By on May 1, 2010

Where else would someone take a brain fart and actually build it? Yes, combine a boat and a hyper long stretched van, and turn into the Boaterhome! Fame and fortune are just a prototype away. Actually, twenty-one were built. And now JDK Enterprises wants to revive the plan, and build an even bigger and better Boaterhome. Some brilliant ideas just won’t go away, despite the many intrinsic challenges. Here’s one: Guess which axle drives this behemoth?

I was suspicious the minute I laid eyes on it, because of that obvious four-wheel drive front axle conversion on the Econoline van. And then there’s the issue of the boat’s hull, which is right where the rear axles’ centers would be. Solution: just disable the rear output of the transfer box, and send the 460’s torque all to the front axle. Can you imagine this thing pulling up a boat ramp with several tons of 28′ cabin cruiser on the back? Or even when its empty? Maybe all 21 Boaterhomes disconnected once, never to be reunited again.

This is the only shot I could find of the two disengaging. Well, it has to be disengaging, because there’s no way that front axle would pull both out of this spot.

Here’s a more detailed look at the Boaterhome. Straight out of a James Bond movie. Since the boat alone is 28′ long, I’d say the whole rig is some 40′ overall. The boat displaces 6,260 lbs; does that mean that’s how much it weighs, marine buffs?

As I alluded to earlier, the idea didn’t die with the first Boaterhome to get stuck at a boat ramp. This concept is titled Boaterhome 2000, so its probably safe to assume that its a product of the expansive and easy-money late 1990’s.

But if you don’t want to wait for another possible Boaterhome revival Hemming’s has one advertised for sale: $29,500. What are you waiting for?

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33 Comments on “Only In America: The Amazing Boaterhome...”

  • avatar

    Actually, NOT only in America… Wasn’t this used in a Top Gear Car-boat challenge? I think Hammond had put together the van-boat creation… See for yourself… Hilarious!

    And yes, a boat displaces its own weight in water. Or so I’ve been told…

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, this is not even in America. Highwave Boaterhomes, Inc (the only company in the world that makes these things) is in Ontario, Canada. So… no Boaterhomes in the US unless you import them.

  • avatar

    James Bond? Or Austin Powers? I like it, either way. Watching that get the boat out of the water and up the ramp would be a great physics lesson.

  • avatar

    If gas prices get high enough, the revival will be based on a Fiesta and a sailing dinghy.

  • avatar

    correct: weight of displaced water = weight of boat

    it sure is not a perfect boat (doesn’t look as hydro-dynamic as boats) and not a perfect trailer (too much space taken away to make it hydrodynamic and fit in engine, communication etc.). Combine it and you get the worst of both worlds. Have fun cap-sizing!

  • avatar

    Wasn’t this the question that had Archimedes running naked down the street yelling “Eureka! Eureka!!”?

  • avatar

    Ford several times considered to develop a FWD full-size pick-up truck … several people got excited about the idea of how flexible the platform would be, how many components and how much weight could be saved, and then some wet blanket always raised the finger and asked “how well are the front tires going to grip going up an incline with the load over the rear axle?” or alternatively “how are those FWD drive-shafts going to hold-up with a heavy-load duty-cycle?”….

    Guess there was no appropriate wet-blanket on the team when the Boaterhome was concieved.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually a successful strategy is to have FWD for lower duty application and AWD for higher loads/hp. Anyone driving a RWD car or truck in winter or on other slippery conditions WITHOUT load in the back can attest.
      RWD is just a bad compromise based on old technology.
      FWD: economical, but less ideal with much load in the back (truck) or high performance car
      AWD: less economical but optimal under ALL driving conditions
      RWD: the worst of both worlds
      How come only Audi discovered that?

  • avatar

    Why? Because they can… I guess.

    Speaking of land yachts:

  • avatar

    BTW, anybody else nerved by those Vibrant “spam underlines”?

    They never seem to advertise anything I am interested in, and despite countless attempts to deactivate on the Vibrant site, using their deactivate hyperlink, they don’t seem to respect my choice and keep coming back again and again.

