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Floating amphibious homes....with spring flooding approaching.  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I did not find mention in a search of the forums of the phrase "amphibious home".  With many reaches of the U.S. in the approaching spring of 2019 looking at high risk of flooding, I was wondering if anyone had ever experienced being in an amphibious home......or simply saw someone place a house-boat on flood-prone land?  I place this post in "natural building", not because the building itself might be natural, but that by being 'amphibious' with the home design, one is no longer fighting natural flooding.  Perusal of internet entries on amphibious homes indicates that the idea is not new, but the codes for building and location seem to be at odds with the idea.  Seems to be a good fit for 'tiny' homes as one might just retrofit them with pontoons! ....  (example below, clipped from Google images:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/346284658843758016/)
TinyPontoon.JPG
[Thumbnail for TinyPontoon.JPG]
 
pollinator
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After digesting this i dont see a need. There are inconvenient floods and there are devastating floods. I would not want to ride out either in a boat. It crashing into bridges, trees, power lines that are now 6ft off the ground.  Even if you evacuated, finding it is another problem. If you anchor it to keep it there, whats gonna crash into it?

I WANT to say this is a cool idea, but i can't.
 
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Lots of places flood where the current isn't strong and trees aren't passing by.
Far from the actual stream.

I especially like the idea of using it as a base for tiny houses.
 
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I'm thinking it sounds pretty cool too.  As long as the flood waters wouldn't be moving fast and you could anchor it sufficiently, why not?  Regulation wise, just call it a pontoon boat that's "temporarily" up on blocks.  Or just park it on a lake as a houseboat.
 
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I think it might be a better idea to decide between building a stilt house or a houseboat that is permanently on water.

Transitioning from houseboat to stranded houseboat at unpredictable times, not knowing what is below the boat, or whether it will float, is not something I would be terribly comfortable with.

EDIT: There are boats with a flat bottom designed to strand, but usually not for long. Hull material is another issue…
 
wayne fajkus
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I agree that not all areas get fast moving water in a flood. I can only look at this application for an area i know, which is a flood plain in my area.

A consideration that would need figuring is how to attach it to the ground for wind while still allowing it to float. If a storm comes, what decision do you make? Unhook the tiedowns and risk blowing away or leave them connected and drown?

This topic is interesting, but not simple. The current method is unhook the tiedowns and drive it to a safe location. During hurricane harvey, the number of boats and rvs unhooked and left on hiways was amazing. It probably resulted from it being parked oceanside for a decade with all the corrosion of the salt on the bearings. So simply moving it created another "thing".

 
pollinator
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I tend to agree with Sebastian in terms of floating amphibious homes as a solution for flood-prone land.

I think such a structure, however, is one of my favourite forms of tiny house. They needn't be so tiny, and instead of looking at it as something of an extreme measure for a seasonal event, it might make it possible to take advantage of swampy or marshy land in ways otherwise not possible.

I could easily see buying marshy land that would float my amphibious not-so-tiny home and, in a case where it's not prohibited or is allowed by conservation, build and plant chinampa-style beds, both for my intensive gardens and as habitat for either wild game fowl, which I would harvest in-season, or my own waterfowl. I could also grow wild rice, and encourage the right conditions to nurture healthy local fish populations, for added nutrient cycling, and so that I could fish off my back stoop.

There's a potential for mariculture or freshwater aquaculture anywhere there's enough water to float a boat, and if proper consideration is given, and a system is designed not only to feed humans, but to rejuvenate aquatic ecosystems, we can grow more food and produce more protein than on dry land by virtue of the space-efficiency of multi-trophic intensive vertical mariculture or aquaculture.

I really wanted to snark a bit about people building things like homesteads and cities on flood plains and in hurricane paths, and in coastal areas doomed to both perennial and ultimate flooding, but there's actually a lot to be said in this space. While not fighting flooding might be made easiest by avoiding flood-prone building sites, I think the next, perhaps slightly better step, is to take that dangerous embarrassment of riches and turn its productivity to our use.

