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Houseboat Hull Designs - choose a conventional hull or pontoon house boats?

by Lawrence
(Portland OR. good ol USA!)

Houseboat Hull Designs - full hull or pontoon house boats style?

Houseboat Hull Designs - full hull or pontoon house boats style?

When it comes to houseboat hull designs, do we choose a conventional hull design, or a pontoon boat style?

We are looking at a Bluewater houseboat with a full glass hull, and also a aluminum Three Buoys pontoon boat.

They both seem to be good values for living on the river near Portland and also going out onto the Columbia to cruise.

Is there a reason why you wouldn't want to live aboard a pontoon houseboat type?

They seem to have more serviceable space to use in a remodel and they are aluminum.

Can anybody help, Lawrence.

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

You ask a good question, as you will find both of those houseboat hull designs being used as live aboard boats.

The full conventional hull, and the pontoon boats, both have advantages and disadvantages. Lets look at a few (but not limited to) of the popular ones:

Conventional Full Houseboat Hulls
The full hull design will provide a higher level of buoyancy, and a higher drier ride when out in rough water.

The large bilge and under the floor space, allows for more storage area in the hull.

The full hull design will require more engine horsepower/torque to reach hull speed, yet with a sufficient amount of power, will achieve planing speeds.

The disadvantage to a full hull design is the fact that water, fuel, or propane can accumulate in the bilge/hull creating a dangerous situation.

Pontoon House Boat Hulls
The tritoon or pontoon hull design provides a smooth ride in calm water, yet may plow the bow in rough water conditions. They generally have
a lower freeboard.

The pontoon logs are virtually unsinkable, due to a sealed chambered construction.

The pontoon boats generally require less engine horsepower/torque to achieve hull speed, yet will not typically reach planing speeds.

They also eliminate any explosion/ignition proof conditions found with full hull designs, since any fuel or vapors are expelled overboard.

Readers Choices?
I always love to hear about why and how our readers came to choose their houseboats, and they always bring up some great points about why they made their choices.

My Disclaimer:
I have owned many different boats, and all of the designs have advantages and disadvantages, and I agree that you have to look at your needs and intended use.

Now do you buy a fiberglass, aluminum, steel or wood boat? That's another big discussion, but here's a good starter page on different houseboat construction materials.

You may also find the following article on the different houseboat hull designs of interest.

Do let us know what you get.
If you do get yourself a houseboat, do take some pictures and share your experience with us here once you get set up. We all would love to hear about it.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat hull 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 Houseboat Hull Designs - choose a conventional hull or pontoon house boats?

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I would definitely love more information
by: Richard

Thank you for this article and the response. I would love to know more like:

1. What is the difference in buoyancy between a dual log and a tri-toon hull? Do you still have to design for the max buoyancy of one hull or does the tri toon give you the best of both worlds?

2. Is there a major design change that you need to take into account when using a pontoon? i.e. no side halls, more equatible distribution of weight, etc.

3. In a longer (60' plus) boat, is there a noticeable difference in roll between a pontoon and a full hull? Does the pontoon recover from rolls easier? If I go to a two deck boat, does it matter?


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