Are there any houseboats built from shipping containers

by Susan Stone
(NSW Australia)

Can you build a houseboat using a shipping container?

Can you build a houseboat using a shipping container?

Next year I am building a houseboat. I have looked at many different options one of which is shipping containers. Has anyone done this?


Also any ideas on the hull type. I am thinking aluminium pontoons any thoughts on this. Any ideas or information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Susan from Australia.

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Reply - Answer


Hi Susan, thank you very much for posting in the houseboat forums.

Now about using "shipping containers" in the boating environment, I haven't physically seen one, but I have seen some cases on the web from people privately building their own.

I know that the "small house" movement has been building homes with the shipping containers for quite a while now. I think it is a low cost solution, depending on your needs.

Like you said, getting a pontoon (or tritoon) style hull would be the easiest, and less costly solution to provide a stable hull underneath.


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their related houseboat SHIPPING CONTAINER experiences and tips.

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 Are there any houseboats built from shipping containers

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Shipping Container Houseboat.
by: Michal2K

I too considered building a house-boat from shipping containers.

After reviewing and pricing dock floats and pontoons. I then wondered why not just use shipping containers covered or coated with an impermeable membrane of some sort. Use two spaced some distance apart as to stop any tipping with welded steel girders cross members or other containers on top welded to the shipping container "floats".

All sorts of ideas popped up then. But only if that concept is feasible. So help me understand why this would not work.

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Pontoons for cargo container houseboat
by: Glenn

I'm considering the same thing, but took a different twist on the pontoons; make the pontoons out of containers too.

The easiest I call the "Box"; two 40' containers spaced apart with 5 more welded across. Gives you 2,240 sq ft of enclosed space. Coat exterior in a basalt-fiber mesh for waterproofing.

In my case, I'm using high toppers for all containers. I've worked in alternative construction and, using some of those techniques, intend to encase a set of doubled containers (80') in a twelve foot diameter basaltfiber/concrete shell.

This of which would leave the top foot of said containers clear for welding. There's 7 containers on top, 20' x 40' of lower deck in rear. Should support, at a 6' draft, over 400 tons.

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Possible drawbacks...
by: Josef Faber

I can think of two items that might be a drawback using shipping containers as most of them are made with steel, being Rust and Weight. Steel oxidizes in a marine environment, and the weight might require a lot of flotation.

A book written by Russell Conder,

"Handmade Houseboats: Independent Living Afloat", is a good basic primer for DIY construction and I found it very informative.

Boat Design and Boat Building Forums www.boatdesign.net/forums/ could be also helpful.

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