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Author Topic:   New Whaler Quality
Sal A posted 07-11-2005 09:34 AM ET (US)   Profile for Sal A   Send Email to Sal A  
I have a fairly new Nantucket, am considered a "new" owner, and my ownership experience has been just wonderful. The new larger Whalers that I have looked at the boat shows, and at my local dealer, have been extremely impressive.

I start this post to contrast my experience with that of someone close to me, whom I tried to steer towards Boston Whalers. Where as the quality of my boat, and the delivery experience, was stellar, his was less than that. He didnt start small as I suggested, and didn't look closely at the large Whalers, as I also suggested, but instead fell for a pretty blue hull with a yellow strip, with cushions everywhere, with a nice cuddy, with twin I/O's, in the thirty one foot range at the New York boat show. Since taking delivery of his pretty boat in May (I leave the mid-quality boat manufacturer detalis out), he has had just an awful time: constant water in his cuddy, terrible canvas that doesn't line up, gaping seams between the deck and hull in places near the engine compartment, faulty trim tabs too small for the boat, etc.

After going out with him several times to help him learn docking in his tiny slip, it almost made me want to sell his boat, my boat, and short all boats in general. There is something to be said about making the boating experience easy and enjoyable. I doubt my relative will make it to next May with this boat.

tombro posted 07-11-2005 09:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     
Sal, I hear yah! This happens all too often, and is truly a heartbreak for new boat owners. I have been fortunate, as all my 8 boats have been of good manufacture, and from good dealers. Good experiences in general. I think it also very important to start small--I started in rental rowboats off Sandy Hook and Manasquan Inlet. Trial by fire, indeed!!!

BTW, we splash Full Circle on Thursday. Will give you a shout on 68 either on the 23rd or the following weekend. Tices beckons...

Sal A posted 07-11-2005 10:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
I was trying to hail you Saturday morning.... the bay had a tough chop to it. I will definitely make Tices by month end. Probably twice during the last week of July. Hope to see you out there....

TomG posted 07-11-2005 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for TomG  Send Email to TomG     
Sal, I don't think your relative's experience is all that unusual. There are a lot of poorly designed boats in the world. There are even more boat brands that are poorly constructed or finished...add in dealers that give poor after-sale service and you have a recipe for unhappy boaters.

I believe I read that somewhere around 25% of new boaters leave the sport after 1 year (someone else can supply the actual number). That is an indictment of the entire boating industry. It is propogated by manufacturers and dealers who just want to move product out the door and don't care about repeat business. A stupid philosophy when any Business 101 class tells you it is far easier to keep the customers you already have than to find new ones.

A lot of my friends call me a "boat snob" because I own a Whaler and a Tiara...2 top-of-the-line boats. I tell them that I chose those brands because they are companies that understand quality...and that a well-made product will last longer, return higher resale, and give me a more enjoyable ownership experience.

That being said, no boat is perfect...they all break and they all have their flaws. I'm off to replace an impeller in my starboard engine on the Tiara this morning. ;-) But if you start off with a high-quality product, maintain it properly and don't abuse will be a much happier camper...i mean boater.


bluewaterpirate posted 07-11-2005 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Ah, the shock & awe of boat shows can be just too much for boat newbies.

Sal ..... you gave your friend good sound information based on your experiences & he chose not to listen. Boat show prices & salesman tend to add to hysteria.

Bottmline .... You can led the horse to water but he chose not to drink.


JoJo posted 07-11-2005 04:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoJo  Send Email to JoJo     
Everyone, I have hesitated to reply to Sal's post until I am sure that I have not been (overly) a nit-picker...My 2005 Nantucket was delivered with the starboard self-bailing hose unconnected, and upon connection leaked badly at the connection to the hull. I had to a plumber friend temporary fix the leak to the bilge with silicone gel. My gas cap was not affixed to the chain upon first connection as well; lastly, I had to go back to the dealer to get the radio to work at all, not just sometimes. I LOVE my boat, but as a new customer who paid full retail I responded to BW to let them know that it is the minor defects that get currency from owners as other potential buyers ask about my experience. My $.02.


