Triton Boats is a manufacturer of high-performance fiberglass fishing boats.
They have a reputation for quality construction and handling, but just how good are they?
Here’s How Good Triton Boats Are:
Triton Boats is almost acknowledged for their craft’s speed, handling, durability, and fishability. They are made from premium composites with a solid hull construction method and a fast planing hull. They have room for fish and equipment storage in several lockers and livewells.
A Brief History of Triton Boats
Earl Bentz began servicing boats at his uncle’s South Carolina dealership. There, he developed a passion for racing boats.
Despite a crash that broke his back and nearly took his life, he went on to join the Mercury Racing Team and won 11 championships in 8 years.
In 1975 he joined Hydro-Sports while the bass boat industry was in its infancy and became the first to put a V-6 on the back. He moved into customer service and sales before retiring from racing in 1981 and becoming the company’s vice president.
He left in 1983 to found Stratos Boats, which he sold to OMC in 1987 while remaining president.
In 1996, he left Stratos to form Triton Boats. The company specialized in fishing boats, specifically bass boats, for freshwater and saltwater use. The company was located at this time in Ashland City, Tennessee.
The company became the first to go entirely wood-free in 1997 and pioneered the concave running pad for a smoother ride. Triton Boats quickly built a reputation for high performance.
Originally, the company built fiberglass boats exclusively. In 2001 they entered a partnership to produce aluminum boats, which they originally made in Aberdeen, Mississippi.
The Brunswick Corporation acquired Triton Boats in 2005, and in 2010 the company sold them again to Fishing Holdings, a subsidiary of Platinum Equity. Bentz remained the CEO of Triton Boats through these sales.
After this sale, the owner moved the manufacturing of Triton Boats from Ashland to Flippin, Arkansas.
Bass Pro acquired Fishing Holdings in 2015.
In 2018, the company moved production again to a new facility in Midway, Arkansas. Also, this year, Bentz retired from the company, going on to found Caymas Boats.
Triton Boats is still going strong today and is given wide exposure by their availability at Bass Pro and Cabela’s shops. They make only fiberglass boats now.
How Reliable Are Triton Boats?
The performance focus that Earl Bentz originally envisioned for the company remains today. The boats are designed to move at high speeds in various waters, whether on creeks or the ocean and handle well in any conditions encountered.
In addition to performance, the boat’s layout for fishing is a paramount concern for Triton Boats. Functionality is as important as performance, reflected in the design, with roomy lockers and livewells.
The bow panel allows large fish finders to be flush mounted to the boat. Also, a removable second console allows a passenger to either have a console or remove it for more fishing space in the boat.
Reflecting most of these features of the boat, one owner said in 2016:
“Going on close to 2 years with a 2895 cc. It’s been a great boat. Solid with a great layout for fishing. Lots of runs out 60-70 miles sometimes coming in snotty stuff. Surprisingly dry ride in most conditions. Handled well in seas peaking over 10ft (that wasn’t a dry day).”
[Source: The Hull Truth]
The majority of comments concerning Triton Boats are overwhelmingly positive. This is remarkable in the internet age, where almost every brand has its vocal detractors online, but it is indicative of the general respect Triton has earned and built upon.
How Durable Are Triton Boats?
Triton claims to be one of the toughest boats on the water, beyond their capacity for speed and smooth handling. They have backed these claims up and earned a solid reputation for them.
The basis for the durability of a Triton boat is the stringer layout, which the company refers to as the Zero Flex Stringer System.
This consists of two longitudinal braces running the entire length of the hull. There are seven ribs or cross members spanning port to starboard along this length.
The solid construction that this offers virtually eliminates hull twisting at higher speeds and upon impact with waves. This gives it the smooth ride it has developed a reputation for at higher speeds, in addition to its durability.
Triton Boats uses no wood in the construction of a hull. While it is not uncommon for fiberglass boats to have transoms made of marine-grade plywood, Triton’s transoms are made from the same composites that the rest of the hull is.
The transom and the fuel tank are connected to the stringer system for maximum rigidity from stem to stern.
Triton boats are one of the most durable performance fishing boats on the market.
What About Older Triton Boats?
