Boat Brands to Avoid [4 of the Worst Boat Brands]

Which boat brands to avoid? Boats aren’t cheap, which is why you should do your homework if you’re in the market for one. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that will just cause trouble down the road. In this article, I’ll go through which boat brands to avoid so you won’t waste your money.

So, what are the worst boat brands? Several boat brands tend to develop specific issues, according to boat reviews and actual experiences of boat owners. They are as follows:

  1. Bayliner
  2. Luhr
  3. Monterey
  4. Kingfisher

To be fair, all of the boats built by these boat manufacturers aren’t inferior. It’s only that some of their boat models have issues that potential boat buyers should be aware of.

I don’t have a specific brand to avoid when it comes to pontoon boat brands to avoid. But if you’re thinking about buying a pontoon boat from Genmar Marine, proceed with caution as they’ve gotten several bad reviews and aren’t a great company to rely on for support.

A boat’s quality cannot be determined solely by its stylish appearance and outside embellishments. First and always, the boat must be well-constructed. And it’s in your best interest to conduct extensive research, including not only specifications but also reviews from boat owners and users of the specific boat you’re interested in.

Read on to know more about the boat brands to avoid, as well as the reasons why you should avoid them.

What Are the Boat Brands to Avoid?

One of the most frustrating situations a boat owner may have is having their request for repairs denied by the boat’s manufacturer. Unfortunately, many boat owners had to go through this unpleasant experience. This can be a nightmare, especially if the boat requires extensive, costly repairs.

There are also boats that their manufacturers advertised as being long-lasting, efficient, and powerful. Honest but gullible buyers readily part with their money only to discover later that the boat they purchased is riddled with flaws.

To avoid this dreadful situation, you must be informed of the worst boat manufacturers you must stay away from when purchasing one. There are plenty of good boats available. But
since you’re making such a major investment, you should conduct considerable research before deciding on one.

This is not intended to be a smear campaign against specific boat manufacturers. Nonetheless, the content of this article is based on reviews and firsthand experiences of boat owners of the specific boats on the list, which include the Bayliner, Monterey, Luhr, and Kingfisher. Let’s discuss each of these boat brands individually.

1. Bayliner

There have been 14 Bayliner boat complaints to the US Coast Guard since 1976. As a result of these complaints, this boat manufacturer recalled 3,257 boats. There are some things you should be aware of when it comes to this boat manufacturer.

The Most Problematic Bayliner Boats

  • Bayliner Capri

There were 1,240 units of this boat model with fuel-filler pipe issues. These pipes weren’t grounded. Also, 457 of this boat model had ventilation problems in the engine compartment.
Furthermore, 346 of these boats were unable to float level and had stability issues.

  • Motoryacht 3388

12 boats of this model built in 1988 had electrical problems in the engine room.

  • Victoria Commander 1977

263 units of this model had issues with stability.

  • 873 Bowrider 160 BR and 180 BR

Bayliner recalled 873 boats of this type on March 15, 2014. Four hundred and seventy-seven of these boats were repaired. On August 14, 2014, the recall ended.

Poor Resale Value

You should think about the resale value of a boat because you’ll be paying a lot of money for it, even if it is used. Purchasing a Bayliner is not considered a wise investment by some. Their value depreciates significantly as a result of their widespread availability. Because this boat brand is widely available on the market, their resale value is negatively affected.

Additionally, Bayliners from the 1970s and 1980s were known for being low-quality vessels. The fact that recalls were done at that period of time attests to this. The bigger Bayliner cruisers aren’t quite as awful as the smaller ones.

The Bayliner Bowrider 2004 Model and Its Many Issues

The 2004 180 Bowrider model comes with several issues. The stereo system appears to be wired incorrectly. The company recalled 63 model units because of this issue, which has been identified as a potential fire hazard.

Stability Issues on Some Boat Models

Boats with stability problems put the lives of their passengers at risk. There’s also an issue with the way it’s built. It appears that the fuel pipes weren’t grounded properly. It’s also another potential fire hazard.

Not Enough Ventilation

A lack of ventilation in the engine compartments was discovered, posing another potential risk for accidental explosions. Electrical switches on some of these boat models were also faulty.

