Any Tips or Clubs for Three Buoys Houseboats?

by Steve
(Missouri, USA)

A typical Three Buoys Houseboat

A typical Three Buoys Houseboat

I am a new and first time houseboat owner. I bought a 52 foot 1987 Three Buoys Houseboat, the Sunseeker model.


I am in need of a complete owners manual and any tips or suggestions about day to day use, operation, maintenance and ideas about how to save money and get the most out of the houseboat.

Can anyone guide me in anyway? Are there any houseboat clubs for this brand or anything like that...



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Reply - Answer
Well Steve, congratulations on your Three Buoys Houseboat. As to the owners manual, possibly the manufacturer still has them available www.threebuoys.com

As to tips and ideas, I think you will find that the website is filled with tidbits of valuable information for you. You can always use the search function to find what you're looking for.

As to a Three Buoy Houseboat club, I'm not aware of any, I know that there are a huge amount of them in British Columbia since they are manufactured there.

Hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share & post comments on the houseboat clubs that are available.


IAN from all-about-houseboats


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Comments for Any Tips or Clubs for Three Buoys Houseboats?

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3Buoys
by: John

Steve, I spoke to someone in BC that works for 3Buoys a few years ago. They got out of the boat business a long time ago. Unfortunately, there are no manuals available from them.

The fellow that I soke to said that 3B evolved into a resort with a few of the 225 boats that they manufactured through the years.

John

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1988 Three Buoys Sunseeker
by: Mitch

I am restoring our 1988 Three Buoys Sunseeker. Has anyone worked on the flying bridge? Our is completely non-functional. I will be checking this site regularly looking for tips.

Thanks

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Volvo engine in a 45x12 Three Buoys houseboat
by: Anonymous

Can any of you guy's out there tell me how the Volvo four cylinder engine pushes this size boat?

Thinking about buying one. Thanks

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Houseboating History
by: Rob

Good Houseboating boaters! Hope you Three Buoys houseboaters are having a great 2015 season. I have had a few calls of late about manuals for the boats. I only have the rental ones that were made for Shuswap Lake here in British Columbia.

Wiring and plumbing manuals do not exist. The systems are very simple. 12 volt DC and 110v AC. I recommend that you chase/follow the wires. As for parts we don't carry any. Boats that were from 1983-1989 were made in Kelowna BC.

Ones from 1995-2006 were made by Three Buoys Marina in Sicamous and only 40 were made. We are no longer in the houseboat building business or rental since 2008.

Three Buoys Marina and Storage is a very busy storage facility and private marina today. Volvo and Mercury Marine parts, service department today. We take care of some 350 private houseboats, cruiser's, speed boats, wake boats, sea doo's, trailers, storage and launching and retrieval, repairs, polishing, fiberglass repairs.

It's been 32 years of houseboating and I still love it. The breaks over the years of professional golf, refereeing hockey and playing semi professional hockey was fun, but I still love houseboating and my two boys are going to carry in forward.

Enjoy your boats and remember fix, clean, organize. Then play! Happy Holidays! Rob

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Cruiseair
by: John

I have an 1987 Three Buoys Sunseeker. I've also had problems with my Cruiseair unit. I've even called the guys at Cruiseair and they have been very helpful.

BTW, I got tired of resetting the high pressure cutoff switch that is located on the backside of the unit, against the wall (you know, the one located under that hot copper pipes).

So, I put a slightly larger automatic reset switch that I picked up at my local air conditioning supply house. It works great and so far, the unit hasn't blown up on me :-0


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Group for Three Buoys owners
by: Jason

Hello, I have been reading through several of the members posts and I have created a Facebook group where other owners of Three Buoys houseboats can share information, pics, and anything else.

I am a fairly new houseboat owner at Lake Mohave and I have a million questions and ideas regarding these awesome boats. Let's see if we can get some people together and share our experiences.

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Hole ate thru my hull
by: pj

I purchased a 1988 Sunseeker and found water running in the boat. It has a hole under the water tank and electrolysis has destroyed one area.

I think the previous owners left the gauge on the tank on and did this. My Cruise Air AC units don't work either. Seems to be a money pit.