Whalerider posted 07-11-2005 10:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerider  Send Email to Whalerider     
I look at a quality boat in the same way as a quality car. My Nantucket had a FEW minor faults that were quickly and professionally remedied by my dealer. My wife's new high end car (I drive a 7 yr old truck) also had a FEW problems that were also quickly repaired by the dealer. I EXPECT there will be minor adjustments required on any new, quality boats or car...the difference between quality and "run of the mill" is the word MINOR. Once the initial repairs/adjustment were made I had years of enjoyment from both with only preventive and the expected maintenance required.

I have owned both high end and low end boats, my high end boats were as described above, with the dealer and builder HAPPY to make things right, they were a joy to own. With my low end boats, they were ALWAYS broken and it seemed I was in a continuous fight with the dealer and builder to do ANYTHING about it, warranty or not. The cheap ones cost me more money and heartache in the end.

In my opinion, Whalers and others in the same class are EXPENSIVE and they do come with some faults that are easily fixed. If you add the pleasure of ownership and the reliability they really are almost a steal compared to some of the junk that is pawned off on unsuspecting and usually first time consumers.

If you want perfect, add anther zero to the price and you will come close.

Whalerider posted 07-11-2005 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerider  Send Email to Whalerider     
To add to my ramblings.... My brother is of the opionion that he should by cheap boats because he only keeps them a few years before he dumps it and gets a new one. Well, he may have a point.

He has a new 25 foot fishing setup that cost much less than my 19 foot Nantucket. I have fished on it about 12 to 14 times and all but two times, something has broken while we were out. A couple of times it was bad enough to make us head back early. When was the last time you had a problem like that on your Whaler....nuff said, I think?


highanddry posted 07-12-2005 04:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
I have had zero problems with my Nantucket and my Mercury 150 Opti. The gas cap key was missing, the Smartcraft guages fogged once and that is it. It is a quality boat and engine and I tire of both being bashed.
There is a "Bayliner" fellow I have argued with on another diver related forum. He has something like a 26 foot Bayliner I/O. I would rather my Nantucket at 19 feet. My boat feels like a quality item, it is solid and finished looking and will last the rest of my life. Baylines etc rot away in a few years. it is no wonder boating is not popular like it used to be, boats cost so much, most are junk, people's expectations have risen and of course gasoline etc. Junk boats that depreciate to nothing in a coiuple of years impact the value of our Whalers as well, they drag us all down.
Sal A posted 07-12-2005 06:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
The problems on his boat are definitely not minor, and each time he goes out with his family (often I am pressured into going along to help him....he is married to my sister), he shudders as he finds some new flaw. I am floored mostly by his cuddy leaks and persistent water; its cushioning is already ruined and the space is useless.

I love my boat. If my first boat was not a Whaler, and had been something similar to my brother-in-law's boat, I'd have a different hobby for sure.

JoJo posted 07-12-2005 10:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for JoJo  Send Email to JoJo     
Please don't take my previous post to the extreme...I recommend Boston Whaler's Nantucket w/ the 150 Opti to everyone who asks; my handicap is that I am a first time buyer....knowing what I now do, I would have spent much more time with the dealer when I took delivery. I LOVE my 'Tucket and don't wish anyone on this forum to think otherwise. An additional obstacle for me is that the BW dealer is 68 miles away and I would rather keep my boat in the water than trailer it to his facility everytime a glitch is discovered. Thanks, Sal A for all of your help and assistance over last Winter when I researched and then purchased the 2005 Nantucket.
alkar posted 07-12-2005 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for alkar  Send Email to alkar     
Is it the consensus of this group that the great Whaler quality is consistent throughout the line, or is there a difference between one model and another? It may sound like a silly question, but a reputable long-time dealer in California is saying the the differences between models are HUGE. He likened one particular series to the Harley Davidson motorcycles of the early 1980s.
prm1177 posted 07-12-2005 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I would suspect that BW quality is consistent through the line. My understanding of their process, is that the same assembly teams work on all boats (there is no Classic team vs Outrage team). A lot of the "off the lot" experience depends on the dealer since a good salesman should walk through a boat prior to delivery to note any items that slipped through QC, and then let the factory know so that steps can be taken for future builds.

