House Boating

Jackhannan

New Member
Hey all,

4 college kids from Michigan rented a 50 foot houseboat on lake powell. It’s windy and we don’t know whether or not we can make the trip from wahweap to padre bay with the forecast, marina recommend against it so we stayed today but want to make moves. Overall we all have good boating experience just obviously not here and not in a 50 foot houseboat with winds like this. Is attempting to head to padre bay a bad idea or not?

Would love any input you all could give based on the forecast and situation.

Thanks
 
The marina advice is sound.

Today’s Wahweap forecast is West wind 20-30 with gusts to 40. Our wind tolerance is 15 mph. Above that things get very dicey in a houseboat, even for experienced captains. The high profile acts like a sail, pushing the vessel around and diminishing maneuverability.

And as mentioned, even in a sheltered cove, getting anchored and staying anchored is a constant battle.

Looking forward, tomorrow and Thursday look much better. Keep an eye on that forecast because more wind coming Friday, becoming pretty bad Saturday/Sunday.
 
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Folks are usually hesitant to give risky advice incase it doesn't work out for you. Ultimately it's a fly/no fly decision by the Captain and crew. IF you want to start your vacation maybe you could buy the insurance and stick it in a spot right there in Wahweap bay with the wind at your back or your bow under a protected cliff into the wind? Then after you've beached it and tied off once you could head up lake tomorrow? There is a good section on this page called House-boating 101, there are some good tips on there on how to. If it's white capping in the bay then I would stay put in the marina but otherwise it's doable. Life and limb and safety of the crew is tantamount even if the boat gets damaged, mission pentameter number one. If it's too difficult out could always turn back.
 
Certainly it is possible to drive the boat in that kind of wind. If you were trying to get back into the marina, it would be a real struggle to do so under those winds. It will be much easier to beach the boat in wind than go in the marina, but it will still be a big struggle. Even navigating around the marina will be a struggle, since you could easily get sideways. The big thing to understand about houseboats is that the engines aren't very good at dealing with anything fast and the winds you are talking about could quickly overwhelm the ability of the engines to keep things in control. If you know how to manage the angles, you may be all right, butt there will also be waves to contend with. To top it off, if you have any sort of engine trouble you will be in a world of hurt. I would take the advice of the marina personnel.
 
For a NEW crew on this lake the answer is a BIG solid NO to exit and anchor in winds gusting to 40 mph. Do NOT do it.

You may ask the marina to pilot you over to ice cream canyon for an anchor - this is only 10 minutes away - the marina captains are pretty good and do drive and park and service the boats in winds under 30 all the time. They have a lot of training and experience in the equipment, you do not.

You will have ALOT more fun on the beach than in the slip, and this time of year Ice cream canyon will give you almost 100% of what padre will give you minus the long drive each way and sunsets. It will not be that busy at all and there will be plenty of spots to park. Lone rock beach is near as well and offers a mile of sand but it SUCKS there when the wind blows. The water is too cold right now to play in so you will not be in the lake, maybe a quick 10 second dip but that’s it.

With that said, the hardest part of driving in the wind is not the drive in open water but the final docking or anchoring, you need lots of non symmetric throttle to keep you on coarse during that last minute - to go straight you may have one engine in reverse with the other in forward. Back out as soon as things start to go sideways and try again. My highest open water drive in a houseboat on powell was 46 mph gust steady at 35 coming back from Padre about 10 years ago - there is no way I would ever do that in a small boat and there is no way I would ever dock in that wind even with thrusters. For me I will exit the marina in my houseboat at up to 20 mph gust, but I will only return to slip at under 10 at the marina. The key on anchoring in high wind is to be fully prepared and safely hold steady position off anchor point and wait for a break in the wind. Then move into position and keep the nose pinned hard against the beach using throttles, and use rudder to keep stern of boat steady into the wind. Get a stern line safely secured on wind side first - keep throttle and rudders on, then secure stern line on other side. Keeps ropes out of the water and away from the props. Once the stern is locked in with TIGHT ropes secure you bow to anchors to keep your bow from slipping sideways. If you find yourself out of control set engines to idle to minimize full speed damage upon impact. If pinned against rocks do not use engine closest to rocks unless in deep water and make sure other prop is free from impacting rocks. In big wind you want to be protected in small coves to keep direct wind impact lower and to also get away from bigger waves in open bays. If you are not in a protected spot the wind and waves will have you wishing you were in the slip.

Buy all the insurance you can.

I would ask for a pilot to ice cream canyon or tip one of the captains $100 to do it after hours.

Have everyone on board wear a life vest just in case. The hired pilot will always wear one.

You will never forget this adventure. Keep it safe.

There are things to do if you stay in the slip including a hike to horseshoe bend or to antelope canyon. You can also enjoy the heated pool at the hotel.
 
check the wind forecast for 10 days
Better Wednesday
Saturday is windy again
It is not fun to be out on the lake in a wind storm. Waves could swamp your motors. Not many boats out this time of year to help you.
We were out in a storm that suddenly came up with 62 mph gusts. Made it to the marina ok. The kids still remember that one. Put on your PFDs.
The saying for Lake Powell is: There will be wind even if they don't say it. If they say it will be windy, it REALLY will be windy.
 
