SOMERS - The Kee-O-Mee Houseboat is currently the only active houseboat and only VRBO boat on Flathead Lake.
“It started out as a fun adventure for us and it's turned into a little bigger adventure, but we're loving every bit of it,” said Alan Sempf, owner of the Kee-o-Mee and Finding the Sun Rentals.
The boat was purchased last year by Alan Sepf and Kayla Caudill, a fourth-generation local family, and is now a full-time VRBO from mid-May to mid-September.
“It's quite a fun adventure. And I think every single person on it has said it's been the most unique, satisfying experience ever,” said Caudill.
The boat offers a unique experience for people who rent it including a slide, games, a fireplace, and 360-degree access to the lake.
It's very similar to renting a cabin on the lake with sleeping room for 12 people, a full kitchen, and a bathroom.
“Most people we have found have never experienced anything like what we provide. And so to me, it's just it's very rewarding because every single person said I had no idea it was going to be this great," said Caudill.
Sempf and Caudill donate a few nights on the houseboat a year to be auctioned off for different charities across the Flathead Valley.
They also call local friends and family when there is an opening or cancellation to give locals a chance at the experience.
“So we enjoy having something that we can get back to the community to and it makes us feel good about that," said Sempf.
On Flathead Lake, there are older houseboats that are no longer in use and one that is being remodeled for personal use, but the Kee-O-Mee is the only houseboat in use.
The houseboat is inaccessible a few months out of the year when the water is not deep enough to access by boat and too deep to walk to it. But when the water is really low, you can walk out to the boat.
“But it won't be long and we'll be in the kayaks and pontoon coming back out here and getting it ready to rock for summer," said Sempf.
The boat does not have a motor and must be pulled out into the lake when the water gets deep enough.
The six-foot in diameter hulls hold all the gray and black water on the boat and the massive 160 foot, 300,000-pound boat must be dragged to Somers boat launch twice a summer to be pumped out.
“Yeah, like how do you do that? Well, the same as you do your house. We just have to pull it over there overwater and they bring their trucks and bam. Yeah, and then we're back at it again. But it's like parking a train. Once it gets moving. It doesn't stop. You have to be really careful." - Alan Sempf.
The houseboat offers a unique experience of Flathead Lake for locals and tourists alike.
“There's nothing like waking up out here and the birds are squawking and the fish jumping and the sun is rising. And it's just kind of a special place," said Sempf.
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