I think seasonally flooded land might take some really forethoughtful preparation and management, but if the right upstream filtration infrastructure (holding ponds/settling tanks, reed bed systems, sand and biochar filters, mycobooms, regularly mushroom-slurried deep woodchip paths) and water retention and management/diversion strategies employed (swales, ponds, textured land that gives excess water many minimally obstructed avenues, diversion as a last resort; as Geoff Lawton's videos about flooding on his property have shown, if the potential for damage is minimised, one can benefit from seasonal flooding), that dangerous excess could be channeled (ba-dum-ching) into productive effort.

If everyone approached it thusly, as opposed to trying to divert it all until everyone is inundated, maybe water infiltration could be increased, for instance, replenishing aquifers rather than washing away topsoil. Perhaps if there was more of an emphasis on increasing infiltration, sudden heavy precipitation events might seep more readily into the soil, like mitigating the natural hydrophobia of dessicated dirt by misting it first.

And maybe, in some certain cases, the flooding is longterm and severe enough that a house would be floating for months, and perhaps a floating home might be the best solution. But if you want to live on a house boat, why would you want to be on the water only some of the time?

-CK
 
pollinator
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It has occurred to me that tiny houses might be better off as huts.
The tiny house we see presented as affordable is often 30 grand or much more.
Building a cheap sturdy  box to live in,  with none of the modern comforts we see in most tiny houses, makes more sense to me,if we are really trying to save money/resources.
A pontoon base is a nice alternative to the usual trailer.
It gives us a platform that will stay dry.
It can be cheap, free,  and even DIY from waste streams.

In places that flood regularly, how about putting it behind a wind/water break?
A wall,  fence, hedge or combination of two or three of these structures,  could protect against prevailing winds or currents.
A foam filled design resists sinking even if the hull is compromised.

I've known a brother and suster who lived in a riverside house.
The whole street of homes was built 10 feet high on concrete basements/garages.
Every couple of years,when  the Ohio River flooded,   they moved everything out of the basement/garage into the living space, and left for a week or a month, crashing with friends and family.
The houses were never meant to be occupied  during the inevitable flooding, they where supposed to be second homes, near the river for access to recreational activities.

In keeping with the idea of taking advantage of the flooding,  a toolshed/hut/barn/greenhouse etc, can be left in an area that seasonally floods, without worrying about it too much, especially if it can float.
These floods bring nutrients, weed seeds,  and pollutants along with the waters.
Asian pears, sea buckthorn, hawthorn and mulberry trees might  deal with yearly flooding  fairly well.
There are some good choices for growing fuel and timber as well.
Willows and silt fencing could be used to capture soil and raise the lands level.


 
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Brainstorm time! My main reason of liking this isn't specifically to do with flooding, but I do have some ideas on that. The more attractive aspect to me is the lack of a permanent trailer. I'm not particularly crazy about the idea of buying a trailer to build tiny houses on that will be moved into position and sit there. This gets compounded when someone decides to get the biggest possible trailer and expand the 'tiny house' limits to be as big as possible which seems against the spirit of tiny homes; large steel beams and triple axles complete with wheels. That seems to be a waste of a trailer, and all of the resources involved in making, buying, and moving the trailer in place just to sit there with the sole purpose of avoiding building codes. I hope for that to become the exception and not the norm.

One of the things I saw when reading about some of the places that are allowing tiny houses is that they want them on foundations for tax purposes. I know that you can remove axles and mount the steel frame on a permanent foundation, but again it seems like an excessive investment for something that may never be used again. Perhaps if more communities pop up, they could just have someone local that keeps axles and tires on hand for loaning out to fit a standardized frame and not need multiple axles and wheels on each and every house.

