After years of dealing exclusively as a boat rental business, Boatel decided in the 1970s to branch into the retail sector with houseboats. Giving birth to Boatel Houseboats, the company’s first vessels were produced in 1978. Boatel Houseboats were one of the first companies to install full-sized appliances in their vessels. Prior to 1980, Boatel Houseboats owned 95 percent of the rental houseboat market. The company ceased to produce houseboats in 2001.