PS: my generator won't start. grrrrr

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A blast from the past
by: Anonymous

I worked at the Lake Havasu Marina in 88-89 as a service mechanic, had a blast! Love your site, brings back some great memories... seems like I was constantly replacing lake water impellers for the 7kw Onans.

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Operation & Troubleshooting Manual
by: Don

I have found the Operation & Troubleshooting Manual entitled: MicroCommander 9110 for my 1988 Three Bouys Sunseeker 56' Houseboat.

www.marinetechnics.nl/downloads/MM9110%20RevB%207-04%20MicroCommander%20Operation%20Manual.pdf

Don

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In the process of buying a Three Buoys
by: Anonymous

My wife and I looked at a 1987 52ft Three Buoys last night and the guy busted out a 5in thick manual. It was in a binder and looked like it was original.

I would of looked at it closer if I would of read this blog site before hand. We find out tomorrow if the boat is ours. If it is a manual everyone will get one!

In return just help a new guy out now and then. Btw if that website is up and running let me know.

Thanks Brian

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Getting ready to move my 52 Three Buoys to salt
by: Dennis

I know people have put these boats in saltwater. I have a 1987 52' Sunseeker. I would like to talk to people who have done this.

There is a post earlier in this thread from someone who has their boat in saltwater in Florida, but there was no contact information provided.

What precautions should I take to keep my aluminum hull from dissolving? I also wonder if anyone knows what type of aluminum these boats are made of.

Currently, my boat has what I believe is an epoxy based paint on the hull. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as we love our boat and have lived on it for about twelve years.

We would very much like to take it to Houston with us. Also, if anyone could tell me precisely how tall our boat is I would greatly appreciate it.

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Three buoys 52' manual
by: MattK66

I have assembled a near complete manual for my three buoys Sunseeker 52' houseboat.

Here is what I did : one by one, I found the part numbers from the engine, genset, electrical system, etc., and went to the manufacturers websites and downloaded the parts lists and information, things like the engine are "for sale" books you can pick up most anywhere.

All of the components in the boat are not built by three buoys, the are built and installed. So one boat is not necessarily like the next. Look up parts as you need to or spend a weekend doing some inventory and start the search.

Happy hunting.

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Re: Website for a Three Buoys Club
by: Love Buzz

That was me that was going to get a site together, but then we up and moved to Alaska where there is no Internet service at present. We hope to get access to service maybe next year. BTW, That's why I'm selling my boat :)

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Is there a club up and running?
by: Captain Sly

There's been lots of talk about someone starting a Threebuoys Club, has anyone done this yet? If so where do I find this animal!

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Sunseeker for Sale
by: Love buzz

Moving has forced us to give up our home of 3 years. It is located on the Arkansas River and currently on the hard. We have completed the remodel and the bottom job was the only thing we weren't able to accomplish before our relocation.

Our's is a 1987 model 53 footer. It is newly remodeled inside and out. Inside is more house than boat - like I mentioned, we lived on the boat for 3 years full time while we gutted the interior and re-did EVERYTHING! :).

Some of the features are: hardwood mahagony floors, granite counter tops, microwave/ convection oven, induction (magnetic) cooktop, birch/steel/beach glass lighted cabinets, glass front refrigerator, custom shower, electric fireplace, and a open floor plan.

A brand new 16000 BTU marine cruise air/heat, 8 diesel batteries banked on a 5KW 12v inverter (it will run the fridge, tv, and lights for about 10 hours without turning on the generator), 7KW marine generator, and a Marine Ford 302 replacing the original 4cyl to move it around.

All over  fresh paint and Fiberglass, Huge covered upper deck with fly bridge. Large front and back deck. We are very motivated to sell.

Lyle

Reply - Answer
Lyle, you will get better results and likely sell it quickly by using our Houseboat Classifieds section.

IAN from www.all-about-houseboats.com

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Year Round SunSeeker Living
by: Anonymous

My wife and I are going into our 3rd year living on our 1987 52x14 Sunseeker houseboat in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Our houseboat is a full aluminum hull with twin volvo turbo diesel inboard engines with volvo outdrives. On the water it has a 8 kw diesel genny.

