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Considering an older Boston Whaler
#1 Print Post
Posted on 01/04/18 - 8:10 AM

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I am looking to get into an older Boston Whaler boat in the 13ft to17ft length. I am on a limited budget and am willing to do some restoration. I am curious about what is inside the Whalers that make them unsinkable? Is this material something that could possibly absorb water? do older whalers have wood stringers and transoms? Should I be concerned with rotten wood and water logged flotation materials? In short, what do I look for when I find that whaler that has been sitting outside for the last 20 years?

#2 Print Post
Posted on 01/04/18 - 10:38 AM
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Hey Bob:

Answers: Foam; Yes; Yes; Yes; an experienced Whaler restorer AND/OR a Marine Surveyor with specific Boston Whaler experience (to help you "inspect").

You've come to the right place to learn ... including the names of local Whaler restorers and Surveyors ... just ask.

For what its worth: I bought a 2015 150 SuperSport, brand new. I was "worried" ... about the motor, about waterlogged foam, about rotten backing boards, about this and that. I then proceeded to put in mega amounts of hours modifying my brand new boat ... adding this and that electronics, lighting, hooks and holders, and etc.

In the end ... I'm one of these days going to have "an older Boston Whaler boat in the 13ft to 17ft length". I love my boat, but I've learned so much I wonder if I might have been just as happy (or happier) with an older boat that I lovingly restored. I know I'd be about $10k to $15k richer.

Good luck and take your time ...


Edited by ClevelandBill on 01/04/18 - 10:39 AM
ClevelandBill Ferry
2015 150 Super Sport 60hp Merc
#3 Print Post
Posted on 01/04/18 - 6:48 PM
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I agree with everything Bill said plus when you're looking at older Whalers you should try and find a virgin, meaning no bottom paint, or painted surfaces that way you don't get any surprises. To many times you peel the old paint back and you find coverups or some poor attempt to fix a problem. I'd rather have spider cracks in the original gelcoat than a bad paint job. However there is an exception to the rule and that is if the boat was professionally restored you should be ok with a good once over. Make sure if you buy an older boat that the title says Whaler not "homemade" like so many of them do. You see when people get older boats sometimes they don't get a title and they register them as homemade which is illegal. You also want to look for interior soft spots. These are where someone mounted something to the floor and the screw wasn't sealed properly and water got in. Under the fiberglass is wood and then foam. If water rots the wood and the foam gets saturated thats "no bueno". Run from that unless you want a major project. I would rather have an old Whaler that hasn't been touched with a POS motor, than a project boat.

#4 Print Post
Posted on 01/12/18 - 6:04 AM
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BobinIL: To correct the record, Boston Whalers were manufactured using a unique (still) unibond construction process. The foam does not absorb water. Boston Whalers do not have stringers. The transoms are not solid wood like other boats, that rot out; the wood is encased in foam and fiberglass. My advice to you is to buy the best Boston Whaler that you can find for the money. Do not buy a cheap Boston Whaler because it will end up being very expensive.

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