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A Woman's First Houseboat Purchase - it's Cozy, Homey, and now Odor Free!

by Jypseygal

A popular Nautaline houseboat model.

A popular Nautaline houseboat model.

When I first purchased my houseboat, my first house boat at that, it had a mold, mildew, or musky odor, and I found a simple trick to get rid of it all.

But first, here is how all of this got started. I am 59, and I bought my first houseboat in April 2008. I bought it sight unseen from Craigslist, and lucked up to have bought a 1968 Nautaline that is all orginial and in great shape.

My boat is at a marina in a State Park and I feel very secure and safe when I go there to spend a week or two relaxing in my little get away in the mountains.

I was fortunate to have found some handy marine men around the marina that were willing to help me with upgrading and maintenance issues.

I totally love the community feel of marina life and friendship where everyone looks out for each other. I am loving my adventure with my houseboat, as I have it all dolled up to feel cozy and homey.

Now back to my solution, like I said, when I first purchased the boat I found it had a musky smell and I worked on cleaning and sanitizing the boat so it would smell good.

I was able to accomplish this with simple white vinegar and water. I spritzed everything in sight, cleaned scrubbed and kept the vinegar spritzing in action until I had no more musk and mildew smell and it is now ordor free. I have been away from the boat all winter and went up yesterday to check everything out and was pleasantly surprised to find
the boat ordor free.

Try this simple inexpensive cleaning solution and tell me what you think. Vinegar kills 90% of mold and mildew on contact and the vinegar ordor goes completely away within a couple of hours.

I love this website,

Thanks, jypseygal from Alabama

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Reply - Answer
Well jypseygal, welcome to the houseboat forums, and glad to hear that your love the site :)

I am also glad that everything is working out well for your first houseboat. It takes a lot of guts and courage to buy a boat sight unseen, and manage to get get her up and running.

It's a refreshing feeling and am always pleased to hear of more and more female captains taking to houseboats. There are a few at our marina, and some of them kick butt when it comes to their docking and their handling skills :)

One added bonus to having a female Captain aboard, their boats are always better organized, and often smell better :)

I am sure that your story will inspire other women to have a look at houseboats as an alternative boating and living option.

A Challenge to our Female Readers

As a matter of fact, it makes me want to throw a challenge to our female readers, let's hear more stories from the female perspective, as I am sure they will be eye opening and enlightening.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their first houseboat adventures 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 A Woman's First Houseboat Purchase - it's Cozy, Homey, and now Odor Free!

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Steel Hull Houseboat
by: Cindy Aaron

I am a 57 year old woman and a mother of 4 grown sons and 3 toddler grandchildren. I purchased my 1972 Seagoing houseboat almost 6 yrs ago.

It's been quite a learning experience! I had boat pulled out of Hartwell Marina in Georgia, trailered to Lake Wylie, SC and dry docked for 6 months so it could be surveyed, plate welded, bottom painted and pretty painted to change outdated look.

I then brought boat to a very secure marina on Lake Wylie, SC where with the help of a contractor, gutted and redid the entire inside to make a very efficient, extremely adorable boat cottage where I have lived full time for past two years.

I recently refinished the decks and with the help of a consultant at Interlux and two of my sons. We stripped and grinded it down to bare metal then epoxied and painted the decks, then we did the house portion and rails.

Due to a head leak, I am now removing rust from interior hull and will be recoating in the fall. I have had some really bad experiences with so called mechanics and am thinking about taking a course so that I can do the repairs myself.

Although I have spent far more than I ever anticipated, my boat project has been a labor of love and I am blessed to wake up each morning on the water with the ducks, geese, and blue herons.

I'd post some pics but not sure how, Cindy

Love this post!
by: Karen

I too bought my first houseboat for my 50th birthday! Bought a 1977 Nautiline that had not been well taken care of but I got a great deal, gutted that sweet boat, replaced counter tops, toilet, plumbing, flooring, painted....

I'm told it's the cutest boat at our marina! I have loved this experience so much I travel 2.5 hours to and from Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma almost EVERY weekend year round!!!

Love the peace the water has brought me, love my dock family, the way people have looked out for the single girl owner and the joy that boat has brought me the last 2 years!

Now for my 52nd birthday, I am putting her up for sale because I am upgrading to a 2004 16x60 Destination Yacht, one owner, very loved, beautiful houseboat!

Moving it to Broken Bow.....this has been an experience and I'm a couple of weeks away from my new boat arrival but I'm so stinking excited I can't stand it!

I'm so hooked, love my lake life! It's the best thing I've ever done for myself! Rock on lady houseboat owners! Treat yourselves well! You deserve it!

Thanks for reading, Karen...

Karen, I want to thank you for posting such a positive and enlightening review of your 1st houseboat.

You have definitely shown everyone that we can all LOVE LIFE when we step outside the proverbial "box".

Thanks again, IAN from all-about-houseboats

I'm on Wylie too!
by: Brandi

Cindy, I too am on Lake Wylie but on the NC side. I just purchased my 72' Stardust Cruiser and plan on doing a total rehab. I'd love to hear all about your obstacles and challenges that you have overcome with your boat!