It has had complete interior renovations and extensive hull repairs for pin holes due to its life of east coast ocean use and then 3 years storage on land.

I am unsure how it got from British Columbia to New Brunswick. Anyways the pinholes were caused by fresh water dribbling down outside of hull and salt deposits inside caused corrosive pin holes down each side of hull.

She is mint now and third year and no serious problems yet. We are in water from May to November, and have large trailer to haul it out, and that is where we stay for winter.

All I do for winter is install hanging tarp from wood side bumper to deflect wind off the hull, and replace the captains chair with propane fireplace vented thru inset in side window.

One small electric heater below deck set to come on only after minus 15 celsius. Our hydro is 50 amp winter and summer.

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Three Buoys 1980's slide
by: Fred

ATTN: Flynn, have you found the Three Buoys slide you were looking for?

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87 Sunseeker 52 foot Houseboat
by: george

I am a newbie and just purchased a 52 foot Sunseeker houseboat. It sat in the water for two or three years. It was all closed up and loaded with mold and the roof leaked in four spots.

I've just gutted it out down to the studs and now I am removing the roof as it must of been replaced at one time because it has that pressed plywood.

I am going to replace some of the joists and the cheap marine plywood I can get is ninety dollars a sheet three quarters inch.

It is a great boat but needs a lot of work, however they just fiberglass it, then paint it, and no gel coating at all.

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Three Buoys Houseboats - they are great boats
by: Eric

It was great to read that a website is being created for Three Buoys houseboats. It will be nice to have a site that I can visit for ideas and pictures.

I am also excited to post my own remodeling pictures. These are truly great boats to tinker with and remodel. I just recently listed my Sunseeker for sale, if you are in the market for a 1987 Three Buoys Sunseeker.

Thanks for looking, Eric


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Houseboat Renovations - cabin sides, top deck
by: Mike

I'm about to start a major Reno on a Sunseeker, removing thm,e dog house and adding 2 bedrooms and a composting toilet upstairs.

What I would really like to know is the construction method of the existing cabin sides and top deck so I can match it.

Is there a decent beam running along the side/top join? I need to use something strong there to bolt the new bedroom sides to. Thanks. Mike

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Houseboat Info-Requests from Three Buoys Marina and Storage.
by: rob@threebuoys.com

Good Day fellow Houseboaters, I'm the only one tied to the past. I get some 200 calls and emails a year on basic stuff. Three Buoys Builders from kelowna B.C 1984 to 1989 are no longer around and info is hard to get.

Due to trade laws and people trying to reproduce the Sunseeker, SunCrusier, and SportCruiser lines blueprints are not available. We were a seperate company here in Sicamous, BC and did not get the rights to them.

Since 1991 we have been operating and have turned part of the property into a very nice project with Marine Villas. Over time we have Managed and Operated 132 Houseboats with private boat Investors.

Since 1992 the houseboat operations were desolved from 132 to just 3 as of today 2012. Now your thinking, what do they do? Were still a Marina! Dry covered storage, Mercury and Volvo dealership taking care of some 300 Private Houseboats, Cruiser's and Ski boats, condo rentals and Management company in Sicamous/Shuswap Lake, B.C. Visit us www.threebuoys.com.

At the end of the day the most asked question I get is, operating manuals, they don't exist. Three Buoys builders built 1100 boats from 1982 to 1989 in various sizes for rental and custom orders.

The manuals we have made are rental operations and won't be any good for you, the new boats were produced here from 1998 to 2006 are local boats only. How does this help me?

Well, I was part of the past as Employee #2 from 1982, Out of the 10 Marina's they had I was part of 9 at sometime. My specialty was Dock operations and Captain lessons. I know every square inch of the boats. Many boats have been sold and traded hands many times.

Please don't call our Marina with questions my staff don't know anything about them, but I do. Email is best to get me. rob@threebuoys.com

I will ask for a picture of the boat first, last year I had two boats that people asked info for, and they were built by a company that tried to copy a line of Three Buoys.

