Home is Where the Houseboat Is

Doug Lambeth standing on the sturdy new deck.

Somehow we’ve become the go-to shop in Seattle for houseboat projects, which can present some interesting challenges. Over the past couple of months we’ve had several very interesting projects.

Houseboat number one came to us for some simple maintenance. As often is the case, a closer look revealed some serious problems.

Doug Lambeth standing on the sturdy new deck.

Doug Lambeth standing on the sturdy new deck.

A leak on the roof around the “pilothouse” had compromised the structure below and doom was impending. As our customers know, there isn’t much we don’t like to tackle, including home construction. Jacking the floor up, we replaced some joists and rebuilt the basic structure including the plumbing and wiring. Then came the new plywood and fiberglass deck.

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This house was lifted up and off the ground at least 50′ before finding its way back to water.

Perhaps the most dramatic return to the water in Canal Boatyard history was when two cranes lifted a beautiful two-story houseboat at least 50′ off the ground!


A houseboat out of water is safe, but that’s not what houseboats are built for!

Another project is underway just below our office windows. Here again the plan is for some routine maintenance and deck painting. Not surprisingly, when “boat” is added onto the end of “house,” maintenance takes on a whole new dimension.






Welding proceeding on the new hull.


This houseboat is getting a new hull!


The new hull taking shape in the corner of Canal Boatyard.

Finally, the third project should take away any misconceptions that we’re only about fiberglass. This houseboat was due for more than repair: Its wood and glass hull really needed a full replacement. So we are hard at work with some very skilled subcontractors to give it just that, a whole new aluminum hull. The welders have been hard at work, and you can see in the pictures here that they are needing completion. Ultimately, the old hull will be cut away and the house moved to the new hull where aluminum flanges will hold the whole unit together for decades to come.