5 Most-Common Problems With Duffy Boats (Explained)

Duffy boats are popular in South California. They are electric and run on batteries.

As a pioneer of electric boats, they have a simple design with few components. As a result, there are not many things that can go wrong with this plug-and-play boat.

These laid-back boats are best for river or harbor cruises. Unfortunately, they do not do well on the open seas.

If you are considering a Duffy Boat, you are in the right place as we describe some of the most common problems you may face with these boats.

We have done the research for you about Duffy Boats to help you determine if this is the right one for you.

Related: Are Duffy Boats Reliable?

1) Charging Issues

Since Duffy is an electric boat, the most essential part of the boat is the battery. When the battery does not work, you are going to have significant problems with your boat.

To get the battery to work, you must be able to charge it.

Indicator Light Does Not Work:

When you plug the battery in to be charged, the charger has a light that tells you when it is charged. It also tells you when it is fully charged.

If that does not work, there could be several reasons. For example, the power for the dock may be disconnected, or the breaker might be off.

You may not have enough AC voltage as the minimum requirement is 105 volts.

The charger itself may malfunction, or its fuse might be blown.

You may need to change the fuse in the charger. You can use a voltmeter on the charger leads to determine if it is working. If not, replace it.

If there is no power to the dock, you must reconnect it or turn on the circuit breaker. You may need to call an electrician if it is a more significant problem.

Charger Works, But the Boat is Slow:

If you charge the boat and it seems to charge, but the boat is sluggish, it could be because of old batteries.

When the batteries are old, they may not charge well or consistently. As a result, the power from the dock may not be consistent.

You may have to replace the batteries. You want to make sure the breaker is not being tripped or that the AC power has a timer preventing consistent power.

Charger Makes Noise:

If the charger is humming but it does not charge the boat, there may not be enough voltage to the charger.

The batteries may have more than one dead cell. Therefore, you may need to replace the batteries. Also, the batteries may have a wire that may have been disconnected.

The extension cord may be corroded at the fitting and may need to be replaced.

The charger must have at least 105 volts to function. If it is not getting that, you may need to contact an electrician.

Charger Does Not Turn Off:

If the charger does not shut off, the timer has failed.

Therefore, you must replace the timer board in the charger.

2) Fuel Meter Fails

Fuel Meter Drops Quickly:

If you see the fuel meter suddenly drop from full to empty when going at high speeds, there could be a problem with the batteries.

The batteries might be old or have too little water in there. Also, there might be a problem with the charger.

You may need to replace the batteries. The batteries may need to be refilled with water. You can use tap water in them.

The prop may have fouled, and you can have to clean any debris away from the prop.

Fuel Meter Does Not Move:

If the needle in the fuel meter never moves at all, there could be a malfunction in the fuel meter.

It may be because there is a loose or disconnected wire. You should replace and reconnect the wire.

3) Batteries Are Critical

One of the most essential parts of the Duffy boat is the battery. If they are not working, your boat is not going anywhere.

Swollen Batteries:

If you can see the batteries are cracked and swollen, they could be old or do not have enough water in them while charging.

Most likely, it is time to replace the batteries.

Batteries Are Using Water Quickly:

If you notice that you are constantly putting more water in your batteries, there could be a leak in the casing.

As a result, you may need to replace the batteries.

This may not be a large problem, and you need to add more water more often. This happens more often when using the boat in dry, hot air.

Batteries Are Hot:

If you notice the batteries get hot when they are charging, it could be because they have dead cells and need to be replaced.

Batteries Not Fully Charged:

The batteries may not completely charge no matter how long you leave them plugged in.

This may be because the power to the dock is not on. You may not be allowing them to charge long enough. The water in the batteries might be low.

Ensure that the dock has power. For every one hour of use, the batteries need to charge for three hours.

You may need to add more water to the batteries. Try to charge the batteries individually with a 6-volt charger at low amperage for 12-24 hours.

4) Motor is Not Running

If the motor is not running in either forward or reverse, the armature could have frozen due to moisture. In addition, the brush in the motor may be worn.

You can replace the brushes, but the motor may need to be assessed by a professional technician.

5) Infa-Speed Control System

On the Duffy, the control board and electronic actuator have plug fittings to make them easy to remove and install.

Boat Will Not Operate:

If you have the key in the on position, the control switch is in reverse or forward, and the boat will not operate, it could be because of a safety feature in the controller.

Place the key in the off position and put the control switch in neutral. Then, put the key back in the on position and move the control switch to the appropriate selection.

General Pros and Cons for the Duffy Boat


Duffy Boats offer a more casual and slow pace. Electric boats have a slower speed in general, with 5 miles per hour being their average cruising speed.

They are often used as rental boats because of their durability.

They are made of fiberglass and are tough. In addition, they have nice touches in the interior, such as cherry wood.

Even at their maximum speed, Duffy Boats are incredibly quiet. This is because their electric motor makes a small amount of noise.


  • When the batteries get old, they do not hold a charge as well.
  • Heavily reliant on power from the dock.

What Do the Reviews Say?

Duffy Boats are a great alternative to gas-powered boats. They are reliable and durable, as long as you do not take them out on open seas.

However, any problems that Duffy boat owners run into seem to be quickly resolved by Duffy.

“[Duffy] has built a great team who truly provides top-notch service. I know I am in good hands when working with this Duffy crew!”
[Source: Nicelocal.com]

What is the Resale Value on the Duffy Boat?

Duffy boats have an average resale value when compared to other boats similar to Duffy.

Year Price
2015 Back Bay 16 $29,999 (new)
2015 Back Bay 16 $22,110 (used)
2015 Bay Island $47,999 (new)
2015 Bay Island $33,670 (used)

A Back Bay 16 that was brand new in 2015 sold for $29,999. That same boat has a resale value today of $22,110. So it has about a 26% depreciation.

A Bay Island 22 that was brand new in 2015 sold for $47,999.

Today, it has an average resale value of about $33,670. This is about a 30% depreciation rate.


Duffy Boats

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