Installing a new rub rail or bumper on a Boston Whaler is not really that difficult. If you have an older model then a new rub rail will update the boat as well as provide more protection than the smaller original rail. If you are restoring a boat then you will of course want to replace the rub rail especially if the existing one is old or damaged.
We purchased our rub rail material from Jamestown Distributors. We bought the largest that would fit on the rail of the boat. The rub rail consists of two parts. A main piece that goes on first, and a tube of the same type material that fits into the first piece. The idea is that the main piece goes on and you glue and screw it in place and then the tube goes in and covers up the screws and provides additional protection. Once you get the kit you will immediately see how it works.
Installing the main piece was very easy. It helps to have two people so that one can pull the rub rail around the boat while the other applies 3m 5100 caulk to the boat and then screws in the piece. Use plenty of 3m 5100 but not so much as to have it ooze out the edges when you put your screws in.
As you can see from the picture above the process is simple. Just caulk and screw until you reach the other side. By the way, make sure you have premeasured to that when you get to the other side you have more than you need and not less.
Having someone pull the material around is helpful. Especially on the curves. I used extra 3m 5100 and more screws on the corners and front of the boat. If the rail rubs the ground it will get scratched up but don’t worry about it. It cleans back up and is going to get scratched anyway.
I spaced my screws about 6 inches apart. Make sure to use plenty. They should obviously be stainless. Since you caulk first the screw goes through the caulk before going into the boat thus forming a seal.
Once you reach the end just cut off what you don’t need and finish screwing. Now you are ready for the fun part. Putting in the round portion of the rub rail. I tried several methods and finally found one that worked. It involved a hammer and a helper. Keep in mind that the rub rail material is tough and strong. Also, the round portion fits very tightly into the main piece. I found that the secret to getting it into place is to get the tubing started and then have someone stretch the tubing while I hammer it into place.
Like I mentioned before, this part takes a little time a patience and a hammer but if you stretch the tubing at the same time you hammer it becomes much easier. Soapy water helps a little.
Work your way around. When you get to the end you can cut off what you don’t need. Make sure to let the tubing pull back some since you stretched it. Then just cap the ends and you are done.
If you install a tiller steer outboard motor on your 13 foot Boston Whaler Sport, the first thing you are going to notice is that the tiller handle is too short. You have to reach way back to steer. You can move the rear seat back some but then there will be no room for a battery or gas tank. I solved this problem on my boat by installing a tiller extender. A tiller handle extender is a simple device that is actually made for electric motors but will work on outboards as well. (Note – this works great for me but it is up to you to determine whether this is a safe option for your motor) I purchased mine through amazon.com and received it in just a few days. I paid about $30. It was the Minn Kota brand. I recommend that you get the shortest one that you can. A long extender is going to be in your way and will bend too much. I would think the shorter the extender the safer it would be.
To install the outboard motor tiller extender you simply loosen the nut and slide it onto your tiller and then tighten it. Make sure to push it as far on as it will go. That is basically it.
If you look at the picture of my engine below you will notice a little red handle that slides side to side. This is made to increase and decrease friction so that your engine stays in one position while running. I have found that it works best to have this loose when running slow and tight when running fast. I keep mine tight at high speeds so that if the extender came off or broke the engine would not fly to one side or the other and flip the boat or throw me out. Just a precaution. Also, I recommend you clip yourself in to the engine so that if something does happen it will cut off.
I have a picture at the bottom of this page of an extender that I made my self using a PVC pipe and a hose clamp. The one I made is not pretty but is actually more substantial and safer than the one I purchased. I keep it on the boat as a spare.
In 1954 Dick Fisher, a Harvard graduate, read an article on a brand new type of material called polyurethane foam. He likened it to synthetic balsa wood because of its stiffness and light weight. It was also very buoyant. Mr. Fisher had been toying with the idea of building light weight boats for some time and the introduction of this light weight foam opened up some opportunities. Fisher first built a small sailing dinghy using the foam covered with a fiberglass skin. His goal was to build small sailboats that would compete with the Alcort Sunfish later to become the AMF Sunfish.
