Are Tracker boats the star-spangled all-American bargain they’re cracked up to be? Or do they sacrifice manufacturing quality to bring you that low, low price? Let’s have a look.
Tracker Boats: An Introduction
Tracker Marine makes aluminum bass boats, all-species boats, and jon boats, which are all-purpose boats aimed at a variety of sports. Most models are aimed at non-professional users, for whom the low price is a bonus.
About aluminum boats
Aluminum boats have some advantages over their fiberglass competitors. First, as we mentioned, using aluminum instead of fiberglass can cut the price nearly in half. But aluminum boats are also strong. Not to mention that aluminum is light, which means that your boat will need less fuel to operate. And Tracker boats are made with a unique technique called stretch forming, which makes the hull even stronger. In the past, some people have shied away from aluminum boats because the finish can look cheap. But Boating Magazine says that Tracker has solved this problem as well, with its five-step painting process and diamond coat finish.
How a Tracker is built
The manufacturer takes a lot of pride in its construction process. First, Tracker makes their boats with all-welded construction. That is, no rivets. According to the company, this makes each boat stronger than the sum of its parts. Also, Tracker prides itself on being the only fishing boat manufacturer to use robotic welding for its stringers and transoms. Robotic welding means greater precision, greater consistency, and no likelihood for human error.
They are also rightfully proud of their robust hull construction. They also inject foam into the hull cavities to cut down on noise and to provide extra flotation. Tracker Marine goes to great efforts to produce a strong, durable boat. You can read more about those efforts at their website.
About Tracker Marine
As far as the manufacturer goes, Tracker Marine looks impressive. The company’s headquarters are located in Missouri, and they build their boats in the United States. That means American quality and, importantly, American jobs.
What Do You Give Up For That Lower Price?
Tracker owners seem to agree that Tracker boats give you a lot of boat for your money. But you can’t expect to get a great boat for nearly half the price without a few sacrifices. And here are a few you may make with Tracker boats.
Boats.com speaks very highly of the Pro Team 190 TX bass boat. However, they do note that this model can only go up to around 45 miles per hour. That’s not much, compared with the top speeds of 60 and even 70 miles per hour you can get with a top-of-the-line professional grade bass boat. On the other hand, how much speed do you need during your average fishing day? If the bass are swimming away faster than 45 miles per hour, then you’re going to need a whole different strategy anyway.
Despite the gold-plated warranty and the company’s customer service accolades, numerous owners of Tracker boats have reported various failures, breakdowns, and mechanical problems. Tracker owners at Bass Boat Central generally thought that their boats provided good value. However, they also reported a litany of mechanical complaints, including leaking, electrical problems, and problems with the fuel pump. Consumer Affairs users reported cracks in the welds, console, and undercarriage; battery issues, and other problems. If you’re thinking about any bargain boat, it’s important to research its reliability compared to more expensive brands.
It’s a good rule of thumb that if you’re searching for a bargain, you’re unlikely to get one with all the bells and whistles of a top-flight model. Some models, for example, lack a live well, for holding your live catch. It’s always a good idea to figure out in advance which features are your dealbreakers, and then to shop accordingly.
Do Tracker Boats Live Up To The Hype?
It’s hard to say. Professional reviewers seem to love them. Additionally, the company’s devotion to quality construction is impressive. And it’s hard not to get excited about both the prices and the warranty. On the other hand, the quantity and severity of consumer complaints might give anyone pause.
Are you a Tracker boat owner? What do you think?