I've owned a '63 13, a '96 Outrage II 17, and a '98 Conquest 23. All boats exhibited a consistent quality I haven't found in any other brand over the decades.

17 bodega posted 07-12-2005 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I was at a local Whaler dealer recently and was surprised to see a low level employee literally assembling the interior of the 170 Montauk. He appeared to be competent and doing a good job but I could see how small mistakes could be made at this level. It almost reminded me of a piece of furniture from IKEA being assembled. During a serious dealer backup, I could see how problems could devolop on the minor areas. At the same time, as I looked at the Carolina Skiffs in comparison, the Whaler quality to the parts and features were far superior. I found it interesting looking at the boat as it arrives on a semi truck all shrink wrapped.
erik selis posted 07-12-2005 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Steve, as I understand it the 170 Montauk is completely assembled at the factory. Why would the interior need to be assembled at a dealer? Am I missing something?


17 bodega posted 07-12-2005 02:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     
I thought it odd too. It could be that he was installing options that aren't standard. It didn't look like he was rigging a motor, but laying down near the stern with parts all over the deck of the boat. Maybe he was putting in a livewell. I was under the impression he had assembled some of the moving parts like rps, winshield, bars etc. I could be wrong, but that is what it appeared. I made a comment to him like "oh, you guys put them together too?" and he nodded. It was very cool seeing a brand spanking new boat.

I'll pay closer attention when I visit the dealer next.


bluewaterpirate posted 07-12-2005 03:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Maybe he was installing a FF transducer.


Whalerider posted 07-12-2005 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerider  Send Email to Whalerider     
17 bodega,

Your right... at my dealer all the boats come in with the stuff you mentioned is shipped unassembled to facilitate shipping and avoid shipping damage.

highanddry posted 07-13-2005 04:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
"Is it the consensus of this group that the great Whaler quality is consistent throughout the line, or is there a difference between one model and another? It may sound like a silly question, but a reputable long-time dealer in California is saying the the differences between models are HUGE. He likened one particular series to the Harley Davidson motorcycles of the early 1980s."

I think you brought that up once before and my answer then and now is that he is lying for purpose of gain--period.

erik selis posted 07-13-2005 06:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
From the pictures of this Boston Whaler factory tour it seems to me that all components are assembled in and on the boats in the factory itself.

Wouldn't it be in the company's own interest that the components are assembled on the boats in the factory by the same experienced people, in order to maintain their usual high level of quality?


BarryGreen posted 07-13-2005 07:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for BarryGreen  Send Email to BarryGreen     
I was at my BW dealers right after my 235 Conquest came in, and once it was blocked up we cut a slit in the shrink wrap to look inside. In this case (and I suspect all cases) everything was assembled and in place. The only "loose" items were the cushions, miscellaneous thru-hull plugs, manuals/documentation, etc. As I remember, even the prop was already fitted to the engine.


SEGrin posted 07-13-2005 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for SEGrin  Send Email to SEGrin     
I had an interesting experience about a year ago at the boat show in Grand Rapids. I was sitting on a 23 Conquest when two men - obviously retired - got on the boat. They started talking about how you would have to be crazy to spend this much money for a Whaler. One of their friends just bought a new fishing boat and "got a much better deal." They looked at hatches, the cabin, even the bilge. Nothing impressed them. Then, I found out what the "better deal" was: a Starcraft Islander (AKA the beer can of the lakes).
I can't tell you how many times I've flown past those beer cans on Lake Michigan in two foot chop - they're looking miserable while we're enjoying the fact that there's nothing squeaking, nothing rattling, just enjoying a boat where everything still works after five years.
Bottom line: if quality doesn't matter to you, Whalers are overpriced. For me, quality matters.

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