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The barge can be formed, reinforcing steel in-

stalled and concrete poured. The wall forms can
be removed after three
days and framing of the
house can begin.

Interior of home at the end of Issaquah Dock.
Construction time for a barge only is about 7
days, then the concrete must cure for approxi-
mately 10 days or until the concrete reaches de-
sign strength, as determined by a crush test of a
sample taken at the time of pouring. The design
strength of the concrete is 4000 psi, which is
normally reached within 7 days.
To build a complete houseboat of approximately
1200 sq. ft. takes about four months, given stan-
dard construction. The addition of specialty items,
curved work, elaborate plumbing and tile work
can add considerably to the time and cost, espe-
cially long lead-time items.
Concrete barges float because of the sheer vol-
ume of water displaced by the barge. Acting in
accordance with the laws of physics, the weight of
water displaced equals the weight of the barge.
The barges are formed atop two steel cradles with
a total of 12 wheels that run on railroad tracks
which extend into the bay. A plywood deck is
formed between the steel cradles, and wall forms
are erected on the deck.
The next phase is the installation of reinforcing
steel. In a 16 x 36 barge, there is approximately
4000 lbs. of reinforcing, comprising #4 bars at
12 centers both ways in the walls and floor slab;
#5 bars at 6 centers in top of the floor slab and
#6 bars at the top and bottom of the walls.

Boat shaped barge for the SS Maggie South 40
Pier, Waldo Point Harbor, Sausalito, CA.
When reinforcing placement is complete and it
has been inspected by the structural engineer, in-
side wall forms are installed, lined, plumbed and

Home under construction for 27 Liberty Dock,
Waldo Point Harbor, Sausalito, CA; New barge re-
cently poured, ready for wall form removal and
epoxy coating.
Concrete is usually poured beginning at 7:00 a.m.
to take advantage of cooler weather. The pour
takes from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the barge
size. Design strength for the concrete is 4000 psi
at 28 days, but this strength is usually attained at
7 days. The mix contains 7 sacks of cement per
cubic yard of concrete and some plastecising ad-
mixtures and is delivered to the site with a
maximum slump of 3 which is quite dry, but is
workable because of the admixtures. A very im-
portant element of high concrete strength and
minimum shrinkage is low water-to-cement ratio.
Wall forms can be removed several days after
pouring. Then the snap tie (ties that hold the
forms together) holes are plugged with a pre-cast
cement cone and urethane caulking, then the
walls receive two coats of cold tar epoxy coating.
The barge can be launched when the concrete
reaches design strength which is normally about
7 days, but launching is usually 10-14 days after
As of January 15, 2011, the price for a new barge
is $71 / sq.ft. All barges have epoxy coated rein-
forcing steel and the exterior of the walls is
coated with two coats of polyurethane epoxy
paint. A barge 16' x 32' x 6' would be $36,352.
There is a minimum pricing size of 16x32x6 and a
maximum pricing size of 20x46x6.
Sizes range from 112x26, 32x65, down to 12x20.
Barges larger than 20x46x6 can be priced upon
Some concrete barges built by the military during
WWII are being used as houseboat hulls, and
with better concrete and two coats of cold tar ep-
oxy, todays barges can be expected to last at
least 40 years. With the use of fusion coated rein-
forcing the life expectancy exceeds 80 years.
For a 200 year barge, epoxy coated reinforcing
steel may be used. This adds substantially to the
cost (about 20%) but produces a barge that will
last for centuries. Of over 300 barges built by Aq-
uamaison Inc., only four have used epoxy coated
Aquamaison, Inc. began building concrete barges
in 1978, and from that time on was having rein-
forcing steel designed and inspected by an engi-
neer, taking concrete samples for testing, and
casting into each barge a date, barge number,
and the name Aquamaison Inc.
In February 2009, Aquamaison, Inc. began con-
struction on the first of three concrete barges for
the Ecuadorian Coast Guard, in the city of
Guayaquil, Ecuador. The project was undertaken
with Aquamaison, Inc. acting as consultant to
Mastersoft SA, an Ecuadorian contractor.
The barges are to house mobile outposts for the
Coast Guard, and will be anchored at protected
offshore locations along the coast of Ecuador, with
a thirteen man and two officer crew, and two high
speed thirty foot boats.
The barge area is divided into eight separate
chambers with watertight bulkhead doors, and
contain tanks for gasoline (10,000 gal) diesel
(10,000 gal) water maker, a sewage treatment
plant and twin high output diesel gennerators.
As shown in the photograph, Mobile Outpost # 1
was anchored in position at Isla Santa Clara on
July 24th 2009, and is now operational. The re-
maing two units are being completed at this time
and are expeced to all be deployed by October
The barges measure 51 feet by forty two feet,
and are eight foot six inches high. The structure
is thirty six feet by thirty eight feet, and twenty
seven feet high. The total weight with gasoline,
diesel and water is in excess of 800,000 lb.