The guiding philosophy of building boats to a quality level instead of a price point has been in place since Earl Bentz began the brand in 1996. It has not changed in that time, even after he left the company in 2018.
Despite the company being purchased several times, the quality has remained high, in no small part to Bentz’s long oversight of the construction process.
Even early on, though, Triton was appreciated for its riding characteristics. One commenter in 2003, who reluctantly sold his as his family needed a larger boat, said:
“I just sold an 18′ Triton Bayflight…It ran perfect with a 90hp…With the added accessories, 2 people full tank, full live well I still ran in the 35-36mph with a great hole shot… If you are looking for an 18′ boat this boat is awesome. I personally needed a bigger boat…It’s a heavy boat but for an 18′ it rode great.”
[Source: The Hull Truth]
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
Triton still has a few parts for older models available, but it is not clear how far back in model years they try to maintain a supply of parts for.
Owners looking for replacement parts are encouraged to contact the company first, but it seems clear from researching this question that most replacement parts come from their existing dealer network.
Dealers have been with Triton for many years or even decades and have accumulated various older parts.
For those parts that cannot be obtained from the company or their dealers, several online retailers carry varying stocks of replacement parts. Some of the more prominent are greatlakesskipper.com and boatseabass.com.
Beyond this, the various online fora are the next best way to locate spare parts. Several boards have threads with local or national dealers with spare parts.
What Are Typical Problems With Triton Boats?
Despite their good reputation and high manufacturing standards, the brand has occasional problems.
Some customers have reported leaks around their through-hull fittings. These complaints seem to be concentrated in the 2016-2018 models. Some report the company taking care of the problem through the dealer. Others say that the dealers have not fixed the problem. Although not widespread, there are a dozen or so complaints to be found of this nature online.
There have been a few reports of stress cracks, or gel coat cracks, in the decks of a few boats. While this might be expected on boats made a decade ago, a few cases are from the last decade. Again, this is not a widespread complaint.
The United States Coast Guard database shows that Triton has had 3 different recalls, the last being closed in 2011. The last two recalls each affected less than 50 individual boats: the first involved ventilation on 14 boats, the last the level flotation on 42.
How Long Do Triton Boats Last Compared To Similar Brands?
All available data shows that Triton Boats last as long as any comparable brand or longer.
One of the key indicators here is the high, favorable resale value that boats from Triton have relative to their competition.
In addition, while researching this article, the author came across many threads on forums where a boater bought an older Triton that had not been well-maintained and, with little effort, was able to restore the boat into near-perfect shape.
As with all boats, it has to be properly maintained, or a boat of even the highest quality will start to deteriorate.
Do Triton Boats Hold Their Value?
Triton Boats has a superior reputation for holding their value. Looking at the NADA guide seems to back this up.
- A 20 TRX from their Bass Boat line made in 2015 cost $44,343 new:
- Currently, that boat has an average resale value of $44,040. That is a depreciation of only 1%.
- A 178 Dual Console Plex from their Deep V line made in 2015 cost $20,462 new that year:
- Currently, that boat has an average resale value of $20,210, again a depreciation of 1%.
- A Fish &Ski Series from 2015, a 220 Escape cost $39,286 that year:
- Now that same boat has an average resale value of $39,240. That is less than 1% depreciation.
These rates of depreciation are incredible. It is almost unheard of for a brand of boats to retain their value in this fashion.
These values provided on the NADA’s website for Triton Boats include the trailer but not the engine, so keep that in mind if you are shopping for a used Triton using that guide.
Are Triton Boats Still Being Made?
Triton Boats are still being made at their new state-of-the-art facility in Midway, Arkansas, which was opened in 2018.
Currently, on their website, their fiberglass boats are divided into three different lines.
- The Bass Boat line runs from the 18.5-foot 179 TRX, with a starting price of $31,995, to the 21-foot 21 XRT, with a starting price of $73,995.
- The Fish & Ski line consists of two boats. The 186 Allure starts at $47,995, and the 206 Allure starts at $60,995.
- Their line of Walleye Boats also features two models. The 186 Fishunter starts at $48,995, and the 206 Fishunter starts at $65,040.
The website offers several options for customizing each model that the company offers.