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Kirk Wood

Houseboat rental?

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We have been thinking about joining another couple and renting a houseboat on Lake Powell next year. I was wondering if anyone here has ever done this and if so, any suggestions you may have?

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We have done this a few times.  There are two main marinas that rent houseboats.  Since we live on the west coast, we always use Wahweap Marina in AZ, but you can also use Bullfrog Marina in UT.  Here is a good starting point for planning a houseboat vacation.  If you are flexible on the days you would like to travel, there are some good deals to be had.  We did it two years ago and I was able to get a houseboat for basically half price.  I did it through the Lake Powel website I linked above by checking rates and various combinations of days.  The last time we did it we met up with family in the middle of the lake.  We rented at Wahweap and they rented at Bullfrog and then we met up on the lake.  Once you nail down the days you want to travel, then figure out the size boat you would like to rent.  

Powell is huge, so you will never see the whole lake.  I do recommend at least trying to get out to Rainbow Bridge.  Depending on the water level, you may have to hike up to it but it is worth it.  I also recommend you have some type of run about boat to do some exploring up some of the smaller fingers along the lake.  You can tow the smaller boat behind the houseboat when traveling along the lake.  We usually set the house boat up in a nice area for a day or two and use a smaller boat for fun and exploring and then move the big boat to another location and repeat.  This would be very similar to the way you RV with a toad..

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Make sure to check out the safety (Coastguard) regulations .

http://www.uscgboating.org/

Depending on the fine print....there are situations that the that person hiring the boat becomes the Captain. All safety, licensing and (hopefully not ) accident liability is the captain's responsibility, not the charter company's.

 

 

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On our honeymoon , we rented a 50 foot houseboat on Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee . 

Much like Chad , we 'shopped' for the best deal/time and saved a bunch . We also used the same 'camping strategy' as Chad . 

Park the boat in one cove/finger for a couple days and use the 'skiff' for exploration/fishing , then move . And , agreed , he nailed it : motor home with toad , on water . 

Like a MH , even a big houseboat can be tight quarters . I hope you get along well with your friends . ;)

 

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Thanks for all of the ideas thus far. I especially appreciate the link. We have considered doing this on several occasions but it has always seemed to fall by the way for one reason or another. It is on my bucket list so......

The park fee mentioned is one covered by the Senior Pass card I assume? Any thoughts on things to avoid? Can one rent some sort of dingy with the houseboat?

Do you have to return to the marina for fuel if you rent for a week? What about dumping waste tanks and refilling fresh water? 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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Kirk , 

We had our boat for 5 days . We had no concerns for fuel or the holding tanks , as both were big enough to accommodate at least a week . When you get closer to renting , ask the marina those questions for definite answers . I'm sure houseboats can be as diverse as motor homes .

Our rental included a 14' rowboat , I simply mounted my electric fishing motor on the transom and we were all set . 

Parking our truck must have been included , because I don't recall any separate fee . 

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Depending on the size boat you go with will determine how long your tanks will last.  The boat we rented was 50' if I remember correctly.  There were six adults on board and we had plenty of water and tank capacity for a week.  Showers were done on the back of the boat with a shower head that drew water direct from the lake, so no fresh water was wasted.  Fuel will depend on how far you travel with the houseboat.  There are three main fuel stops on the lake; the two marinas and one near the center of the lake (accessible only by boat).  We were able to go all week without refueling and that included a lot of generator run time.  However, we didn't move around a lot on our last trip.  We cruised to the center of the lake (between Wahweap and Bullfrog) and stayed in that general area the whole time because we met family there on another boat from the other marina.  That trip alone, though, took most of the day in the houseboat.

