Messing about in boats since 1975.  Online Since 1997.

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The Riverine & Coastal House Boat


Copyright 2009 Michael Kasten

AMAZON - A 50' River Boat

The Concept

I have recently been imagining a river boat. My concept was to have shallow draft and plenty of living space in a hull built very simply in steel.

This model is around 50 feet on deck, but could be any other size that seemed to suit the interior. The house is rather long for the sake of interior accommodations, but could be shortened in order to gain more space on deck.

Above the house is a flying bridge type of helm station. The remainder of the house top would make an excellent "back porch" if it were surrounded with a railing.

The interior I have in mind would have a generous pilot house at the forward end of the house, then a galley right aft of the pilot house, and the rest of the deck house dedicated to a roomy dining area and saloon. Down below forward is planned as a sleeping cabin with shower and head compartment. It is really a perfect live-aboard layout for a couple, but it could be re-arranged for another sleeping cabin if desired. My thought was that guests could be accommodated in the saloon fairly conveniently.

With the large house structure, this would probably not be an ideal boat for the open ocean, but it would qualify for the EU-RCD Category B, therefore it would be capable offshore in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Caspian, etc. It would be equally at home on the Mississippi, traversing the US ICW, touring the Pacific Northwest waters of North America or the coast of Chile to Patagonia.

Given the large amount of windage due to the house structure, in order to have a safe amount of stability in the ocean there needs to be sufficient freeboard in order to achieve reserve buoyancy at large heel angles. Therefore the fore deck is raised in order to get the most reserve buoyancy, and the most space below. This improves stability and seaworthiness as well as livability below.

To help reduce windage, the interior sole is well below the exterior deck. This allows the house to be less tall, and allows the flying bridge cowl to be under 3.5 meters off the water for passage throughout the French canal system.

The beam of this model is 16 feet, draft is 3 feet, and length on deck is 50 feet. One challenge will be to obtain sufficient displacement with such a shallow hull. This model is quite preliminary and is therefore not optimized in that regard, but it seems that displacement should ideally be around 35k to 40k lbs.

A single four cylinder diesel would drive this vessel well, and would do so very economically. Possibly a tunnel would be best so the propeller can be big enough and still allow the draft to be no more than 3 feet overall.

To keep the weight down and to keep the cost low, I would use the following structure:

These are just a few preliminary notions, any of which are subject to change depending on the eventual requirements.

If further development of this type of vessel is of interest, please feel free to inquire for more information about that process.

AMAZON - A 50' River Boat
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