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15-foot Models

The Whaler 15 foot hull was available with many models, with options for seating and console. The basic or utility boat had only athwart seats and no console. Many more elaborate interiors were offered. Several railing options were also available.

Sport 15 1976-1990

My own boat is the Sport model. The seating consists of two plain athwart seats without backs. The console is located on the starboard side, providing a back for the right half of the forward seat. Note that the helm seat is mounted rather low. It rests on the lip formed in the hull mold, and cutouts in the wood side risers retain the seats. In later models the rear thwart seat was raised by mounting it to the top of the riser. Also note that the console has a flat top, with a minimal "dashboard." Any guages mounted there would be hard to see. The factory pre-rig did not include any gauges. I added a tachometer but mounted it in a sloping appendage I added to the dash, just under the wheel. It has proven to not been in the way so far; at least I don't have any scars on my knees from it. The wheel is mounted just slightly inclined from vertical. I find this orientation of the wheel to be very advantageous, and I much prefer it to steering with a wheel that is mounted on a horizontal axis. The most comfortable position is often kneeling on the deck with your butt on the thwart seat. I am looking into other seating arrangements.

Photo: Sport 15 Whaler seating and console 1976 Whaler 15 Sport
Thwart seats rest directly on the moulded lip in hull. The console has flat top, small dashboard, and steering wheel oriented near vertical. A GPS and DS/Fishfinder are on the console top; a VHF radio is on the dashboard. Because neither the console top or dashboard offered good views for gauges, I crafted a small sloping extension to mount the tachometer.


Sport 15 with Seatback Option

This Whaler was spotted on the North Channel of the St. Clair River delta, near Algonac, Michigan. It features the seatback and rail options, as well as the blue seat cover option.

This later boat has the elevated thwart helm seat mounted on top of the vertical risers. This increases the height about four inches, making a more comfortable sitting position for the helmsman. The optional wrap around railings join to make an railing across the whole cockpit, forming a support for the seat back. [NOTE: if you have the older seat which mounts directly to the hull lip, you won't be able to raise it like this because it won't be quite long enough to extend over the side risers.] This is a very welcome improvement over the bench seating of the simpler interiors. Optional seat covers with snap-in fasteners are also shown. This boat is OMC powered, which might be expected since the long-time Whaler dealer in the local area was also an OMC dealer, not a Mercury shop. Twin 12-gallon gas tanks and a battery fill the rear of the boat. I would expect that this would really add weight to the back of the boat. The battery likely weighs more than 40 pounds, and full tanks of gas add another 130 pounds. The rear of the boat is pretty much filled up: I wonder how you get back there to fiddle with the engine? Under the helm seat there is room for stowing some gear.

Photo: Whaler 15 Sport optional seating and console Whaler 15 Sport with Optional Seat Backs
Athwartship helm seat raised to top of side panels and seat back added. Side rails form U-shape across cockpit. Console similar to earlier model.


Photo: Whaler 15 Sport Optional seating and console Whaler 15 Sport with Optional Seat Backs
Steering Wheel is now stainless and 6-spoke; nice! The seat back rails also extend under the seats for additional support. The varnish on the console has a deep gloss. Very nice blue seat covers protect the varnished mahogany seats.


Super Sport 15 1985-1993

This more elaborate 1985 Whaler Super Sport was seen in Northern Michigan at Matteson Marine North near Burt Lake, where it was for sale (for $7,895). A major change in this model is the console; it is quite a bit taller than the previous two we've seen. The shape has changed, too, creating a larger dashboard with space for gauges that will be easy to see. The steering wheel orientation is more horizontal, something I am not sure is a plus.

Photo: Whaler 15 Super Sport seating and console 1985 Whaler 15 Super Sport
A new design raises the console several inches and creates a large sloped dashboard. The steering wheel has moved to more horizontal orientation.


Photo: Whaler 15 Super Sport console 1985 Whaler 15 Super Sport
Profile view of the console.

This boat has a nice helm seat configuration with seat back. Again, the seat is raised higher than the hull moulded lip height, resting on the even taller taller side panels. A storage compartment is also built into the seat back.

Photo: Whaler 15 Super Sport compartment 1985 Whaler 15 Super Sport
The helm seat back opens to reveal a small storage compartment. The seat back is supported by wooden brackets mounted to the wooden side panels. The side panels are much taller in this configuration than the previous two.

This boat also has a complete set of cushions, the tan pleat option. They look quite comfortable. All that white vinyl might be a little hard to keep clean, however, compared to the rest of the Whaler.

