6 Most-Common Problems With Tidewater Boats (Explained)

Tidewater Boats has been in business for over 15 years, and they strive to build boats that are affordable, especially for offshore fishing and pleasure boating.

They have three distinct elements that set their brand apart. Those are the flared Carolina bow and shear line, the corrugated grid stringer vertebra, and foam in the hull.

If you are shopping for a Tidewater Boat, you are in the right place. In this article, we will explain the most common concerns faced by boat owners.

We have searched through all the Tidewater information to find the issues you might face with a Tidewater Boat.

Before we start read our article on how reliable and Tidewater boats are these days

1) Gel Coating Cracking

Many owners across the forums have indicated concerns with the gel coat cracking. Tidewater had a significant problem with gel coat and spider fractures in the mid 2010s. They worked hard to make improvements and remedy the situation.

Many owners have found a crack in the hull and around the deck. There have also been some concerns from owners with powder coat problems.

While cracking gel coat does not look nice, it is not always a structural concern. In many cases, it is cosmetic. However, in some cases, it could be a sign of a large problem, so it should not be ignored.

If your gel coat cracking is cosmetic only, you can fix it yourself fairly easily by following these steps.

  • The first step you want to take is to make sure that your boat is thoroughly clean and dry.
  • You will use a grinding tool to open up the cracks.
  • The intent is to gouge out any small cracks to make them wide enough to fill in with the gel coat paste.
  • You should lightly and carefully sand the area.
  • Once you have completely sanded the area, you want to clean it again, but this time with acetone.
  • If you do not want to be able to tell you fixed the gel coat, you must match the color of the gel coat with which you are filling in the holes to the gel coat on your boat.
  • Then mix up a batch of that color gel coat, which you will fill in the areas you gouged with a putty knife.
  • It would be best if you overfilled the holes to ensure there are no air pockets.
  • After that, you want to wrap the area to keep out all air to ensure that it cures properly.
  • Once it is cured, lightly sand the area again and finish it with a high quality polish.

2) Often Bumpy Ride

Many owners have complained across the forums about the rough ride they had on their Tidewater Boat. The company claims the boat is built to ride gently on the steep sea; many owners and former owners disagree.

Some owners state that the pounding you take while on the boat really hurts your back.

3) Floor Hatch

There are many owners in the forums complaining about damage to their fuel hatch.

For some, it is an ongoing issue that is not being remedied. In addition, the mold for the rear floor hatch has been retired for some models.

One particular issue is with a brand new boat that had a damaged hatch. After months, a new hatch was sent out to the owner, but it was incorrect because Tidewater drilled and mounted the hinges on the hatch incorrectly.

While this problem involves a damaged hatch, the owners seem to believe the real issue is quality control.

The boat should not have been shipped with a damaged hatch. Then the wrong hatch was sent out. Now the owner has been battling for almost a year to get the correct hatch.

4) Problems with Leaking

Many owners have made references to various areas that are leaking on their Tidewater Boat. For example, there are known leaks in the T-top, which caused damage to the anchor lights, spreader lights, and speakers.

In this case, all of these parts had to be replaced by the dealer.

But unfortunately, it did not completely resolve the problem because there was moisture in the anchor light that was replaced.

Another concern with leaking is in the console. This leak led to mold in the console. Unfortunately, the owner has not been able to clean the mold completely. In addition, despite being fixed, the console still leaks, and mold continues to grow.

The dealer stated that the cause of this was the caulking around the console. However, the owner claims all of the caulking for the entire boat is shoddy.

This falls in line with other claims that Tidewater has a quality control issue.

5) Fuel Smell

Many owners have complained about the smell of fuel in various areas of their Tidewater Boat.

One report stated the smell was coming from the center console around the fuel line. In some cases, the smell goes away after some time.

There are various causes of the fuel leaking smell. They range from a leaking gasket in the sending unit to a fuel demand valve failure. Other problems are that the fuel pickup connectors that sit on top of the tank are missing thread sealant.

In some cases, the dealer is not able to find the cause of the leak even though they know it is leaking. In some cases, it is because of the pressurized fuel system used by Tidewater.

This system is revealing leaks in places that have never leaked before.

Tidewater has isolated the problem, but there are some boats that have not been updated with the fix. When you open the gas cap, you should hear a hiss to release pressure.

This is supposed to help the system maintain its pressure.

6) Locating Older Parts

Fortunately, Tidewater Boats are a relatively new company. This means that most of their parts are still being manufactured. Therefore, all of the major parts are easily found through the dealer network.

There are a few parts that are no longer being built, but they can be found through the dealers.

If the dealers cannot find them, typically, the original company still has them.

General Pros and Cons for the Tidewater Boat


Tidewater Boating is a fairly new company and has only been in business for about 15 years. There are few older models for sale, which indicates that owners are keeping them.

In general, owners believe that Tidewater Boats are durable and made to last.


  • Problems with cracking around the hull and in the gel coat.
  • There seems to be an overall problem with fuel leaking from their pressurized system.
  • Many owners do not think Tidewater offers the most comfortable ride.

What Do the Reviews Say?

In general, boat owners feel the Tidewater is a well made and durable boat.

“The boats are well-built, solid and ride well in my opinion. And they are priced very well.”

[Source: thehulltruth.com]

For every owner that states that Tidewater provides a bumpy and hard ride, there are twice as many that say otherwise.

“It rides great for it’s size, anyone that says otherwise is either expecting too much from a light shallow draft boat or they don’t know how to use tabs. Which reminds me, do not go without trim tabs.”

[Source: thehulltruth.com]


What is the Resale Value on the Tidewater Boats?

Tidewater Boats are new which makes it difficult to determine just how long the boat will last.

However, based on the feedback from the owners, there is no reason to believe that these boats will not last just as long or longer than their competition.

As with any boat, the more care and maintenance it receives, the longer it will last and the better it will look. Unfortunately, Tidewater Boats seem to have the same depreciation rate as similar models.

There are a good number of them on the market but it is not flooded with Tidewater Boats.

A brand new 180 CC Adventure sold for $27,160 in 2015.

The expected resale value is averaging between $21,460 and $18,770. This is a depreciation between 21 percent and 30 percent.




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