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You Can Turn Any Motorhome Into a Houseboat, But Should You?

You Can Turn Any Motorhome Into a Houseboat, But Should You?

If you haven’t considered what it would be like to take your RV on the water, you can start now. There is a solution to that desire: the Roller Boat. However, is an RV motorhome houseboat a preferable travel and recreation option?

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Check out the Roller Boat, and decide whether you should transform your motorhome into a houseboat. Let’s get started! 

What Is the Roller Boat Amphibious RV Concept?

Roller Boat is a company that specializes in making amphibious RVs a possibility. The central location for the company’s manufacturing is in southern Indiana. David and Jean Lee own the business. 

Rollerboat - Roller Boat is the Amphibious RV (rental)

David and Jean are avid RV explorers, and they are in the business of producing a reliable mechanism that allows RV users to drive their vehicle onto a floating platform, use the platform to steer, and drive through the water like a motorboat. 

It’s basically a fancy, RV-sized barge or a motorhome houseboat. The only thing that comes close to it on the water is the Terra Wind amphibious RV.

How Does the Roller Boat Work?

The design is as innovative as the concept. Roller Boat uses the power of your motorhome to run the boat engine and the steering. The rear wheels of the RV fit comfortably into place between two rollers on the deck, and as the tires spin, the rollers turn. When the rollers turn, they power a gearbox to the outdrive. 

You steer the vessel from the driver’s seat of your RV. It hooks into a power steering “fly-by-wire” system. You can load your RV onto the platform from any standard boat launch ramp. There are two hulls in five feet, airtight sections, with ballasts in each corner to stabilize the platform. Roller Boat can float over 175,000 pounds. It measures 60 feet long and 18 feet wide.

Roller Boat
Imagine sitting in the driver’s seat of your Class A and staring out over water instead of a road.

What Are the Benefits of Turning Your Motorhome Into a Houseboat?

There are numerous benefits of owning or renting a Roller Boat. First, you can camp almost anywhere. Typically, you won’t have to pay for a spot when camping on the water. Secondly, there is no need to load or unload supplies, or find a parking spot! Simply drive your motorhome onto the platform at any boat ramp and away you go.

You can fish from the roof of your motorhome. You can go swimming in a private environment with the best scenery. You’ll be free to explore places via the water you may not have seen before, having an RV houseboat at your command. 

The lack of neighbors (if you want) and having a waterfront site in all directions ain’t bad either! If you love the water as much as RVing, you can combine both worlds.

What Are the Disadvantages of Turning Your Motorhome Into a Houseboat?

Having taken the time to consider the perks, you also have to consider the disadvantages of turning your motorhome into a houseboat. Some of them are obvious. 

If you have small children, traveling on a Roller Boat might be a tricky option for safety. There are railings around the platform, but they won’t stop a small child from going overboard. 

You’re also taking your RV out on the water. If something happens, you’ve lost your Roller Boat and your RV. Not to mention, that would pose a risk to everyone aboard. It’s wise to be cautious and follow all of the rules while using it. 

Waves could have you rocking and rolling in your motorhome more than you’re used to if parked at a campground. They and currents can also push your Roller Boat around if you’re not properly anchored. Drifting isn’t usually an issue with normal RV camping.

Finally, the Roller Boat is rather large, so you’d be rather limited in which body of water you’re going to enjoy with it. It’s not like you can just bring it traveling with you and drop it into every body of water in your RV travels.

Pro Tip: Before you turn your motorhome into a houseboat, find out why water damage is The Biggest Downfall to RVs.

What Type of RV Can the Roller Boat Carry? 

Not all RVs can ride on the Roller Boat. They can’t all power the contraption. Fifth wheels and trailers don’t fall into the standard fit, but there are options for these RV types. 

If you’re purchasing one from the manufacturer, they can modify the build of the product to suit your needs. You’ll need to add a transom, a motor, and a different remote helm to control the throttle, shifting, and steering. 

Is a Roller Boat Safe in Rough Water?

Before you get too comfortable on the water with your Roller Boat, you need to know that the design is not for operation on open waters. The manufacturers built it to function safely on inland lakes and waterways. 

Your motorhome houseboat will do fine on inland lake waters during a windy day. Two-foot waves are no challenge to the build. Larger bodies of water create more turbulence than it can safely handle, so don’t get too ambitious. 

rough ocean water
RV motorhome houseboats aren’t well-suited for turbulent waters.

Can I Get Insurance for the Roller Boat? 

Roller Boat is a little ahead of the game on traditional insurance deals. You have to get a little crafty to ensure you have coverage. It would be best to look over your RV’s comprehensive coverage thoroughly to ensure there are no exclusion clauses related to transporting the RV over water. Insuring it would take an “actual cash value” or “agreed amount value” policy for full coverage. 

Pro Tip: Curious how much it costs to insure an RV? Find out here: How Much Is RV Insurance?

Where Can I Try a Roller Boat? 

If you don’t want to go all-in and purchase this invention right away, you can rent an RV houseboat to take a spin on the water. You’ll have to go to northeastern Tennessee, though. Dale Hollow Marina in Celina, Tennessee, provides Roller Boat rentals. 

Should You Turn an RV Into a Houseboat? 

You’re the only one who knows whether you should morph your motorhome into a houseboat. The Roller Boat is pretty cool, but there are plenty of aspects to consider before purchasing. It would be best to try renting one first, so you know whether it meshes well with your travel habits. 

Land and Sea RV walkthrough

What do you think? Would you ever turn your RV or motorhome into a houseboat? Drop a comment below.

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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