Mako boats have been around since 1967. These boats are made from fiberglass, and they’re designed for rough offshore waters as well as for calmer inshore waters.
With over 50 years of history, it is easy to say what is great about Mako boats and what some of their problems are.
Here are the 7 most common problems you may find with Mako boats.
Mako Boats are Mass Produced
Early Mako boats were hand-built.
People loved these boats, and the company made a great name for themselves for their unique craftsmanship.
Over-time, the popularity of these boats became so great that the company began to mass-produce them. Some people do not prefer mass-production, and some of those preferences are legitimate!
Any mass-produced product can be better or worse than a custom-made one, but the difference mainly comes with the assembly process as well as the initial molds used to make the product.
Design a great mold and refine the assembly process until it’s perfect, and you end up with a great product.
Start with a poor mold or create an inefficient assembly process, and every unit that is made will be of low quality.
Poor Customer Service
The Mako boat lineup is now owned by Bass Pro.
Unfortunately, this company is notorious for providing poor customer service. This could be because the company is so large that the customer service does not feel personal, or it could genuinely come down to bad customer service.
One way to get around this issue would be to try to buy a Mako boat from a private dealer. With a private dealer, you’ll be more likely to get a more personal customer service experience.
Of course, this could come with drawbacks as well. For starters, the small company could go under, and then you wouldn’t have any support at all.
Also, with a small company, you won’t be able to take advantage of the national presence that Bass Pro Shops offers.
Build Quality May Differ Vastly
The original owners of Mako retained ownership into the 1990s.
In the late 90s, Tracker bought the company out. These boats are now under the control of Bass Pro and have been for over 5 years.
Any time a boat company changes hands, you’re bound to see many different changes. This is true when the company stays within the same family, and it’s especially true when the company is sold out to another company.
Unfortunately, this means a lot can change, and a boat made one year by one company can vastly differ from a boat made by another company. Because of this, people who are looking for a used Mako will need to do their research to find out what company made their boat.
They’ll also have to base the reviews they read off of people who have owned a Mako made by the same company.
People looking to buy a new Mako boat will have it a little easier. These people should look at only recent reviews, and they should carefully inspect the new boats to make sure they meet their expectations.
Your Console Might Fall Off
The worst reviews I’ve read about Mako boats were that people had trouble with the center console actually coming apart from the boat.
This is an incredibly serious issue that could leave a person stranded out at sea. It’s also a dangerous issue as it could easily become a large projectile at high speeds.
Fortunately, it seems that this only happened to certain boats during a very specific time period. Once again, this means you’ll have to do your research before buying a used Mako boat.
Also, regardless of what used boat, you decide to buy, make sure you thoroughly inspect the console area.
Make sure enough epoxy and fiberglass were used to keep the console in place so that you won’t have to worry about this expensive and dangerous issue.
Engine Options May be Limited
One complaint I’ve seen in recent years is that Mako boats come equipped with Mercury engines.
I personally don’t have any problem with this engine make, but many people prefer other engine brands over Mercury.
Mercury isn’t a high-end engine, and it doesn’t have the clout that a Yamaha boat engine has. However, this doesn’t mean Mercury is a bad engine company.
I’ve been on boats with Mercury engines, and I never worried about becoming stranded with them.
Some People Feel They’re Overpriced
Mako boats aren’t the most expensive boats in their class, but they certainly aren’t the cheapest either.
An 18-foot offshore boat will cost you a minimum of $35,000.00, and an 18-foot inshore boat will cost a minimum of $27,000.00.
For comparison purposes, a Crestliner capable of going offshore would come in at about $30,000.00, and an inshore boat of similar size might cost you less than $20,000.00.
These boats both feature Mercury engines and have similar available layouts.
On the other hand, a Crestliner will be made from aluminum. An aluminum boat generally won’t sell for as much as a fiberglass boat would.
A fiberglass Grady White will cost you about $60,000.00 new. Of course, these boats have much better finishes and Yamaha motors, but you do have to pay for these luxuries.
In the end, I feel that Mako is trying to make a mid-range boat at a mid-range price, and they’ve priced their boats properly.
Some Say the Ride is Rough
I’ve never been offshore in a Mako boat.
However, I’ve read many reviews from owners that state that the ride is a bit rougher offshore in a Mako boat than it is in other boats of similar size.
The problem with this complaint is that it is a subjective one. Some people may feel that the ride is rough, while others will feel the ride is smooth.
If you want to know how the ride will feel for you, you’ll have to ask the dealer to let you take the boat on a test run before you buy it.
General Pros and Cons for the Mako Boat
Pros of Mako Boats
Mako boats are really cool and have a long, rich history.
They offer mid-range pricing for any budget, and their models are versatile and beautiful!
If you have any trouble with your boat, support and maintenance are available all around the country. Not to mention a massive fan base!
Furthermore, if something completely breaks on your boat, replacement parts are often built and plentiful. As we said earlier, Mako has been around since the 60s, so they have a long history.
These boats offer competitive pricing in the fiberglass boat realm, and because they are sold at Bass Pro, you should not have any trouble getting service or finding parts.
Cons of Mako Boats
Not every boat is perfect, and Mako boats have their share of problems.
We’ve highlighted a few below here:
- The ride may be rough in offshore waters.
- People feel the boats are overpriced.
- You won’t have a lot of engine options.
- The boat’s console might come off.
- The build quality of the boat may vary dramatically from year-to-year.
- Customer support may be lacking.
- Mako boats are mass-produced.
“They are decent boats now but incredibly overpriced for the quality you are getting.”[Source: thehulltruth.com]
Many other Mako owners have similar thoughts. The problem I have with this statement is that there really aren’t any other fiberglass boats being sold within the same price range, so it really is hard to make a fair comparison on price alone.
My guess is that owners feel they aren’t getting enough value for their money.
“I have an 87model 231, with twin 96 models 130 Yamaha’s, all original deck, and Transom. I hope I never need to part ways with it.”[Source: thehulltruth.com]
Many people love their older Mako boats, and I think this may be what has led to many people being disappointed with the newer ones.
The new ones aren’t bad, but the old ones were so great that they make them as if they are.
With all of the recent changes in ownership and build quality, it is hard to make a direct comparison of boat models.
This is because while a boat made this year may have the same name as a boat built a few years back, it will have been made under different ownership, and the quality and pricing will be different.
This being said, you can expect vintage Mako boats to hold their value really well, new Mako boats to depreciate at typical rates and Mako boats for the late 90s and early 00s to be retired or to be sold at really low price points.
Mako boats have undergone a lot of changes over the last twenty years, and this has led some to believe that they aren’t worth buying anymore.
However, Mako boats are still good boats, and I feel they’re worth taking a look at.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.