Seaswirl Boats had a long history in the marine industry, surviving several acquisitions and five decades until it was finally shut down in 2011.
But there are still many Seaswirl boats to be found on the water and for sale.
So the question is, are Seaswirl boats any good?
This is How Good Seaswirl Boats are:
Seaswirl Boats was a solid manufacturer of mid-tier and entry-level recreational fiberglass boats. Most of their models were in the 18-25 foot range with a focus on fishing. The boats have a reputation for solid construction and roominess, with very few problems in the fiberglass.
A Brief History of Seaswirl Boats
There are conflicting accounts of the origin and history of Seaswirl Boats.
Most claim that Seaswirl was founded in 1954 or 1955 in Oregon, while others, like the NADA Guide website, claim it was started in Minnesota in 1954.
The most detailed sources place the company’s origins in Canby, Oregan, just outside of Portland, and a company called Highway Products, which built trailerable and car-topped small boats out of fiberglass, a new technology at the time. These boats were sold under the brand name Seaswirl.
In 1971, the company had grown in popularity and was purchased by the larger company Bramco. Manufacturing was moved to Culver, on the Crooked River, in mid-Oregon. The boating lines were greatly expanded during the boating boom of the 1970s.
During this time, the company changed its name to that of its well-known brand, Seaswirl. The company continued to enjoy recognition and sales success.
In 1987, Seaswirl was bought by the Outboard Motor Corporation, as it aggressively acquired new lines.
When OMC went bankrupt in 2000, Seaswirl was picked up by Genmar Industries, which immediately infused cash support to the company.
Despite this, the 2000s were a difficult time for the industry and Seaswirl in particular. They shut down most of their recreational boating lines by 2008, including all models with the Seaswirl name, though Seaswirl still produced their popular Striper line of fishing boats.
The Culver plant built its last Seaswirl boat in 2007, and Seaswirl moved production to Little Falls, Minnesota.
The company technically folded in 2011, though the Striper line continued as an independent company until it was shut down by Polaris, which had acquired the company from Genmar in 2020.
How Durable Are Seaswirl Boats?
In reviewing owner comments on forums, recent and decades-old posts, one thing that stands out is that most feel the construction was of decent quality.
Most owners feel that the fiberglass is of good quality, and the work involved was done well. There are few reports of cracks in the hulls or deck or spiderweb cracks in the gel coat (Seaswirl would apply gel coat to a depth of 18 millimeters, which is good for the industry), or even soft decks.
Seaswirl used plywood in their transoms until 2003 when they went to all-composite in construction. This caused some people problems, as any water that got through the fiberglass – like through non-bedded screw holes – could cause the wood to rot and destroy the transom.
This was not a typical problem, but it did affect a minority of owners.
One common complaint about Seaswirl among owners is the wiring. While most owners did not actually have problems with faulty or wrong connections, most say it is “messy” at a minimum, and connections are not marked.
There are some owners, however, that have reported the wiring was done wrong and have had to get warranty work or other people to fix it effectively.
Another common complaint is the difficulty accessing certain areas of the boat, such as the battery compartment. “Tight” is often used to characterize the area when maintenance has to be done on the batteries.
“I bought a new ’04 2301 striper cc in ’05, and every year I like it more and more… The wiring layout is a mess, and I’ve redone and marked some of it. You can’t tell where anything goes. Fish box not insulated, very tight fit in transom area for bilge pump, wash down pump 98% inaccessible…lots of free board (sic) giving that safe feeling.”
[Source: The Hull Truth]
The bottom line here is that most owners are happy with the boat for their price. For the cost, Seaswirl was generally perceived to make durable boats, though some of the amenities were lacking.
How Long Do Seaswirl Boats Typically Last?
Being made of fiberglass, Seaswirl boats are tough.
They were made to take the pounding of waves, particularly the offshore models.
The early models were made to be car-topped, and when fiberglass was first introduced as a material for building, boats were lighter and flimsier initially. Still, by the early 1960s, the boats were better, and the construction was far more solid.
The 1970s saw tremendous growth for the company, and some models from this far back can still be seen on the water or in owners’ yards or boatyards. Users can find some boats from this era for sale.
Even though they are not top-of-the-line boats, Seaswirls are built to last.
