understand what you're thinking. The marinas with the most Houseboats are on Kentucky Lake, Barkley Lake and then on up all the way to Lake Cumberland. The marinas on Lake Pickwick have some houseboats. Much depends on size.

There are always a good number of houseboats available and it's just the challenge to get one in good condition and to figure out what size you want. If you're rarely going to use it, then larger is great. A lot of people do handle houseboats with just two people, even some of the larger ones. I'd hit some marinas and see what is out there, talk to some owners.
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:58 PM   #8
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I cruise on the Tennessee river system way up around Knoxville and there are lots of liveaboard houseboats here. The winters are very mild mostly, and lots to do and see. I've talked to a lot of them and they love it! They have small boats (about 8X40') to the monster 20X85' dock queens. Waterfront living for a whole lot less money than the waterfront dirt houses. Ben
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:20 PM   #9
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I cruise on the Tennessee river system way up around Knoxville and there are lots of liveaboard houseboats here. The winters are very mild mostly, and lots to do and see. I've talked to a lot of them and they love it! They have small boats (about 8X40') to the monster 20X85' dock queens. Waterfront living for a whole lot less money than the waterfront dirt houses. Ben
We haven't yet made it to Knoxville. We saw a few on Lake Chickamauga but none of the really large ones as we didn't see any dockage for them. We look forward to seeing Knoxville and Watts Bar and Loudoun and Tellico. That's for next summer.
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:48 AM   #10
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There are houseboats and there are houseboats. Some "houseboats" are just a house built on a floating foundation and cannot move under their own power. They are towed to a slip and essentially stay there.


The other "houseboats" have an engine or outboard(s) and can move but usually not very far or fast. For the most part they have to stay in relatively protected waters.


First, decide what type you're looking for. Then, visit the marinas where you are considering moving to and ask around for any houseboats for sale nearby. Talk to the marinas about your plans, slip rates, etc.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Couple slips down from me in Crisfield, MD is an older couple with a houseboat. They've had it for a number of years and took it (AICW) to the Florida Keys, twice! Cost a lot of money in gasoline, but it's doable if you wait for weather windows.

Ted
When we were in Fairhope Alabama we ran across a couple of houseboats that had come down the river system with the intention of going to Florida. They were stopped by the Coast Guard (unclear as this was second hand) and told they were not seaworthy enough to proceed. This was 15 years ago. I have no idea whether this policy (or what was the exact policy) continues today. Suggest you check this out before you start any trip which could be affected by any such rule.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:25 AM   #12
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New listing of a 44' Gibson houseboat with twin diesels.

2003 Gibson 44 Executive Diesel Houseboat Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

"PERFECT for the Great Loop".....well, reasonable minds would differ but if you find glassy waters on the Gulf O'Mex and a few other places, it might be doable.
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Old 10-31-2016, 11:11 AM   #13
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On lakes and rivers houseboats make a lot more sense than cruisers. I have rented them and had no difficulty on a lake. I drove a 40' with an OB without difficulty. Like any bboat weather is a factor.

A model with no engine parts permanently in the water would be my first choice.. Aging gasoline is a probem these days but not different than any rarely used boat.

I suspect that I would be happier with fiberglass hulls than aluminum. Quieter and less corrosion worry.

If i were inland houseboat with water toys would be my choice. Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2016, 11:50 AM   #14
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Lots of loopers, snowbirds and a few Bahama bound cruisers have done it in houseboats.

Some are designed to take open but reasonable waters.

Saying houseboats are out of play for the average East Coast cruiser shows a lack of general knowledge of the spectrum of them. And there is a huge difference from the open water versions to the floating home type.

I would have one now instead of a trawler had the marina I am in allowed them when Ibought the trawler.

I went aboard some houseboats that I would guess are way more structurally sound than my Albin....overall seaworthyness might be a push unless I did a bunch of interior reinforcement.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by kokopelliTim View Post
Can give ideas on houseboats? What to look for? Brands to be wary of?

Last I heard, "Blue Water" (sort of a misnomer) brand boats were kinda sorta decent houseboats that could stand a little coastal cruising. A bud's brother bought one, but I haven't seen it, haven't heard how he's doing with it, and I have no first-hand info on the brand/models.

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Old 10-31-2016, 12:26 PM   #16
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Lots of loopers, snowbirds and a few Bahama bound cruisers have done it in houseboats.

Some are designed to take open but reasonable waters.
Gibson would be. Bluewater is. Nautaline, which exists no longer, made some great performing houseboats. I think they stopped in the early 80's but there were two of them on Lake Norman. Harbor Master was as well.

Most of those built on pontoons would be questionable but the routes most take for the Loop is probably possible on them, although wouldn't be my choice.

The Houseboat Expo is in early June and I'd certainly recommend it. It is an in the water show held in Jamestown, KY. Stardust, Sumerset, Sunstar and Thoroughbred are all built in Monticello, KY, as they have now formed Trifecta Ventures to include them all. They are the largest builders of houseboats for the Cumberland and TN Rivers.

With houseboats built up to 22' x 115' that's a lot of house, 2530 sq ft. Even something like a 15'x 65' is spacious.

I knew one family on the lake that built a dock, primarily for their runabout. They were going to tear down an old cabin and build a cottage, but instead got impatient and purchased a houseboat. They never got around to the cottage.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:41 PM   #17
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Not going out in storm conditions, but no slouch in a chop either.....
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Old 10-31-2016, 02:24 PM   #18
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Then there is this one.

1962 Kelly Houseboat 50 Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:41 PM   #19
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Bluewater history

My investigations of Bluewater Yachts discovered a 1993 dividing line. Pre '93 they have hull/core delamination issues. Post '93 they are very well built and quite nice. I just couldn't find a berth or mooring for one so I stopped looking at them. Sort of drove myself crazy.

The hull issues stemmed from the layup facility they were using. Once they switched production facilities in '93 the problems ceased.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:36 PM   #20
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1981 Bluewater Coastal No problems yet and no blisters
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