G3 Boats is a popular brand of aluminum boats.
They have built a reputation for being among the toughest-built of aluminum brands.
So how good are they? Let’s examine what owners and others in the marine industry say.
Here’s how good G3 Boats are:
G3 Boats is a brand owned by the Yamaha Boat Company, with a reputation for being durable and well-designed. They have functional layouts that are roomy with plenty of storage and livewell space. G3 Boats is a competitive aluminum boat brand built with good materials by skilled craftsmen.
1. A Brief History of G3 Boats:
The roots of G3 go back to Appleby Boats, being started by J.B. Appleby in 1960.
Carl’s son Brent began his own brand of boats in Lebanon, Missouri, in 1992 and named it Generation 3. This was a nod to his being the third generation of a boat-building family.
The Yamaha Boat Company purchased the company in 1997, and it was renamed G3. Manufacturing remained in their Lebanon plant.
Originally starting as a manufacturer of Jon boats, currently, the company makes small bay boats, angling boats, sport boats, and pontoon boats in addition to their well-known Jon boats.
2. G3 Boats Are All Made From Aluminum
All G3 Boats are made from aluminum. Most of the models are welded, but the Angler V models have riveted deep-V hulls.
G3 uses Aluminum Alloy 5052 in the construction of their boats. This particular alloy of aluminum, made primarily from magnesium and chromium, has good workability and weldability, in addition to high fatigue strength and corrosion resistance.
The company, to avoid waste, recycles all the aluminum that is scrapped in the manufacturing process.
The process of cutting and “breaking” the aluminum into the proper hull shape is exacting work.
All of the employees of G3 are craftsmen, and the local industry has high standards as there are many craftsmen based in the city, given the number of plants there.
3. How Durable Are G3 Boats?
Being made from aluminum, the basic hulls are very durable.
They use thick aluminum in their construction, and many areas are reinforced or doubled up with additional layers of aluminum for added toughness.
There is no wood used anywhere in their construction, so there is no opportunity for rot to develop in a G3 boat.
All of the G3 boats are designed and built for more protected waters. They are light and have low freeboard, so they cannot stand up to the rigors of the pounding from offshore waves and conditions.
While they can be used in either freshwater or saltwater, any aluminum boat that regularly is used in saltwater must have some additional care, like flushing the motors and any areas that come into contact with salt water. Some screws and metal parts made from lesser grades of stainless steel may rust.
One common cause of corrosion in aluminum hulls – not just G3, but all brands – is sitting the hull on pressure-treated lumber, such as the bunks on a trailer. The saltwater still in the wood will react with the chemicals and copper in the wood and with the aluminum and hasten a corrosive process.
In online forums, G3 generally gets very positive reviews, particularly in comparison to other brands.
For example, this is a typical post from an owner, made in 2020:
“…the build quality of the G3 outclasses the Tracker. Mine’s a 2010 and rides smooth and quiet. My Dad… bought a G3 Angler V17 with a Yamaha F150, which he loves so far… Additionally, I’ve found the build quality and fit/finish of my G3 to be considerably better than my old Crestliner and the newer models I looked at before buying.”
[Source: The Hull Truth]
That this owner was speaking about a 10-year-old boat is indicative of the durability of G3 Boats.
As far as leaks, some owners report having them. One owner reported his 11-year-old hull, which was welded, developed a leak he could not track down, and the boat was out of warranty by that time.
But leaks do not seem to be as serious a problem with the G3 brand as other aluminum boat brands.
4. How Long Do G3 Boats Typically Last?
Being made from high-grade aluminum, G3 boats are tough and can last long if properly maintained.
This includes limiting exposure to saltwater – always rinse it off of the boat.
When searching owners’ experiences online, it is common to see boats getting 10 to 15 years of hard use and still holding up. Many of these commenters are not the original owners, which is another indicator of G3’s toughness.
Looking at for sale listings of G3 boats, while most are from this century, you can still find models from the 1990s listed, as well. While the conditions of these boats vary, it does indicate that boats built by G3 are fairly long-lasting.
One problem that came up three times when searching for the longevity of G3 Boats is a certain “hook” or “cup” that formed overtime on the underside of the hull, toward the stern. One of these was a complaint with the Better Business Bureau on a newer model, but the other two were on much older hulls that were out of warranty.
It would be unfair to categorize that as a typical problem since only three instances came up. It may have been a defect in the manufacturing process initially rather than developing over time.