I'm not sure about how much more expensive (both cost and investment of materials) pontoons are, but I could see the possibility of some designs that use less materials. Designs that work well with foundations. Possibly even removable pontoons. This also leads in to my idea of having some standardized sizes for tiny houses where one person builds the house, one tow company has a trailer made to fit, and another can build the foundation to a straightforward standard that doesn't need special permissions and engineering review for each house since there is a precedent with an approved design.

Of course with standards, there can easily be many that compete to say that they are the best, but in this case I think there may already be some guidelines in place. I've seen pontoon boats being towed down the road, so I imagine they must fit within some size requirements in the same manner that tiny houses on wheels do. This means there must already be some level of standard for companies making these pontoon boats and the trailers that tow them. Maybe they would need some reinforcement or an extra axle to carry the extra load of a tiny house. If there are already common sizes for these pontoon boats and trailers then these sizes could be used for tiny houses. It could possibly minimize the materials and expense involved with current tiny house trends and allow for easier placement on foundations so they can be part of their community instead of playing a game of cat and mouse with local governments.
 
John Weiland
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My impetus for this post is the flooding (and snow storms, and tornadoes) in our region which is very flat and 'exposed'.  (Many have shelterbelts and these do provide good protection from flat-line winds as well as creating microclimates for the homestead.)  But for excess water, it is for sure flooding by 'bathtub effect'----the relatively slow rise of a few rivers (or overland flooding) that coalesce into one large lake during the worst of times.  So it seems feasible in such a situation to have a structure that may be on pontoons or some other set of flotation enhancers for when the river/flood water rises.  In terms of a concept of adjustable anchoring of the structure, I like the idea used in floating lake docks shown in the photo below.  The floating dock has guide posts adjacent to the dock and sliding rings affixed to the decking.  When the water rises, the whole dock floats upward, but not away since the guide posts are anchored in the strata under the water.  When the water recedes, the dock follows the water line down to its original position.  If the posts are sturdy and deep enough, even if the house anchored in such a way is on dry land, it should not blow away except in the most violent cases like full-force tornado/hurricane.  The point is well taken that one might be concerned about a flood incident where, upon the waters receding, the house was lowered onto unwanted debris from the flood.  I guess I feel for the relative infrequency of the event, using jacks to raise and re-level the house temporarily while removing the debris with a tractor or other such assistance might be a tolerable drawback to the idea.  That, and the question of septic/waste....which could be compost toilet or some other permutation.  The next addition in my mind to the idea is to couple it with 'skids' or some type of trailer wheels so that the building could be moved with a large enough tractor or truck if one desired to relocate it on the property......or to a new property altogether.
guidepostFloatation.JPG
[Thumbnail for guidepostFloatation.JPG]
 
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I think it's important to see your site when it's at maximum flood. I've seen many places where it's like the rising water in the bathtub. There are places where lakes or marshy areas simply get deeper and expand outward without much noticeable current. But with rivers, there can be big wide spots like that with very little current and there can be fast flowing water very close to the shore. Both of these conditions can exist along the same river.

My fiance's childhood home was washed away during a high river event. The house was on stilts. Once the slow-moving water rose high enough to catch some of the wall, the pressure was too great. In January, I met a young man who lost his entire family when the river came up during the night.

I sold some trusses to a guy who laid them beside his small barn. The river came up but without a lot of current. Just enough to float the trusses and other debris that washed up against them, creating a dam. The trusses and the barn Broke Free and headed down the Nanaimo River and into the ocean.
 
Daniel Schmidt
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I guess the more on topic idea that I have involves the 'floating tiny house in place aspect'. The number one aspect to me about a tiny house on wheels is that, wait for it - it's on wheels! You don't let a glacier mow it down, you move it! I realize floods are much faster than glaciers, but if you see the flooding starting, and can have a solid evacuation plan in place then you could move it way from the storm or perhaps to a lake where a few feet of water isn't going to be any more dangerous. If you get flash floods, frequent sudden flooding, or otherwise can't evacuate a tiny house quickly then  perhaps a different plan for evacuating yourself and possessions would be better. If you have a rainy season and any way to store some things away from flooding danger then that's an option. Ideally no one would build in such a dangerous place, but I realize life throws situations at people that are far from ideal.