Mr. Fisher showed the boat to his friend Ray Hunt a naval architect. Mr. Hunt was very impressed with the fiberglass over foam concept. However, he felt that the small sailing dinghy market would be limited and suggested that they build motor boats or skiffs. Using some ideas based on a Nova Scotian boat called a Sea Sled, Hunt drew out a hull design and presented it to Dick Fisher. Fisher built a prototype and began testing the little craft. Initial designs suffered from cavitation so the design was slowly altered until this problem was resolved. Fisher presented the modified prototype to Hunt who then redesigned the hull. Another prototype was built and tested. The boat was found to be very wet in choppy seas so the mold was redesigned to create more of a V in the hull thus solving the problem. Based upon this final design the Boston Whaler 13 went into production in 1958.
The little boat was unique, incredibly seaworthy and could carry a heavy load. Because it was so light, a small outboard was all it took to push it along. The dual hull design made it so that the inner hull was actually above the waterline. This meant that the boat could actually be moored with the plug out and rain water would simply run out the back. Also, the production technique allowed for all compartments and hull components to be designed into the mold instead of having to be added later. All of this made for a very cost effective manufacturing process. From 1958 to 1961 the 13 foot model was all that the company produced. In 1961 the 16 foot model was introduced. This model was replaced by the 17 foot model in 1976.
The company has had several owners. In 1969 the company was sold to the CML Group. Mr Fisher stayed on as a consultant until 1972. Under CML the company flourished and many new models were added. During this period sales skyrocketed and more models were added. In 1970 the 21 foot Outrage came out and in 1972 the 19 foot Outrage was introduced. In 1973 the first 21 foot Revenge model appeared. Also, in 1974 the inboard/outboard Revenge and Outrage models were made. In 1975 the 15-foot hull was added and in 1976 the popular 17 foot model was created. Many other models and improvement continued throughout the 1970’s. This was a good time for the flourishing boat company. It seemed as though everyone had to have a Whaler. The best Whalers are said to be the 80’s models.
In 1989 the company was purchased by Reebok. That’s right. The shoe company. The era of expansion and improvement came to a screeching halt. The classic hulls were still made but new designs came out and the company spent a great deal of effort marketing the new designs. Customers were resistant to the new designs and this coupled with the recession of the 90s took a toll on the company. At the end of 1993 Reebok sold the company at a 25 million dollar loss to Meridian Sports.
Meridian Sports also owned Master Craft boats which was a very popular ski boat at the time. Meridian owned Boston Whaler from 1994 – 1996 and did poorly with the company. Two models from the Fisher era, the 13 and17 and two models from the CML era the 19 and 27 were produced. To cut costs Meridian moved all operations to Edgewater Florida where they remain today.
In 1996 the company was purchased by Brunswick who also owned Mercury Motors and Sea Ray Boats. Bruswick paid a mere 27 million for the entire company. To give you an idea of how cheap this was consider that Bruswick paid 110 million for Igloo Coolers and 425 million for Sea Ray Boats. (10 years earlier) You may recall that Boston Whalers started to show up on showroom floors equipped with Mercury outboards. That is around the time Bruswick purchased the company. Overall, Brunswick has done a good job with the company. They run multiple shifts at the main plant to keep up with demand. The only classic design left is the 11 foot model. All other models have been redesigned but still have that original look to them. They also continue to be unsinkable just like the original.
2008 Marked the 50th anniversary of the Boston Whaler company. In 1958 the company manufactured the first 13 foot Whaler and the rest is history. The videos constitute a documentary of this amazing company and unsinkable legend. We hope you enjoy this series.
Once I had my 13 foot Boston Whaler Sport refinished, painted and had installed the seats I wanted to put some cushions in so I was not sitting on bare wood. The site www.specialtymarine.com has a complete set for $295. I also bought my new mahogany seats and my bimini top there.
The cushions are a perfect fit and come with straps that velcro the cushions to the seats. The front cushion has a velcro strap that attaches it to the little eyelet in the front of the boat. It also has snaps at the back that you can use to hold it down. You will need to install the male part of the snaps on the boat to make these work. You can just lay it up front but it may have a tendency to blow back in heavy seas.
