A recreational boat is more than just a boat; it is an experience like no other. The wind in your hair, the smell of the salt from the sea, and the overall excitement and fun you’re having with your family and friends; nothing can really ruin that, other than a bad boat.
Regardless of whether you’re a pro at recreational boating, or you’re just starting out, it can be pretty hard to choose the right boat that fits all your preferences and needs. Out there in the sea, you want to be on a reliable, dependable, high-quality unit that will provide you all the safety but all enjoyment recreational boating can offer. So, if you’re looking to buy a new boat, you’re most certainly at the right place.
Now, we think it is always best to start out with the boat brands you should stay away from. This approach will help you narrow down your options and eventually come down to the best of the best; boats that fit your preferences and needs, but also the budget.
Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we’ll check out some of the worst boat brands out there, and simultaneously take a look at some of the best boat brand alternatives. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Top 4 Boat Brands To Stay Away From
Bayliner is a part of Brunswick Corporation, which is one of the leaders when it comes to recreational boats, marine engines, marine parts, and accessories. The company takes pride in its high-quality, thoughtfully engineered boats, as they would generally describe their main product. And sure, at one point, Bayliner was a big name in the recreational boating market. When it first started entering the market, people were genuinely interested and impressed by Bayliner.
So, what happened? Why is Bayliner on the list of worst boats to stay away from?
Well, upon purchase, many customers quickly notice that Bayliner boats have a lot of issues. From small, repairable ones, to some serious problems and incidents, it is fair to say that Bayliner boats don’t make people confident and safe out there in the sea. Some of the main issues with Bayliner boats include;
- Generator issues – older Bayliner models from the 1980s are equipped with an Onan MCCK generator, which is not explosion-proof. There is also an issue with the generator starter motor. Luckily, boats with these issues aren’t in use anymore, and later models were fixed. However, if you do come across a Bayliner from the 80s, stay away from it.
- Fuel-filler pipes not grounded
- Electrical issues in the engine room
- Ventilation issues in the engine space
- Stability issues and issues with floating
- The quality of the physical boat is below-average
- Some models have a fire hazard (Bayliner model 180s)
- Unattractive price
These are just some of the issues people experience with Bayliner boats. Many say that Bayliner is working on improving their boats, however, we do see Bayliner boat owners on the Internet wishing their Bayliner gets stolen so they don’t have to deal with it anymore.
So, what is the alternative to a Bayliner boat? Well, we would definitely recommend you check out Glastron boats.
With a Glastron boat, you’ll get more value for your money, and also get a boat that is safe, technologically advanced, construction- and build-sound, as well as stylish and reliable. Some of the more specific advantages of a Glastron boat include;
- Super Stable Vee Hull – incredible on-water stability and performance
- Sharp handling and stability through a lift
- Excellent steering agility and speed
- Oustanding aesthetic and design
- Excellent seating space and overall boat layout
- Reliability and durability
- Attractive price
Some of the best Glastron boat models include the GX 190, Gx 195, GX 210, GX 215, and the GTD 180/200/220. So, if you’re looking for a reliable, stylish boat at an attractive price, make sure to check out Glastron.
Kingfisher is one of the fastest-growing designers, builders, and marketers of adventure, recreational boats in North America. The company takes pride in their sleek and powerful, heavy-gauge boats which are marketed as the best solution for outdoorsmen. Now, all of this sounds nice and well, but, why is it that there is an increasing influx of negative experiences shared online in regards to the Kingfisher boats.
Well, let’s start by saying that Kingfisher boats are generally great at first. But, once you dive deep into the analysis of Kingfisher boats, you quickly notice that they are not free from minor and serious issues. Some of the main disadvantages in regard to Kingfisher boats include;
- Low sides – prone to becoming swamped so much that it can actually start sinking, all because of the low sides.
- Noise – because it is built using aluminum, the boat is pretty loud, which could be an issue if you want to cruise quietly or sleep on the boat.
- Built ruggedly (not appealing to the majority of the target audience, only for the Pacific Northwest needs)
- Completely unavailable in the south and the east of the US
You should definitely avoid Kingfisher boats if you’re not looking for a ruggedly-built unit. Also, compared to similar boats Kingfisher units cost significantly more. Also, considering the issues you may encounter with a Kingfisher boat, the price is simply far from being justified.
Now, what would be a good alternative to a Kingfisher boat? Well, considering the type of Kingfisher boats, we’d stay in the same realm and recommend you check out the Lifetimer boats.
