Local News

August 8, 2012

Moriah octogenarian builds houseboat

PORT HENRY — An 84-year-old Moriah man has built his own houseboat and is getting ready to cruise it on Lake Champlain.

Herbert Mosman of Windy Hill Road put his new craft in the water at Van Slooten Harbour Marina in Port Henry one recent weekend.

He’s waiting for the State Department of Motor Vehicles to assign it a hull number so he can register the boat and head for the open water.

“It took me six years to build,” Mosman said as he checked out the craft at his marina slip. “We can live on it. I put a standard-size bed in, a sink, toilet, propane stove.”

Mosman built two boats before this one, and he owned a 30-foot sailboat that he and his wife, Dorothy, sailed round-trip from the North Country to Florida and from Florida to the Bahamas every winter.

“My wife loved it. We’d come back up when the lobster season opened (in August),” he said.

Florida waterways are pretty hectic during lobster season, he added.

Mosman is still working on finishing details on his current boat. He doesn’t have any plans to live on the boat full-time, but he and Dorothy might do some overnight trips on Lake Champlain occasionally.

“I wanted to get it in the water this year. Building it was a challenge. I cut a strip of mahogany plywood, bent it, and I liked it. I realized I could build a pontoon from it,” Mosman said.

The boat he built is a catamaran houseboat, something not seen a lot on local waters. There are pontoons on each side supporting the superstructure of the boat.

“I put 10 coats of epoxy paint on it and two barrier coats,” Mosman said. “It should hold up pretty well.”

The boat is powered by a Nissan Marine outboard motor and has a holding tank for septic waste.

Mosman, a retired industrial arts teacher, taught at schools in Vermont and Massachusetts.

He said people have asked him for advice on boat building and sailing.

“I always say, ‘Learn how to use an anchor.’ It’s harder than you think.”

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