Are you wondering if you have the skills to build a little houseboat? If you can build a shed you can build a houseboat. But before you start consider it carefully. I’ve picked just five basic small houseboats that come with plans and unless you have some previous marine building skills, you should get some plans. Some houseboat plans are more expensive than others, but all are worth it if you want to do it right. So here we go.
1. Waterlodge by Ken Hankinson
This is a traditional flat bottom barge style houseboat that offers more living per square foot than you would expect. The small craft offers large deck area fore and aft. This makes docking and handling much easier than many other designs. Also, inside, there is room for sleeping, cooking, and just plain fun. It even includes a head.
Designed for protected waters and rivers, this boat is built out of plywood and fiberglass. The plans, as well many of the materials, can be found at their site.
This craft comes in two sizes 20’ and 24’. I think the 24’ is just about the perfect size. The extra 4’ gives this boat the liveability you would want for a long stay. The designs are offered exclusively by Gen-L at their website BoatDesigns.com.
2. Riverwalker by George Buehler
This boat is just the right size to build in the backyard. You’ll need some strong friends once in a while, but the finished boat is definitely worth it. The boats built from these plans all seem to vary just enough to give each one a distinctive ”one of a kind” look. One of my favorite houseboat designs is the Darwin. Built by Chris Carr in Saugatuck, Michigan, this little houseboat is ready for adventure. Based on the Riverwalker design, it harkens back to the old boats that plied the Mississippi and the Erie canal.
The boat comes in at around 6,000 lbs. This is a little heavy to haul around every weekend, but it is still light enough to be hauled out and moved without too much effort. Darwin builder, Criss Carr powers his boat with a 40 hp Honda, so gas costs shouldn’t take the fun out of a weekend of exploring.
You can see much of the building process and get a feel for the houseboat Building at George Buehler’s website. GeorgeBuehler.com. The houseboat plans are available to purchase.
3. The Millie Hill 28 by Sam Devlin
This is taking the idea of a small houseboat a few notches upscale. For years, the Millie Hill 20 has been a favorite of mine. With a small footprint and overall great looks, the boat seems to have it all. But, just like when you go shopping for a new Chevy and come back with a Cadillac, my head has been turned around completely by his new design. Sam Davlin has outdone himself with the Millie Hill 28. It’s Longer, wider, and totally liveable. This is a boat that even your wife will like. You can get some houseboat study plans for a only a buck and start drooling. (I am already)
This would be a pretty good size project. The result, however, would be a real home on the water. And a great looking home at that. If you want something smaller, Sam Devlin has many other boat designs as well as the Millie Hill 28. Hey, the Millie Hill 20 or 24 is still good enough for me. DevlinBoat.com is the place to start looking. And, if you decide to just spend this spring or summer building a regular boat, he has many other great designs to choose from.
4. Dianne’s Rose by Roy Schreyer
How about an easy to trailer little houseboat that can make any weekend special. At only 17’ long and 8’ wide it’s easy to see why this lightweight little houseboat is becoming the most popular one for builders.
The open design would make it feel much larger than it is. A 9hp motor and shallow draft can get you into just about anywhere. It can even be rowed. Yep, it’s that light.
Roy has all the plans you’ll ever need at his website. There’s also a lot of pictures of what other builders have done with the design.
5. AquaCasa by Berkley Eastman
This is a design that makes you want to head for the wood store. It seems like a fairly simple design, but that’s because the designer has already thought of everything for you. All you have to do is follow the plans. This is fully trailerable and can also be used as a weekend camper without even putting it in the water. How great is that! The plans can be found at Berkley-Engineering.com