Houseboat 16 - Study Plans
Specifications BOM and Labor
Building Method Kits
Skill Level Plans Packing List
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In the 60's, DIY magazines often showed boat plans for plywood on frame and houseboat plans seemed to be very popular. The topsides were typically vertical to maximize interior volume and to make building easier.

We asked designer Emile Ajar to draw a small boat in that style but for stitch and glue. The result is a smaller version of our HB18. The cabin is 2' shorter and we had to sacrifice the head but all other features are identical to the HB18.
The material cost and labor are almost identical for those two boats: if you have the room, build the HB18.

In such a small boat, it is impossible to fit decent size bunks in the cabin that is already furnished with a galley and steering station but why not take advantage of the very large cockpit covered with canvas and turn it into a roomy cabin when on anchor?

Check out our Building method tutorial (for the HB20), in our How-To Section

LOA: 16' 4,90 m
Max. Beam: 8' 2,45 m
Draft: 6" 15 c m
Displacement: 1,100 lbs. 450 kg
HP: 10 to 45 7 to 35 kW
Material: Stitch and Glue

This new design has many advantages:

  •  Stitch and glue material: faster, easier, stronger than plywood on frame.
  •  Full 8' width. This gives us cockpit benches and a wide bed under the awning.
  •  Simple, straight panels. No curved bottom or bow.
  •  No wood beveling as in plywood on frame.
  •  Extra storage room in cockpit and under sole: a fixed fuel tank is possible.

If you can build a bookshelf, then you can build this boat. It does not require special materials or complicated building skills. All of the wood is readily available from the local lumber yard and an epoxy-fiberglass kit is available from this web site.
The HB16 is easily trailerable without an expensive boat trailer. The flat bottom hull can be hauled on a utility trailer. At just 1,100 lbs, it is easy to pull with a compact car.
It operates in shallow water. The draft was kept to 6".
The HB16 can be made unsinkable with foam flotation.
With the recommended engine(s), the HB16 will go at 25 mph in protected waters.

The forward cockpit is mostly for use while on anchor. It can be fitted with a landing ramp for easy access to the beach.

The cabin has standing headroom. We recommend a Porta Potti type head to avoid complicated plumbing. There is storage everywhere and the boat has sufficient capacity to fill all those places with fishing gear, beach and camping equipment etc.

The aft cockpit can be enclosed by a canvas tent. The flat sole is 5 'x 6'-3" (between the benches), the width of a queen size bed! Perfect for an inflatable bed. The canvas cockpit enclosure is supported by the boom but a standard pontoon boat enclosure will fit perfectly. Those can be bought at a very reasonable price from most marine stores. Windows may be replaced with screening, or left open.

The outboard (not shown) fits on a bracket to keep the cockpit uncluttered.
The plans include specifications for a bracket that can be used at displacement speeds only. If the builder wants an outboard bracket to use at planing speeds, we recommend to purchase a professionally made bracket like the Armstrong bracket.

Building method:
We made the HB16 easier and cheaper to build.
The building method uses cleats framing wherever possible like under the sole but all outside seams are made of fiberglass and the whole hull is protected and reinforced with biaxial glass fabric and epoxy.
We show the cabin top with some curve, but this can be done flat. Because the boat has vertical sides, the interior will be quite easy to build. This boat lends itself to modifications by the builder: build her to suit your preferences!
All surfaces are epoxy saturated and the bottom is fiberglassed to above the waterline.

Required Skills:
Thanks to its simple and efficient shape, the HB16 is easy to build and epoxy is a very forgiving, gap filling material: no need for delicate tight assemblies.
Almost all plywood cuts are square, the bottom uses full sheets of plywood: no cuts required!

Bill Of Materials:
(Excerpts from our BOM)
We include enough epoxy to cover the whole boat with a saturation coat and fiberglass for the bottom up to the waterline. The epoxy coat must be varnished or painted.

Plywood 4x8' (122x244cm)
1/4" (6mm) 8  
3/8" (9mm) 11  
1/2" (12mm) 10  
Fiberglass (totals)
Biaxial tape 96 yards 87 m
Woven tape 50 yards 45 m
Biaxial fabric 17 yards 15 m
Epoxy, total 11 gallons 44 liters

Please refer to the Bill of materials to calculate the Cost, or see our Kits

We offer an epoxy kit with free shipping in the US. Our kit cost less than the same supplies bought locally. See the main page.

A complete hull with superstructure can be build in less than 100 hours but allow another 100 hours for finishing.

Visit our message board, help pages, tutorial pages and read our FAQ: most questions are answered there.

Plans Packing List:
Detailed drawings, large scale with all dimensions required to cut the sides, frames and the bulkheads from flat plywood sheets: no lofting, no templates required. All dimensions for cabin and deck. Suppliers part numbers for hardware and accessories.

  • B241_1 Concept plans
  • D241_2 Plywood Nesting
  • D241_3 Construction drawings
  • D241_4 Frames dimensions
  • D241_5 Expanded Plates - Hull, bottom, roof etc.
  • B241_6 Lamination Schedule
  • B241_7 Construction Details
  • B241_8 Typical Door Details
  • B241_9 Motor Bracket
  • B221_c Electrical Notes
  • Step by step illustrated building notes.
  • A Bill Of Materials is included in the building notes
  • Help files reference list and more.

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7485 Commercial Circle,
Fort Pierce, Florida USA