Sizes for Houseboat Living - what size of house boats for live aboards?

by Capt. John
(Galveston, TX)

The final product... My perfect houseboat size and features!

The final product... My perfect houseboat size and features!

You're thinking of houseboat living, and wonder what sizes of house boats are good for live-aboards, here is an overview of why I chose to build my own houseboat.


I built my houseboat for two main reasons.

1) My final decision to build my own boat was because there just wasn't "that perfect one" that I could buy. I wanted some things (like more closet & storage space) that manufacturers didn't offer. More importantly, I didn't want many of the things that were "Standard" such as 2 heads, sleeps 8, etc.

I just wanted a good live aboard size houseboat that would be perfect for me - and one that would take me where I wanted to go, mainly around the Great Loop. So, I needed to build one with a shallow draft, (for canals) and high bows and freeboard for (for the Gulf crossing).

2) The second reason, I saved about 50% over buying new from a manufacturer - this was especially great when I was able to end up with exactly what I needed and wanted, and not all that "stuff" I didn't want.


Just my thoughts, Capt. John in Galveston, TX



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Reply - Answer
Well Capt John, you do have some good points and reasons for building your own houseboat, yet realistically speaking, we know that not everyone has the time, skill, space, or proper plans to go about building a houseboat.

You definitely did build a fine looking houseboat, and I agree about the shallow draft and high bow and freeboard. I noticed that you used catwalks, flybridge, and an outboard motor.

I myself am always torn by having a large sized houseboat for dockside or local marina style living. Yet at the same time, a houseboat built for cruising and traveling often will have to meet a different criteria in respect to fuel consumption, practicality, and seaworthiness.

Again, you have yourself a fine looking cruising style houseboat, congratulations on your project.



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


Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats


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Comments for Sizes for Houseboat Living - what size of house boats for live aboards?

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Hull design
by: Anonymous

I am very excited about my first houseboat build. I noticed some comments from "somewhere" about the plastic "barrels" that are made to be bolted together.

Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of these things, and if so what size etc…? I don't have an area to build what I wanted ( fiberglass covered plywood -barge type ). I thought these would bolt together rather quickly in a storage locker or…?

Thanks for any info.

Cheers, Jerry

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Houseboat - additional information:
by: Anonymous

My "houseboat" though I really don't refer to it as such. . . is 16' x 40' LOA. The cabin area itself is 12' x 26'.

I have built several boats over my lifetime, beginning with a several small GLen-L boats including (my favorite) the Tiny Titan, while working my way up to the Glen-L Mark Twain, the Glen-L 36 Series sailboat, and a 44' sternwheel replica.

This year however, as an experiment, I have moved off my "houseboat" on to a 27' Albin Vega Sailboat. My "experiment" is for the purpose of determining (mainly for myself) just how economically 1 or 2 people can live on a boat comfortably, and cruise America's Great Loop.

To my surprise (but as my 44 year old son convinced me) I have now "motored" around just over 2,000 miles with an average fuel rate of only 0.4 gallons per hour. This has resulted in slightly less than $16.00 in fuel cost for an average dawn to dusk day of cruising.

By far - the sailboat's full displacement hull has proven to be the most economical - even without use of sails.

Capt. John

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Friday harbor ferry
by: Scott

Do you have pictures of the build. I am also interested in building a Friday Harbor Ferry. Do you have an estimate of what she will cost? I did order the bid plans from Jay. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Scott

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sizes for houseboat living.......
by: Anonymous

What size is it? Sure looks good!

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Homemade Houseboat
by: Don

Any more photos or details of the houseboat?

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Why I agree with Capt. John
by: Van on the Cape

I agree with Capt John in TX. I am currently in the process of building a "Friday Island Ferry" 32 1/2 ft. designed by Jay Benford.

I have modified some things to make it exactly what I want for me. I don't want to have 8 people sleeping on board. I want to be there just by myself or with my girlfriend.

I want to live on a boat not on a house trailer bolted onto a barge. I want a home that will not look out of place in West Falmouth Harbor on Cape Cod where I live or on the Great Loop.

I am building this boat in wood because I am comfortable with that material and I have built several other boats in wood over the last 25 years.

At the end of the day I sometimes think that there may be a more time consuming, complicated , expensive, and frustrating way to end up with 325 square feet of living space, but if there is I have not heard of it.

And I will have built it myself with my hands and my back, in this world how many of us can say that? In the mean time I'll get back to work.

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