Every different brand of boat has both strengths and weaknesses.
Even the quality builders of Polar Kraft boats have had a few problems with their line of boats.
Today we will go over some of their problems, strengths, weaknesses, and their current standing in the world of marine products.
1. No Longer as Customizable on their Website
In late 2019, Polar Kraft was bought by Apex Marine, a family-owned company based out of Mid Michigan.
Here’s a message from them:
“We are striving hard to improve quality, improve efficiency ultimately resulting in a Better product. Apex Marine is not a corporate entity, and quality is paramount.”
There was also a change of ownership in 2006, but these aluminum utility and fishing boats have a good reputation going back over 60 years. Apex Marine and the previous owners have also been involved in pontoon boat construction.
Over the years, the Polar Kraft website has changed, and (in 2021) it isn’t quite as flexible and customizable as in the past. However, the website shows the specifications for all 10 model lines, with 52 available versions.
They range in length from 14 to 21 feet long.
2. Hard to Find at Dealerships
While researching the prices for new Polar Kraft boats in 2019, I found it especially difficult to find a dealership near me.
This is especially strange since there are plenty of fishing towns, marinas, and boat dealerships in my area.
Upon further research, I found that buyers all over the US were having this issue as well.
The boating community has been fairly silent about the Polar Kraft line of boats in the past 5 years. Before that, there were a few rumblings of quality issues, which all seemed to be resolved around the 2011-era boats. Since then, they have been viewed as classic and sturdy.
In 2021, it seems that dealerships can be found in most areas of the United States, from the middle of the country to the east coast and Florida.
3. Welding and Leaky Rivets
The most common manufacturing problems boaters complain of are bad welding spots and leaky rivets.
Of course, these aren’t specific to Polar Kraft boats; this is a common problem with several other boats. In all of the cases I have researched, both the welds and leaky rivets were redone under warranty.
They were fixed with the full and friendly cooperation from Polar Kraft. Note that Polar Kraft boats are built with both rivets and welding, a good quality method.
One of the complaints that avid boaters used to throw around was the “fit and finish” of Polar Kraft boats.
Of course, this is something that since seems to be resolved as the complaints about this topic have died off since 2011.
For those who don’t know, “fit and finish” refers to how the parts go together when putting together a vehicle. This term was first used with cars but translated well to boats (and other types of vehicles).
The worry is that if the parts aren’t smooth and accurate, perhaps the manufacturer skimped on other details.
4. The Standard Engine is “Okay.”
It is well known that the standard engines which come with Polar Kraft boats (often a mediocre Yamaha) will do a decent job but is nothing special.
This can easily be fixed by swapping the standard motor for a higher performance one.
However, it is a pain to have to research the type of engines that will suit your needs, in addition to various types of boats as well. This is where a dealership can be helpful.
Luckily, since the community agrees that Polar Kraft boats come cheaper than Lund’s (and other equivalent boats), interested buyers can spend the money they save on the boat on an upgraded motor.
Of course, boaters and fishermen should look at their needs before immediately discarding these standard engines.
While they might not win any races, they are reliable and trustworthy motors.
General Pros and Cons for the older Polar Kraft Line of Boats
Polar Kraft has been around for a while and as a long-lived and loved line of boats.
Polar Kraft boats used to be the king of flat-bottom boats. Flat-bottom Polar Kraft boats are often snatched up quickly when found at a local used boat dealership.
They have fantastic quality in their standard amenities, in comparison to other boats of the same price-point.
These boats are known to be spacious, even if you decide to buy one of their smaller 16’ or 17’ fishing boats.
Polar Kraft boats are well built and strong and can stand the test of time.
The customer service has been known to be both friendly and helpful.
They do have their fair share of worries, however, including:
- They are not as customizable as they used to be.
- It is not easy to find their dealerships everywhere.
- There used to be an issue with shoddy welding and leaky rivets.
- The standard motor is mediocre.
What Do the Reviews Say?
“A 17-foot boat might sound cramped, but the 179 Frontier WT defies conventional wisdom.”
[source: Boating Magazine]
In the Boating Magazine article about the Polar Kraft 179 Frontier WT, the magazine briefly goes over the standard features of the boat, as well as remark on the incredible way that Polar Kraft engineered the limited amount of space on the 17’ fishing boat.
This is a common theme through most of the reviews (both professional and layman boater and fishermen).
This model is still made in 2021.
“Although no one would mistake this boat for a tournament walleye, it’s plenty of boats to get average anglers out on the water in search of their favorite quarry.”
[source: Boating Magazine]
In the Boating World article about the Polar Kraft Outlander 160 SE, the writer and reviewer (Alan Jones) talk about how he took the Outlander on a cold, cold winter day (30 degrees Fahrenheit) to test out its name and the standard design.
He stated that the affordable boat handled the cold temperature well. The reviewer also says it had surprisingly roomy features (like a large aft deck and the pedestal fishing seat receiver) despite the small dimensions of 16’ 3” in length.
This model was dropped by 2021, and the closest version now is the Outlander 165 SC at 16′ 7″ long.
What’s the Resale Value on Polar Kraft Boats?
Like most manufacturer websites, Polar Kraft doesn’t list their list price or their manufacturer’s suggested retail price online.
Most dealer websites have also omitted the price of Polar Kraft boats, instead opting for an emailed quote.
In general, new fishing boats are often priced anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000.
However, there are several used prices that can easily be found online.
These are from 2019:
There were a few complaints about the fit and finish (the most common issue with Polar Kraft boats).
But, the complaints have lessened over the years.
They are now regarded as classic (yet plain) fishing boats. Polar Kraft boats are known to come with decent standard options at a price you can’t shake a stick at.
They should be a competitive candidate if you are looking for:
- The best value in aluminum boats
- USA manufacturing (with an average builder having over 20 years of experience)
- Reliable ultra-durable paint which will stand up to the wear-and-tear of regular usage
- A range of hull designs from deep-v to flat, which can get you in the fishiest fishing spots
- A boat with a single-plate hull (lighter means better fuel economy and great handling)
Boating Magazine (https://www.boatingmag.com/boats/polar-kraft-179-frontier-wt/)
Boating World Magazine (https://www.boatingworld.com/boattests/polar-kraft-outlander-160-se/)