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Houseboat Advice

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Jul 16, 2013, 04:01 PM
Houseboat Advice
Hello, I will be moving to the Caribbean to attend school and get my Masters degree and I have been searching through apartment listings all summer. However, I happened to stumble upon an ad for a houseboat that is for sale. I was wondering if anybody has any advice. Is buying a houseboat a good idea? What are the issues associated with houseboats? What sort of DIY projects could I do to improve it? This is the ad:
<<This classic native built Banana Boat Lighter is extremely strong and overbuilt. She has fitted as a very comfortable houseboat. She is being offered furnished: A/C. Tv-DVD. Stereo. Fridge/freezer. 4 burner stove/oven. Microwave. Pressure water. Solar panels. Water catchment roof. 100 gal water storage. Large art cabin. Double bed. 9 drawer dresser. Hanging storage. Head. Shower and sump. Holding tank. 2500KW Honda generator. Aft upper deck. Hurricane shutters for all windows. Hull has been professionally fiber glassed. Dimensions: 32'LOA 11' Beem 30"Draft >>

Jul 16, 2013, 05:24 PM
Interesting questions on an interesting and different topic.

I don't have the knowledge to address your concerns but just have a few thoughts for consideration:

1. I assume there are docking/mooring fees which would increase the monthly costs. When added to the purchase price, and given the amount of time you plan to spend to complete your Masters, which would be the better and more workable financial plan? Boat or apartment?

2. You're probably aware that you can't make many changes to an apartment, so this would give you more of a sense of ownership.

3. What about utility fees? Water source, sewage connections, electricity, etc.?

4. You might want to check with the community in which you'll be residing to find out if there are any other specific restrictions or issues that address houseboats.

Good luck. This could be an interesting adventure!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Jul 16, 2013, 05:37 PM
Thank you for your insight. If the school allows it, I may be able to dock behind the marine science center for free, but I will still need to consider cost of sewage removal. I'm sure I'll be able to figure out these concerns once I go to the island. Thank you!
Jul 16, 2013, 06:01 PM
I think others might be envious of your experience. Wink I hope everything works out well for you, regardless of whatever decisions you make.

It just occurred to me that perhaps you could fish from your houseboad and save on food costs.
Jul 16, 2013, 06:07 PM
Yes! All I'd need is a grill! Plus, the roof has solar panels and a rain water collection system. I may never leave the boat. Smile
Jul 16, 2013, 06:33 PM
Hmmm.... I see a permanent residence change in the making. I can just imagine how relaxed the lifestyle would be compared to the US.

Are you sure you want to come back? Or are you in fact planning a permanent residency change?

If you decide you want guests, just let me know!
Jul 16, 2013, 09:15 PM
I'm not sure. If I get a job there after graduation, wreallyho knows? I'll just have to see. I finely like the idea owning my own little place. Thank you for your supporting thoughts! Smile
Aug 12, 2013, 06:27 AM
Not sure how it works over there but in the US you can get your boat surveyed, sort of like a home inspection.
There going to be looking at the major systems to see if they meet Coast Guard guide lines.
Things line tined copper wiring, condition of hull, material the fuel tanks made of.
Making sure all the fuel lines have double clamps and are of the correct material.
Making sure someone did not install starter, fuel pump, air intake filter that was built for use on a car not a boat. (there different and far more expensive for a boat.)
Condition of the shaft logs and through hulls.
I've lived on a 37' Pembroke sport fisherman for about 3 years that I bought for $10.00 from A doctor that would show up about every 4, years and try to start the boat after just letting it sit all that time. Of course it would not start. He was having a fit and said the first person that gives me $10.00 can have it.
After spending well over $10,000 on it to get it sea worthy it sunk in a hurricane.
As far as sewer most boats just dump the gray water out a thru hull into the water. If there's a San-Flo system on board it's like having your own waste treatment plant on board and the toilet waste can legally dump over board. No pump outs needed.
My main concern would be what happens during a Hurricane. It's best whenever possible to have it stored on the hard during a storm. (stored on land)

Sep 13, 2013, 06:01 AM
before you go over there...stock up on marine grade paint and sealer...might be cheaper here...wood rot and rust will be your enemy...

a boat in salt water needs CONSTANT up keep, or it will rot around you. salt water is hell on metal. engine parts...find a marine mechanic, pay him $100.00 to show you what to look for and do to keep your place in working order...the money will be worth it. im jealous you need a 2nd mate?

take a ice pick,,,walk around the boat and try to stick it into the wood...if it goes in. paint looks good over rotten wood

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,