How to Build a Houseboat: Free Plans to Build a Scow Houseboat

houseboat plans
Building a Scow Houseboat

The following instructions will guide you in building a scow houseboat that is 6 ft. wide by 20 ft. long, with a cabin extending 1 ft. beyond the scow on each side.

1. Scow Design: Begin by building the scow portion of the houseboat. The scow should taper up at the forward end and be protected with a heavy sheet-iron plate. This provides durability and allows the boat to be safely maneuvered onto sandbars without the risk of springing a leak, even if it strikes a submerged log while running at full speed.

2. Power Plant: Install a standard 4-hp. reversing gasoline engine as the power plant. This engine will drive the paddles at their most efficient speed of 45 revolutions per minute through a 13-to-1 reduction. Create propeller wheels using cast-iron hubs with cold-rolled steel spokes, and attach wood paddles to their ends. This setup will propel the houseboat at a cruising speed of approximately 4 miles per hour.

3. Sleeping Accommodations: Construct two wide bunks that also serve as storage lockers beneath them. These bunks will provide sleeping space for a crew of four. Ensure they are comfortable and securely built.

4. Kitchen Setup: Design the kitchen area to conceal the motor and gearing under the work table. Install a two-burner blue-flame kerosene stove for cooking. Include a sink with running water suitable for washing dishes, etc. The water can be drawn from a 30-gal. tank on the roof, filled by a centrifugal pump connected to the engine shaft.

5. Toilet and Supplies: Install a modern toilet room for convenience. On the aft deck, include an ice chest to store supplies and ice for a week's cruise. This will help keep food and beverages fresh during the journey.

6. Lighting and Safety: Install an acetylene gas lighting system to illuminate both cabins and a searchlight. Make sure the lighting system is properly installed and functions safely. Equip the boat with a heavy anchor of special design, which can be controlled using a windlass on the forward deck. Install a similar device to control the rudder. Provide life rafts with paddles on the roof for safety measures. During hot weather, position the rafts at one end and set up an awning to create a cool sleeping area.

By following these instructions, you will be able to build a scow houseboat that provides a comfortable and enjoyable experience on the water. Make sure to pay attention to safety features and choose durable materials to ensure the longevity of your houseboat.

houseboat plans
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