I understand why some others aren't crazy about trying to anchor in place, as that has a host of hazards. If someone is confident they may have random flooding but won't ever get that dangerous then maybe this is an option. I'd hate to see this be used as a band-aid to hold back a raging torrent and someone end up stuck in a bad situation. Perhaps it could be used on sheds (as mentioned above) for things of lesser value you can't evacuate with and just hope for the best.

One other thing about house boats is that they are boats first. I remember reading about this a while back, and my understanding was that the Coastguard can board at any time and you cannot refuse a search. I don't think that counts on land. It might be wise to learn about the laws at different levels of government concerning boats and bodies of water if you are interested in living in a house boat.
 
pollinator
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According to a third party, a fellow bought an island in a deep bay on Saltspring Island, BC. The island was small, rocky, and not very high. The powers that be refused to allow him to build. He bought an aircrete-type foundation, built a small house, got it approved as a boat, dragged it to the island and every time there was a storm with a high tide, he dragged it further up the island until it was on the high point. He built a deck and has lived there ever since. In the right situation, the idea has potential. In recent storms a floating building used for education that was on pontoons flipped over in what I would have expected was a fairly sheltered area, so do your engineering! Consider where flood currents/debris are likely to come from and use plantings to slow and redirect potential threats.
 
pollinator
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Daniel Schmidt wrote:Brainstorm time! My main reason of liking this isn't specifically to do with flooding, but I do have some ideas on that. The more attractive aspect to me is the lack of a permanent trailer. I'm not particularly crazy about the idea of buying a trailer to build tiny houses on that will be moved into position and sit there. This gets compounded when someone decides to get the biggest possible trailer and expand the 'tiny house' limits to be as big as possible which seems against the spirit of tiny homes; large steel beams and triple axles complete with wheels. That seems to be a waste of a trailer, and all of the resources involved in making, buying, and moving the trailer in place just to sit there with the sole purpose of avoiding building codes. I hope for that to become the exception and not the norm.

One of the things I saw when reading about some of the places that are allowing tiny houses is that they want them on foundations for tax purposes. I know that you can remove axles and mount the steel frame on a permanent foundation, but again it seems like an excessive investment for something that may never be used again. Perhaps if more communities pop up, they could just have someone local that keeps axles and tires on hand for loaning out to fit a standardized frame and not need multiple axles and wheels on each and every house.

I'm not sure about how much more expensive (both cost and investment of materials) pontoons are, but I could see the possibility of some designs that use less materials. Designs that work well with foundations. Possibly even removable pontoons. This also leads in to my idea of having some standardized sizes for tiny houses where one person builds the house, one tow company has a trailer made to fit, and another can build the foundation to a straightforward standard that doesn't need special permissions and engineering review for each house since there is a precedent with an approved design.

Of course with standards, there can easily be many that compete to say that they are the best, but in this case I think there may already be some guidelines in place. I've seen pontoon boats being towed down the road, so I imagine they must fit within some size requirements in the same manner that tiny houses on wheels do. This means there must already be some level of standard for companies making these pontoon boats and the trailers that tow them. Maybe they would need some reinforcement or an extra axle to carry the extra load of a tiny house. If there are already common sizes for these pontoon boats and trailers then these sizes could be used for tiny houses. It could possibly minimize the materials and expense involved with current tiny house trends and allow for easier placement on foundations so they can be part of their community instead of playing a game of cat and mouse with local governments.



I think that a pontoon boat able to support a sturdy, insulated tinyhome will end up quite heavy and expensive itself. A lot more floatation will be required

And then the trailer must be a LOT heavier than if it were just moving the already heavier pontoon boat.

The height will increase, meaning less vertical room for the house.