The cushions are rugged and good quality, however, if you want them to last a long time and look new you need to pull them off the boat and put them in a dock box when they are not in use. That is unless your boat is stored out of the weather and sun. I have a habit of buying something nice and then leaving it out in the weather until it is ruined. I don’t recommend this.
The cushions are available in two colors. It took about a week for me to receive them. I have to say that I am very pleased with them. They certainly make a bouncy boat ride more tolerable.
The Boston Whaler Classic 13 foot skiff is perhaps the most popular 13 foot boats every manufactured. It is seaworthy, can carry a huge load and is unsinkable.
Finding a used Boston Whaler Classic 13 footer is fairly easy if you look in the right places. We have compiled some links to the best sites for finding 13 foot Boston Whalers below.
Craigslist – this is by far the quickest way to find a Whaler. You have two choices. You can either find a Boston Whaler 13 already listed or you can post a WANTED ad. I found mine in one day doing the latter. To search craigslist simple go to www.craigslist.org and choose your city or a city near you. Then type Boston Whaler into the search box and hit enter. You can also go to www.searchtempest.com and search all of craigslist at one time plus some other sites.
Yacht World – this is a great site that has boats for sale all over the world. Just go to www.yachtworld.com and use the search function. You would want to type in Boston Whaler 13 to keep from getting too many results that included the other sizes. You can then modify the search by price, country and region.
Boat Trader Online – this is a good place to find a variety of boats including classic Boston Whalers. You can search using different criteria and can also limit the results to those near you.
Boats Dot Com – this site is similar to the boat trader site. I normally type in boston whaler as the model and then under keywords type in 13 or 13 foot. There are normally a few of the 13 footers on the site.
Continuous Wave Website – this is a website dedicated to the Boston Whaler. There is also a discussion board built in where people sell their boats or discuss the boat. Use the site search function and type in “Boston Whaler 13 for sale” or something similar.
American Classifieds – this is an established classifieds site that also puts out the Thrifty Nickel. Searching is easy either by keyword or section.
More Information about the Boston Whaler Classic 13 footer
A 9.9 horsepower engine is the absolute minimum that you would need. With a hydrofoil installed on the motor and not too much weight in the boat it should get you onto a plane. A 15 horsepower or above is best. A 15 horse will get you up to about 20 mph and a 20 horsepower outboard will push you to about 25 mph. The largest engine that you could safely run would be a 40 horsepower. The largest outboard that can be run is a 50. Also, if you were to run an engine this large you would want the newer model with the higher transom. Anything over a 50 hp is in my opinion unsafe and too much for the boat. You should refer to the manufacturers recommendations before powering the boat.
The 17 foot Boston Whaler Montauk is the next most popular Whaler after the 13 foot sport. Its larger size makes it well suited for larger seas and more passengers and equipment. It is unsinkable just like the 13 foot sport.
Finding a used Boston Whaler Classic 17 footer is fairly easy if you look in the right places. We have compiled some links to the best sites for finding 17 foot Boston Whalers below.
Craigslist – this is by far the quickest way to find a 17 foot Montauk Whaler in your area. You have two choices to find a whaler using this method. You can either find a Boston Whaler 17 Montauk already listed or you can post a WANTED ad. I found mine in one day doing the latter. To search craigslist simple go to www.craigslist.org and choose your city or a city near you. Then type Boston Whaler into the search box and hit enter. You can also go to www.searchtempest.com and search all of craigslist at one time plus some other sites. To place a wanted ad do the same thing but post an ad and choose the wanted section which is under the for sale heading.
Yacht World – this is a great site that has 17 foot Boston Whalers for sale all over the world. Just go to www.yachtworld.com and use the search function. You would want to type in Boston Whaler 17 or Boston Whaler Montauk to keep from getting too many results that included the other sizes. You can then modify the search by price, country and region.
