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Houseboat in dry storage for 3 years...what could go wrong?

by Joe
(Boulder, CO)

A typical Skipperliner houseboat.

A typical Skipperliner houseboat.

I'm about to purchase a quality 1991 Skipperliner houseboat, 53' long from the original owner. The houseboat is in good to fair condition.

However, it's been in dry storage (dry docked) for over 3 years because the owner is older, and has decided to sell his houseboat. The houseboat has been supported by blocking at the four (4) corners.

What should I be concerned about concerning how the houseboat has been stored? What about the age of the gas in the tanks? Rubber engine "boots"?

Thank you, Joe.

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Reply - Answer
Well Joe, congratulations on your decision to buy a Skipperliner houseboat. From what I've seen and heard, they make some great houseboats.

Now, as to some help about it being in storage, and what to look for before purchasing it, here goes...

Just some of my recommendations:

1) Be sure to look at our page on picking a Surveyor to do a marine survey, and make your offer conditional on the outcome.

2) Be sure to have a complete look at the steel hull, and it's present condition and thickness. You should try to fit into all the areas of the interior hull, since that's where the rust generally starts.

3) The gasoline in the tanks is definitely stale. My first choice would be to drain the tanks and put in fresh fuel. If not, at least put in some octane boost, and fill them up with fresh fuel before starting the engines.

3) All rubber components will have to be check for brittleness, deterioration, and age. Seriously consider replacing the water pump impellers while it's on blocks, much cheaper to do it before launching her. The same goes for the engine boots, since it's easier to verify while on blocks.

4) Depending on heat, ventilation, and humidity levels during storage, you may have a mold or mildew problem. Look into all the nooks and crannies to make sure.

5) Depending on how it was stored, covered or uncovered, check for leaks at the roof, decks, and windows etc... for rain, or water damage.

6) Try to see the houseboat during the daylight hours, and take the time to see that everything works properly.

The list can go on and on and on.., so I recommend our ultimate buying guide.

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If you are contemplating buying a houseboat, I strongly recommend getting our "How to BUY a Houseboat" ebook. The ebook will save you countless hours, and very likely thousands of dollars when buying a houseboat.

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Lastly, I'm sure some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat buying and storage experiences.

PS, do let us know if you buy a houseboat, and post some pictures of it, since we all love photo's :)

IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Houseboat in dry storage for 3 years...what could go wrong?

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Dry environment - less rust & corrosion
by: Anonymous

Joe, your location appears to be Bolder, Colorado. If not mistaken, other than winter it's pretty dry. If so, you might be lucky and not suffered much rust or corrosion.

Hull buckling during storage
by: Anonymous

As it's stated that the houseboat has been stored for over three years on four corners. Their design is to spread the load through out all the stringers and structural members.

I would establish a bench mark and check the hull for buckling or dropping. You can use piano wire and triangulate to make sure the hull is true, and that no structural member has been loaded beyond capacity.

Watch out for Steel Hulled Houseboats
by: Steve Jones

If it's a steel hull, you need to get this boat hull sounded. Our 1997 has rusted from the inside out and we have lost up to 25% of original thickness. Big issue. $$$$$$$$$

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