Response to Char
by: Cindy

I will do my best to get some pics posted but I am technology challenged haha and will have to recruit one of my sons to help.

My regret is that I did not document the total from beginning to end.

One piece of advice is simple is better. If you are doing countertops go for a recycled product. It is lighter weight and very stylish.

Keep things as streamlined as possible. Don't over decorate. Less is more. I was lucky to have a great contractor who took on this project and was so helping in brainstorming to come up with creative ways to give me storage and make the best use of space.

My boat is 45' with a deep hull. Every single thing on this boat had to be custom, and had to have storage including my sofa and bed. Both have storage drawers and the bed lifts so that I can store extra blankets, etc…

Like I posted earlier, some things had to be done twice to get it right. Restoring a boat is not for everyone. I wanted to sink the darn thing a couple of times. But when things do work out and come together it is very rewarding.

A Woman Live Aboard
by: Cindy

I have posted a couple of times, but have never thought to mention that I am a 52 year old woman living on my houseboat in Lake Wylie, SC.

I began my journey 3 years ago when I divorced, my sons are grown and out of the house so I sold the house and everything in it, bought my boat and so began the process of gutting and making it my adorable cottage on the lake.

I would be embarrassed to say how much money I have sunk into this endeavor, and it has been heartbreaking at times when I paid money for work that was not done properly and had to be done over, but my boat gets a lot of notice and is a safe haven in an otherwise stress-filled world.

All about Houseboats has been a great resource over the past two years. I got most of my information regarding how to repair a steel hull from this site. I sent the link to a painter who deals mostly in fiberglass. He was impressed with the amount of topics and info on this site.

Thank you! Cindy

Reply - Answer
Cindy, thanks for the kind words, and glad to hear that you made it over the initial hump. Boats can be a love/hate relationship, that you quickly forget once things get settled. Enjoy the boat and your surroundings, as life is too short to stress about the past :)

IAN from

Nautaline Original Houseboat
by: Char

My husband and I have been remodeling a 1969 Nautaline houseboat and it is the 34' length model. I would be interested in pictures of what they looked like when they were original.

If you could post some photos that would be great. I have been taking before and after pictures of our remodel. Will post them when we are almost finished.

Thanks, Char

First Houseboat
by: Terry

I am a 68 year old female and my plan is this time next year to sell my house and buy a houseboat. It is just me and two little yorkies. I am so excited about it I can't hardly wait.

Help on an remodel houseboat project
by: Ms. Magoo

I have had my 1967 Nautilne Houseboat for 6 years now. I lived on it for the first 2 years and just fell in love with it. I named it "Ms. Magoo's Happy Place"

Four years ago I decided to gut it because it had too much rot inside from bad windows. I have been in remodel nightmare since. It is impossible to get anyone to work on it.

I have had piece-meal work done since gutting it but it's been out of commission. This year I had the floor frame and floor redone and this past weekend we had a washout where it is docked. Now it's worse than ever.

Do I just get rid of it or keep hanging on. It's like a bad relationship; I can't seem to let go. I love it too much but it's a huge white elephant.

Right now it's tied to a tree off shore. I have to make a decision on what to do with it. Graveyard or my yard?

Hi ! Ann
by: pat

I also have a 1972, 36 ft Gibson houseboat, and I've fixed her up and love it. But mine doesn't have a engine I use it as a shore home.

Thinking about putting outboard on it but can't find a marina in my area. I've been in this marina since 1979. The owner decided to put condo's here.

I really don't want to sell her. I live in Maryland and there is no place to go. Good luck with yours it is a fun lift. Pat

Way to go Ann!
by: jypseygal

Hi Ann, so motivating to hear of all your do it yourself projects. This gives hope to the rest of us lady houseboat owners to learn do it yourself projects. Where are you located, I would love to hear more about your projects.

New Women Houseboat Owners
by: Ann

I purchased my 1967 Nautiline houseboat last June. It is definitely a fixer upper!

I've learned so much from this website and other houseboaters. I've learned that, just because you're a girl, it doesn't mean you can't do whatever needs to be done.

I've laid new flooring, painted, upholstered seats, replaced faucets, sinks, and even helped with rewiring. I definitely have a lot more confidence in myself and my abilities. It is truly a labor of love.

This past winter, when weather would not allow me to go down to the lake, I swear I was going through withdrawals from not being able to work and/or stay on the boat. Thank goodness spring is almost here!!!

I love my boat, and the houseboating community! Ann.

Reply - Answer
Way to go Ann, I love to read about so many women going out and getting into houseboating. More ladies the merrier, all to the power to ya :)

IAN from

Another " solution " for houseboat odors.
by: Anonymous

Great idea girl, a solution of water and household bleach does the job as well. 1 oz of bleach, and one can use the odorless kind if preferred, to 30 oz of water. Kills mold and leaves a nice clean scent.

Mr B.

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