The Lifetimer boats are also aluminum boats suitable for the Pacific Northwest’s needs. However, their boats also fit the needs of outdoor adventures, transport, crabbing, even emergency rescue. Some of the advantages of Lifetimer boats include;
- There is no noise issue, considering that the boats are made using aluminum
- Completely safe and reliable
- Hooks and corners like a sports boat
- The light design allows higher efficiency through water
- High-quality, solid build
- Aesthetic design
- Attractive price
Now, when it comes to Luhrs, we can only say that this is a story about a company that has gone from the riches to the rags. Luhrs is, or was, a boat-building company that has been around for almost 60 years. In that time, they’ve become one of the best boat-building companies, and at one point had over 400 employers building their units.
However, the company has gone bankrupt in 2008 due to the recession. Some years later, the company tried to get back into the business, but the attempt wasn’t successful. So, it is fair to say that even if you decided to buy a Luhrs boat, you won’t be able to buy a new one, so, you’d have to settle for an older model.
But, why is Luhrs on this list, if the company and their product have such a good reputation? Well, turns out that Luhrs boats are not problem-free. Here are some of the main issues boaters came across when using a Luhrs boat;
- Cheap build materials
- Issues with durability and maintenance
- Frequire need for repairs
- Galleys tend to be too small
- Issues with engine hatches and engine rooms
- No high-end, contemporary boat technology
- These boats aren’t made anymore
Overall, Luhrs boats aren’t that bad. But, considering the potential issues you may experience, and the aforementioned frequent issues people generally deal with, we would recommend you avoid Luhrs boats.
The cons simply outweigh the pros with this boat brand, and the fact that they don’t even make them anymore will make it harder for you to deal with repairs and updates (the company doesn’t provide boat parts anymore).
So, what would be a suitable alternative to a Luhrs boat? Well, we’d recommend you check out the Tiara Yachts.
This company manufactures premium, versatile boats, where the accent on luxury is surely emphasized. These boats are super-refined, with the laster technology. Everything on Tiara boats is user-friendly, reliable, and durable, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth. Here are some of the main advantages of Tiara boats;
- Drop-dead gorgeous boats
- High-end materials and build quality
- Sporty performance
- Open aft cockpit
- Refined design
- Reliable and durable
It is important to mention that Tiara boats aren’t just some luxury yachts; they’re described as a combination between a boat and a yacht (taking the best from both worlds), perfect for daytime recreational boating. If this sounds like a good combo, then make sure to check Tiara Yachts out.
Monterey is a boat-building company that has been around for the past three decades. The company has become a frontrunner when it comes to boat engineering, developing, designing, and building. Monterey takes pride in the premium boats and they know exactly who their target audience is; conscientious marine consumers. The company is also a family-operated business.
So, if everything is so nice and shiny at Monterey, why is this company on the list of the worst boat brands? Well, it seems that not all that shines is gold, and Monterey boats don’t seem to be completely problem-free. For example, some of the main issues boaters come across with Monterey boats include;
- Build-quality inconsistent (fiberglass work especially)
- Rust issue with hardware
- Old models have issues with rotten wood
- Possible maintenance issues
- Potential issues with warranty transfer between owners
- Difficult part replacement
Generally speaking, we think that the pricing for Monterey boats is good. There are some other pros in regards to Monterey boats, but in this case, the cons simply outweigh the pros. When buying a boat, you want a unit that is reliable, solid, durable and has as few potential issues as possible. Considering all the common issues, it seems that might not be the case with Monterey boats.
So, what would be a good alternative to a Monterey boat? Well, we would definitely recommend you check out the Boston Whaler boats.
Now, this is a trusted name in boating; Boston Whaler boats are known for their versatility, exceptional performance, powerful engines. We do have to point out that these boats are mid-range, but the best of their class. Some of the advantages of Boston Whaler boats include;
- Powerful engines
- Exceptional on-water performance
- Excellent rise and ease of driving
- The expansive and comfortable helm station
- Lounge seat and expansive canvas top
- Attractive price
Boston Whaler boats have an excellent reputation and are highly recommended by recreative boaters, fishermen, and people who simply enjoy a good, sunny day on a boat. The company simply delivers high-quality, durable, reliable boats, which should be the goal of every boat-building company. But, Boston Whaler doesn’t just sell promises; their boats are actually good and worthy of checking out.
Also Read: 5 Worst Kayak Brands To Avoid: Ultimate Guide With FAQs (2023 Updated)