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Author Topic:   Why would anyone want a Boston Whaler?!
170whalermonfan posted 03-08-2004 02:48 AM ET (US)   Profile for 170whalermonfan   Send Email to 170whalermonfan  

I have just placed an order for a 2004 170 Montauk with most of the bells and whistles the factory offers. Should be receiving her in late April early May timeframe.

The reason I'm starting this new subject, and hopefully the experts like yourselves will pay tribute and provide awesome feedback as i've seen on this forum, is to convince those on the "fence" and undecided to investigate why so many choose BW over any other brand.

Maybe some of the insight shared on this "string" will not only affirm potential BW owners into becoming true blue BW owners but also keep those already BW owners true blue.

Here's a thought... Maybe BW will continue doing the the things we like about why we chose BW in the first place. Now that alone might be the reason to share what made you true blue...

thanks in advance!


macfam posted 03-08-2004 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for macfam  Send Email to macfam     
When it comes to boats under 20', Boston Whaler ranks as the safest, strongest, highest quality, most sought-after boats anywhere.
True they are expensive, but there is another important factor most people don't think of.

I believe they are the "least expensive" boat you can possibly own.

If you buy a BW, and keep it for forty years (and some do), what a bargain! Yes, you'll re-power, but with a little care, the hulls are as good as new.
If you buy one and keep it for several years, and trade up or down, we all know the great re-sale value.

So, just compute what you end up spending per year, and you'll see, not only have you got the best, but at the lowest yearly price.

One man's opinion

Moe posted 03-08-2004 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
A series of messages from an email listserv or usenet newsgroup is called a "thread," not a "string." Some forums can display the messages within each forum in a "flat" format, or a "threaded" format. On this website, these series of messages are displayed in a flat format and are called "topics."

In the overall scheme of things, I wouldn't say "so many choose BW..." Whaler is a relatively expensive (up front) "niche" market. Some non-Whaler owners believe they are overpriced, and some recognize them for what they are, a high-quality, unique product for consumers with discriminating tastes, that they would chose if they could afford to do so.

Many non-Whaler owners know that all boats under 20 feet are required by Federal law to have "level floatation." They consider all boats these days to be "unsinkable," just like a Whaler. However, if they'd examine the Code of Federal Regulations, they'd find that to the Federal government and the US Coast Guard, "level floatation" means that with the boat loaded to only a percentage of its total weight capacity, only one end of the boat (typically the bow) has to be above water, and the other end can be one foot below it, meaning the motor powerhead is submerged.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) tightens that requirement to specify that the top of the entire length of the boat must be at the surface. This still doesn't mean the motor powerhead will be out of the water. And don't forget these requirements are in calm water. In waves, boats that only meet these standards will be submerged most of the time. Just because boats meet these requirements doesn't mean they're unsinkable anywhere near like a Whaler.

Whaler, an NMMA member, doesn't stop there, at some percentage of the boat's maximum weight capacity. They don't even stop at the maximum weight capacity. Whaler specifies a "swamped capacity" with a load much greater than the boat's maximum weight capacity, where the top of the boat and the motor powerhead will be out of the water. In the case of the 170, that's 3400 lbs vs its 1650 lb maximum weight capacity. In other words, with more than twice its maximum weight capacity, not some percentage of it, when swamped, the 170 will still have the tops of its gunwales and powerhead out of the water. With only its maximum weight capacity aboard when swamped, it will be floating much higher in the water than that, allowing some extra freeboard for waves.

Whaler's philosophy of level floatation is even more important in boats greater than 20 feet, where floatation isn't required. A boat with only "basic" floatation can float with the bow above water and the motor deep down below it. A boat without basic floatation sinks.

Many of us buy Whalers for their definition of unsinkability. Some of us also buy them for the strength the foam filled construction offers. The fiberglas hull is supported evenly, like plywood decking glued to a concrete slab. With others, the fiberglas is supported by stringers every so far apart, like plywood decking supported by joists or rafters. The boat feels as solid as a cast-iron bathtub in heavy seas.

Some non-Whaler owners criticize Whaler's fiberglas for being too thin, but it doesn't HAVE to be as thick when it's continously supported. The thickness required for plywood decking depends on the space of the rafters or joists. The further apart they are, the thicker it has to be. Nevertheless, Whaler seems to now be using thicker fiberglas from what we see of their increasing boat weights. I'd rather impale a Whaler on a sharp rock outcropping than any other boat. The water might get into the foam a little, but odds are better that it won't be coming into the boat.