I agree with the base idea though, that most tinyhouses really shouldn't need to be on a trailer, logistically speaking. It really does come down to legal bullshit in nearly all cases, imo.


I completely agree that this cat and mouse thing with authorities is suboptimal.

Unfortunately there is little incentive for most authorities to change their rules, so it is likely to persist..

From their perspective, they lose money(property taxes, building permits) by allowing smaller cheaper houses. And they face a backlash from the NIMBY crowd. And much of what makes many tinyhomes affordable is specifically avoiding licensed, insured, expensive professionals. And the prevailing building codes do not work with them... and said code is heavily influenced by people who build regular houses, and sell the materials...


(Hell, the propane install was the one thing I wanted to sub out, and nobody would touch it; the RV guys said it wasn't an RV and besides some of it was household equipment, and the regular plumbers said the reverse. Scared of liability and licensing issues. Joke's on them, turns out it's absurdly easy to plumb propane!)


The places that are allowing them are mostly either hurting for population and income and trying something unorthodox for this reason, or responding to extra intense public pressure. The latter is the best hope for further acceptance. Hopefully people running towns B, C, D notice tinyhouse acceptance working out well in town A and it spreads from there... better yet, if changes to building codes at a national level began to embrace them...
 
Jay Angler
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What many people don't realize is that the "building code" is designed to "save lives" not to save the building! I personally would *much* prefer if people built smaller homes that would withstand the likeliest risks in their immediate area, be that wildfire, tornado, hurricane or flood, or some combination. One only needs to look at Fort McMurray after their big fire, New Orleans after their big flood, or Florida on numerous occasions to see that current housing style and standards aren't working! I agree that trying to hide from authorities in order to build sustainably is sad, and I know there are people working at the slow process of getting alternatives approved at least in isolated regions, but in the short term, I support people thinking about what would make a safe and efficient home in their ecosystem regardless of "code". I'm less happy if people try to skit the "code" just to save money if the end result is a death trap. Thus code issues about stair railings, safe fire exits (particularly from bedrooms), electrical wiring that won't be overloaded (amateurs can do this perfectly safely if they follow established guidelines and do the math), etc make sense. I love the creativity and lateral thinking described by so many permies. We may be the future of sensible housing. Just let's try not to get killed during the journey!
 
Chris Kott
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How about this as a concept: in building a house near a seasonal floodplain, what if the basement was aircrete, with an aircrete sub-basement, and all designed to sit in an excavated foundation designed to let water under the structure itself?

So as the rainy/flood season approaches,  the watertight sub-basement is sealed off from the basement and rest of the structure. When water fills the space around the sub-basement, it would become buoyant, holding most of the structure above the water level.

Theoretically, the structure could rise as high as the water, to a height of nearly the depth of the two basement levels, and higher if there were surface-level structures surrounding the foundation "socket."

Afterwards, as the water receded, the basement levels would sink back in place.

-CK
 
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I’m going to go with the likely unpopular position that it is just never a good idea to live in a flood plain. I live near Rapid City, SD. (Search Rapid City flood). Even today, all these decades later, City and County officials are really cranky about anything beyond a pump house or volleyball court being built in the flood plain. It’s a rare thing for me to say, but I agree with the govt. on this one. They didn’t have all these regs before, and look what happened. The spillway has been redesigned and theoretically this can’t happen again, but they persist in stubbornly refusing to make exceptions. The thing about a “hundred year flood” is that it really can happen any time it wants to. Back to back, even.

I understand why people want to live on the alluvial plains of the Mississippi, but... well really that’s a lie...I don’t actually understand it. I can see why one might feel they have no reasonable alternative, but honestly it seems nearly every time I’ve driven by or flown over them in spring/early summer, they are flooded somewhere or other. Houses and towns right in the midst of the mire, too. Those should be fields, I tell myself, and the people farming them could live further back, along the edges. If I lived there, I tell myself, I would be trying to find a way to higher ground for my family. Maybe I wouldn’t. I can’t really know that. These are very often beautiful places with verdant growth and wonderful soil, but... the flooding would kind of spoil it for me, I think.