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We have not rented a houseboat but we owned a small houseboat on Lake Powell and have been on others houseboats.  Houseboats are just like a MH in that there are all types and sizes.  Most of the rental boats appear to be pretty well setup.  The water and holding tanks are usually good for a week or more.  There are also floating dump stations available across the lake .  No charge.  They also rent runabouts and the advice to have one is good.  If you are into fishing it can be really good or not depending on time of year and luck.  Lake Powell is beatiful and to wake up on the lake is a special experience. Depending on the time of year there may only be a couple of boats in a canyon the size of some lakes.  It is like boondocking and the rentals I have seen compare to top of the line MH's.  My favorite time is early October.  The water is still warm but the air temps are mild.  If you like it warmer, September.   It will be much more peaceful if the kids are in school.  One of our biggest problems was fuel for the runabout.  Many houseboats have auxiliary fuel tanks but I am not sure about the rentals.  Keep an eye out for storms.  If one is predicted find a good cove and tie securely.   Driving, tying the houseboat and a runabout requires more than a couple in most cases and 6 people can make it easier especially for first timers.  I think they will go over operations and functions before you set out on the rentals.  If a Lake Powell houseboat is on your list I don't  think you will regret it.

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1 hour ago, Randyretired said:

Driving, tying the houseboat and a runabout requires more than a couple in most cases and 6 people can make it easier especially for first timers.

Hmm , It was the first time for us and I didn't have much of a problem . But , that was over 20 years ago . I might have been in a little better shape back then . ;)

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10 hours ago, Pat & Pete said:

But , that was over 20 years ago . I might have been in a little better shape back then .

We are just the two of us, but we are talking to another couple of going with us. We were thinking of a week and with a boat of about 50' or so. Assuming the other couple goes, we want one with two bedrooms that are more than just a curtain. Thinking of a one time experience, so comfort will be a higher priority than cheap. 

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23 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

We are just the two of us, but we are talking to another couple of going with us. We were thinking of a week and with a boat of about 50' or so. Assuming the other couple goes, we want one with two bedrooms that are more than just a curtain. Thinking of a one time experience, so comfort will be a higher priority than cheap. 

If you need that kind of privacy , you'll likely need a bigger boat than a puny 50 footer . ;)

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By now, you all know which one I prefer for the TV location. But I sure do like the one with 2 bathrooms! 

Linda Sand

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I went back and checked my records.  We actually rented the 59' Discovery XL houseboat, so it was a little longer than I originally remembered.  It was very comfortable for the six of us.

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As far as I can see, none of the boats come with a reasonably priced dingy to tow along with you. As nice as that might be, I can't see paying another $500/day to get one.

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

As far as I can see, none of the boats come with a reasonably priced dingy to tow along with you. As nice as that might be, I can't see paying another $500/day to get one.

You could just buy a used rowboat for that kind of money and then resell after your use . Or , if you happen to know someone that might lone you their boat for a weekish ... maybe bring some steaks when you ask . ;)

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There are nice campgrounds at both major marinas.  It might be worth it to go for  a day or 2 and check out the boats.  

Lake Powell is a big lake and we sometimes traveled 50 miles or more in our smaller boat for sight seeing or fishing.  $500 a day is very expensive for some of the rentals I have seen.   Hopefully there are more reasonably priced alternatives.

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I got an email from the Lake Powell houseboat rental vendor which suggested that one might rent a small post for much less in a nearby town and bring it out to the lake. 

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On 8/31/2017 at 9:31 AM, Kirk Wood said:

As far as I can see, none of the boats come with a reasonably priced dingy to tow along with you. As nice as that might be, I can't see paying another $500/day to get one.

All the advice is pretty good, so I won't repeat it. Except that Lake Powell is where you want to go for the best houseboating experience and you want to do it outside of peak season. After Labor Day is best. Go with other people, it is a lot more fun. Be sure to rent for the minimum of a week, it is a gas.

We rented for a week in the spring before the rush. It was great, the water was cold unlike after Labor Day where the water is warm.

We got a "free" ski boat with the rental. That was VERY worthwhile. It allowed us to explore the lake without moving the houseboat everyday. It isn't much different than a RV in take down. I would rent or borrow a ski boat to tow behind the houseboat. Think of it as a toad.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Vladimir said:

We got a "free" ski boat with the rental. That was VERY worthwhile.

We are thinking the same way and thinking of another couple as well. The extra boat is the catch and since we are all past our water skiing days, it really doesn't need to be a ski boat, just a runabout would serve nicely.  But I am wondering who you rented from as all that I have made contact with are seeking several hundred dollars per day for the second boat. 

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