It was very disappointing when I told them it was not built by Three Buoys in 1995 and 2006. Happy Houseboating, I can't wait to get out on the lake with mine. Rob

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Houseboat Engines - outboard or I/O's
by: Anonymous

Has anyone converted the outboards to inboard/outboard? Does boat have to be pulled out of the water? Or would you just upgrade the dual 70 hp 2 strokes to 4 stroke?

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Three Buoys Houseboat Website
by: Love Buzz

Okay everybody, you've asked for it, I've asked for it, a space to call our own! I'm currently putting together a site for Three Buoys owners to share pictures, ideas, and conversation. I'll publish the address soon so hang in there!

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Tthree buoys houseboat front curved slider
by: Betty

We have a 1987 14 x 52 Three Buoys that has been totally refurbished inside but they left the curved front door. If folks have this same door we are wondering what is the best way to put a curtain on it?

What does everyone suggest and how were the original boats curtained? We would love to see folks photos of their boats once they were renovated too. Thanks everyone!

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Houseboat Fuel Tanks - the Three Buoys gas tank
by: John

Can't help you with the fuel moving into the black water tank. I have a 1987 52' X 14' houseboat that I bought in Sept of 2010.

It has a separate 95 gallon plastic fuel tank that the owner put in when he replaced the 110hp Volvo with a 260hp Mercruiser.

My black water tank looks like it's made of sheet metal and I think that it is 250 gallons.

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Houseboat Fuel Tanks - gas tank problem
by: MLGuy

We have a 1987, 44x12 Three3 Buoys Holiday Seeker, and recently we have discovered that gasoline is moving through the tank wall into the black water tank. The black water does not move into the gas at all.

Not really understanding what the problem is, we have decided that we will need to abandon the gas tank. I have been told that it has happened on other 3 Buoys of this era. Has anyone experienced this problem? If so, what was done to solve the problem?

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Houseboat Construction - living in reconstruction
by: Love Buzz

I, too, own a 53' 1987 Sunseeker houseboat and I moved aboard full time two years ago and immediately started fixing things.

The previous owner(s) had made some cosmetic band-aid fixes that really dated the boat, moreso than if they had just left it alone.

I have gutted the boat completely - walls, floors, cielings, kitchen and head. Although my floorplan may not be suitable for those with children or wanting to have several folks sleepover, it affords what I believe to be the most usable space for the boat. Everyone who has seen it is blown away at the space!

The best bargain I found was in using IKEA cabinets and accessories (I went European-clean with the design). My next plan is to extend the front deck roof to create an all-seasons room on the bow, and of course, tear off the "dog house" and create an upstairs bedroom.

I have to say that this is one of the funnest projects that I never want to finish! I would love to share pictures if someone can tell me how to.

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Thinking about buying Sunseeker
by: Anonymous

Sunseeker 1987-52ft. any comments on buying a boat this age or things to look for.

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Houseboat Changes - reverse cable broken
by: Alex a7ulster@hotmail.com

My girlfriend and I have recentley purchased a 1988 46ft Sunseeker Three Buoys houseboat. Many things seem to have been changed or "upgraded".

One of the things that is broken is the reverse control cable. I have been told that the boat has to be pulled out of the water to be fixed.

Has anyone had the same problem and if so what did they do to fix it? If not, does this seem correct that the boat has to be pulled to fix it?

Thanks, Alex

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Living on a Houseboat - 58' Three Buoys 1988 Sunseeker
by: Anonymous

I purchased my 1988 Sunseeker houseboat back in 1993. I have lived on it alone ever since on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Apalachicola river in Apalachicola, Fl.

I think I have replaced about everything on the boat. It is certainly that hole in the water you shovel money into! My boat has steps leading to the upper deck in the salon with a real brass pole!

The skylight hatch is going to have to be replaced soon as it now has many hairline cracks in it. You come out behind the flybridge Captains bench and the hot tub. I have had to replace the hot tub motor twice in 16 years, but still works great.

I have removed the so called "dog house" room in its entirety to make more deck space. The roof uugh! I have reglassed it so many time I have lost count.

