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Old 01-07-2011, 15:16   #1
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House on a Barge ?

We are thinking about buying a tug boat and barge to travel to Costa Rica, the idea being to build our house on the barge and park it somewhere there if possible. Then we could use the tugboat to travel around the Caribbean. I've looked at boat laws and other info, but haven't been able to find an answer to this yet. Thanks
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Old 01-07-2011, 15:50   #2
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Re: house on a barge?

Welcome Aboard Cruisers Forum

Don't see how it would be a problem, just a boat going from port to port like any other boat..
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Old 01-07-2011, 16:03   #3
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house on a barge?

I was considering a similar idea, at least the 'houseboat' portion. It originated with the idea of a floating cottage in Thai or Bali style that I could move along the coast of Thailand at various years or seasons.

Couple of links:
Thai Style Floating
Living on Water
Retirement Houseboat

I've even sketched up in my head a nice floating cottage in Thai style with two bedrooms over a saloon and dining area. Went looking at light weight building materials this past winter at the International Builders Show in Orlando. There are some very interesting materials out there now.


But one of the biggest problems arises when you go to find a place to keep this floating barge. In many cases you run into the irritable waterfront property owner that has had to pay big money for his waterfront property, and is incensed that you might try to live waterfront without this matching investment. Then they try to bring up all the pollution problems that you are going to cause, and next thing you are fighting city hall. I know of just such problems that have occurred here on Chesapeake Bay, to the point that the Natural Resources Dept have gotten involved to limit registering any houseboat/barge.

Regrettably it appears to be much easier to simply buy a used vessel to live on....or new. I've even contemplated a canal barge...how about this ONE
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Old 01-07-2011, 17:44   #4
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Re: house on a barge?

I saw a boat like this on the Mississippi. It was adorable. Wood frame house on a barge with a garden and a white picket fence. The tug, barge, and house were all painted in coordinated colors. I wish I had taken a picture. I assume the owners were doing the Great Loop with it, but never talked to them.
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Old 01-07-2011, 18:44   #5
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Re: house on a barge?

I saw lots of them on the BC coast a number of years ago. Don't know what laws affect them though, I do know there was a problem in the Vancouver area.
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Old 01-07-2011, 19:59   #6
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Re: house on a barge?

The fuel costs of towing that thing would be horrendous.Not only that, but the cost of a decent tug,barge and related towing gear would buy a you very good cruising vessel. Leaving you with some extra in the cruising kitty.If your intention are to set up a floating B&B to earn cruising funds you have some very serious bureaucratic nightmares to deal with
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Old 03-07-2011, 14:13   #7
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Re: House on a Barge ?

Besides the huge cost it would be fun until you got into a storm and a big wave takes the house off the barge.
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Old 03-07-2011, 14:18   #8
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Re: house on a barge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritbaer View Post
The fuel costs of towing that thing would be horrendous.Not only that, but the cost of a decent tug,barge and related towing gear would buy a you very good cruising vessel. Leaving you with some extra in the cruising kitty.If your intention are to set up a floating B&B to earn cruising funds you have some very serious bureaucratic nightmares to deal with
Being in the light barge and tug business....ditto.

Not to say the idea is bad but the cruising costs of a tug that can handle a house barge are gonna be huge compared to the operating costs of a reasonable sized trawler for all situations.
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Old 03-07-2011, 14:19   #9
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Re: House on a Barge ?

The question I have is why double your troubles? Get a nice Trawler and be done with it or a sailboat your choice.. If you wish to have a barge house build one once you get to your desired location.
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Old 03-07-2011, 14:24   #10
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Re: House on a Barge ?

If you're determined to buy an old tugboat why not just live on her? I've seen some pretty neat tugboat to cruiser conversions. An ocean-going tug is huge, and that is what you will want for voyaging around the Caribbean. A harbor tug wouldn't cut it--big seas and winds. Though I think a better bet for a conversion would be an ex-fishing trawler. Many to choose from, dirt cheap, plenty that are basically seaworthy designs, less sheer weight to drag around, and an all-around better design for a cruising boat. Plus, you wouldn't have the hassle of what to do with the barge, etc. I suspect that a house on a barge would quickly attract the attention of local officials everywhere, whereas a vessel would be more normal and allow you to avoid many legal hassles.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:22   #11
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Re: House on a Barge ?

Barges are not very seaworthy, why not look at a large fishing boat and rebuild to your liking? We did and love it.
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