Posted by: oldsalt1942 | June 19, 2009

The Problem With Shantyboats

Obviously I like houseboats and shantyboats or I wouldn’t have started this blog. But let’s be honest. They are the red-headed step-children of the boating world. (No offense to red heads intended. I’ve had two red-headed girlfriends and wouldn’t say no to a third.)

Shantyboats aren’t pretty. They don’t have the sweeping beauty of this elegant rowing boat by Iain Oughtred


A shantyboat will never excite the imagination like these photos do…


Wallpaper boat

I mean, you have to be pretty strange, like I am, to let your mind take flights of fancy when you look at George Buehler’s Rufus when compared to the photos above.


The problem with shantyboats is that they are basically boxes sitting in the water. Never the less, there’s something about them that attracts you to them. Perhaps it’s the appeal of basically doing nothing. Chilling out in some out of the way location. Tied up to a tree and letting time slide by. I’ve raced on big sailboats. I’ve sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and drifted down the Mississipp River. Now it’s time to sit on the porch and watch the sun set behind the mountains in Panama.



  1. I discovered Harlan Hubbard last Christmas while visiting family in Kentucky. I believe my brother is in touch with friends of his. I’ve just started Shantyboat and it’s great to realize, and a pity, that I grew up not far from him, one county over. We used to go boating on the Ohio.

  2. Thomas:

    I’m honored that the host of one of my favorite boating blogs (I check it daily) took the time to write to mine. I’ve read Shantyboat TWICE. A classic for sure. BTW, a lot of people who read your blog link to mine through yours.

  3. The problem with shantyboats is that you are not making somebody else richer with the interest and taxes you pay owning something else. At least that’s what most states are trying to pass as law when they are trying to make houseboats real estate.

  4. A small boat and a suitcase full of money beat a 40 footer tied to the bank every time.

  5. And vice-versa! Check your new posts as well. Good job! I hope to connect with the folks my brother knows who knew the Hubbards, I think they are carrying on the life, but I’m not sure. This could all take awhile but I’ll give you a heads up.

  6. I am a real fan of the Buehler River Walker.
    Found this site today…
    River walker build photos…

    Keep up the great work here!

    By the way, my Escargot site, will be going away. The new site is . There is a blog there with my latest microshanty project.


  7. Hi,
    Thats my boat referred to in the above comment. If you’d like to see more pics I have lots on my facebook page. Its 3 years building now and I tell you, its a bigger job than I imagined. Should be done by spring.

  8. Chris is referring to the boat in the link listed in the comment prior to his comment. Sorry it took so long for me to approve your comment, Chris, I’ve been having horrible problems with my Yahoo mail program lately.

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