Ranger Boats are among the most popular bass boat producers on the market; many people credit the company as having pioneered and developed the modern bass boat.
Are Ranger Boats as good as their reputation?
Here’s How Good Ranger Boats Are:
Ranger Boats is a premium brand of bass boat builder, making them mid-tier overall in terms of cost. They are known for the quality of their design and construction and the fit and finish of their boats. They are among the most durable manufacturers of bass boats.
A Brief History of Ranger Boats
In the late 1950s, Forrest Lee Wood and his wife Nina began operating a fishing guide service in their native Arkansas.
He began experimenting with reinforcing the bottoms of Jon boats with fiberglass to reduce leaks and improve durability.
In 1968, Wood built his first six boats in the town of Flippin in Marion County, and Ranger Boats, the business brand of Wood Manufacturing Company, Inc., was born.
In 1987, Wood Manufacturing was purchased by the Texas-based Thompson Company, and just a few years later, in 1991, it was sold again to Minneapolis-based Genmar Holdings.
Platinum Equity acquired them in 2010. Ranger remained in business through several years of corporate problems, but their workforce had dropped to 400 people.
In 2014, Bass Pro LLC and their subsidiary White River marine Group bought Fishing Holdings, which included Ranger Boats, from Platinum Equity. The Ranger Boat facility is still in Flippin and run by the management team they already had.
The marine industry has constantly acknowledged Ranger Boats. As recently as 2020, they won two Customer satisfaction Index awards from the National Marine Manufacturers Association in the Fiberglass Bass Boats and Fiberglass Outboard Boats categories.
How Reliable Are Ranger Boats?
Ranger Boats were designed primarily for fishing, from the layout to the boat’s performance.
The company touts its five-star advantage, which is essentially a five-point design philosophy: Quality, Performance, Innovation, Safety, and Resale.
The quality comes into play in both design and construction. The stable platform, placement of the swivel chairs, fish storage, and rod and tackle storage are all laid out for maximum comfort and efficiency, based on decades of experience and feedback.
Premium materials and composites are used in the manufacturing process, and it is carefully managed at the factory. The wiring and other details are top-notch, showing that these details justify the cost of the boat.
They were among the first manufacturers to inject foam into their hulls for flotation in the event of an accident.
The company backs their quality up with their warranty, which is 10 years on every hull aspect. Other things like the pumps, electrical system, and trailer are warrantied for 3 years.
How Durable Are Ranger Boats?
The boats built by Ranger are made to last.
Their reputation is one of toughness and lasting for decades. In either fiberglass or aluminum, the materials used in construction are premium.
One factor that gives Ranger Boats their durability is the pultruded manufacturing process in their fiberglass boats. Pultrusion is a process where layers of fiberglass are bonded with resin and heat-treated to form an incredibly tough composite material.
Their pultrusion technology was developed and patented by Ranger.
On their aluminum boats, Ranger goes the all-welded route of construction and uses no wood anywhere. This means the floorboards will not be susceptible to rotting, as in other brands.
It is another example of the money a customer spends being applied directly to the boat’s construction.
What About Older Ranger Boats?
The first Ranger Boats built, quality and durability, and functionality were the company’s hallmarks.
On forums, it is common to find commenters praising the older models of Ranger Boats.
Here is a typical quote from 2018:
“I recently purchased a 1998 R91-I (Intra-Coastal) with a 1998 Mercury EFI 200 for 8.5k. The boat & motor are in great shape, despite being twenty years old. I’ve replaced a few parts, including trolling motor batteries & propeller… I’m happy with the customer service from Ranger Parts…”
[Source: Bass Boat Central]
For the entirety of their existence, longevity has been a prime factor in Ranger Boats’ philosophy.
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
As the above quote indicates, Ranger still makes many parts for their boats, stretching back to the 1990s.
There are two ways to search with the company for older parts. You may contact a dealer or contact the Ranger Parts Department directly. There is a dealer locator on their website if you want to go the former route and a phone number if you desire to go directly to the parts department.
For parts older than that, it may not be easy to track them down. Some dealers in the dealer network may have older parts, as some have been Ranger representatives for decades.
There are various online stores for replacement parts, like greatlakesskipper.com, and even amazon.com lists many Ranger replacement parts.
What Are Typical Problems With Ranger Boats?
In going over complaints on forums and websites such as the Better Business Bureau, it is difficult to categorize any problems as being typical. While there were complaints, most of them differed from one another, and no real pattern emerged.
That said, there were a few that showed up more than once, though the specific problems were not identical.
The electrical wiring focused on a few complaints, from draining the battery to the pumps not working to problems with the livewell/aerator. In most of these circumstances, the person who filed the complaint indicated the company dealt with the problem to their satisfaction.
A few complaints involved the outboards, but that is more the province of that particular manufacturer than Ranger boats.
There were a few complaints about leaking hoses, but these all differed in the exact location and seemed to be something that a worker might have missed on occasion rather than a design or system flaw.
How Long Do Ranger Boats Last Compared To Similar Brands?
Ranger boats are among the most durable and long-lived bass boat brands.
It is not uncommon at fishing tournaments to see 1990s-era Ranger Boats among the competitors, and sometimes even older.
The construction process in both their fiberglass and aluminum boats ensures that they will be around and be functional for decades when some other brands have been retired.
Do Ranger Boats Hold Their Value?
Ranger Boats have a reputation for holding their value very well, particularly compared to other brands of bass boats.
Resale value is one of their tenets to their potential owners and something current owners attest to.
In 2015, the Comanche Z520C-DC, a popular 21-foot bass boat model, cost $69,840 new. Today, that model has an average resale value of $58,450 or depreciation of less than 17%. That is very good.
Looking at their aluminum boats, in 2015, the VS1780SC, an 18-foot Deep-V hull, sold new for $24,919. Currently, that boat has an average resale value of $21,790. That is a depreciation of 13%, which is again very favorable.
These rates of depreciation are typical for the company and something their owners appreciate.
Are Ranger Boats Still Being Made?
The company is still in business in the town that it was founded in, Flippin, Arkansas.
Some of the elements on their boats may be customized, depending on the particular order, if you coordinate your purchase through the company.
Ranger Boats divides their boats into 4 lines: Fiberglass, Aluminum, Pontoon, and Saltwater.
- Their Fiberglass line includes most of their fishing models and numbers 22 different models and configurations.
- They range from about $30,000 to over $90,000.
- The Aluminum line number 16 model sand includes their lower-priced aluminum bass boats and deep-V for extended fishing trips.
- They range from about $20,000 to $50,000.
- The Pontoon line has a variety of sizes and functions.
- The 10 models range from $25,000 to $90,000.
- The Saltwater line includes 5 models of bay boats.
- They run from $54,000 to $104,000.
Ranger Boats are more expensive than most brands of bass boats, but the consensus is that they are worth it due to the design, construction, and finish.
While they have branched out into other areas, bass boats are what they have built their legend on.