Considering an aluminum fishing boat for sale in Ontario? Perhaps a family outing to the Toronto Boat Show or Sportsman Show or a dealership to look at a Crestliner Boat, Lund Boat, G3, StarCraft Boat, Princecraft Boat or even a Legend Boat. Hundreds of models available form brands I have heard of an some brands not so much. Confusing…absolutely…how can you determine what brand and type or model is right for our family? Welcome to Boater’s Chat as we try and demystify aluminum fishing boat purchasing and demonstrate some ways to perhaps achieve best quality and value for the dollar and best fit or the family needs.
Beyond looking at those life style magazine ads, Boater Dealers or Boat Buys web sites or aluminum fishing boat builders websites like Starcraft Boats or Sylvan Boats or Lowe Boats…how does one make an informed buying decision? Below you will find a step by step process for buying the right aluminum fishing boat for your family. Lets start with spending a few minutes about builder history and how this can or shoulda affect purchase decisions.
A large majority of the known brands such as Crestliner Boats, Lund, StarCraft, Princecraft have been around for decades. Newer brands such as Legend and Kingfisher although in the marketplace for some time are relative newbies compared to the other brands. Would it be reasonable to assume that a brand with a longer history in the marketplace may be a smarter buying decision? Unfortunately in the boat building business the length of time in the market is not a good marker for boat buying satisfaction after the purchase with fit, finish, overall quality and performance. A brands market position with respect to perceived quality and value is presently nothing more than marketing spin created by professional marketing firms. That may sound harsh but here are a few facts to consider:
- All aluminum boat brands utilize packaging with a outboard brand to attract buyers. A boat package which is normally a boat motor trailer combination will save you money over buying separate pieces.
- All major manufacturer’s buy their outboards at the same discount based on volume. For example Princecraft does not have a higher discount on a Mercury Outboard than say Lund or Crestliner or Lowe.
- Lund Boats, Crestliner Boats, Princecraft Boats and Lowe Boats are owned by Brunswick Corporation which also owns Mercury Outboards. Lowe Boats are set up as the value line at less retail pricing and the quality fit and finish difference between this line and say Lund or Crestliner is really evident.
- Lund Boats and Crestliner Boats are built in the same plant by the same skilled workers utilizing the same grade and type of aluminum. Right now Crestliner is all welded and has the thicker hull aluminum in most cases when comparing models of similar size than Lund. Lund is marketing partial double plating of high stress area in the bottom hull. The 0.60 hull thickness is increased to 1.20 by adding another plate on the inside of 0.60 thickness. So would a hull that is double plated in some areas to 1.20 thickness stronger or more durable than a single plate hull of 1.25 thickness? If we were to look at G3 boats which double plates the entire hull bottom not selective areas at 1.20 is this structurally superior to Lund’s 1.20 thickness in some areas and 0.60 in others?
- Yamaha owns and distributes G3 aluminum fishing boats and pontoons. G3 is not as widely known as Lund or Crestliner Boats and also utilizes 5XXX H34 aluminum sheeting…does that make that brand a lesser brand? Quality and construction wise this brand is right there with the best industry construction.
- StarCraft Boats, Sylvan Boats and SmokerCraft are owned by the same company and built in the same series of plants. This company also builds most Legend Boat hulls for sale in Canada.
The above named aluminum boat builders are all large volume builders and do not have any competitive build advantage over one or the other that can reduce the price of a boat. All use American labour and all plants are in the United States.
Having just come back from the 2017 Toronto Sportsman show you can see the build difference in fit and finish alone between the major brands. If you look at StarCraft and Legend you will note a black glossy windshield and in most cases black glossy dash panels…lots of shinny plastic. What happens to black framed windshields and dash panels when exposed to strong sunlight….there can be two problems:
- The windshield frame and dash panels will get hot…the windshield frame particularly may a problem as it can be too hot to touch and holding onto a windshield frame in rough water is not unusual.
- The reflective glare can be a real problem hindering vision and at night or low light conditions glare can be very annoying.
Outside of the colour issue you can notice significant difference in the size, height and securing of windshields. This is important as that windshield is there to provide a measure of protection against winds or air movement coming over the bow or rain. An insecure windshield due to a poorly supported or constructed dash and passenger panel will lead to problems down the road. Normally cracked dash panels, loose securing screws and center walk through windows that do not close properly or look off center. If you exert some pressure on the top of the windshield pulling downward to the cockpit floor…movement is not a good sign.
Most aluminum fishing boat come complete with a size matched bunk trailer. If you were to compare the provided trailer under a Legend or a Lowe Boat….if you actually look you will notice that they generally have a much smaller frame size….same 2′ x4″ versus 2″ x 3″. Tires are generally smaller in diameter and load rating and have a simple black painted finish.
Lund and Crestliner utilize on most models a Shorland’r or Karavan trailer which are both respected brands. G3 for example provides a powder coated or protective coated trailer as part of their package which is superior to paint. What about galvanized trailer which are an option for most brands. Galvanized trailer are not as ascetically pleasing but do over advantages over simple painted trailers for corrosion and stone chipping of the finish which can result in rusty patches.
Simple Rules For Boat Purchasing
- Start with a plan! Set a realistic family budget for the purchase and have a conversation in family on how you are going to pay for the purchase.
- Stay away form the manufacturer’s websites…there is for the most part nothing there but lifestyle smiling family shots meant to invoke and emotional response from you favouring their product.
- Understand the role of the salesperson in the process.
- Understand and accept that in a boat purchase there are no deals offering you more boat for less money. It is more for more or less for less.