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Houseboat Hull ID Number History - is it a River Queen or a Drifter Craft boat?

by Pete Regula
(Forsyth, Georgia)

Houseboat History - is it a River Queen or a Drifter Craft boat?

Houseboat History - is it a River Queen or a Drifter Craft boat?

When it comes to a houseboat hull ID number history, we wonder if it's a River Queen or a Drifter Craft boat?

Was the RiverQueen made by Drifter Craft? I'm totaly confused as I purchased a 1964 houseboat in which "River Queen" was on the side of the cabin. Not knowing exactly what I had, I started researching and it gets worst.

The houseboat is a 1964 "Drifter Craft" 30' in length X 11.5' wide, "fiberglass hull" 20 X 8 cabin, and driven by two Johnson 88 HP outboards. Rather than roasting marshmallows over it, my wife loved the boat so I took it down to the bare hull and started upward.

For research purposes the hull ID No. is 430827. Do I have a classic or a floating scrap pile?

Thanks for any help, Pete.

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Reply - Answer
Well Pete, welcome to the forums, and on the major houseboat rebuild project. From what I can tell, I would say that it's a Drifter Craft.

If you're inclined to learn more about your boats history, there's a website that can give you the boats history by entering the Hull ID Number (HIN), MIC, or serial number.

You may find the following article of interest to you since it looks at deciphering a houseboat track record.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their Drifter Craft 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

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Comments for Houseboat Hull ID Number History - is it a River Queen or a Drifter Craft boat?

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by: David Cron

This boat appears to be a early Drift-R-Cruz. They began production in the early 60's by Jack Mckee, Gallatin, Tn. Drift-R-Cruz was possibly the first to use fiberglass for houseboats.

New River Queen facebook Group
by: Pyro Chuck

If it's 'glass or aluminum I doubt it's a River Queen boat as I sure all they built were steel hulls. It may be another brands model name called a River Queen, but that's completely different.

We have a '66 project Queen and will be posting the entire rebuild in our new River Queen facebook group. We lost administrative controls to our old facebook group so we started a new one with multiple admins to avoid any issues in the future. Join our new River Queen Owners Group here:

not a River Queen
by: Anonymous

May be some other manufacturer wit a model name of "River Queen" but not a true River Queen as they were always steel-hulled vessels. I love pages like this that help me learn more about these great boats. I have a '66 but the timber-built cabin structure is completely rotten and needs removed and rebuilt. we will post the project progress both here and in our River Queen Owners group on facebook

Pyro Chuck

P.S. - Hey IAN is there any chance you can change the format here to at least show post dates maybe?

38 ft 6 in Drifter?
by: hobojo river rat

I have a 38'6" steel hull houseboat which looks like a Drifter but I can't find any numbers.

I've looked everywhere including right side of transom if you're facing transom. If anyone has any information, I could use your knowledge.

Thanks, hobojo the river rat

Drift R Cruz
by: Larry

I have a 1964 30 Drift R Cruz houseboat that has the exact same style/layout. I have owned it for the past 25 years. I have been unable to find any Hull ID numbers on mine.

It was originally powered by a Marine Chrysler 318 and the outdrive was an Eaton/Dana outdrive. It has been restored with a 454 and a Mercruiser Bravo outdrive.

It's old but will run 32 mph when needed and I get many comments from people who like the style. I wish you well in your restoration!


River Queen
by: Ray

The hull you are talking about looks just like the 1964 Drift R Cruz houseboat. I owned a boat that was supposed to be a Riverqueen as it was well done.

It did not look like any of the River Queens that I have seen on line. It was fat bottomed and flat nosed.


Mystery Houseboat - a River Queen 38ft aluminium?
by: Dave

I have just bought a 1972 Riverqueen. The interesting thing about this boat is the hull, it's aluminum. I have read all comments about these boats only having steel hulls. Can anyone help me?

I have a owners manual with ID number printed on it. PS: a magnet doesn't stick to any part of the hull! Having trouble getting insurance because this boat was never made. 7238A10 Daveon

Identifying Houseboats - The Real Thing !
by: Chuck Brucks

What I see in your photo is a piece of junk. What an insult to call it a River Queen. I worked for R. Peterson on every River Queen houseboat built until the year 1964. I was a Shop Foreman and Welder.

We made many changes in our houseboats as the years went by. Our boats became bigger and more beautiful until we finally had the perfect design. I mean "The Real Thing".

Just my opinion, Chuck Brucks, Orlando, Florida

River Queen houseboat history
by: Ray

R.J. Peterson and his crew started building RQ's back in '61, I believe, with the first one being a paddle wheeler that R.J. says he still has. It was all steel.

R.J. continues to build custom steel boat yet today but the RQ, backed by US Industries, ceased in late '73 or '74.

To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Peterson nor his company ever built anything but steel hulled boats and I just talked with him a month ago.

I had a '72 40' Star Stream Mark II that I lived aboard for over 6 years. One of the worst mistakes of my life was selling her. I am now looking for another.

Houseboat Manufacturing Locations
by: Old Houseboater

River Queens originated in Douglas, Michigan. They lasted until the early/mid 70s. We owned a 66, a 69 and a 73 Star Stream. Some years after they went down there was a short lived rebuilding operation.

Drifter went out of business in the early 70's, it was built in Gallatin Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. Clyde Head who runs Harbormaster was a principle.

They were a steel bottom boat. I suspect your fiberglass bottom boat wasn't one of them.

Reply - Answer
Old Houseboater, you're a walking encyclopedia when it comes to houseboat history and locations. Thanks for helping out with the great information :)

IAN from

River Queen houseboats
by: Old houseboater

River Queens were steel hulled. Until 1969 they had vinyl cloth covered plywood cabins.

1969 and later models all had metal cabins with the exception of Star Stream models. Star Stream's had metal cabins with the salon roof being made of fiberglass.

In their day they were some of the toughest houseboats built and were very seaworthy.

Houseboat Hull ID Numbers
by: Bill V

The River Queen model was made by Drifter Craft until 1967. Drifter Craft went out of business, and the former workers and office personnel took over and named their vessels River Queen Corp.

River Queen Mark II
by: gsp974

Well I found a River Queen houseboat and I love it... The problem is I am being told to stay away... It is nicer than my house and from the water line up, it looks brand new.

I can't get anyone, who don't want a grand to tell me anything about it, what is it really worth.. One surveyor even told me he owned it, but without basically hiring him, he got amnesia and could tell me nothing about the house boat.

I am lost, and don't trust anyone... I just don't want to buy a boat and in 2-3 years find out I have the prettiest sunk fish boat in north GA...

Reply - Answer
Well GSP974, you may be interested in reading the following article on older steel houseboats.

IAN from

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