Parker Boats is a mid-tier manufacturer that has been around for half of a century.
They have a straightforward mantra: Strength, Simplicity, and Seaworthiness.
How do they live up to that standard?
Here’s How Good Parker Boats Are:
Parker Boats are built tough with thick fiberglass compared to other manufacturers. Their reputation in the industry and among owners is solid. While they are not cheap, they are generally considered one of the industry’s best values for a straightforward, no-frills offshore boat.
A Brief History of Parker Boats
Parker made a few boats for himself before starting the company, but by the late 1960s, he was making his first commercial models.
Most of these were working boats, but soon they were also making boats for the expanding pleasure boat market.
Most of their boats displayed the traditional flared bows of the Carolina boating industry.
The company has remained a family business under Linwood’s guidance, making boats by hand in Beaufort, North Carolina. Even after Correct Craft acquired the business in 2018, Linwood remained in charge, and manufacturing remained in the same plant by the same people.
Today their focus is on pleasure boating, mostly offshore fishing, but some local fisheries officials and police also get some of their craft from Parker.
How Reliable Are Parker Boats?
One of the core principles of Parker Boats is Simplicity in design and manufacturing.
They are not mass-produced, so each one gets undivided attention throughout the construction process. Because of this approach, there is little that can go wrong in a Parker boat.
Boating forums are filled with positive feedback from Parker owners. A few owners point out that the utilitarian nature of the boats offers few thrills, but most seem to appreciate this.
How Durable Are Parker Boats?
Parker boats believe in over-building. Their fiberglass thickness is among the best in the market.
This gets back to the Strength and Seaworthiness aspects of their mantra.
Parker does use wood in the manufacturing process, in the transom, bulkheads, and decks. They completely encase all of it in layers of fiberglass to protect it. Some people see this as a weakness as it can rot if water gets in, others as a strength as it can take an offshore pounding with less hull flex.
The company seems to have none of the fiberglass construction issues common in mass-produced plants. There are no reports of delamination, cracks, or hull blisters in any recent models.
Parker makes two basic hull designs, a “Modified V” with about a 14-degree deadrise and a deeper V with about a 21-degree deadrise. The modified V is more for bay and river running, the deeper V for offshore.
Some of the few complaints about Parkers in offshore conditions stem from people taking the modified V out in conditions it was not intended for.
What About Older Parker Boats?
Parker has been around since the 1960s, with many of their early boats seeing heavy use in the commercial fishing industry.
Throughout their existence, they have had a reputation for durability because of their over-built fiberglass construction.
Older Parkers are still commonly found in good shape, which is a testament to their durability.
They do not seem to manifest any particular problems in their construction over time. In fact, their fiberglass construction draws fewer complaints on forums than most other models of boats.
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
Parker boats have been made in the same Beaufort plant for most of their existence.
In that time, some parts have been replaced in the construction process, as newer designs have replaced older ones. Some older parts may be obtained through the dealers’ network or even directly from the factory itself.
There is a forum for Parker owners, classicparker.com, to assist boat owners in finding old parts.
What Are Typical Problems With Parker Boats?
One problem that you can find mentioned on forums is the wood used in the construction process.
Some owners report finding wood rot in the transom or the decks.
But as one owner said on the Hull truth forum, “Virtually every one of the issues stems from an incorrectly treated penetration performed after the boat left the plant. Poke a hole in the membrane and don’t treat it correctly, you will have issues.”
So most of the wood-rot issues seem to be from installations or modifications done after-market, where water got into improperly sealed holes. It is difficult to attribute those wood-rot problems to Parker.
This being said, there are a few older models, such as the Sou’wester models from the 1070s, that have had problems with their wood transoms and rot.
Some owners have had cracks form in the gel coat of the transom area on some outboard models near the motor mount. Most of these seem to be cosmetic rather than structural.
How Long Do Parker Boats Last Compared To Similar Brands?
Parker Boats seem to have good longevity, particularly compared to others in their price range.
The caveat here, of course, is the care that an owner takes in a boat. A boat of any quality will eventually fall into bad shape if not properly cared for.
Due to their over-built, thick construction, Parkers are noteworthy for their longevity. Online boating forums are filled with owners of Parkers from the 1970s onward.
There are the standard problems associated with old boats, like cracks around fittings and occasional soft decks, but complaints of these issues concerning Parkers are less common than other brands.
Do Parker Boats Hold Their Value?
One of the best ways to determine whether a brand is holding its value is to put a few models into the NADA database and see what they are currently selling for in the aftermarket versus what they originally sold for.
Looking at the 1801CC from 2015 and using the zip code of coastal Virginia, we can see that the model sold for $34,266 that year and now averages $24,870. That is a mean depreciation of about 27.5%.
If we check out the 2015 2801CC center console and the same zip code, the model sold for $125,037 then and averages about $98,850 now. This is a depreciation of 21%.
It is unusual for larger models to hold their values better than smaller models, and 21% over five to six years is favorable. So it is safe to say that Parkers hold their value very well.
Are Parker Boats Still Being Made?
Parker Boats are still being made in Beaufort, North Carolina, under Linwood’s and his family’s supervision.
They make center consoles, dual consoles, sport cabins, and walkarounds.
They make two different center consoles: the standard CC and the SE/SH, shallow-draft boats with less deadrise.
- Their CC line ranges from the 20-foot 1801CC, with a starting price of $33,573, up to the 33-foot 2801CC, the price of which starts at $144,981.
- The shallow draft center consoles start with the 23-foot 2100SE, which starts at $54,679, and goes up to the 29’10” 2600SH, which stastarting751.
- They currently make one dual console model, the 30-foot 2540DC, which starts at $141,428.
- Their line of sport cabins ranges from the 26-foot 2120SC, with a starting price of $70,500, and goes up to the 35.75-foot 2820XLD, with a starting price of $174,880.
- The walk-around line starts with the 33-foot 2510XL WA, which starts at $132,507, and goes up to the 35’9″ 2810WA, starting at $167,946.
There is a 10-year limited warranty standard on all Parker hulls.
As a general note, the number of a particular model corresponds to its waterline length rather than length overall.
The reputation of Parker Boats is strong in the industry.
This goes back to their simple but over-built construction and is borne out by their favorable ownership on boating forums and their relative value over time.
There are few consistent complaints they have had over time. This can be traced back to the hands-on leadership of Linwood and his family, and that they have been built in the same plant for almost their entire existence.
Parker Boats is an excellent and reliable brand.