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First time house boater - questions, many, many, questions

Backlash 2

New Member
Hi everyone,

I've been lurking this site ever since we booked our Lake Powell vacation for this coming June. I'm an experienced boater (many years boating in and around the Channel Islands in Southern CA) but this is our first time renting a house boat. We are renting a house boat from Aramark out of Wahweap and I'll be trailering my 22 foot Davis Cortez from Southern CA for the trip to use as our runabout. I've got a number of questions I haven't seen answered in my snooping about on the site and was hoping the collective braintrust could help me out. Here goes...

  • Is there a Quagga Mussel inspection requirement to launch at the lake? My boat has never been in fresh water and is kept on a trailer so it is clean and dry inside and out.
  • Are there guest docks available to tie up my boat the night before we pick up our house boat rental? We will arrive on a Friday afternoon and pick up the house boat on Saturday. If so, where, and how would I go about reserving one?
  • I'm the only person in our party that will be able to drive the house boat and the runabout. I'm not concerned once the runabout is in tow, but I do have some questions around the logistics of getting the houseboat out of the slip, then getting the runabout over to the house boat, etc. Does Aramark offer a shuttle service where they get the house boat out of the slip and I come find them in the runabout? Or, am I going to need to get creative?
Thanks in advance for the help. I'm sure more questions will surface as our trip gets closer.

Best,
Scott
 

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PowellBride

Moderator
1. No requirement before launch. You will be required to have an inspection before you leave.
You still have to drain and dry your boat before leaving Powell, and complete the departure inspection. Also be sure your drain plug is out, technically (at least this is what I was told by a mussel inspector) it's illegal to travel with it in- as you could transport mussels.

When you pull out, completely drain all live wells, bilges, motor, etc. Then be sure everything on the boat is clean (no dirt, mud or plant debris) and dry. Leave your boat uncovered and head to the inspection station. Leave out all dock lines, life jackets, bumpers, and anchors. They will want to inspect all of them to ensure no mussels have attached. Once you complete inspection - you can then cover the boat and leave. So there will be some delay, just not as long as it would be if you wanted to decontaminate the boat at Powell

2. To reserve a slip call Executive Services (928) 645-1027 - you may want to mention you are renting a houseboat. I don't know if they have special slips reserved or if they will give you preference

3. I believe they offer a pilot service for the Houseboat. You may be able to catch up to the pilot on the Houseboat outside the breakwater on your run about. I'd ask the rental office in advance for thoughts
 

Boudreaux

Well-Known Member
Are there guest docks available to tie up my boat the night before we pick up our house boat rental? We will arrive on a Friday afternoon and pick up the house boat on Saturday. If so, where, and how would I go about reserving one?
I’ve only rented twice, both times at Bullfrog, but with Aramark of course. Both times they suggested I park the runabout in a temporary slip overnight at no charge. Your mileage may vary...

Also, consider “early boarding” option if you haven’t already. It costs more, but costs less than hotels for everyone, most likely. You get to get settled the evening before, so you can have a full day the first day of your rental, instead of waiting for everyone to show up, waiting for the instructions/orientation talk, waiting for the inevitable “I need to run to the store real quick” which will eat up half of your first day rental and put you on the water just in time for afternoon winds.

Also consider downloading the Navionics app to help you navigate the emerging obstacles in the lake. Search this site for the water level adjustments. The houseboat will likely not have a graph/map capability.
 

shams

Member
If you are arriving Friday afternoon, I would definitely recommend the pre-board option. If you get there in time you may be able to get all your paperwork, instructions, and checkout done which will save you hours on Saturday morning. You can also get the houseboat loaded and ready to head out first thing Saturday morning.

There are some slips right in front of the rental office on the rental docks. I have slipped my boat there a few times overnight.

They have pilots available to take you in and out of the docks. I’m sure you could arrange to meet your houseboat/pilot out in the bay with your runabout.
 

AzTacoma

Well-Known Member
If you haven't reserved a pre-board it's probably too late, they wouldn't let me add it on last minute.

Like others have said, launch your boat ahead of time and dock it at the rental office where the houseboats are at.

You really need to have someone else that can operate your own boat. Preferably the houseboat too but definitely your own boat. They don't have to be a pro, but idling out past the buoy line and controlling it while you beach the houseboat, etc... it's not very practical or feasible to try and do everything yourself. It's going to be real hot and there's gonna be some serious stress involved as a first timer trying to do everything yourself. Whatever you do, take your time.
 