What Buba says 👍
If there calling for wind, dont put yourself and every one else on the boat in that situation, that can cost not only money, but harm, when people are telling you not to. Even if you go to a closer spot, you are still going to be in higher winds. Common sense goes out the door when people panic, and common since told you to ask, so take some good advice, and enjoy your trip in other ways. Sad but smart not to go in that forecast.
 
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Took it out around 530pm last night and headed from wahweap to lone rock and beached on the big beach, everything went perfectly fine. Weather is great right now and we’re going to head up to padre now. Any fishing advice would be great as we haven’t caught anything other than a tumbleweed yet lol.

Thanks for all your input, this is badass.
 
Hello everyone. I'm not really a 'noob' - I've been following WW since 2005, and even contributed pictures to the calendar that came out somewhere between '06 and '09. I don't know if that gets me veteran status or not but . . . I'm planning a houseboat trip for this summer (our 4th). The previous trips were 2006, 2008 and 2011. We started out with the smallest boat in 2006 - they don't rent that one anymore for good reason, 2008 we had the Discovery and in 2011 we had a Journey. We're going with the Journey again this year, departing from Wahweap. I'm concerned about all the chatter I've read regarding Aramark's lack of maintenance and other issues, but I think we'll be fine with the crew of problem solvers I'll have with me. I'm hoping the cut will be open but the lack of upstream fuel (aka Dangling Rope) probably prevents us from making it as far as I'd like (Oak Bay). Hence, I'm looking for suggestions in any of the canyons off of Padre Bay, or perhaps Last Chance Bay. I'm really worried about running out of fuel, especially if we run the A/C. Looking forward to the trip regardless, hard to go wrong with a few days on Lake Powell.
 
Hello everyone. I'm not really a 'noob' - I've been following WW since 2005, and even contributed pictures to the calendar that came out somewhere between '06 and '09. I don't know if that gets me veteran status or not but . . . I'm planning a houseboat trip for this summer (our 4th). The previous trips were 2006, 2008 and 2011. We started out with the smallest boat in 2006 - they don't rent that one anymore for good reason, 2008 we had the Discovery and in 2011 we had a Journey. We're going with the Journey again this year, departing from Wahweap. I'm concerned about all the chatter I've read regarding Aramark's lack of maintenance and other issues, but I think we'll be fine with the crew of problem solvers I'll have with me. I'm hoping the cut will be open but the lack of upstream fuel (aka Dangling Rope) probably prevents us from making it as far as I'd like (Oak Bay). Hence, I'm looking for suggestions in any of the canyons off of Padre Bay, or perhaps Last Chance Bay. I'm really worried about running out of fuel, especially if we run the A/C. Looking forward to the trip regardless, hard to go wrong with a few days on Lake Powell.
A low tech solution would be gas cans? Lately, in my experience, most of the time anything beyond Last Chance is less traveled since the closure of Dangling Rope. Does this boat have outboards? If so those are pretty fuel efficent especially if you don't run them WOT. My advice is go for Oak Bay, leave super early when the water is smoother, take it slow and take some gas cans.

Also, Sometimes your rental might be back in Rentals the night before and for some kind of extra fee you can board it the afternoon before, it's worth asking as time draws closer.
 
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A low tech solution would be gas cans? Lately, in my experience, most of the time anything beyond Last Chance is less traveled since the closure of Dangling Rope. Does this boat have outboards? If so those are pretty fuel efficent especially if you don't run them WOT. My advice is go for Oak Bay, leave super early when the water is smoother, take it slow and take some gas cans.

Also, Sometimes your rental might be back in Rentals the night before and for some kind of extra fee you can board it the afternoon before, it's worth asking as time draws closer.
Thanks for your advice! The Journey has:

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We'll have a speedboat in tow. We have the pre-board option the night before we depart. Oak Bay would be a stretch even if we take it slow and we'd rather not stress about gas. Could save the remote for extra but I'm guessing we'll use the speedboat a bunch. I don't' have a lot of faith in how well the engines will be maintained and the accuracy of the gas gauges.

We camped in Last Chance during the 2011 trip (high water). Rock Creek would likely be the max. We camped in Padre Canyon in 2006 (3606') and that wasn't too bad. Without fuel upstream, anything downstream of Rock Creek will probably be crowded during peak.
 
12 gph is overkill…At 3,100 rpm figure 3 gph per engine or 6 gph (our houseboat 2015 Merc 115 Fuel Injected 4 Stroke consumes 2.5 gph consistently, towing or not towing).

With 230 gals, even without the Cut…going the long way…you can comfortably make Rock Creek and back and run the genset daily to keep batteries charged.

Oak Bay isn’t what it was back in the heyday when there used to be dozens of houseboats and cruisers. A lot of those big sandy beaches are either high and dry or gone due to erosion and lake fluctuation. Choice spots are limited these days, but that could change with a nice 2024 spring runoff…we’ll see…
 
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