Chaparral boats are luxurious and affordable.
They’ve been in the business for nearly 50 years, but are they good and reliable?
Let’s find out!
Here’s How Good Chaparral Boats Are:
Chaparral Boats is considered to be a mid-tier to upper mid-tier brand. They bring solid construction and some degree of luxury for a competitive price. They continue to excel in sales volume and customer satisfaction.
A Brief History Of Chaparral Boats
Chaparral Boats has its origins in 1962, when William “Buck” Pegg worked at a company started by his father, called Fiberglass Fabricators in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
They built their first boat in 1965, a 15-foot tri-hull that drew immediate attention from the industry.
Jim Lane joined the company as president in 1977, and a unique partnership was formed.
Pegg handled manufacturing and engineering, while Lane took care of sales, financing, advertising, and customer service. Lane remained in this position until he died in 2016.
Chaparral continued making its foundational tri-hulls until the early 1980s and developed its luxury brand reputation. In 1986, Chaparral was purchased by RPC Energy Services, based in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2001, RPC spun off a subsidiary company called Marine Products Company.
By 2010, the company had seen 160 profitable quarters of growth, an astounding feat given the often volatile financial nature of the marine industry.
Currently, the company manufactures boats from 18-foot sport boats to 34-foot yachts. Their plant in Nashville has grown to 1.2 million square feet, making it the largest single-site manufacturing facility globally.
How Reliable Are Chaparral Boats?
Chaparral boats have been continuously recognized for their outstanding quality.
They have received National Marine Manufacturers Association Consumer Satisfaction Index awards for the past 10 years on every model they make.
The hulls are known for their stable ride. Part of this is the V-plane design principles, and part of it is also the boat’s weight. Because their construction is thick and solid, they tend to be heavy boats.
This adds to their stability in offshore conditions but makes them a bit slower, requiring more horsepower to match lighter boats’ speed.
The company’s boats are also recognized for their fuel efficiency. Despite their greater weights, the hull design and engines are optimized for fuel efficiency.
How Durable Are Chaparral Boats?
Chaparral has built a reputation for over 50 years for making solid boats with the best fiberglass materials and techniques.
Their craftsmen are experts not just in the construction of the hull but making the experience of riding in a Chaparral a luxurious one. Overall, they are recognized on forums as being very durable and a pleasure to ride in.
However, they still are manufacturing at a competitive price point, and some sacrifices are made.
“Not the top of the line but good value for the money. Had an 18ft I/O bowrider, followed by a 24ft I/O express and now a 28ft twin O/B bowrider… Some hardware choices (are) not the best, but then you also do not pay top dollar for them…”
[Source: The Hull Truth]
Ironically, some of the loudest complaints about Chaparral Boats show up on their own forums.
While there are very few concerns about the quality of the boat’s construction, most of the complaints relate to the fit and finish from the last few years.
As one owner recently said:
“The start buttons were hooked up incorrectly, the stereo control on the swim platform wasn’t hooked up at all, the fuel gauge doesn’t work, there are missing seat cushions, and a visible hole under the bow eye. Decals are already peeling off. Bolts were missing in the grates. How this boat passed quality control is beyond me.”
[Source: Chaparral Boats forum]
The people who responded to this felt that these and similar quality control failures resulted from trying to meet price-points in the manufacturing, in particular of other, cheaper lines like the H2O and Vortex, and was no worse generally than other current manufacturers.
Others pointed out that the dealer should have caught and addressed all these problems before delivery.
However, it must be stressed that few complaints are concerning the quality of the boat’s construction and that the complaint quoted above is not typical of most owners’ remarks on that and other forums.
What About Older Chaparral Boats?
Older Chaparral boats have a strong reputation for quality and durability; indeed, that is how the company’s current reputation was founded, on the strength of their older models.
It wasn’t until about 1978 that Chaparral began to build its reputation for luxury, but that has been one of the company’s hallmarks ever since.
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
According to the parts guides on their website, Chaparral makes parts for some of their models stretching back to 2002.
They encourage any owner needing replacement parts to contact their dealer network.
Since many have been Chaparral dealers for several decades, they sometimes have obscure parts no longer made in their parts inventories.
For the many parts that are no longer made, it can be difficult to track them down. The two best resources are the Chaparral Boats Forum, where many owners are active participants and the Chaparral Owners’ Facebook page.
Regular online sources for replacement parts, like greatlakesskipper.com and boatoutfitters.com, have minimal stocks of replacement parts.
What Are Typical Problems With Chaparral Boats?
While they are solidly built with excellent fit and finish, some problems occasionally show up with Chaparral boats.
Some owners with a Yamaha sterndrive report problems while shifting from neutral to either forward or reverse.
There have been some reported problems with leaking gas tanks. This was the basis of a recall concerning certain 2006 and 2007 models.
Some owners have reported problems in getting warranty work done. These problems have occurred over several different states so that it may be widespread or the fault of certain dealers.
For a more comprehensive examination of typical problems with Chaparral Boats, check out 23 Most-Common Problems With Chaparral Boats!
How Long Do Chaparral Boats Last Compared To Similar Brands?
Based on feedback from owners on online forums, Chaparral boats last as long or maybe longer than those of similar brands.
The hulls are generally considered superior due to the builders’ materials, construction methods, and craftsmanship. There are few reports of cracks in hulls or even the gel coat online.
A brief survey of Chaparral Boats for sale online reveals that many hulls on the market stretch back to the 1980s, which speaks to their durability and longevity.
Other aspects, such as wiring and other electrical aspects, are more critical and may not be as long-lasting as other brands, particularly recently.
Do Chaparral Boats Hold Their Value?
Chaparral Boats seem to hold their value fairly well in terms of resale.
They depreciate at pretty close to the standard rate, though they are a little better than average.
A 2015 216 SSI model cost $61,574 new that year. Currently, the average resale price of that model is $48,870. That s a depreciation of 21%, which is not bad after half of a decade.
One of their newer, cheaper, entry-level boats, the H2O 21 Sport, cost $34,750 new in 2015. That same model has a current average resale value of $29,110 for a favorable depreciation of 17%.
Looking at one of their luxury yachts, the 2015 Signature 330 Axius cost $281,474 that year new. Today, that same model has an average resale value of $213,900.
That is a depreciation of 24%, which is still pretty good.
Are Chaparral Boats Still Being Made?
Chaparral Boats are still being made in the Nashville, Georgia facility they moved into in 1976.
They divide their models into five lines.
Their SSI lines have been popular in recent years. They were originally called the H2O line when it was started, but they were renamed in 2019.
There are two SSI lines, one with sterndrives and one with outboards. The 21-foot models have a starting price of around $45,000, while the largest 23.5-foot models have about $58,000.
The SSX line of larger sports/luxury boats is their current flagship line. These range from the 26-foot 267 SSX to the 33.5-foot 347 SSX. The starting prices range from $134,882 for the former to $340,552 for the latter.
The OSX line is comprised of deck boats with a focus on seating capacity. There are currently 2 models: the 280 OSX starts at $207,663, and the 300 OSX starts at $290,638.
They have a newer line of Surf boats, which starts with the 21 Surf, starts at $58,895, and goes up to the 30 Surf with $213,066.
In addition to these lines, Chaparral makes the Vortex line of jet-boats. In 2018, Vortex split off to effectively be its own company, though it is still owned and manufactured by Chaparral.
Chaparral Boats earned their reputation for durability and later for luxury, over 50 years.
There is some concern that the quality control has slipped in the last decade, focusing on their cheaper H2O/SSI and Vortex jet-boat lines.
Despite that, the consensus in the marine industry is that the company is a solid mid-tier brand.