As to the viability of living in what would essentially be an ark... boats are very complex things, especially big (and private boat-wise, tiny houses are big), heavyweight, flat-bottomed ones. When you add the complication of a boat that’s really primarily a house intended to exist on dry land the bulk of the time, that’s way beyond most folks’ engineering abilities. I’m not saying it can’t be done nor that any particular person cannot do it.

My dad was a Navy convert to boats and water. He l.o.v.e.d the water. He even moved the family from SD to central FL when I was three and my brothers were “barely-walking” and “babe-in-arms”. My arms, since they took two vehicles. lol

We spent a LOT of time on the Gulf of Mexico, as well as on the lakes where we lived, on our own and other people’s boats. Keeled, flat bottomed, sailboats, even an amphibious van/houseboat thing that we were all were required sit still in when it was being driven down the launch ramp. It had a long keel-board that had to be gingerly put down by the grown-ups, after which we kids were allowed more freedom of movement (a little). It was cool, but not practical. (It was not ours.) A house boat is better as a boat and a van/rv thing is a lot better as a dry land only vehicle. It really would take the smallest of waves to tip over without the keel-board. With the keel board it would still need only a bigger wave and/or bigger, wilder kids to put it on its side. I can’t remember for sure but it seems to me I heard it eventually did capsize years later. By then it had been sold, which shows that they can last if cared for. Not something I’d want to be on in even a slow flood situation, though. Now imagine one the size of a tiny house, filled with the owners’ (evenly distributed we hope) possessions, family, animals, the boat-house lumbering around slowly, being jostled by debris and bumping into nearby tall things... buildings, trees, power poles, then there likely are winds... just normal day-to-day winds. I don’t mean violent ones, necessarily.

Assuming one is a qualified, creative and talented marine and residential engineer, this is still going to be a significant challenge. Then there’s the matter of anchorage. As someone else mentioned, this foundationless home will need anchoring to the ground in some fashion that will not prevent it from being freed if a flood is threatening. That could likely be figured out, as long as the residents are home, but it is a thing that needs thinking through. Plus, since testing it out on the water is going to be a tough if not impossible challenge, the maiden voyage will BE the flood. Even in a slow, seeping kind of a flood, I could see this resulting in a slow, wallowing, inevitable cap-size.

It sounds like a great idea at first. Really it does, and I mean that. The question should be asked, “Is this going to be worth it?” Not so much, “Can it be done,” nor even, “Can I do it?,” but “Is this a beneficial thing for me/us to do?”

All over the world, where there is water, you see people living on boats. They live with less space (in most cases) than your average tiny house, but they mostly get by. These, however, are actual boats not houses made to float in case of emergency. You can live on a boat... no question. The question is whether you can make a house (not a houseboat but a house) that will float in a flood. I’m sure it can be done, but I think it would cost a lot more and be both harder to do and less safe than buying a trailer and hauling your house out of reach of the rising waters.

 
William Bronson
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 Cindy, thank you for sharing your insights.
I know I have NO real boating experience, so I'm glad to hear from some one who has had some.
I know I'm still considering the idea  but only as away to preserve a shed/hut and the contents, not as a place to ride out a storm.
The house boat as a dodge for building restrictions is also an option I'm interested in.
Regulations will differ from place to place.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I agree with everything Cindy had to say on the matter. I always forget that I can give apples. I gave 3.

The thing about weight distribution is so important. Tiny houses tend to be fairly tall for the amount of ground space they take up. Stable boats tend to be rather short. Think about what might happen if you had a 4 foot square by 1 foot thick block of Styrofoam to balance your weight on in a swimming pool. That's approximately 950 lb of flotation. Many people could do it, but just as many would get sitting too far to one side or they'd make a quick movement and flip. Everything might be going fine, until a bunch of kids bang into the thing. To be stable they need an outrigger or catamaran configuration.