I finally had to have it torn completely out, replaced the rotted beams and insulation and covered it in 1/4" treated plywood, then epoxied glass over that, then painted it with 2 coats of Ames Elastomeric Rubber Paint. Now let's see it leak!

I have replaced the Cruisair Heat and Air Conditioning units with a top side Sanyo 5 ton unit. Whisper quiet and you no longer have to go down into the bilge to clean out the filters. Fits directly to the original duct works. More than adequate.

Replaced the front and back wooden decks with 1/4" diamond cut aluminum. Not more rotted decks! The best thing I ever did to this 58' boat was add stern thrusters! I can actually drive the boat anywhere without even touching the wheel.

We need a Three Buoys Houseboat Club I agree. Even though they are back building cheap houseboats at a kings price, they cannot furnish us with a manual.

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Three Buoys 1987 52 ft Houseboat
by: Someday

Here we are ready to purchase our dream. Tell us, what are the negatives of the Sunseeker 1987 52 ft?? How do we find owners manuals? HELP send comments before we make the wrong decision. Thanks!

Reply - Answer
Well, you could have a look a the Houseboat Buyers Guide at buying older houseboats.

IAN from www.all-about-houseboats.com

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1988 Three Buoys houseboat manuals....
by: Anonymous

We purchased a 1988 Sunseeker houseboat in 2008 and really have enjoyed it. We have done extensive remodeling and will probably be doing more. We are in need of a manual for this boat as there is so much we need to know.

If anyone has one to sell or knows of one, please share the houseboat manual online here. I love the idea of a club for this sharing info on these great house boats. Keep the good work going!

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Great Boats
by: Eric

I have owned a 87 Sunseeker for 2 years now and have been looking now for 2 years for any and all info that I can get to help me understand more about my vessel.

I've pretty much given up on manuals, but I did run into a Three Buoys enthusiast that knows these houseboats like the back of his hand. I mentioned to him about creating his own unofficial manual that he could sell on line.

He said he would have to think about it. I am curious to know how many of you would be interested in purchasing an unofficial manual.

Secondly, has anyone replaced the shower? That is my next challenge. I will take all the tips you can give me.

And last, I have experienced what many of you have as far as purchasing my Sunseeker and then remodeling it to better suit residential use, rather than the more commercial/rental design. I am very proud of my changes and would love to post my pictures. These are GREAT boats!

Thanks, Eric, Table Rock Lake, Missouri

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Sunseeker Props
by: Dee

I have a Three Buoys Sunseeker 46ft. fitted with a 4.3 litre OMC sterndrive. Does anyone know what the size of the prop should be?

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The weight of a 1988, Three Buoys Houseboat?
by: Anonymous

I'm looking at a prop change and need to know the total weight of my 88 Three Buoys houseboat but can't find any manuals etc. "canada houseboater" what was your shipping weight ?

We have worked on our for 3 months straight and now are just enjoying it and working on project here and there. The new AC upgrade was the best.

We went from 16,000 BTU to 22,000 BTU and the CFM went from 900 to 1200 and the AMPS dropped from 19 (with the sea water pump) to 14 ( with the sea water pump.

All new sealed D8 batteries with Natica Pro 3 bank charger. All flat screens and 3800 watt stereo. Our boat was blue from the factory and some (idiot) painted it pink.

Most of our time has been covering pink paint. we are now red and black. I agree getting a post going for these boat and helping one another out. I'm going to look into it....

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Removing loft on houseboats
by: canada houseboater

We purchased a Threebouys houseboat 1985 model and to save on shipping we removed the loft, flybridge and rails. It was an all day job for my husband and his friend.

The loft was the most difficult when they finally got all the bolts out (from the inside) there was 3 hidden bolts so they had to look around for them. We also had to re do the inside walls of the loft , I like it better now.

The loft & flybridge are very heavy and there was several guys there to help get it down from the roof. It then sat at the front of the houseboat on the semi trailer.

When it arrived at our harbor, we had a professional lift the pieces back to the top of the houseboat and everything was put back on! A pain in the butt, but a savings of 6 grand for shipping!