Bollyb

Member
You are the Captain. As such you are responsible for everyone's safety. Be sure that you have a safety and crew orientation and that everyone knows what they are supposed to do when you beach, possibly dock for fuel, load and unload the runabout and carbon monoxide hazards if they are swimming around the boat. Be particularly mindful of wind. It can and will grab that high profile house boat and make you believe you have lost total control. When you have beached, be sure you have all the anchor lines more than secure even if you think it is as calm as can be. Wind at night will give you the Lake Powell nightmare if you are not secure and believe me, it does come up at night when you least expect it. Whatever happens, don't panic at least don't let your crew know you are. As others have suggested get more than one driver for both the houseboat and the runabout. Otherwise you will work yourself to a frazzle and you will be the only one that doesn't have any fun. Be safe and hope to see you on the water.
 

Tride

Member
You cannot possibly do it all yourself, especially when the weather turns, which it can quickly. Someone else needs to be able to drive one of the boats, either the house boat or your speed boat.
 

viking842000

Well-Known Member
Agreed on the importance of 2 drivers. You will likely encounter the tour boat wake as well at some point and I would not have my boat in tow at that moment. When beaching the HB someone needs to drive the runabout... managing both will be a true challenge especially if dealing with wakes/wind...
 

PowellBride

Moderator
When we're short handed we snug the runabout up against the back deck of the houseboat when anchoring. When we are anchored we tie the runabout up behind the houseboat anyway, just be sure there are adequate bumpers back there, and that its tied up tight.

Its not ideal, but its an option. Not sure I'd want to try it for my first anchoring attempt.

Also when you are anchoring you will want to leave the boat running, and have someone at the wheel keeping it straight until you get one anchor out on each side.
 

Boudreaux

Well-Known Member
Piling on with one more suggestion (well, two)
1) check this out if you haven’t done Houseboating 101 (at Lake Powell, on the Wildwind)
It’s also pinned at the top of the Lake Powell Recreation section

2) When anchoring houseboat to the shore: “I think that’s good enough” is probably not good enough
“Holy Crap, that’s way overkill!” is probably good enough

Seriously, the wind can be no joke.
 

JRJ

New Member
One driver sounds "dicey" at best to me on this lake for your situation. Too many experiences where multiple drivers were critical.
 

Backlash 2

New Member
Thanks everyone for the answers and recommendations. Very helpful. To put you at ease with the driver situation, I could have been more clear in that regard. Once we get out of the slip and are underway in the main channel we've got others in the party that will be able to drive the house boat or my skiff. I was more concerned with the technical boat handling duties in and around the launch ramp and slips. I've also got able bodied helpers on duty to help with anchoring once we beach the house boat.

With respect to the recommendation not to have the skiff in tow through the Maytag Straits, is that because it is particularly rough, or is it due to handling issues, tight spaces, etc.? Just trying to understand the reasoning behind the recommendation.
 

Backlash 2

New Member
Piling on with one more suggestion (well, two)
1) check this out if you haven’t done Houseboating 101 (at Lake Powell, on the Wildwind)
It’s also pinned at the top of the Lake Powell Recreation section

2) When anchoring houseboat to the shore: “I think that’s good enough” is probably not good enough
“Holy Crap, that’s way overkill!” is probably good enough

Seriously, the wind can be no joke.
@ Boudreaux

1) I've read through the Houseboating 101 link multiple times already as I found that during my previous lurking about. Great info in there.

2) This is similar to anchoring at the channel islands. The weather in the channel in the norther part of the chain can change quickly, so I'm well versed in proper anchoring technique. I've researched the methods for securing the house boats and overkill will be my standard operating procedure.
 

svivian

Well-Known Member
With respect to the recommendation not to have the skiff in tow through the Maytag Straits, is that because it is particularly rough, or is it due to handling issues, tight spaces, etc.? Just trying to understand the reasoning behind the recommendation.
Its concern over a rogue tour boat wave and how rough it can be. For a bass boat or surf boat in tow it can take on a lot of water in bad conditions. Looking at your boat I personally don't think its an issue but only you know what your boat can handle in regards to waves.
 

Peto

Well-Known Member
With respect to the recommendation not to have the skiff in tow through the Maytag Straits, is that because it is particularly rough, or is it due to handling issues, tight spaces, etc.? Just trying to understand the reasoning behind the recommendation.
I think people are concerned about the rough water. With a boat like yours I don't see an issue. Tow it and enjoy.

Remember there may not be fuel available at Dangling Rope during your trip so take that in to consideration as well.
 
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