Steel Hull Houseboats - How to Check for Serious Rust Issues before Buying?

by Tyler
(Richmond, Indiana, US)

Steel Houseboats - How to Check for serious Hull Rust Issues?

Steel Houseboats - How to Check for serious Hull Rust Issues?

How to check for serious rust issues on steel hulled houseboats, before going further in the buying process? We have found some nice looking well kept houseboats, but they are mostly all steel hulled.

I was wondering how do I get to the interior haul to check it (meaning how do I get to it to see it) and what small quick details should I look for inside and out that tells me to move on to another boat, besides just looking at overall rust.

Thanks for any help, Tyler.

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Reply - Answer
Well Tyler, welcome to the houseboat forums, and congratulations on your decision to buy a houseboat.

I don't know if you had a chance to look at our page Money Saving Tips on Buying Older Houseboats. There are many good steel houseboats, and there are many not worth investing into.

When it comes to thoroughly check the soundness of steel hulled boats, I would recommend getting a qualified marine surveyor to look at it before purchasing it.

If you want to do a quick preliminary check, you should look at the keel and surrounding areas as these are common places. You can get in the interior by opening the engine and other various hatches to view the inside areas.

You can use a rubber mallet to knock any areas that look suspicious to see if the steel thickness varies amongst solid good areas, and poor thin thickness rusted areas.

This method is not scientific by any means, yet is simple, quick, and cost effective before calling a marine surveyor. Many of the steel hulls rust from the inside, going outwards, so you have to get into all the nooks and crannies.

I am sure that many of the other houseboaters with steel houseboats will be able to provide of great tips and comments about shopping, checking, or purchasing a steel houseboat.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their preliminary steel houseboat shopping 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 Steel Hull Houseboats - How to Check for Serious Rust Issues before Buying?

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Cost of repairing a steel hull houseboat
by: Cindy

I purchased a 1972 Seagoing steel hull a little over 2 years ago. I wish I had researched before I made the purchase. Although the boat is very unique it was very difficult to get insurance coverage on a steel hull.

I finally did get coverage but only after I had the boat pulled out of the water (no small task) as it is also hard to find a local hauler with a trailer that can accommodate the weight and size of these boats.

Then I had to pay for 2 surveys, one for the initial check for any thin areas and pin holes. Then I had to have the repairs made which involved a sand blaster, welder and bottom painting. Also extremely expensive.

After repairs were completed another survey had to be submitted to the insurance company. The only company that would even consider covering my boat was Markel American. Thousands of dollars later, I have my boat on a small lake in South Carolina.

Cindy, South Carolina

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