Shipping Container Homes That Float
Many boating types have considered a shipping container home that floats. The sea changes in colour and mood almost by the hour, and of all views you can get in this world there are few so dynamic as one of the water. On a flat calm day the sun just needs to move 10 degrees through the sky to totally change the hue of the sea, and as the winds and seas build and change, so the same view can differ greatly even if nothing moves ashore. Where many have toyed with the idea, one man in Belfast, Maine in the USA has taken the leap and built a 1,000 square foot container houseboat for him to live in a boatyard in the North East of the US.
Shipping container houseboat in Maine, USA
Steve White, the owner of Brooklin Boatyard in Maine, and a locally renowned yacht builder, took the leap from playing with the idea into building himself a container houseboat for US $90,000 all in.
He used a number of 40ft containers that were cut up to add floor space and windows, as well as to connect the units together. If you remove the sides of two containers and weld them together you have twice the space you started out with. The same applies going in any direction – upwards, lengthwise as well as sideways.
The 1,000 square foot home has two large bedrooms, a comfortable living room and kitchen as well as a roof deck to enjoy the sunset with a favourite tipple. It has large windows to take in the great views, in White’s case the boatyard, as it whirrs into life at dawn and quietens down at dusk.
Importantly for a home in the US North East, where winters are so cold sea ice frequently clogs up the harbour, the home is extremely well insulated against the weather. This keeps bills down even on the coldest days, and to warm his home he uses a propane furnace and underfloor heating. As for the other utilities, he doesn’t use a bucket and chuck it in the sea either – the houseboat is fully connected to municipal electricity, water and sewage systems.
Are shipping containers watertight?
Anything watertight will float, and shipping containers are no exception. Containers float very well, even when full with gear bound for distant shores aboard container ships. Almost every year yachts hit them, floating just below the surface and often sinking the yacht after its bottom has been ripped off. Among the millions of tonnes of junk in the world’s oceans, containers that fell off their ships in storms are often the most dangerous things in the water.
Far more benign are houseboats, that are essentially homes built on barges. They don’t need deep water – someone on a Pacific boaties forum reckoned that even fully laden with his worldly goods as a home, it would need only 30cm of water to float in. That means you could set your new home up almost anywhere you wanted, local restrictions permitting.
3 things to consider when building a shipping container houseboat
- Unless properly insulated, your home can get very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Insulation and weather tightness is a very important factor to consider in designing such a home.
- With views of the water generally at a premium in most cities around the world, do consult local guidelines about where you can tie your new home up. In the centre of Sydney if you find anywhere you will pay a considerable fee every year to moor in a great location.
- Another issue to consider is how sheltered the location is – do look at a backwater or a creek as the last thing you want is waves coming through your front door in the middle of the night!
Are you ready to build your own shipping container houseboat?
If this idea really floats your boat then get in touch with Gateway Container Sales, we will be delighted to help. We can provide a free quote, as well as put you in touch with the right designers for your dream houseboat. We supply the containers themselves and modify them to your requirements before delivering them to the site or boatyard, simple!