To fulfill a longstanding dream to sail his 10 children to Alaska, Eddie Ebel recruited two of his oldest sons to construct a giant off-grid barge. The Dad, who is also a missionary, believes that building the houseboat from scratch not only instills in his children a sense of self-reliance and responsibility, but also gives them confidence. Once complete, the enormous floating structure will become the Edel family’s home, in which they will travel throughout the Pacific Northwest to help others become members of the DIY community as well.
Ebel has been collecting materials for the boat over the past 20 years. The former Army emergency corps member and IT Director’s dream has always been to take his ten children to Alaska by barge. Ebel invented a building technique that uses floats to make the structure resemble a floating dock held together by steel I-beams. The home will shelter the entire family and include a living space, expandable lower deck, kitchen, bathrooms, and lumber mill. The barge is the first step towards Ebel’s vision of a community that he has dubbed the “Pacific Iceberg.” Eventually, the boat will be 60′ x 120′ and two stories tall, contain a greenhouse, and be equipped with WiFi.
His 14 and 15-year-old-sons have installed much of the foundation, electrical work, and erected the walls for the barge. Ebel estimates that his sons made about 90 percent of the floats and fabricated a great deal of the seating, beds, and windows. Instead of purchasing furniture, Ebel encourages his children to learn how to sew and construct as much as possible. By teaching them the expertise they need to live off of the grid, he hopes they will remain independent and help others acquire similar survival skills.
Images via Faircompanies.com screencapture