Photo: Whaler 15 Super Sport Cushion Set 1985 Whaler 15 Super Sport
White, White, everywhere White. A full set of cushions creates plenty of comfortable space to lounge around this Whaler. The side rails have been replaced and made part of a full bow-rail wrap-around railing.

Fuel tankage is upgraded to a semi-permanently mounted under-seat tank, a nice addition. I find on my boat that tucking your feet under the seat is quite comfortable, so I wonder how I would like that space filled with a tank. Bringing the tank under the seat moves weight forward, a plus in my mind, and it also opens up the rear of the boat.

Photo: Whaler 15 Super Sport Tank 1985 Whaler 15 Super Sport
The raised seat creates room underneath for a gas tank, although here it seems to be intruding a little into your leg room. This model is a Pate Plastics tank, custom made for Whaler. You can order them directly from the manufacturer. Capacity is probably around 12 gallons. Note the tie-down blocks on the floor, but the missing bungie cord straps. At the top is a vent or a gauge, I am not sure exactly what that was.


Sport 15 Center Console 1984-1988

The 15-foot hull became a mini-Montauk with the addition of a cut down fiberglass center console (somewhat similar to the one used in the Montauk) in 1982-1988 models. This variation retained the wooden seating from the Sport Seatback model, but dropped the forward thwart seat. Wiring to the console was routed through a tunnel in the center of the hull, as is often seen on larger models.

Photo: Whaler 15 Center Console c.1984 Whaler 15 Center Console
A rare center console model was one of the most expensive variations. We also see one of the nicest features of the Whaler 15: it fits in the garage (if you get the kids' bicycles out of the way). Note the detail of seatback support at the railing where a curved piece of wood is fitted. Snap-on cushions add to your comfort and protect that varnished mahogany. Front thwart seat may be owner added.


Striper 1978-1989

The 1978 catalogue described it thus: "For the first time, the 15' hull is available in a specially modified fishing boat model, which has a fiberglass console with a plexiglass windscreen. A 48-qt cooler pilot seat, and fore and aft pedestal seats are standard." An excellent example of 15-Striper is shown in Cetacea Page 50.


Super Sport Limited 15 1987-1990

The mahogany interior was replaced with a molded insert that provided dual side consoles with windscreens. The seats were upholstered, and there were several storage compartments. The low bow railing was standard.

Photo: Whaler Super Sport Limited 15 1987 Whaler Super Sport Limited 15
The upholstered seats are probably more comfortable than the old mahogany benches, but somehow this model doesn't look as "classic" as the others.
PhotoCredit: BW Catalogue


Mischief 15 1989-1990

A top deck shell was added, forming a deck and an upholstered cockpit, and creating a little speedboat-style model. It was good for cruising around, but not much else. Perhaps meant to look like the larger TEMPTATION model built on the Outrage hulls. About 235 hulls were made, 72 in Desert Tan with a tan interior, 24 in white with a red interior, and 139 in red! The red hulls had some problems with the gelcoat (or paint?) finish, and many had to be replaced under warranty. The upholstered interior was not particularly durable.


Sport GLS 15 1990-1994

The last of the 15-foot hull's interior designs, this model replaced the Sport 15, which was discontinued by 1991. Whaler's new owners (Reebock) were changing the look of the product line and getting rid of the wood interiors. They were also in the process of re-designing the hulls. The Classic 15-foot would be replaced by the short-lived Dauntless 15 model. The GLS added a molded side console and synthetic thwart seats, much like a Sport, but no wood. An excellent example of a 15-GLS is shown in Cetacea Page 50.


Standard 15 1997-1998

In 1997 the classic 15 hull was produced in a darker tan gelcoat (possibly a supplier error) with a red side stripe. A molded side console and "Star-board" seats were options. The "Dauntless 15" model (a different hull design) was concurrently available.


Utility 15 c.1991-c.1997

This was a grey gelcoat version of the base 15-foot hull, with a molded side console minus windscreen and "Star-board" seats in grey.


Alert 15 1983-2000

This model is a bare hull with rear athwart seat. It is intended for tiller steering as a work boat.


Hidden Wood

All Whaler hulls incorporate hidden wood panels to facilitate the attachment of accessories. This diagram indicates the location of the sizeable number of wooden backing plates embedded in the hull.

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Copyright © 1999 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs Copyright © 1999 James W. Hebert. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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Author: James W. Hebert