Back in January, Houseboat magazine featured Kevin Kennedy and his Bravada houseboat in our Buyer’s Guide. His boat was still in the factory at that point, but since then, Kevin and his family have splashed the boat and had a full summer of fun on Lake Powell in Utah. And they’re just getting started.
Although Kevin and his family of eight have owned houseboats before, this is the first time they’ve ever gone through the process of having one custom built from start to finish. It’s been quite a ride with ups and downs, but in the end they’re getting exactly what they wanted—a completely customized floating palace.
“My family wants to spend every weekend on our new boat, which we pretty much did over the summer,” laughed Kevin. “It’s kind of like our own cabin on the water.”
Still Some Final Touches
The Kennedys’ 16- by 70-foot Bravada V70 Legacy splashed back in May; however, there are still a few loose ends and glitches to work out before next summer. Not wanting to miss out on the boating season, they decided to launch the boat before the upper level was completely finished.
“The main level is gorgeous and everybody loves it but, the upper level is still a work in progress,” admitted Kevin.
Although the upstairs wasn’t done yet, Kevin and his family enjoyed a full summer on the boat, sticking to the main level. When Houseboat magazine spoke with Kevin in September, he mentioned they were taking the boat up to the Antelope dry dock to finish up the top and fix any remaining issues within the next week.
“I have confidence Bravada will get our boat finished up soon,” added Kevin. “They’ve got a lot of boats that they’re building and they’re a new company so I understand there can be issues and delays.”
Regardless, the Kennedys haven’t let any problems hold them back from having fun on their new boat.
Kevin and his family have ventured out on their houseboat to Warm Creek and Sand Hill across from Wahweap Bay, and the rest of the time they’ve simply enjoyed their boat in its slip.
The Kennedys still own their two other houseboats (a 1995 Sumerset and a 1995 Myacht), and at one point they took all three of the boats out, which was a blast. The longest they had their new Bravada out was for 10 days.
Kevin’s parents recently served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa, Ariz., and they joined Kevin and his family for a trip on the houseboat, along with 17 return sister missionary friends. It was quite the party.
“The returned sister missionaries had never experienced anything like it,” beamed Kevin. “Most of them had never been to Lake Powell so that was a treat for them and we just kept it pretty low key.”
One of their favorite things to do while out boating was to take Kevin’s ski boat out wake surfing. Out of 17 girls, all but two got up surfing. A few of them had done it before, but for most of them, it was the first time surfing, which impressed the Kennedys.
Of course, the whole group loved the paddle boats and scenic hikes as well. Then at night they’d all get together and have spontaneous dance parties. “It was really fun to see them having a good time,” shared Kevin.
Almost directly after that trip, Kevin’s wife’s family came out for a trip on the houseboat and there were about 20 of them. All in all, the Kennedys have had a great time showing off their houseboat and they made good use of their first summer.
Service With A Smile
Through the whole build process Bravada has been very attentive to the Kennedy family’s needs. From the beginning stages of the design process right up until the boat launched back in May, the Bravada team has continuously striven to go above and beyond.
For example, when the Kennedys ran into an issue over the summer, they were able to pick up some of the Bravada team members at Wahweap Marina at 10 in the morning and drive them to the houseboat. The Bravada workers labored to resolve the issue until 9 at night. It’s this kind of responsiveness that shows the Kennedys that Bravada is invested in their continued satisfaction.
“Bravada always tries to give us the best customer service,” emphasized Kevin. “They always try to make us happy.”
One of the great things about having a custom boat made by Bravada is that you get to be a part of the design process so you can contribute plenty of feedback until you get things just right. That’s how Kevin feels about the layout and size of his boat—they got it just right.
“The master is unbelievable and it’s probably the best master I’ve ever been in,” described the owner.
Then the main level of the boat is also thought out very well, easily accommodating everybody the Kennedys want to invite on board. Nothing feels cramped or forced. The 9-foot ceilings on the main level give the boat a spacious, free-flowing ambiance, and even the houseboat’s cuddies boast higher ceilings below than usual.
“All the cuddies are 6-foot 3-inches so I can stand up in all of them,” added Kevin. “I don’t know of any other boats where the cuddies are even above 4 or 5 feet tall.”
The houseboat has a modern feel and is very user-friendly, implementing an iPad that runs the whole boat. The hot tub is also one of the Kennedys’ favorite features and they found themselves using it frequently over the summer. The fact that there’s no wood making up any part of the boat is another extreme plus. Something else Kevin is particularly fond of is the boat’s 70-foot length.
“It’s not too big to where I have to get a captain and it’s not too small to where I can’t fit a ton of people on it,” explained Kevin, “so I feel like it’s the perfect size of boat. There are a lot of people who think bigger is better but then it starts to get harder to drive and I wouldn’t want to handle a boat that big. This one’s perfect for me to drive.”
The Kennedys made sure to design the top floor with plenty of guests in mind, and once it’s finished, it will easily accommodate and entertain 24 people. The family is looking forward to making full use of their upper deck in the upcoming season.
For Years To Come
The Kennedys have come a long way since we last featured them in our January Buyer’s Guide. They’ve launched their dream houseboat and spent a full summer having fun and entertaining guests on Lake Powell. This coming summer is going to be even better once the upper level is finished.
The process of building a houseboat from start to finish could be grueling at times, but in the end it has paid off and the Kennedys couldn’t be happier with their new custom Bravada houseboat. It’s been quite an adventure already and this is just the beginning.
“We got what we paid for and we’re using it,” attested Kevin. “We’ve got a very nice houseboat now and it’ll probably stay in our family for years and years to come.”