Looking on forums, many Seaswirl boats from as far back as the 1990s are commonly discussed by owners still using them. Models from the 1980s and 1970s are discussed less frequently, indicating they are not used as much, but this generally follows for most brands of boats, as well.
All that being said, the care that an owner takes of the boat goes a long way to determine its longevity. The best-made boat will fall apart if neglected, and the cheapest will last for a long-time if maintained, winterized, and kept covered.
The takeaway here is that Seaswirl boats last as long as most other brands on the market.
Has Seaswirl Made Any Recalls?
As Seaswirl, there was only one recall in the company’s history, according to the United States Coast Guard.
This was a problem with the level flotation, or the ability of the boat to remain level if filled with water and bearing the maximum stated occupants. The case was opened in 1997 and closed in 2001. It affected 2,190 boats.
There was one other recall that affected Seaswirl when it was part of the Outboard Motor Corporation.
This was a problem with 481 models from the year 1994, which had non-compliant fuel priming bulbs.
What Are the Most Popular Seaswirl Boats?
While the company existed for over 50 years and produced many models of boats during that time, a few models stood out.
The 1851 WA (for walk-around) was a trendy model. It is 18.5 feet long but had a tremendous amount of room below decks and above for fishing.
The boat is fairly light and came with either a 175 or 225 horsepower motor that moved it at a very fast pace. It has a large livewell for offshore or overnight fishing.
A larger, popular model, particularly during the mid-1990s when it was in high production, is the 250 Aft. At 25 feet long, it is light enough to be trailered but large and roomy enough for up to 12 people to enjoy a comfortable weekend.
The 210 Bowrider became popular for its speed and distinctive bow. The Corsair was a popular 1980s model, known for its roominess below and the windows forward in the hull.
The entire Striper line was very popular with the marine public, so much so that it survived the parent company’s demise and became its own brand.
The Striper 2101 is one of the most popular models they ever made. It was an offshore fishing boat with a cabin and considered to be a walk-around. It came with either an outboard engine or a sterndrive.
Where Are Seaswirl Boats Manufactured?
Originally, the company had a plant in Canby, Oregon. In 1971, when Bob Trent bought the company and renamed it Bramco, Seaswirl moved production to Culver, Oregon.
Production remained in this plant until the mid-2000s, when Genmar moved its manufacturing to Little Falls, Minnesota. In 2007, the Culver plant was shut down, and production remained in Little Falls until the brand was discontinued in 2011.
The subsidiary Striper was still made in Little Falls until it was moved to a plant in Syracuse, Indiana; it was shut down in 2020.
The Striper website is still active, and there are still dealers across the USA. Once all stock has been sold, it is assumed that the website will close down.
How Is the Warranty On Seaswirl Boats?
All warranties about the Seaswirl brand have expired as of now.
Their final warranty was a 10-year limited warranty on the hull, and as the last Seaswirl branded boat was made in 2007, all of them are now out of warranty.
Of those built under the Striper brand, some are still under warranty. The base warranty is a 10-year limited warranty on the hull, transferrable to a second owner.
Though the production of Striper has been shut down, it is assumed that the parent company, Polaris, will honor existing warranties for 10 years from 2020.
Of those owners who reported dealing with warranty issues, it seems that Seaswirl was pretty good about honoring the warranty and getting the work done until the mid-2000s. At that point, a few owners expressed frustration in trying to get warranty work done on their boats.
Which Brands Produce Boats Similar to Seaswirl Boats?
As a manufacturer of both entry-level and mid-tier boats, Seaswirl had a lot of competition.
At the lower end of their line, Bayliner would be a good comparable company. There is a similarity in price, though the cheapest Seawirls are still considered to be built better.
For the bulk of their line, several brands are similar. Four Winns, Wellcraft, Glastron, and Robalo competed head-to-head for market share with Seaswirl when they were still in business.
Sea Ray and Monterey are similar, though they are a little more pricey.
Though the brand folded over a decade ago, Seaswirl left a legacy of affordable durability behind.
They had some ups and downs and briefly crawled back into the top-ten boat manufacturers in the early 2000s before fading.
The bottom line is that if you are looking for a good, affordable used boat, Sseaswirl is an option you should seriously consider.