Small Whalers also have a reputation for a hard, rough ride, and you still see that discussed amongst non-Whaler owners who remember their rides in older Whalers. Whaler has responded to these criticisms and the new small Whaler hulls introduced since 2000 ride orders of magnitude better than their predecessors, yet still have to overcome the old reputation. Those who read this forum and see the reports by new hull owners know that. Most in the boating community don't, and that's probably the biggest misconception non-Whaler owners will have about your 170.

As already said, Whalers tend to hold their values a little better, as well as provide many more years of ownership for the higher price. Some of us buy Whaler for these reasons.

Whaler isn't perfect, but they are reading forums like this and responding to other criticisms. They've added stern cleats, backing for a kicker, and a rear passenger seat to the 170 Montauk. They've added backing for a swim ladder for the 150, but are still remiss in adding stern cleats, and an electric horn as a safety feature, on the 150 and 130. They've also apparently replaced the gaudy Sport emblems, but are remiss in replacing the 150's jet ski console with one that will support a compass in front of the pilot, and better support electronics.

Hopefully, this will help you affirm your decision to buy Whaler, and help those on the fence.


Knot at Work posted 03-08-2004 02:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Knot at Work  Send Email to Knot at Work     

and let's not forget Chicks Dig 'em!

Marlin posted 03-08-2004 03:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
Can't comment on the "chicks dig 'em" statement, but apparently cops dig 'em. I had the pleasure of two conversations with police last year, once to tell me that I needed an inspection sticker for my trailer (that was news to me!), once a fish & game officer who checked my temporary registration before I had numbers issued for the boat. Both times, pretty much the first words out of these guys mouths was "hey, that's a nice boat!" Sure beats "your boat's ugly, I don't like you much either, put your hands up on the car"!
mtbadfish posted 03-08-2004 04:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for mtbadfish  Send Email to mtbadfish     
I can't say it any better than Moe did, or nearly as well. Good goin' Moe.

In addition to Marlin's point, the military likes Whalers too.

Here are some sites put together by Fred Schmidt, a member of the 458th Transportation Co./PBR in Vietnam. Instead of having the knowledge that Whalers are used in combat operations, here is a little more intimate view of the boats and the men who used them.

The first page is dedicated to Whalers, the others are sprinkled with pic's and comments.

critch22 posted 03-10-2004 12:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for critch22  Send Email to critch22     
Most people buy Whalers because they've "heard of them." The odds of actually "using" the unsinkability are not too good if you think about it.

The bottom line is that they are handsome and popular - at least thats what I think...

Moe posted 03-10-2004 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The odds of needing seat belts, air bags, and motorcycle helmets are very low also.
critch22 posted 03-10-2004 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for critch22  Send Email to critch22     
Way different. I am licensed to ride a motorcycle and to drive a car yet I have no license to pilot my Whaler. Why do you think that is? Its because the NTSB realizes that there are far fewer sunken boats than crashed cars, the ratio is probably 1:10,000... Hence, less govenment intervention.

Most boaters can swim and most whalers are small, so how far from shore are the shipwrecked whaler owners likely to be? With a (required) life jacket, your odds of survival are higher than the highway regardless of your boat's unsinkability.

Looks, Reputation, Resale...

Moe posted 03-10-2004 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The raw numbers of boat accidents vs vehicle accidents don't tell the tale. The boat number is lower to a great extent due to the relatively lower number of boats and relatively lower amount of time spent in them. The raw numbers of accidents say nothing about the probability of an accident each time you cast off from the dock.

Requirements for boater education certification prior to operation are growing, and I'm certainly glad for that. Licensing boat operators is closer than it's ever been.

And finally, whether unsinkability is likely to be used or not, I believe many people still buy a Whaler for that reason. In fact, Whaler is conducting a Why Whaler survey on their website now. Hopefully, they'll publish the results, but I doubt it.

But I can agree that we disagree.

critch22 posted 03-11-2004 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for critch22  Send Email to critch22     
You're certainly not wrong, there's a reason that Whaler uses: "The Unsinkable Legend" in its literature, I just feel that that aspect only genuinely applies to uses of Whalers as tenders; for when you are sure to "need" a twenty thousand dollar dinghy.

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