Living afloat
The story of the Luxe Motor Watergeus, the Groningse snik Hornblower, the Historische klipperaak Aquarel, the lemmeraak 'Op Hoop van Zegen', the Friese maatkast Tordino and how to convert a Dutch barge into a houseboat.
MS Watergeus
The Watergeus is my home. It's an old Dutch Luxe Motor, built in 1929. She was about to be scrapped when we bought her...
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Living Afloat
(and old stuff - outdated)
Living Afloat
Living Afloat gives you free ideas on what you need to know about barges, how to buy them, how to convert them, etc..
Recognize a barge
Buying a barge
Converting a barge
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Photo Gallery
MS Tordino
The Tordino is a Friese Maatkast built in 1922. She is being converted into a floating museum.
MS Aquarel
The Aquarel is an authentic klipperaak from 1916 converted for exhibitions and with a permanent small museum of maritime artifacts. She was sold in 2016 and is now a houseboat in Zaandam.
MY Op Hoop van Zegen
Op Hoop van Zegen
The 'Op Hoop van Zegen' is a lemmeraak from 1916. She was converted into a classic looking yacht.
I spent most of my time in or around boats. Read what I'm doing!
MS Hornblower
The Hornblower was a project of converting a snik into a yacht. I sold her in 2014 to start another project.
HomeCargo hold, den & hatches

Cargo hold, den & hatches


The cargo hold has a length of 26 meters. You can see where the ship has been lengthened in 1961:

Old & new part of the hull
Old part has more rivets then the younger piece.

Since the Watergeus will be used as a house boat, the cargo hold will be the main place for living. I decided not to shorten her for many reasons, such as costs, space and mooring. It is costing money to shorten the boat. Wit the amount I need to spend shortening her I can do a big piece of the conversion. I love to have a lot of space and therefore a 38m barge was a minimum for me. There is no problem to get a mooring for a 38m barge in Belgium.


Between September 2006 and December 2006, the den has been rebuild in steel, like she originally used to be. (see also: technical drawing). The den has a height of Approximately 62,5cm. We used 6mm steel, since she has never to carry cargo again.

Steel den being built
The new den, built in steel

Approximately 4,4 tons of steel were used to build this new den.

Windows in the den

The den contains around 15 portholes and 6 other windows. They should give enough light for the whole cargo hold. 11 portholes are coming from an old Belgian dredger and have a glass size of 40cm. Three others came from the Kempenaar Mousson and the six other windows came from a 42m spits, the Rafale. All three vessels were scrapped, the two barges two years ago.

Windows aboard the Rafale
Windows aboard the lengthened spits Rafale

The same windows now in the Watergeus

After the windows were placed, I discovered not having enough light. Therefore I'm looking for a good solution of having light from the top, through the hatches.


Originally, when built, the cargo hold was covered with wooden hatches. They had been replaced by a fixed metal roof for the water tanks. Today, she has again a Friese luikenkap, but in aluminium. The hatches were second hand and came from a spits-barge and were delivered to me in October 2006.

Hatches, as seen in the beginning of December
Hatches, as seen in the beginning of December

The brand of the hatches is Blommaert, a very common make on the inland vessels.

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Last updated on: Monday, 18 September, 2017 11:53 PM
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