According to the Saltwater Marine website, Trailcraft “sets the industry standard for aluminum boats”.
But since they are the manufacturers of these aluminum fishing boats, can consumers trust that statement? When it comes to researching the make and model of a boat, you must look at its advantages as well as the products’ common problems.
These are some of those issues that some people experience.
1. “Water in Fuel”
This was an issue with a few boats back in 2006. While the issue hasn’t arisen as of late, the fact that it was a problem is a reason to take note. After a few trips out on the water (and normally after a bit of rain), the “water in fuel” gauge would light up on the dashboard.
For most people, this one-time occurrence is more of a nuisance than anything else.
However, with a few boaters, this was a reoccurring problem with their Trailcraft boats. After a couple of months, they would see it again, then again after a few months of use or after a few heavy showers of rain.
The fix? A new filler cap and a different breather. Back in 2006, there was a new design of filler caps which had a tendency of leaking.
They have since fixed this issue with their newer models.
2. Chinese-Manufactured Trailcrafts?
There are quite a few people who found the change from homeland-made Trailcraft boats to Chinese manufactured Trailcraft boats to be a bad idea.
Why outsource? Well, most companies outsource their parts and manufacturing for the same reason: it’s more cost-effective. When you can keep the cost of the parts down, you can keep the price of the whole product down as well.
Some of these boaters didn’t mind the extra expense of home-made products. Besides the national pride, a few of the other reasons for appeal were that:
- If it’s close to home, you know where it is made and can be more assured of the quality.
- When a product is made on home soil, you can ensure a little more job security in our factories.
- Products made at home support people we know.
3. Stability of a Trailcraft
Back in 2005, there were a few instances of Trailcraft boats flipping over and turtling out on the water (upturned), due to even the smallest swells.
The same reasons that a boat can keep water out, helped hold water in for one boater, who found that the sealed section of the boat had filled with water. Because the boat didn’t come with a bilge pump (because of that sealed floor), it held water easily. This particular incident was due to the transom door being left open.
No matter what, the idea of a boat upturning and/or sinking is the worst fear for most boaters.
Not only is that dangerous, that is also thousands of dollars sinking to the bottom of the ocean or lake. What is a boater to do?
Luckily, since 2005, there have not been many instances of this occurrence happening again. Maybe Trailcraft changed their design, but either way, boaters are grateful for it.
4. No Frills Fishing
Generally speaking, these aluminum fishing boats are known for being fairly plain.
They are no-frill boats. However, because they are no-frill boats, the prices are often low enough for boaters to be able to purchase additional bells and whistles in order to customize their Trailcraft boats for their needs.
5. Too Hard to Ride
There are a few people who state that, because of how sturdy the hull is built and because of the design of the hull (the shape), the ride in a Trailcraft boat can be pretty hard. For hardcore boaters, this may not be a big deal.
Better bring some extra padding for your seats.
Luckily, the newer designs have better developed and designed hulls which don’t sacrifice their sturdy build for a better, more water dynamic design.
General Pros and Cons for the Trailcraft
There are a few great things about Australian Trailcraft boats. In fact, in more recent years, there have been a number of improvements in their designs, which has helped most of the complaints to disappear altogether.
- Stable at rest for fishing. It is important to note that a fishing boat should be steady enough (while at rest) that a fisherman can stand and cast his line with no problem. If the Trailcraft boats are known for one thing, it is their ability to build a stable and sturdy fishing boat.
- High sides which won’t allow for small waves or swells to come over the side. This is somewhat different from their earlier complaints back in 2005, which is great news to hear.
- Free draining decks, which works out great for cleaning after a long day of fishing. Fishing is a messy sport and a messy hobby, which can lead to a pain in the butt when you dock your boat. However, the free-draining decks make clean-up easy.
- Deck area which is spacious for fishing. Not only is are Trailcraft boats known to be stable and strong, they are also known for their spacious designs. Not only do fishermen need the room to fish (and cast), but they also need room to hide their gear when not in use. The deck area is wide and spacious enough for you to be able to do your thing while storing your gear out of the way.
- Tough plate bottom boat. It’s structurally sound and well-built. Some aluminum boats feel tinny like you are out on the water in a tin can with flimsy sides. However, Trailcrafts are known for having boats that are sturdy and strong.
As far as the cons are concerned, some of the most common or the most surprising are:
- “Water in Fuel”
- Chinese manufactured Trailcraft Boats
- Stability of a Trailcraft boat
- No frill boats
- A Hard, Uncomfortable Ride
What Do the Reviews Say?
Yacht & Boat, boat review for the Trailcraft 5.3 Sportscab.
“Trailcraft’s latest 5.3m Sportscab is far more than the simple fishing boat most plate-aluminum vessels tend to be. Yes, the Sportscab is a fully functional fishing machine, but it’s also a top family boat, especially for parents with a couple kids.”
In this review, Warren Steptoe explains the various amenities that come with the Trailcraft 5.3 Sportscab which make it more than a fishing boat: lots of storage, comfortable seats, as well as nice upholstery. One of the unique designs was the port side transom door which worked nicely alongside the standard folding swim ladder.
In addition to the amenities, he also noted that the dealership was experimenting with the engine set-up and had raised it to see if it would improve the performance. He commented that while it felt good, it was headed back to the shop after the test because of a lack of propeller bite.
NAFA Boat Review of the Trailcraft Profish 485
“They produce a stunning range of ‘plate’ alloy boats that are both well laid-out and affordable.”
The review of the Trailcraft Profish 485 was highly impressed with how tough Trailcraft boats are. This is also consistent with all of the reviews that I found online. Even the boaters which had issues with Trailcraft boats noted that they were still tough despite the problems. He was impressed with both the craftsmanship as well as the sheer power of the boat.
He also commented that both the finish and the layout were amazing, especially for such an affordable boat.
“Boat Test: Trailcraft 660HT with the works”, Fishing Monthly Magazine.
“There are many small-boat builders in Western Australia, most of which supply only the home market. A few, however, have spread their wings and invaded the east coast.” – Col Buckley,
Col Buckley had rave reviews for the Trailcraft 660HT, but he did test-drive it with a plethora of additional amenities. That being said, he complimented everything from the hydraulic steering to the lockable transom door. The only thing he had complaints about was the swim platforms which submerged when the boat was in reverse and pushed the rear of the boat down. Poor form, guys.
What’s the Resale Value on Trailcraft?
Trailcraft boats, mainly sold in Australia follow the Australian dollar, which is what is listed below.
In the table below are new and used prices for a number of Trailcraft boats which range in both price and year (1985 to 2019).
Trailcraft 5.3 Sportscab Boat Review from Yacht and Boat (https://www.yachtandboat.com/trailcraft-53-sportscab-review/)
NAFA Boat Review of the Trailcraft Profish 485 (http://www.nafa.com.au/review/302.html)
“Boat Test: Trailcraft 660HT with the works”, Fishing Monthly Magazine (http://fishingmonthly.com.au/Articles/Display/2692-Trailcraft-660HT-with-the-works)
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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.