Yellowfin Yachts is a premium brand located in Florida.
Their lines of expensive boats are a common sight along the lower east coast of the United States.
Beyond their sticker price, are they a good brand of boats?
Here’s how good Yellowfin Boats are:
Yellowfin Yachts are well-built boats using the highest quality materials by expert craftsmen, and each one is custom-built. They are expensive compared to similar models, but they are very good boats and well-regarded for their performance and functionality.
A Brief History of Yellowfin Boats
Wylie Nagler grew up in Miami, Florida, and spent time as a boat rigger.
Later he started his first company, Back Country Powerboats, and it proved to be successful; he sold the company to Champion in 1998.
That same year he founded the Yellowfin Yacht company. Their original focus was on the premium center console market.
He sold his first Yellowfin boat at the 2000 Miami Boat Show.
From that time, the company built a reputation for high-quality and high-dollar center console boats. They are a highly recognized brand of saltwater boats, having expanded from just center consoles. They use the best quality materials in all of their boats, leading to the expense.
One design focus is to build boats that withstand traveling at high speeds. Nagler has a background in powerboat racing and wanted boats that could handle the rigors of high speeds.
Yellowfin boats are manufactured in Bradenton, Florida, in a facility that has grown to 150,000 square feet in 16 separate buildings.
Everything from design to testing to manufacturing is done in-house by the company; there are no outside contract designers or builders. Several of their models are customizable by owners, such as seating arrangements.
In June of 2021, Yellowfin was acquired by Warbird Marine Holdings. This company also owns the Invincible brand.
Both of the brands will be independently managed and operated, and Wylie Nagler remains President of Yellowfin.
How Reliable Are Yellowfin Boats?
Yellowfin Yachts’ primary focus is on offshore fishing.
They have a strong reputation for riding smoothly through waves at high speeds.
The wiring on Yellowfin boats is well-regarded among owners, being laid out in rows with clear markings and different colors for different functions. Some of it is exposed inside the console, though, and some owners have expressed concerns that saltwater might reach the wiring in some conditions.
The various models are known to have plenty of live well space for the catch. The layout, which on some models is customizable, is praised by most owners.
The boats have more than adequate power, usually with Mercury motors. Despite the high-end performance, they are regarded to be fuel-efficient.
How Durable Are Yellowfin Boats?
The boats are carefully and solidly constructed vinylester resin, with all models over 24 feet having hand-laid fiberglass.
Yellowfin boats do have balsa wood coring, but it is completely encased in fiberglass. Though the danger of rotting exists if water was to get past the fiberglass and into the wood, careful construction prevents this from happening. There are no reports on the internet of this actually occurring.
The Yellowfin 36 Center Console has been a staple of their company for most of its existence and is among the most well-regarded fishing boats on the water. It sports many of its nicer features beyond the solid construction, such as pop-up cleats and running lights, recesses bow rails, and recessed lighting.
When searching forums for information on the durability of a Yellowfin boat, it is difficult to find anyone who has had a problem due to the construction.
While commenters may complain about the cost, there are no negative comments on the manufacturer’s durability. It is acknowledged to be among the most durable brands in the marine industry.
What About Older Yellowfin Boats?
Since Yellowfin Yachts has only been in existence for a couple of decades, it isn’t easy to gauge their long-term durability with certainty.
But based on the accumulated evidence to this point, there is every reason to believe they will remain as solid a boat as they age, as they are now.
The same high construction standards and processes have always been a hallmark of the brand. There has been no change in personnel or ownership during their existence that would signal a drop in quality that other brands may have experienced.
Some early models had fiberglass fuel tanks. While no problems have been reported due to this, it was enough of a concern among buyers that by 2008 all models had aluminum tanks.
Do They Still Make Parts For Older Models?
Most parts that have been used over the years by Yellowfin are still being made.
Since all of their manufacturing has been in the same plant for all of its existence, it is a straightforward matter to get replacement parts for older boats.
Most owners needing replacement parts will go through the dealer network, but some owners have reported success in going directly to the company on certain difficult issues.
A few online companies are selling Yellowfin replacement parts, but not as many as with other brands. This is due to the fewer number of Yellowfin boats compared to other brands and the ease of getting parts from the company. Boatoufitters.com has the largest selection of OEM Yellowfin parts.
There is also a Yellowfin Owners’ Group on Facebook that is active and may assist in tracking down an obscure part.
What Are Typical Problems With Yellowfin Boats?
There are very few reported online problems by owners of Yellowfin boats, and some of them are common to all brands of powerboats.
It may be that the dearth of problems reported is a factor of their relatively fewer number in comparison to other brands, but it seems more likely that this is a factor of the quality construction.
That said, a few owners have raised issues with their thru-hull fittings. Many of these are stainless steel. Some owners that leave their boats in the water have found that these corrode.
Opinions split on this issue online, but most feel that bronze is better as a material for thru-hulls. Still, more to the point that electrical currents at marinas are the real culprit, and owners with this problem are not replacing their zincs.
Some of the larger Yellowfin boats with Deep-V have been reported to scrape when launching from a trailer. These are isolated reports, though, and may be a factor of where they were being launched, rather than being a problem with the brand.
A few older boats have reported live well leaks, but this does not seem to be widespread.
While the Mercury engines that Yellowfins use have a good reputation, they are also known to get water in the heads when shifting between gears too quickly. Some owners have reported this occurring.
How Long Do Yellowfin Boats Last Compared To Similar Brands?
Given that Yellowfin Yachts has been in existence only a couple of decades, there is still not enough data here to make a certain judgment.
But going by the feedback from owners that we do have, there is every reason to believe that a Yellowfin will be around for a very long time. There are very few forum posts that indicate any problem in the construction materials or methods.
Older models that are listed for sale show little or no evidence of soft decks or spiderweb cracks in the gel coat that you might expect.
As always, the caveat here is that even the best boat will fall apart if it is poorly maintained.
Do Yellowfin Boats Hold Their Value?
Yellowfin boats have a reputation for holding their value pretty well over the years.
It is notable that they are not listed on the NADA guides, though. This is rumored to be because the company does not report its sales data to NADA and asks its resellers to do the same.
Whatever the truth, it is harder to get good data on what Yellowfin boats actually resell for than it is for other brands.
There is a website called yellowfinboatsforsale.com that lists only Yellowfins, but they do not list what the boats actually sell for, just the asking price. The best way to assess their value is to find reviews of a certain year and then find that model listed for sale now.
For example, a review of the 42′ Offshore in 2017 listed the price as $456,903, plus another $58,000 in options. The closest to that model listed on yellowfinboatsforsale.com was a 2016 model listed at $475,000 after a “major price reduction.” Suppose this boat sells at $450,000, which is about a depreciation of 13%, which is outstanding.
It is noteworthy that the other 42′ Offshores listed on that website are all listed for more money.
While this is far from conclusive, which is very difficult given the very limited sales data available to the public, it does fall in line with what Yellowfin owners claim, that their boats hold their value very well.
Are Yellowfin Boats Still Being Made?
Yellowfin Yachts is still in business and having more success than ever.
They sell 14 different models of boats, all of them designed for fishing. They do not advertise the prices on their website.
The heart of the company is the line of offshore boats, most of which are center consoles. There are 8 base models, from 29 to 54 feet in length.
They also make some skiffs and bay boats, ranging in size from 17 feet to 26 feet.
Nearly all of these models offer some degree of customization. By playing around with the features on their website, you can configure a model to your liking and then ask them for a price.