Reply - Answer
as you discovered, it is always cheaper to ship a boat that is under @ 14 feet high, and usually worth the effort to remove the flybridges, lofts, and railings etc...

IAN from www.all-about-houseboats.com

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Other Ideas for Houseboat Modifications
by: Steve's Wife

Someone really needs to be able to make a page that we can all share pictures of our boats and modifications that been made!

Steve and I have been working on our boat for a year and half now, but it seems as if the ideas and projects never end :)

I would love to see how people made the loft into a functional room, and also a layout to get two berths on the main floor (our 52' only has one).

We also saw a picture once where they took out the counter with the bar sink by the fridge and put in a staircase to go to the top deck! That was fabulous as it is most annoying to go through the bedroom all day to go up and down!!!

Has anyone out there done that yet? And if so, can you give us the plans? What size hatch did you use, where can purchase it, or was it custom made, etc. Thanks!!!

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Removing the Three Bouys Loft
by: canada1

Has anyone ever removed the loft and flybridge? Is it difficult? We need to remove for transporting and then put back on.

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Three Buoys - Fun Country
by: DanGrevich@cox.net

I just purchased a 1991 56' Fun Country house boat. My Fun Country looks almost identical to the Three Buoys 50'. The upper deck including the glass rails are 100% identical. The interior cabinets are identical. The profile, windows and hull are 100% identical.

There must be a houseboat manufacturer building these for companies like Three Buoys and Fun Country?? If we can find the actual manufacturer, maybe they have a manual (I'd like one also).

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Upper room & Slide wanted
by: Flynn

We have put a domed skylight on the upper to create more room.

I am looking for a slide for the 80's model Three Buoys

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Sunseeker houseboats
by: Anonymous

I would like to see some pictures of a loft remodeled into a functional room. I would also like to see some specs or schematics of the 1988, 46' Three Buoys houseboat model.

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Adding an upper deck room to a houseboat
by: Dennis Piece

I have a 46' 1988 Sunseeker houseboat that has been extensively remodeled and the "dog house" was removed and bedroom added that leads to the upper lounge area.

Reply - Answer
Well Dennis, sounds like you had a great idea, wish you could start a new post and show a picture of your work for others to see.

Thanks for sharing, IAN www.all-about-houseboats.com

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Houseboat Modifications - Three Buoys Flybridge Bedroom
by: Mandy

My husband and I have a 14'x52' Sunseeker we live on full time. The jacuzzi upstairs was removed and a bedroom was added over most of the top. We can still pilot it from the flybridge.

The bedroom is very roomy with a large closet, kingsize bedroom, and plenty of extra space. There is even a back balcony to sit on. Inside the bedroom there is a decent size full bath with a jacuzzi tub. The top of the roof was rounded instead of squared.

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SunSeeker
by: John

Hello Steve,

I purchased the same model houseboat as you, a 1987 52' Three Buoys SunSeeker, in 2010. There are no manuals to be found anywhere in the universe as far as I can tell. Three Buoys hasn't made houseboats in a number of years.

I spoke to a gentleman at the resort in BC that manages the marina/resort. He told me that if you have a specific question, he might be able to answer it as he's been around the boats since they were first manufactured back in the 1980's.

It's been a year or so since I spoke to him and I seem to recall him saying that they made around 225 houseboats before the manufacturing part of the company went out of business.

I would like for someone to start a forum or website dedicated to our Three Buoys houseboats. Maybe that person is you :-)

John

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Manuals for Houseboats - any Three Buoys Sun Seeker
by: John

I just bought a 1987 Three Buoys Sun Seeker houseboat and I'd also like to know if anyone has found some manuals for it. Mine was upgraded to a 260 Mercruiser V8 and upgraded to a 32,000 BTU Marine A/C with heat pump.

Floors were redone, recessed speakers throughout. It is one sweet ride that the prior owner took great pride in maintaining and upgrading.

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Any luck on a Three Buoys houseboat manual?
by: balloongurl@msn.com

Just wondering if anyone has found a manual for 1987 three buoys houseboat?

Also has anyone taken off the loft and replaced it with a real room?

Do these Sunseeker models, have a furnace and if so, where is it located?

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