Houseboat help

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I'd like to begin by saying I'm a beginner so my terminology might not be spot on...

I decided to buy a houseboat (1997 50' boatel Hercules) for my family. My daughter is now 10 and it has been so much fun watching her grow up at the lake!! Now to be honest, my boat is at Navajo Lake on the south end by the dam in NM. I was advised to go here to ask my question. I took 7 months to gut and rebuild our boat and got it about done. My last step is trying to figure out how to attach the chain to the boat that would go to the bouy (we don't want to be in the slips at this stage). Currently it is wrapped around the metal tube frame on the front step deck. This just doesn't seem like the best way? I would love to try and quite it down when the wind starts blowing as well. Any pictures or suggestions of what to do and how to quite it down?

Thanks for any help!
Most of them I have seen have a pintle hitch welded on and attached to the bouy with a cable.
Not much noise there.
Again, I’m new so...

What size cable? What type of metal (stainless)? Do some have plastic around the cables? Length? What type of clamps are used (is there a standard one for marine use)?

I know, I know so many questions. I just don’t know what’s “normal”. I just don’t like doing things twice!

Thanks for any help!
Hi Brett,

We had a pintle hitch welded on the front of our boat (36-foot Boatel). You might want to call Executive Services. You can get a cable/shackle through them, that will attach to your buoy, and to the pintle hook. Exec. Services can tell you the size of the cable/shackle. I do believe we had plastic around our cable. They are definitely sturdy. In our experiences, the shackle doesn't tighten all the way, so we've had to reinforce it with some heavy gauge wire.

The mooring balls at powell have a metal eye cleat on the top of the. at that point, the boat owner attaches a large screw pin anchor. Attached to the screw pin is a pair of 1 inch +/- steel cables apprx 10 feet long -- those cables have loops on each end. the end that goes on the boat is generally attached via pintle hooks attached to the front of the house boat via weld or ubolts-- chances are, your marina will sell you the whole set up.
I wish our marina had anything like that. They told me to search the internet and go here to ask...

I can get the pintle installed easy. Just need to find the cable. Any help with that (where and who)? I’m in Durango, CO. Not really in houseboat country here :)
Hi Brett,

I'm in Durango too! I guess I just *assumed* you were going to move your boat to Powell. So you don't need to call Exec. Services.... I think DaveW's response nails it.

A quick search turned up

Zea Wire Rope And Supply
5941 US 64, Farmington, NM 87401

(505) 632-7000

They will be able to sell you the length of wire rope, swage the loops in the ends and will have the clevis connectors to the mooring ball.
Tell them the use you are planning and get them to recommend grade and gauge.
Thanks for the help! Last question... with the pintle hitch, weld it direct or would it be best to get the style that goes into a receiver hitch. Then weld the 2”channel on the boat and pin it. That way I could remove it when we beach it to avoid hurting one of the kids feet since it would be directly in the way to the plank.
Thanks for the help! Last question... with the pintle hitch, weld it direct or would it be best to get the style that goes into a receiver hitch. Then weld the 2”channel on the boat and pin it. That way I could remove it when we beach it to avoid hurting one of the kids feet since it would be directly in the way to the plank.
Do two pintle hitch's welded. Space them about 10' apart. Cables about 10 to 12' in length. Do not do a single cable on that boat. This puts the load even with the pontoons and then you can tie to the hitches when beaching to keep the front from kicking sideways when the lake comes up and your side ropes loosen up.
Before you do this, check with your marina regarding the mooring balls they use. You will need to know what the mooring ball has for a attachment so that you came purchase the correct attachment parts. The wire rope sullpy house will get you what you need as soon as they know what it will be attaching to---
One last suggestion --- I think someone mentioned but --- be sure that the screw pin anchor / shackle that is attached to the mooring ball has a safety wire attached to it that will not let the screw pin turn after you screw it down. I have seen / heard of several boats coming un hooked because the constant pull/ push on the shackle has turned the screw pin out.
What Powder Hound said. Two pintle hooks and two cables have all kinds of advantages over a single cable and hook. The biggest being that these cables break every now and again and you want the safety of a second cable. Kind of by definition, the cables tend to break in the middle of a nasty windstorm that will carry your boat to beat against the rocks. On a nice calm day, there isn't much force to break a cable. A couple 5-ton pintle hooks like these for $42 each with free shipping on Amazon Prime will do nicely: If you don't like Amazon, here is one for the same price after $5 shipping: For about $15 more, you can buy a 15-ton hook. In my humble opinion, that's a waste of $15. There are a lot of other things that will break before a 5-ton pintle hook gives way.

While it's easy to spend someone else's money, might I suggest you pick up a telescoping boat hook like this one: When you approach the buoy with your houseboat, the cables will be extending from the top of the ball to underwater. They might be facing your boat, but there is a better chance they will be draping off one side of the buoy or even the back of the buoy as you're approaching. With any wave action at all, it can be a challenge to lean over the front of the boat to grab the cable. The mental image of someone falling out at the point you're approaching the buoy with a houseboat will give you an appreciation for how important it is to safely grab the cable and get it onto the pre-opened pintle hook as quickly as you can. Once the first cable is in place, you can use the telescoping hook to reach out and grab the second cable. There isn't a big rush to get the second cable into place, but initially grabbing the first cable can make for a tense moment for both the boat pilot and the person grabbing the cable.

For cables, I have always had Aramark make mine. They run about $110 each as I remember and last 8 or 9 years.
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This is great information, thank you! With the extending hook I wont get the pleasure of hanging my 10 year old daughter off the front by her life jacket to hook the chain to the bouy anymore :) Don't worry, I'm joking... Kinda

The hook on the end of my chain currently is made of bronze? It has a button at the bottom that allows the lower half of the hook to swivel out of the way and snap back when you release it. About the size of my hand. So if I'm understanding this correctly, use a single shackle (approved by the marina) and wire it so it wont come undone and get rid of the hook. Use the pintle hitches to hook up the other end and call it a day?

I've called our local company and they do not stock the coated wire rope. That always scares me for pricing... Hopefully they are close or I might need to go shopping. Where is Aramark located? If the pricing is crazy I might have them shipped in.

You guys have been awesome. I can't thank you enough for the information. Keep it coming, I have a lot to learn and I'm not embarrassed to admit it.
Brett, You might check Southwest Ag in Bayfield they tend to have large cable stuff, and clevis stuff. Might be what you are looking for. Save you some shipping since it is local.
I've tried southwest ag already. Rich is a personal friend and they only had chain and no galvanized wire rope. The largest coated wire rope the local company in Farmington can get is 3/8". Is that too small (50' boatel) ? I can get 3/4 galvanized local and get rubber hose to wrap around it before they make the loops. Is that too big? I can also get 1/2" galvanized with no coating.

The clevis part is easy to take care of. Ahhhh......
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