Course How To

Cheap Green Solar Houseboat Plans - Part 1

by Roger
(Somewhere, FL)

Cheap Green Solar Powered Houseboat Plans

Cheap Green Solar Powered Houseboat Plans

Cheap Extreme Green Solar Powered Houseboats (part 1).

What I try to do is make houseboat living affordable.

While I am not an expert in any part of houseboat building, I have experienced solar panels, propane, and composting toilets. I will try to tell you what has worked for me and what has not.

I've been involved in the building of low cost houseboats, some were built with more expense than should have been put into them because what I call the first rule to build a house boat, that is balance.

Small houseboats are very easily built "off balance". What I have learned is put the hull in the water before major work is done see where the weight needs to go. Cabins to far forward or to far aft can cause you problems you can't overcome.

Now onto my first houseboat, it was a 24 ft "fish&ski" built in Florida. It had a 200hp v6 outboard on it. When I put it in water the first thing I said to my wife, that outboard has got to go. We used the houseboat like it was for a while like first timers, with generator, coolers, lanterns, bug spray and two dogs.

I later replaced the big outboard with a 40 hp what a difference. The houseboat had an old Norcold 12 volt fridge, the little thing ate batteries like they were going out of style.

I decided to put in new 3 way fridge but knew propane was to be respected. At the time I was working in the RV industry repairing and replacing, so I had some knowledge about propane.

Treat propane like water, when it leaks it flows down just as water would do, not good in the hull of a house boat. I wanted a fridge that would be the height that would start 8 inches below interior and the bottom would not be lower than the gunnel of the houseboat.

Having purchased a fridge I took houseboat out of the water using the scum line on the boat, I set boat to level by holding level on scum line and adjusting boat to this. The reason was propane fridges need
to be level in order to work properly. I had put weight in the boat to locate the best place for the fridge before taking it out of water so I knew the location.

Next I built a box that was vapor proof to the interior of the houseboat once the fridge was installed. After installation, went back into the water and away we go with my wife, me and two dogs. Great weekend but still had battery problems.

Next was the solar panels which was what I figured we needed to have to keep things working as we didn't like listening to the generator. I put two 85 watt solar panels on the houseboat, 6 golf cart batteries and again, out we went.

To tell you how this worked out, when we got back in, the next day I went to the local sign shop had signs made for the houseboat as I had finally came up with a name, FREEDOM ON H2O

more later, Roger

Advertise Houseboat Business Advertising
You can advertise here for pennies a day!
Are you a boating related business and want to
increase sales and profits with targeted traffic?
Act now to get our 1/2 price sale, limited offer

Reply - Answer
Well Roger, I can see that you really enjoy houseboats, and you are determined to always find a solution to your problems.

Some of the readers maybe looking to get a good understanding of wind & solar powered houseboats, and why they are gaining popularity, and helping to make a green eco-friendly environment.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their solar & wind power houseboat 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

More Information

If you're still looking for more information, you can use our search box, found at the top right hand corner.

Free Bonus Offer

To show our deep appreciation to all of our readers and visitors, here is the link to our free houseboat magazine, the INSIDER. Go ahead click the book and sign-up, it's free and filled with great articles, tips, information and website updates.

free Houseboat Magazine - The Houseboat Insider

Comments for Cheap Green Solar Houseboat Plans - Part 1

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Houseboat Toilets - wet and dry composting toilet
by: Rvanvoris

I am building a 33' Friday Island Ferry houseboat, Jay Benford Design, I plan to use an Airhead composting marine toilet.

I have not used them but I have looked at them, and sat down (with my pants up). There is also another brand called Natures head that looks similar although I do not know as much about it.

The key element to both of these toilets is that the wet and solid waste are kept separate, in different containers in the bottom of the unit.

When it comes time to empty them they come out in bags, not unlike vacuum cleaner bags so one never handles the waste. From all accounts less smelly than the wet type of toilet. It is claimed and I believe it that it is a more sanitary and less noxious system than holding tanks.

If you have ever laid in bed listening to the slosh- slosh of a black water tank you know what I mean. Both toilets can be checked out on the web.

Building a Houseboat, the How and What to Build?
by: Janice

Hi, Roger! I have just recently begun my online education about houseboats. Even though I am not ready to embark on any major purchase, I've decided that I would rather build than buy a houseboat. I have about a thousand questions, the least of which is about powering the boat. (Although, I have plenty of questions about that also!)

What particularly interested me in Part 1 of your houseboat plans is when you talked about a boat being "off balance." What are my choices of "foundations" on which to build a house? I want the boat to be a cruising houseboat and read an article about LASH Barges. The cool thing about these barges is that they can be loaded aboard a LASH Ship and be carried to overseas destinations. The barges are made of fiberglass and the sale price of a 61'x 31' x 14' was $29,000.

What are your feelings on this? I also wonder what's a good length and width for a houseboat? I've never spent any time at marinas and have no idea if docking a houseboat would be the same as docking any other boat. What are the size requirements, if any. It's not like I have the money to build big but I still want a comfortable living size. Is it expensive to dock a houseboat?

Lastly, I found a company in Florida that makes fiberglass houses. You can take any floor plan and they can put together the building material for you. It sounds perfect to me for a houseboat but what should I build it on? Thanks - Janice

Great Tips to Build your own Houseboat
by: IAN - from

I agree with your excellent article, since "balance" is so important in houseboat building. In 30 years of boating, I know what you mean about those small refrigerators eating batteries, and see that you used golf cart batteries and solar panels to power it all.

A great post, since everyone has energy and power problems, and fuel is so expensive for those generators.

Looking forward to your "composting toilet" solution since another area of headaches for boaters has to be the "head" or the washroom toilet. You can't have a great time on the water with septic or washroom problems :(

Great article Roger, thanks for taking the time.

IAN - from

Composting toilets
by: Meehlticket

I used a composting toilet on my farm in Iowa for 9 years without problems. Farm was built just after the civil war with limestone on site.

Had an outhouse when I moved in. Instead of dealing with drain fields and water pipes I put in a composting toilet. To my sensitive nose there was always a slight odor - more barnyard than urinal type smell.

The biggest problem is size. The toilet has a base with a turning drum and storage area. In picturing my old Seagoing houseboat I'd say it would completely cover the area between the cabinets and the shower and a tall person would have to use the toilet kind of scrunched because of the height.

Thanks for the idea of a composting toilet onboard. It solves a lot of physical and ethical problems.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Green Solar Power Houseboats.

Continue Reading Our Popular Pages

Our collection of houseboat ebooks

Ebook Boats Collection on Houseboat Books

We just love houseboats, do you?
Join our monthly HB Insider for free

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.