    • 0 avatar

      I respectfully suggest you never reply or click anything in any SPAM. When you do, you’ve confirmed that your email address is valid, and a human looked at their SPAM, and that’s not what you want. :-)

      Some email clients (Thunderbird, on Macintosh) can be taught to recognize email from certain addresses and “do something.” I have a dozen such rules to deal with gambling/betting/capping SPAM; I usually dig out the support email address of the email outfit and bounce it there. It doesn’t stop, but it gives me some satisfaction. :-)


    • 0 avatar


      He’s talking about the context double-green-underlines that pop up obnoxious boxes if you have the misfortune to mouse over them for a microsecond. Since they start to auto play video – with audio – they’re absolutely horrible, particularly when you’ve forgotten to mute your speakers and don’t want to wake up your 20-month-old son.

      They make browsing TTAC like playing Asteroids, and are hands down the worst part of the site – useless, obnoxious, and absurd. I shouldn’t have someone start yelling about a Mercedes because I want to scroll down.

      As far as Robert’s post goes, the only reasons I can think of that they’d fail to deactivate are a) You have cookies set to delete or be refused in the first place or b) the vibrant guys are a**holes and don’t respect your wishes. I’m honestly not sure which is more likely.

      Edit: I just tried the ‘opt out’ thing and reloaded; the double-green links duly disappeared. I have to say that it didn’t occur to me that there would be a way to disable them… which is probably something they count on…

      I’m not sure if TTAC gets paid only for clicks or for impressions as well; if the former it’s no loss, but if it’s the latter… well, you runs in-your-face advertising and you takes your chances.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d almost forgotten about those.

      I’m running Firefox with Adblock Plus add-on. They are but a distant memory.

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Look for one of these monsters at the 2030 Barrett-Jackson…

  • avatar

    It appears that the original manufacturer still exists, and they admit to the creation of this… “awesome” vehicle:

    I personally wouldn’t buy one, but IMHO this vehicle would make a fabulous test drive subject.


  • avatar

    Hey, it gets better. Visit their homepage, and click “Investment Opportunity.” Speaks for itself:


  • avatar

    I actually saw one of these “re-connecting” successfully, in Lion’s Head, Ontario, circa 1986.

    It seemed to struggle up the ramp, but made it.

    • 0 avatar

      Ontario must have high grip boat ramps, all the ones in a 50 mile radius from my place are covered in a slimey green moss which would ensure the Econoline got a free wash. ;)

  • avatar

    A couple dozen bikini-clad babes placed in harness and hitched to the van’s front bumper should provide ample pulling power to propel the van/boat combo up the ramp to a level area where, after the sweaty gals wipe each other off and adjust their garments, touch up their make-up and finish their biddy-like clucking are ready to depart.

    Or some similar scenario as long as bikini-clad is part of the equation.

  • avatar

    Object in question is full of Daleks.

  • avatar

    I actually saw a set up similar to this in the mid 90s in Boise Id. but it was not on a Ford chassis, it was on a FWD motor home chassis and not quite as big. I wonder if it was a prototype? I thought it was cool idea then but had my concerns of how well it would be able to get itself out of some of the extra steep boat ramps we have.

  • avatar

    I realize that no one really cares, but this is literally right behind my high school in Colorado. I’ve run past this thing for years, but never thought about submitting it.

  • avatar

    Why not just tow a boat using a motor home?

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Because then you are towing around two kitchens, two or more “bathrooms”, two or more “bedrooms”, etc.

      The IRS counts anything as a “home” (for tax deduction purposes) if you can live in it. They think that you can live in it if it has a functioning kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. If you live there for more than 12 nights in a year, you can deduct the interest on the loan you used to buy it.

      Thus, almost all boats above a certain size will have these features to make sure the owners want to finance them (and spend more money). And if your boat has them, your motorhome doesn’t need to.

  • avatar

    The visionary that built “The Boaterhome” began as a master builder of boats and/ships and then was the first to
    Manufacture a camper. His name is Walt King of Sport King which began in 1945 in Torrance, California and later
    In Nampa, Idaho. Anyone else that claims to be the originator is untruthful and any copies after 1990 are probably not built to the
    standards of Walt King. If anyone would like to challenge this- feel free to contact me – Sandra King, the very proud Daughter and only child of Walt King.

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