I question my fiance further on the flooding event that washed away her childhood home when she was 12. It was much more serious than I thought. The water came up and her mother who isn't right in the head, began praying. Once that got to the point where the pig was swimming, Nova grabbed a knife and cut the pig, the cow and other tethered animals free. She was back in the house less than 5 minutes later trying to convince her mother that Jesus was not going to save them.

Finally she dove into the water that was now over her head, and began swimming and her mother followed. There was current, so they ended up quite a bit Downstream from their Village. All of the children were working students who weren't supposed to be there, but Nova had chickenpox so was sent home to be with her mother for a while. This happened during the day when they were awake. Things like this are just as likely to happen in the dead of night.
 
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I read an article several years ago about a couple that built a small house on an old barge they had purchased.  They were from Louisiana and native to the bayou areas.  They had it towed out somewhere in the area they wanted to live and tied off to an island in a bayou where they had a garden with chickens and a goat if I remember correctly. They commuted in a small boat when they wished to leave and had a propane tank on another boat they could tow in and refill.  He was a welder and could leave and make good money on the road when they wanted to.  If there was a flood or hurricane they were inland enough they were protected from the winds.  They could load the critters on the barge and let the waters rise.  There garden might flood but they could plant another as soon as the water went down.
Is this something the O.P. might have been thinking about?
 
Bryan Elliott
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I forgot to add that the people on the house-barge set fishing lines off the edge of the barge and  there was a portable  walkway to the shore.  I can't remember for sure but it seems they might have had a rain catchment on their roof.  They had lived in it long enough it was past the theory stage and in the "this deal works" area.
 
John Weiland
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The comments about stability of the floating home are well taken.....It is certainly something that should be considered carefully with some engineering/experience in mind and with a great deal of knowledge of the flood situation.  The interesting thing about our present location is that flooding occurs in its worst form when there is a great deal of snow and ice around during the rapid transition out of winter into spring.  Most of the rivers and surrounding lands that begin to flood are, at the same time, releasing large chunks of ice that were part of the frozen river(s).  That said, the observation is that the current is simply too slow to be of great concern to a potential houseboat-type dwelling that might be properly anchored and buoyant.  (This of course changes where the water has to move under a bridge.....the flux increases there for the obvious reasons, but in the open areas, it really is like a rising lake.)  Like so many contemplations, it becomes one of weighing pros and cons.  The natural landscape of the area is, in the mind of many, the most attractive near the waterways, the open prairies feeling a bit more desolate for most.  The waterways also allow for a source of water for gardens, emergency purposes, recreation etc.  But the flooding!....What a drawback when it occurs, infrequent though that may be.  So just thinking about some way that the advantages of being near such waterways could be realized without the downside of the floods.  The buoyant foundation idea mentioned is interesting, with a 'socket' secondary foundation to keep the building in place horizontally.  In the meantime, we still dwell in an old farmhouse...with an old basement.....and commence with the usual knuckle-biting this time of year as the roulette wheel is spun regarding the potential confluence of temperature, rainfall, and snowpack that might be cause for alarm.  And in these times, trying to envision a better solution to the problem, tend to think of ways to float above the problem.
 
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I am with Cindy, please just don't live in a flood plain. Farm there if you want, but know the farm will get washed away at some point leaving some good rich soil, and live up out of the danger zone.

I also say don't build houses on shores that regularly get hit by hurricanes and large storms, don't live on fault lines, don't live in a volcanoes Lahar or lava path, etc... but people will continue to build in these places then be amazed when catastrophe strikes.

Now all that said. There is at least one thread I know here about a floating tiny home. https://permies.com/t/56475/Floating-tiny-home It is an awesome thread, and I advise all to check it out. PS, he was building it not to escape floods, but he wanted to live on the river.

One of the pics from the thread, he is doing an entire build in the thread.
 
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