July 1, 2008

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Boating First-Class

Stretch Your Sea Legs in Luxury Houseboats

Sarah Ryther-Francom

July 1, 2008

Though Utah is the second driest state in the nation, it’s also home to a surprising number of lakes and reservoirs, including one of America’s favorite house-boating destinations: Lake Powell. With enchanting blue water, towering red rocks and sandy beaches, the lake attracts thousands of house-boating tourists each year. Vance Barrett, founder and president of Best Vinyl, says that houseboating mixes adventure and relaxation, making it a perfect vacation for anyone. “A lot of people enjoy going camping, but not everyone enjoys roughing it. Houseboating lets everyone have fun doing different things,” he says. Barrett enjoys houseboating with family, friends, even his employees. “I take our employees on a houseboating trip every year, and it’s something that they look forward to,” he says. “They get to spend time becoming better friends outside of the office and it breaks down the barrier between the employer and employee. They always come back more efficient and effective.” In the Lap of Luxury Today’s houseboats allow you to enjoy every minute of your houseboating excursion, says Chris Webb, president and CEO of Sunrise Peak, Inc., a houseboat company located near Lake Powell. “When you look at modern houseboats, they’ve come a long way. They’ve got everything you need or want.” Imagine relaxing on a plush leather sofa, as you watch your favorite movie on a state-of-the-art home theater system. All the while, you’re surrounded by glistening blue water and can hear the sounds of splashing and laughter in the distance. Sound too good to be true? Not at all. Modern houseboats have truly become a home away from home on the water. “If there’s a feature that you love about your house or condominium, you can almost always find it on a houseboat,” says Webb. Modern houseboats have ratcheted comfort up a notch or two, offering kitchens with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and even a Viking range. Master bedrooms feature plush bedding and private bathrooms with jetted tubs. You’ll also find hot tubs, fireplaces and multiple bathrooms. With lush amenities and world-class features, today’s houseboats tempt even the most water-fearing travelers to hop onboard. To Rent or Own The cost of purchasing your own houseboat ranges from $500,000 into the millions, Webb says. On top of the initial costs of purchasing a houseboat, annual operational costs are approximately $25,000. If owning your own houseboat is out of the budget, Webb suggests shared ownership, which is becoming a popular alternative. “Instead of spending about $750,000 to use [your houseboat] a couple times a year, [shared ownership] allows about nine owners to share all of the costs. It really makes it affordable.” Renting a houseboat is another option, Webb says. Renting costs vary greatly depending on how long you wish to rent and which houseboat catches your fancy. In general, a weeklong rental of a larger, more luxurious houseboat will run approximately $12,000. A weeklong rental of a smaller, less lavish houseboat will go as low as $3,000. Custom Made If you’re a true house-boating fanatic, you can design and build your own houseboat right here in Utah. Desert Shore Houseboats, a houseboat manufacturer located in Layton, has been creating and constructing houseboats since 1996. According to Dave Stevens President and owner, Desert Shore works directly with customers to build a one-of-a-kind floating palace. “We produce a houseboat that’s distinct, a boat that doesn’t look like all the others,” Stevens says. “Everything is custom built to order. We will build to any size and specifications of the customer. “Really, the sky is the limit,” Stevens adds. “Inside, we can make the houseboat look like an upscale home, with cherry wood walls, granite countertops and solid wood floors. Sometimes, our customers will even bring in their own interior decorator and we’ll work with them to build whatever they want.” The cost of designing and building your own houseboat starts at a minimum of $500,000 and generally runs into the millions. *More information about Sunrise Peak, Inc. can be found at www.sunrisepeak.com *More information about Desert Shore can be found at www.desertshore.com
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