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If you are looking to build a houseboat, looking to buy a houseboat trailer, or are trying to determine if your vehicle will pull your new houseboat it is vitally important to know how much your houseboat weighs.
The weight of a houseboat will vary depending on what materials the boat is made of, how big the houseboat is, and how many things there are on board. An average smaller houseboat will normally be 8-10,000 pounds while a larger houseboat will be 20-30,000 pounds.
In this article I will go into more depth about those 3 variables. You obviously can’t bust out your bathroom scale to see how much a houseboat weighs so I will also give some real examples of houseboat weights.
This is probably the largest variable when it comes to the weight of a houseboat. Obviously if you have a 20ft houseboat it is going to weigh far less than a 40ft vessel simply because there are less materials used in the 20 footer.
However even if the boat size stays the same, the type of materials used can affect the weight quite significantly.
For example, let’s say your houseboat is made using ½ inch plywood. Well each sheet ½ inch plywood weighs approximately 45 pounds. What if instead your boat is built using ⅝ inch plywood. It weighs 56 pounds per sheet! If your boat has 100 sheets of plywood that tiny difference in thickness is a difference of 1100 pounds!
Different types of wood, metal, and more are all different weights so the materials used for your houseboat will have a huge impact on its weight. Even if you have two houseboats that are identical in length the weight can still vary greatly if different materials are used for each build.
When trying to figure out boat weight size really does matter! Of course the larger your boat the more it will weigh but the size of the cabin can also have a big effect on the weight.
If your houseboat is two stories for the majority of the boat it will definitely have much more weight than a houseboat with a much smaller cabin. Not only do you have the additional weight for the longer walls but you have the additional weight from the upper deck.
Not only does the size of the boat and the cabin matter but so does the size of your hull. If your houseboat has a full hull it will weigh more than if it just has a few pontoons that it floats on. Of course there are downsides to not having a full hull (such as storage) but in regards to weight pontoons will certainly save you some.
Items on board
The last thing I will mention for weight variables is what you have on board. If you have full water, fuel, and septic tanks your boat will certainly weigh a lot more than if your tanks are empty.
You also have to be sure to take into account appliances, toys (jet skis, rafts, kayaks, etc.) furniture, clothing, and much more. All of the little things on board can add up quite quickly so be sure and take those things into account when figuring out the weight of your houseboat.
Things that seem insignificant can add up quite fast! For example, one thing that many people seem to forget about when considering the weight of their boat is the provisions that are on board.
Even if you have emptied your water, septic, and fuel tanks entirely, most people will still have some containers with fuel for the generator or containers of drinking water stored on board. If carry an extra 15 gallons of fuel and 15 gallons of water on board you are talking an additional 200 pounds just with those two items!
Canned food will normally only weigh a pound or two per can but if you have a well stocked pantry you can easily have a few hundred pounds of food on board, especially if you have some food in the fridge or freezer!
These and many other little items can add up to significant weight. When your boat is in the water then a thousand pounds spread throughout the boat probably won’t hurt anything but the gas mileage a bit, but if you are going to haul your boat with a vehicle and you are near max then not figuring the weight of your provisions could be catastrophic!
Ultimately figuring out the weight of a houseboat is something that each person will have to figure out for themselves and their specific vessel. Ideally you will take your boat to a truck stop and have your boat weighed to get an accurate weight with everything on board.
Barring that, most people will just take the weight from the manufacture and then do some figuring and a little guessing to come up with an approximate houseboat weight.
Below I’ve listed some current boat weights for some different sized houseboats. These weights are straight from the manufacture and won’t include the weight of a trailer or any provisions or extra furniture that you might add in the future.
These weights will be helpful to estimate the weight of your houseboat but make sure that you do your own figuring for your boat. As mentioned in the first point, a small change in thickness of the decking can make a large difference in total weight.
The last thing you should do is buy a vehicle to pull your houseboat that will barely handle the weight of the houseboat alone. It’s better to spend a little extra and get a larger vehicle and a larger engine then it is to tear your vehicle up because it’s too small to handle your boat weight.
|Houseboat Length||Houseboat Weight|
|25 Feet Long||Approximately 10,000 pounds|
|33 Feet Long||Approximately 11,500 pounds|
|36 Feet Long||Approximately 12,000 pounds|
|44 Feet Long||Approximately 20,000 pounds|
|47 Feet Long||Approximately 21,600 pounds|
|50 Feet Long||Approximately 23,000 pounds|
|55 Feet Long||Approximately 30,000 pounds|
|59 Feet Long||Approximately 31,000 pounds|
This information is an average of a few different manufacturers but some manufactures were far lighter than others. For example one houseboat manufacturer that we contacted was Nomad. Their 25 foot long houseboat only weighed around 5,000 pounds!
Obviously in the construction of their houseboat Nomad made sure to keep the weight in mind to make their boats as easy as possible to get in and out of the water. Since the above information is just an average from a few different manufactures than many boats will be more or less than the numbers given.
When it comes to the total weight of your specific make and model of boat it’s important to contact the manufacturer directly and see if they know how much it weighs, or at least what it weighed before you started putting things on board!
If you are planning on towing your boat it is always better to estimate the weight high and have a little extra wiggle room than it is to estimate low and tear something up while towing your boat.