If you’re in the market for a boat, you need to shop around for a boat that fits your needs and your budget. If you’re interested in a boat line that has an extensive history and is known as one of the top boat manufacturers in the world, you owe it to yourself to look into Crestliner boats. These boats have been around since the time of World War 2, and with that history have continued to be some of the most popular boats in the country.

Before you make any kind of purchase though, it’s best to know the history of Crestliner boats, how the boats have changed over the years and what each unique design and type can do for you.

Crestliner Boats and Design History

Crestliner boats have a nearly 80-year history. William Morse Sr. built his first aluminum boat back in 1946. At the time, it was a small boat designed for fishing. However, William enjoyed the construction of his first boat, and he moved forward with more builds. As World War 2 wound down, U.S. servicemen were returning home and the Great Depression had ended, making way for a time of newfound prosperity. This made it the perfect time to craft new Crestline boats for the general public.

11 years after William Morse Sr. built the first boat Crestliner Incorporated formed and, just a year later, the company released its first boat to the general public, known as the Crestliner Comanche 17. The boat offered a look and felt similar to that of convertibles at the time, including the curved front windshield and fabric top canvas.


By 1964, Crestliner produced the first all-welded boat and saw an increase in sales with the lighter, durable construction of the aluminum boat. The all-welded Crestliner boats improved speed and strength while reduced the chance of needing to make on-water repairs. The Crestliner boats continued to evolve and, by 1985, the company began using tongue and groove welded hulls for added strength and to improve the boat’s ability to cut through the water thanks to the improved angles of the metal construction.

A year later, Crestliner released its conversion bow and, just a year after that; it released aits conversion stern bench. This way, it gave boat owners the ability to flip open seats and convert the seats while out on the water.

The company continued with its production and integration of new features. This included the Space Saver Transon (or SST), which the company implemented on several Crestliner models in 1989. By 1995, the company released the Fish Hawk line. While new for the 90s, the Fish Hawk is partially based on the first boat William Morse Sr. constructed 50 years earlier. The Fish Hawk line has since become an increasingly popular boat with lake fishers who don’t want a large bulky boat but instead are interested in slender, sleek boats that can glide on the water.


 Eight years later, the company released an industry leading warranty. To show just how much the company stood behind its boats, all Crestliner boats came with a lifetime plus three years warranty. The company wanted to show the public it was so confident in its own boats it would back the boat longer than an owner would have it.

Over the next several years, Crestliner continued to produce new products and release new innovations. This included the anchor locker system, which became the first aluminum anchor locking system, in 2013. A year later, the company released the SureMount Gunnel System for the avid fisherman.

Now, in 2017, Crestliner brought back a product it had not sold in decades: pontoons. The company now sells two lines of pontoons: the Rally and the Rally DX.

Unique Designs

boat chairs

The Crestliner boats have evolved over the years. Often, Crestliner has led the industry in releasing new upgrades to the boats. This included the all welded aluminum body, followed by the tongue and grove welded portions of the boat. While boats have become more standardized in production, this company continues to strive at offering the best product line and construction, priding itself in offering beautifully crafted boats that featured seamless aluminum construction.

Types of Boats

men fishing in boat

Before you go boat shopping for new Crestliner boats, you’ll first need to determine what kind of boat works best for you. The company has broken down the boats it offers into several categories. These categories include:

  • Fish and Sport
  • Multi-species
  • Coastal
  • Pontoon
  • Hunt/Utility
  • Bass and Crappie

Fish and Sport

There are two boats under the Fish and Sports line of boats: Sportfish and Super Hawk. Each of these boats provides fishers (especially lake fishers) with a lighter boat designed to glide across the water without churning up the water and disturbing fish. These boats can anchor easily on the surface of a lake and work exceptionally well when there isn’t much in the way of clearance between the boat and the bottom of the lake.

The Super Hawk is a variation of the Fish Hawk in that it shares a similar design, although this is constructed more for sport than fishing. It is a speedboat that can fly through the water. It’s a great boat if you’re looking to take part in water sports and need something that is able to rev up to speed.


 The Multi-species is the largest collection of boats offered by Crestliner. This way, you can select the exact boat that fits your particular needs. These boat lines include the Raptor, Fish Hawk, Bass Hawk, Pro Tiller, Vision, Kodiak, Discovery, Authority, Commander, and the Commander Elite.

These Multi-species boats are excellent utility boats if you like to go fishing in several locations. The boats have front storage where you can keep your catch fresh without lugging around coolers full of ice. It’s best to work with your retail outlet over which Multi-species is best based on the locations you typically take these fishing boats.


The Coastal category of boats by Crestliner has just a single boat: Bay. This is designed to work along oceanic coastlines, giving you a boat with power and yet one that can navigate in often tighter quarters. The Bay has some similar features to the Fish Hawk although it also has finer construction qualities.


If you’re a fan of pontoon boats and enjoy the ability to have more space on top of the water, which is great when you want to kick back and relax while navigating the water on a smooth ride, this is the way to go. A pontoon might not have the same speed as a fishing boat or performance boat, but if you’re looking more for entertaining than for fishing, a pontoon is the way to go. The company now sells three lines of pontoons: Rally, Rally DX, and the Sprint.


Perhaps you need a boat better designed for utility work. Or maybe you use it to travel across the lake for fine hunting. Whatever you use it for you need a boat that can handle your specific needs. This category more than any other has the widest variation of usage, which is why you need to check over the different boat types to find exactly the make and model you’re interested in. There is a number of Hunt/Utility boats in the category. Some of these boats include Retriever Jon, Retriever Jon Deluxe, Retriever SCHD, Retriever CC/SC, Retriever FCC, Arrow, CR Jon, and the Outreach.

Many of these boats are designed specifically for getting outside and moving quickly over the water. The boats are not generally designed for comfort. The boat is wider with a flat base, but there is little in the way of additional seating. There is a seating area near the engine and at the front of the boat, but mostly it is free of the added features you might look for if you need a boat that can act as a pleasure vessel.

There are great additions to some boats though, depending on the kind of hunting you’re interested. The Crestliner Arrow, for example, has an elevated portion to the boat, so if you go bow hunting for fish, you can have an elevated platform to stand on. With these boats, you have the ability to customize it to fit your needs.

Bass and Crappie

Lastly, if you’re looking for a larger fishing boat option that can handle the larger bass fish, you’re going to need a boat designed for these kinds of boats. There are several Crestliner boats designed specifically for these needs. Some boats from the company in this category include PT, VT, VTC, Storm, and the Outlook.


Crestliner Boats

When it comes to a new boat shopping, Crestliner has you covered. With several dozen different makes and models, there is a boat that has your name on it. You just need to look through the different constructions and designs to find which boat best fits the kind of boat you’re interested in and what you intend on using it for.