5. Has G3 Made Any Recalls?
A search of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Recall database shows no recalls when the company was Generation 3.
As G3, there have been 3 recalls:
- The first was in 2006 and affected 29 hulls. There was a problem categorized as “Level Flotation.”
- The second recall involved 2306 boats from various lines made in 2006-2008. It involved cracks in the hull. The case was closed in 2011.
- The final recall concerned 113 boats from their 2014-2015 Deep-V line. It was a failure of the deck hinge. The recall was closed in 2020.
6. What Are the Most Popular G3 Boats?
While all of their lines are popular, selling hundreds of boats in each line every year, a few stand out more, according to owners on online forums.
The Angler line is comprised of deep-V fishing boats. These models are riveted rather than welded, but there are very few leaks in the hull. They range in size from 15 to 19 feet.
The Angler V17 seems to be one of the most popular of this line if forum posts are any indication. It comes up the most when owners of Anglers are discussing their boats. It features two livewells, one in the bow and one in the stern.
It has plenty of room for fishing and a lot of storage space, as well.
For sheer utility, their Jon boat line is trendy. The Gator Tough series is one of their best-selling lines, sold in a package with the outboard.
Some of the larger models in this range may have either center or side consoles.
The 16-foot 1652WOF is one of their biggest sellers from this line. It is simple, light, and cheap but very tough. It shows up again and again on fishing forums.
All boats made by G3 have at least some degree of customization, even their simplest Jon boats.
Their website has a comprehensive section for each boat, the options available, and the price of those options.
7. Where Are G3 Boats Manufactured?
G3 Boats are made in Lebanon, Missouri, which has a long boat-building tradition.
Appleby Boats started there in 1960, and currently, there are four aluminum boat manufacturers in the city. Besides G3, Tracker Marine, Lowe Boats, and Landau Boats are all being made in Lebanon.
It is estimated that 50,000 boats are produced annually, between the four aluminum boat manufacturers and the Osagian Canoe company.
8. Are There Any Typical Problems With G3 Boats?
While the boats made by G3 are considered very tough, there are some problems that some owners have experienced.
Some G3 boats develop leaks. This seems to be mostly confined to the riveted models. Leaks in riveted aluminum boats can be difficult to fix, as often simply re-riveting won’t fix the issue.
Other owners have reported problems with the finish not holding up particularly well. There are also reports of some problems with the newer trailers.
One problem that plagued some G3 models in the early-mid 2000s was a pitting of the aluminum around the transom. There was speculation that it was caused by a reaction with the marine plywood used in the transoms of some models (G3 no longer uses wood in the manufacturing process).
Many dealers were aware of this problem, which led to the company changing their manufacturing method of the transoms.
See our companion piece: 5 Most-Common Problems with G3 Boats for a more comprehensive examination of some of these problems.
9. How Is the Warranty On G3 Boats?
G3 Boats touts their G3 Advantage Warranty prominently on their website.
This is basically a five-year bow to stern limited warranty. There is a lifetime warranty on the exterior seams of the hull, however.
This warranty is transferrable to a second owner if it falls within five years of the original purchase.
If the boat is used commercially, the warranty becomes a one-year limited warranty. The components made by different manufacturers have different warranties, however.
For example, the Minn Kota trolling motor has a two-year warranty, and the Yamaha outboard has a three-year warranty. The different warranties from the manufacturers are detailed on G3’s website.
10. Which Brands Produce Boats Similar to G3 Boats?
There are several brands that G3 competes with, producing similar boats.
Being made from aluminum, any other manufacturer of aluminum boats will be seen as a competitor, at least to some degree. Almost every aluminum boat builder has similar lines in Jon boats, fishing boats, and pontoon boats.
Lowe is an obvious competitor, being made in the same city of Lebanon, Missouri. Lowe boats seem to be a little more expensive on average.
Tracker is one of their biggest competitors. Tracker is the brand most commonly used in online forums compared to G3 in price and layout. Their lines are very similar.
Crestliner is another aluminum boat manufacturer that is often compared to G3.
Lund and Alumacraft also have similar lines and compete against G3 for fishing dollars.
Like all manufacturers of aluminum boats, G3 Boats are built to a price point so that they can compete in a difficult market, but skilled craftsmen make these boats out of good materials.
Over the 30 years, they have been in business, they have built a reputation for quality that other aluminum boat brands have difficulty meeting.
They have proven themselves to be a good brand.