Houseboat plans

If you think you’re ready to build your own houseboat, or if you just want to get some ideas on house-boat building or even boat building, try studying these free houseboat plans I’ve found on the web. Some of the houseboat plans can be downloaded, but some open very slowly. Also, I’ve included some sites that have great information on boat building and boat building materials and plans.

canal boat plan
canal boat plan

If the polar caps melt or there’s a zombie apocalypse (can zombies swim?), there’s no better place to be than out on the water — and one of the best ways to do that is on a simple houseboat! People have been living on the water for centuries. From simple shantyboats and English narrowboats to huge mega-houseboats, folks find the freedom of houseboat living is irresistible.

Making Houseboat building plans

Before you build a houseboat several things must be decided, for instance, what type of boat building construction? You can build a houseboat out of plywood,  fiberglass, aluminum,  steel? Do you want to build a houseboat small enough to pull to the lake on a trailer or will you need dock space somewhere?  Will it be self -contained or are you just going to use shore amenities.

There are some composting toilets that make the need for “holding tanks” obsolete. And, NO, they don’t stink. One family, the Wynns, who travel the country in an RV have been using a composting toilet for a while now and really like it. They explain the whole experience on their excellent travel blog. Isn’t an RV pretty much the same thing as a nice little houseboat ?–Except for that floating thing.

I’ve found some great little houseboat designs that you can pull like a travel trailer and use like a boat.

The Darwin

If you decide to design your own houseboat or buy houseboat plans at least you will have a good idea of what you want and what you are getting for your money. Personally, it seems to me that many of the houseboat plans are priced way too high.

But, if you look at the free houseboat plans you might just decide to design your own houseboat. You can build it on factory-built houseboat pontoons or build your own wooden pontoons. I think I prefer the barge style of hull construction because it keeps the whole boat lower to the water. This keeps it from being blown around as much as a taller boat. So, if you want to see some examples of what you can do  . . . check these out.

Small houseboats you can build

Triloboat — a unique and inventive twist on a small houseboat. Dave and Anke are building their future.  It’s both a sailboat and a small houseboat! If you like building boats or studying boat building in general, check out this site.  Follow along on their Blog and watch them build their newest ship in the fleet, Wayward.

DIY Do it yourself houseboat build     See how one guy in Australia is building a great houseboat. The photos that accompany the article are great and reveal the superb quality of the construction.

SpiraInternational —   this is one of the best sites to study and learn about boat building. Jeff Spira even offers free downloadable E-books on boat building. it doesn’t get any better than this. Jeff offers years of experience in his designs and, although the site does not currently provide any plans on houseboats, the building techniques are universal.

Bayou Belle — this is an old Mechanix Illustrated plan that shows some timeless ideas. Is illustrates the simplicity of houseboat construction from a simpler time.

Aqua Casa     Berkley Engineering has a super site with several small trailerable houseboat designs. You can study them online or order your own houseboat plans.        


Svenson’ — free study plans you can download — free boat plans

Lisa B. Goode a cozy houseboat plan from

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