Designing and outfitting the boat

Boat engine systems

The boat is powered by a 50 hp Mercury outboard motor.    This motor will normally be operated at only a low throttle setting which will move the boat at 4-6 mph, depending on current flow, wind, etc.      A second 10 hp outboard motor is mounted on the back to provide a backup source of power.   And a small 3 hp motor is mounted on the front.   This can be also be used to provide power or supplement steerage and maneuvering.    It can literally move the boat sideways or turn the boat around in a small space.     It is also used to power the canoe, which will be towed along side or behind the large boat.    A total of 35-40  gallons of gasoline can carried to give us an estimated 120-180 mile range.

3 hp motor, mounted on front deck extension, also used to power canoe

50 hp main motor and 10 hp[ aux. motor on rear



Electrical system

The boat  will incorporate both a 12 volt  and 120 volt  electrical system

Twelve (12) volt batteries supply 12 volt power for standard boat equipment such as outboard motor, red and green running lights,   spot lights , and marine electronics.    These batteries are re- charged  directly by the outboard motor alternator, or from the generator via a battery charger.

The 120 volt system power can be supplied directly from the generator or from the 12 volt batterys via a 1000  watt inverter  which converts the 12 volt DC power to standard household current of 120 volt AC power to run the microwave, refrigerator/freezer,  cockpot as well as battery chargers for razors, and other 120 volt AC items.

Solar powered lights are also used on each corner of the boat as anchor lights which are required when the boat is anchored at night.


Gasoline powered generator                               1000 watt inverter

Boat Electronics

Boat Electronics include G.P.S. and chart systems, marine radios,

Several marine radios which will provide commication with other boats, marinas, towboats, and lock and Dam facilities, as well as provide emergency weather broadcasts.    These operate primarily on the 12 volt boat electrical systems although a portable battery radio is included.

Two G.P.S. systems are included that provide latitude/longitude location data from overhead satellites and are plotted on a electronic chart system that provides a chart of the river, various way points, marinas, lock and dams, the river channel, and other features as well as track our actual path on the chart and allow us to record and store our stopping and camping points, etc.

They also provide water depth information from a sensor mounted under the boat.

Light systems

The boat has the normal boating lights such as red and green running lights, and 360 degree light for normal night operation and anchor lights.     Solar powered lights will also provide all night anchor lights.       For night operation, we will also have a set of head lights and flood lights, and several hand held spotlight, and remote controlled spotlights for distance illuminations .

the cabin utilizes bot 12 volt and 120 volt cabin lights for night use.      The 110 volt system used the ecobulbs (florescent) for low power draw.

Other transportation needs

A canoe will be towed along side or behind to provide transportation fo shoreline if needed, and to use in fishing nearby areas and other uses.

While many supplies, such as gasoline, ice, and other supplies will be purchased from shoreline marinas and stores, a bicycle and small wagon  will be utilized to obtain such item that may have to be acquired farther inland.    In  areas south of St Louis, and on the Ohio River, there are long stretches of the river where marinas are not available for as much as 200 miles, and supplies may have to be acquired inland as much as 1-2 miles.                                

Water Filter System

This water filter system will pump water from lake/river thru a 3 stage water filters system to provide clean water for washing clothes, showers, washing dishes and similar uses,     Water can be drawn off at any of the 3 stages and also unfiltered water.

Unfiltered water can be used for washing off sand and mud.    Stage 1 removes larger sediments, chlorinates the water and may also be used for minor washing, etc

Stage 2 removes finer sediments, (larger than 5 microns, 1/5000th of an inch)    A micron is one millionth of a meter , or 1/25000 of an inch.   It also removes tastes and odors, using activated charcoal.

Stage 3 contains activated charcoal and removes additional fine sediments, tastes and odors, as well as some bacteria and cysts and adds additional chlorine.     This can be used for showers, laundry,  and washing cookware, etc.

Water for drinking and cooking  will be provided from bottled water or water sources provided by marinas and other potable water sources.     However, Stage 3 water, with  adequate chlorination,  could be used as emergency drinking water

Another water source may come from rainwater collected from roof  runoff via the roof eves and collected at rear in a water bottle which will be chlorinated and purified .

Cooking, Sleeping and other living needs

Cooking will be primarily accomplished with the propane camp stove,   small gas grill, and other appliances, such as crockpot, microwave, etc.      Ice chests will be used for refrigerated food storage, and a small refrigerator/freezer is being considered and evaluated for use in longer term storage, provided the power requirement are small enough to make it use feasible.

Built in bunks, cots and air mattresses will be employed for sleeping arrangements within the cabin. And a portapotti room will be included for toilet facilities,    This can be pumped out at various marinas as needed along the way.    Although overnight stops may be made at some shoreline marinas, we will normally overnight at shoreline sandbars and other areas along the river, even anchoring in nearby sloughs and backwaters.

Laundry needs can be met at selected marinas, and a small portable laundry washing machine  is being considered for use.   An onboard portable shower unit is being prepared with hot water provided via solar water bags or heated on propane stove and small electrical pump.

Portable washing machine

Solar Hot water Bag

propane powered instant hot water heater

A shower is being planned utilizing a propane instant hot water heater and will be mounted on/over the front deck extension to provide evening showers.     the shower curtain and ring can be dropped down during the days of travel as not to block visiablity.

diagram of planned shower

Mosquito and bug control.

Mosquito repellent units can be employed during early evening hours to ward off such unwanted visitors.   The cabin drop-down curtains are designed as tight as possible to exclude these critters during the night.,   In addition, a small fan will draw air thru a fine mosquito mesh and blow into the cabin.  This ventilation will provide a slight positive pressure in the cabin to keep bugs from entering in any overlooked cracks and crevices in the curtains.    Mosquito nets covering selected windows and openingsmay be used to provide venilation on warm evenings.

Thermocell mosquito repellent unit

Food Supplies

Highly perishable food such as bread, milk, eggs, fresh meat, fresh or frozen orange juice, some fruits, etc will be purchased frequently at various marina stores, nearby conveince stores, and supermarkets if available.   Other items such as potatos, onions, fresh fruits that do not normally require refrigeration will be purchased as needed and available.   Powdered  milk, eggs, potatos, etc will be included for use when and if needed.     Canned goods, including canned meat, canned fruit juices, will also be used.     Bottled water, Beer, sodas, and other drinks will be purchased when desired.    Water containers will be carried on boat to allow  refilling at marinas whenever potable water is  available.

Next page:: Boat put away for winter

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