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Tina Powell has two houseboats


The new houseboat is ready to go for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Photo submitted

Why does Tina Powell own two houseboats? 

This is a reasonable question, according to Powell, who readily admits that possessing a pair of floating homes wasn’t the original idea. Instead, refurbishing a fixer-upper was her plan, but the best-laid plans usually require super-human patience. After hours of hard labor in gutting the boat’s interior and beginning to resuscitate the vessel, getting nearer to the goal brought about visions of fun in the sun while livin’ la vida Saylorville. This proved to be Kryptonite for the fixer-upper plan. 

“I need a boat that can be in the water by Memorial Day,” her brain insisted.

Tina Powell started to fix up a houseboat (pictured) but instead bought a more-ready-to-float boat in order to be relaxing on the water at Saylorville Lake by Memorial Day. Photo by Jeff Pitts

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It’s no news flash that authentic houseboat recreation is generally preferable to houseboat remodeling by a decisive margin, and since Powell already works two jobs — she is a hairstylist and an insurance agent — the decision was made that any hours allotted to a houseboat would best be invested enjoying lake life as opposed to preparing to do so. 

The fixer-upper houseboat is a 1973 Gibson Standard 42-footer, and Powell says the discontinued brand continues to be sought after by lake enthusiasts. That’s why, when a 1977 Gibson 50-footer came to her attention, and she learned it was in her price range and ready to ride… All aboard! 

Tina Powell (left) hanging out with her daughter Morgan Stork (right). Photo submitted

Saylorville’s lake life is, according to many, central Iowa’s unquestioned king for outdoor summer activities. Boats begin hitching to buoys at some point in April, and those numbers gradually grow through the month of May until eventually peaking for Memorial Day. Then it’s all hands on deck for the long weekend and the boating bonanza that kicks off the summer. Lake life then continues running full throttle through August before winding to a close by October’s end, the de facto deadline for removing boats before the water freezes. 

“It’s a way to relax,” says Powell of lake life’s allure. 

Nic Stork (left) having fun and tubing with his friend Chase Berger (right). Photo submitted

The crew on Powell’s boat generally consists of her friends, family, children, co-workers or anyone who could use a carefree day soaking up sunshine while reeling in fish, grilling burgers, water skiing, swimming, floating on the lily pad or enjoying the company of other Saylorville lakers. 

“There is a community of people who are out there all the time,” she says, noting that Saylorville Marina leases approximately 80 buoys to season-pass holders. Since these are grouped closely together, a fond familiarity develops. 

So now you know why Tina Powell has two houseboats. You should also know that she has no ambition to maintain both boats in her fleet. The acquisition of houseboat No. 2 renders the original dreamboat expendable, so if you or someone you know desires to dive in, you can find the fixer-upper project sitting on jacks located next to the storage crate as soon as you turn into Saylorville Marina — $2,800 or best offer.

“It’s a cool project because the boat is nostalgic,” explains Powell. 

Just be sure you have a well-laid plan and possess super-human patience. ♦

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