Boat Trader Online – this is a good place to find a variety of boats including classic 13, 15 and 17 foot Boston Whalers. You can search using different criteria and can also limit the results to those near you.
Boats Dot Com – this site is a lot like the boat trader site. I just type in boston whaler as the model and then under keywords type in 17 or 17 foot. There are normally a few of the 17 footers on the site.
Continuous Wave Website – this is a website specifically created for the Boston Whaler. There is a great deal of general information on the Boston Whaler Boats. There is also a discussion board available where people sell their boats or discuss the boat. Use the site search function and type in “Boston Whaler 17 Montauk for sale” or something like that.
American Classifieds – this is an established classifieds site that also puts out the Thrifty Nickel Classifieds. Searching for a 17 foot Boston Whaler Montauk is easy either by using keyword or by going to the boat section.
More Information about the Boston Whaler Classic 17 foot Montauk.
A 70 horsepower engine is the optimum size for the Boston Whaler 17 footer. A 70 horsepower will propel the boat to about 39 miles per hour. A 50 horse engine would be the minimum and would push you along at about 30 mph. With a hydrofoil installed on the motor it would get you onto a plane fairly quickly. The largest engine that you could safely run would be around 100 horsepower. The boat can handle larger but the extra power is unnecessary and will get you to a speed that is going to be a bit much for the boat. Your top speed would be in excess of 50 miles per hour. You should refer to the manufacturers recommendations before powering the boat.
I recommend a 4 stroke engine for fuel economy and dependability.
Restoring a Boston Whaler is a fairly straight forward project. You will strip the boat, check for soft spots, repair, fiberglass, sand, prime and paint. Then you would either replace or refinish all the wood and reassemble the boat. If the boat came with a motor you would clean, rebuild or repair it and then repaint it if necessary. On my project, I scrapped the motor and bought a brand new tiller steer 20 horsepower Tohatsu. In this series of articles I am going to cover all the steps we took. Also, if you are looking for a boat to restore you can go to our section on how to find a used Boston Whaler by clicking here.
A 1968 – 13 foot Boston Whaler is used for this series of articles. The same steps would apply to the 15 and 17 foot boats as well as the larger ones. For larger boats you will need some help moving the boat around. Also flipping a 17 foot or larger boat would require several people.
After getting your project boat home the first thing you will need to do is strip everything out of it. This includes the seats, wood rails, stainless railing, steering components, the motor, etc.. You can leave the little brass fittings that you tie off to and also the front eye that you use to pull the boat onto the trailer with. Once your Boston Whaler 13, 15 or 17 foot boat is stripped you will need to clean it with either a garden hose and soap or a high pressure washer like at the car wash. Blow off any loose paint, grime, dirt, etc.. As you clean the boat make sure to take note of any damaged areas. Once the boat is stripped and cleaned you are ready to begin the next step.
The Boston Whaler is constructed from a closed cell foam center sandwiched between two fiberglass shells. In other words, there is an inner fiberglass shell, then closed cell foam and then an outer shell or hull. This makes for a very stiff, unsinkable boat. When the boat leaves the factory these three components are bonded together and are intended to stay that way. However, in certain situations these three components can separate. This is often due to water intrusion but not always. You can find soft spots by simply pressing down on the inner hull and seeing if it gives any. If an area gives a little then the foam and the fiberglass are no longer joined.
To fix this issue you are first going to need to drill holes all around the soft area. I use a short bit so that I do not drill in too far. A bit with a diameter like a q-tip is fine. After you have drilled your holes you can press a q-tip into some of the holes to see if there is a water problem. If the q-tip comes out dry then you can simply squeeze in some epoxy into all the holes an let it set up. This will rebond the hull to the foam. After you have verified that the soft spot is gone you simple sand the holes, fill them smooth with an epoxy and go on to the next spot.
If you test the holes and find that there is water in the hull you have a couple of choices. First, you can cut away the fiberglass from the area, remove the wet foam, then replace the fiberglass piece by bonding it into place and then fiberglassing it in.
If you feel that there is only a small amount of moisture between the layers you can try a second method using gorilla glue or foam sealer described in the next article. Click here.