Instructables

Free boat as really cheap housing?

Has anyone else thought of getting their hands on a free boat, buying some cheap land (It's apparently not hard to get 5 acres in deserty parts of America for $5000 or even less) and burying the boat in the ground up to the waterline? You could use solar for power, and if your boat was a sailboat, you could probably rig a windmill to the mast to generate more electricity. Any thoughts on the practicality of doing this? Could you just dig a hole and bury the boat, or would it need some sort of framework to support it properly? Would transporting the boat to your land be too expensive to be worth it?

wak1664 years ago

I get you are talking about things that are "prefab living" like a house boat and rv. but dont over look shipping containers . they are like 2,000 or less and make great houseing . just google shipping container homes (sorry bout my spelling)

westfw6 years ago
You know, I expect "free RVs" are almost as common as "free boats." If you're willing to do without power, water, sewage, gas, phone, internet, and so on, you can probably build yourself a fine little shack for about the same price as transporting an otherwise immobile "thing" to the same location. Personally, I always wanted an old airliner fuselage...
Zyzzyan6 years ago
You know, if I recall my Saturday Morning Cartoons, the kids in 'Rocket Power' lived in a house that was half the bow of an old wooden Gallon. It looked awesome!
jtobako7 years ago
A lot of people leave it as a boat and live on the water, but that is getting more difficult with new laws coming out. I know that New York and Minneapolis at least are trying to eliminate houseboat ownership, using housing codes such as sewage collection and electrical connections. I've seen pics where old boat hulls were used as roofs over small buildings. Getting the boat level without accidentaly puching a hole in the hull would be a problem. The hull is built to be supported over a large area, so getting it into a hole could be a problem. Transportation in expensive (over $5000 to move and set up a trailer-home profesionaly in my area). Don't forget that you need a trailer that supports the hull, plus getting the boat onto and off of it. If you get a large boat, you have to worry about how tall it is on the trailer (overhead wires, bridges, signs...) and how wide (may need extra permits to move it, as well as spotter/warning vehicles). Boats are small-think RV but without the head-room : ) Flotation tanks and engine could be removed, but usible space (except as odd shaped storage) won't increase much. The deserty parts of america don't have access to things like water, internet and jobs-important if you want to keep your new home : ) They are also far from open water, making transportation more expensive. Is it posible? Yes. So is shipping a castle from Ireland to Arizona-but I hear that it's up for sale now : )
gmoon7 years ago
I don't have any practical info to share, but I seem to recall an article in Wooden Boat mag (15 or so years ago) which discussed that very topic.

It's not only a common use of a 'retired' boat, there were several references to this in literature (fiction.) Your basic wizen 'old man of the sea' character residing in an old hulk.
zieak7 years ago
Build a floathouse with a generator/wind source and anchor it in some areas and you'll never have to pay property tax. The skiff rides can become weary in poor weather and water collection (if on saltwater) can be a problem in some areas i'm sure. I was on one for a summer and it was great. Winter? Give me a real house.
Kiteman7 years ago
If I remember correctly, sinking the boat into the ground makes it a "permanent structure", and thus subject all the local building codes, taxes, rates etc. Instead, build a large wooden cradle to sit the boat in, don't hook it permanently to local services (electricity, water, sewage, phone) and you can get away with a lot more. Maybe even put wheels on the cradle so that you could, in theory, tow it away. Details change from state to state, and possibly county to county, so check local regulations before attempting to go up against The Man like this. I'd debate the choice of boat, though - use an old, flat-bottom barge instead of a yacht: larger, more nearly cuboid interior, flatter bottom (easier, lower cradle) and stronger bulk-heads and hull to fasten internal fittings to. Hah, even buy an old house-boat!