Great Loop - How much to cruise or travel on a houseboat?

by Michael

Houseboat cruising - Travel part of the Great Loop.

Houseboat cruising - Travel part of the Great Loop.

A dream houseboat cruise - I would like to travel part of the Great Loop, and would like to know how much to calculate in houseboat expenses? I want to take a year off, and put a houseboat into the headwaters of the Ohio River, and travel to New Orleans.

Do you know anyone who has done it? What type of houseboat would I need, and what are the costs and expenses associated with such a trip?

Thanks Michael.

Reply - Answer
Well Michael, congratulations on your decision to act on your houseboat dream to cruise part of the Great Loop. I'm sure many of our readers are envious of you taking a "year off" and planning a major houseboat cruise like this.

To help with some of your questions:

What type of houseboat for the trip?
You may want to have a look at out houseboat manufacturers listing to get the names of the current and past houseboat builders.

As to what type of houseboat, some people have done it in 25 foot trailerable houseboats, and some have opted for larger twin engine 50-75 foot houseboats. There's a good houseboat designs page to better visualize the different styles available.

Either way, you want a reliable, properly equipped, and powerful enough (for the current) houseboat to handle some of the natural navigational conditions and hazards that such a trip entails.

What are some of the expenses and costs?
To give you an idea, a smaller trailerable houseboat can get @ 3-4 miles per gallon MPG, and a mid sized houseboat would get @ 1 MPG, and a larger houseboat probably around .5 MPG.

Marina costs can vary from 0.50 cents per foot to 1.50 dollars per foot for full service marinas. Along the way, you will find some free public overnight docking, to the occasional suitable overnight anchorage.

Previous boating experience and equipment needed?
You don't mention if you have any previous boating experience, so I would recommend a local Power Squadron Boating Course to get started. After completing a boating course, you will know what is necessary, recommended and handy equipment to have on board.

As usual when planning any major cruise, you will want to plan for fuel, overnight stops, maintenance & repairs, weather, marinas, and the commercial traffic (barges etc...) that will be encountered along the way.

PS, Michael, if you start your houseboat voyage, be sure to keep a journal and take pictures, and do come back here and share parts of your houseboat adventure with us all, we would all love to hear about it.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat cruising traveling experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found at the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN - from

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Comments for Great Loop - How much to cruise or travel on a houseboat?

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Gibson or Harbor Master ?
by: Anonymous

I guess I am going to be a more to the point kinda guy :-) I am retiring next year and I want to do the great loop. I really would appreciate if the "knowing" Folks out there to help a dummy out.

My question is, which would be the better great loop boat. A Gibson 50 Classic or the Harbor Master Coastal 520. I am planning on the bigger boat because when I get back to Texas it will be My Home also. Thanks in advance. Ron.

Have a great trip on the Great Loop
by: Rob Van

Michael, if you have a year, do the whole loop! Just plan on going DOWN the Mississippi!

Houseboat Trip - Great Loop to New Orleans
by: John (Luv Tub's 2IC)

Good question Michael and appreciated reading the response. We're in the midst of remodelling the interior of a 33' (35' with platfrom) Chris-Craft Aquahome. Our goal is to float it to Florida for the 2010-11 Winter.

We haven't taken the MPG into account yet. Maybe the price of fuel will remain affordable. We recently paid as much as $1.45/litre, but it's currently $.83-84/litre.

Let's hope the economy works in our favour. Depending on your planned departure, perhaps we'll connect on the water.

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