Mounting of Battery

In some models, the batteries were mounted quite close to the fuel pipes. They are subjected to excessive heat, which increases the risk of fire. Other boats violate regulatory laws since their capacity plates are removable.

It was determined that 154 Bayliner 1980 model boats had removable USCG Capacity Plates. And they can be removed by simply lifting the plates. It is illegal to remove or modify this plate. The entire weight the vessel can transport, the maximum horsepower it can produce, and the maximum number of passengers it can handle are all specified on this regulatory plate.

2. Luhr

For more than 60 years, Luhr has been making boats. It employed 400 workers at its headquarters in St. Augustine, Florida, during its peak popularity. Regrettably, they are no longer in operation. The company was forced to close due to the recession in 2008. In 2012, its owners attempted to revive it. Its boat-building activities, however, did not last. So, here are some of the problems with Luhr boats and why they’re considered one of the worst boat brands.

Luhr Doesn’t Build Boats Anymore

Because this boat manufacturer no longer produces new boats, you can only find old Luhr boats. And this situation poses a challenge for those who bought Luhr boats years ago and those who are looking to buy secondhand boats today.

So, if you buy a used Luhr boat, you won’t receive any support from the company because it no longer exists. Their official website has been taken down as well.

No Replacement Parts Available

Luhr boat owners are in yet another difficult predicament. They’ll have a problem if certain parts of their boats need replacement. Since the company is no longer in business, finding exact replacement parts will be challenging.

They can, however, purchase used or aftermarket parts, although they are inferior to the original replacement parts. One advantage is that Luhr has manufactured many boats over the years. Maybe they’ll be able to locate original, albeit used, boat parts.

Some Accessories Aren’t Sturdy

Plastic is used in some Luhr boat parts and fixtures. They are flimsy and easily breakable. To avoid having to replace such parts, boat owners must perform regular preventative maintenance on them – which would incur additional costs.

And given that the company is no longer in operation, failing to do so will result in more costly repairs or replacements. It will be tough to locate these components as well. It’s possible that boat owners will be forced to fabricate the needed parts, which will be more costly.

3. Monterey

Monterey boats is next on our list of boat brands to avoid. Monterey has been producing a wide range of boats for over 30 years. These boats come in various styles and sizes, ranging from 19 to 34 feet in length. Many industry watchers consider this brand to be one of the best boat brands, ranking it alongside Four Winns and Sea Ray. Some of its boat models, however, have problems.

Hardware Issues

There are some Monterey boat models with general hardware problems. Small pieces of hardware and latches are frequently the source of these issues. These latches, according to Monterey boat owners, do not open smoothly. There was even some rusted hardware on them. So, if someone offers you a Monterey, it’s a good idea to look over the latches and other hardware.

Inconsistent Fiberglass Quality

Because the hulls of Monterey boats are built with fiberglass, a lot of manual labor is required in their construction. Every piece of fiberglass on this boat must be laid out correctly. The resin used to join the fiberglass must be prepared in correct proportions. The correct curing time must then be observed in order for the entire structure to be sturdy.

However, because the majority of the labor is done by human hands, errors are inevitable. You’ll end up with a fiberglass boat that is good in one location but awful in another if mistakes are overlooked or ignored.

For a while, these flaws may go undiscovered. But once the boat is out on the water, they’ll be exposed. It’s also possible for structural problems to develop. Most of the time, such issues will necessitate quite expensive repairs. Only a skilled boat builder can detect this issue before it becomes a major problem. Thankfully, this issue isn’t as common on Monterey boats.

Difficulty Finding Replacement Parts

There were a few reports from owners wherein they had difficulty acquiring replacement parts for some of their boats’ hardware. This is strange because Monterey is still active in the boatbuilding industry. So, it is very easy to get in touch with this company. Therefore, this problem isn’t quite common.

4. Kingfisher

Kingfisher is another brand on our list of boat brands to avoid. Kingfisher has been in business for over 60 years. There are now 29 Kingfisher boat models on the market. They’re available from boat dealers all around the country, from California to Alaska. Although these boats are good, they also have certain issues, making them one of the worst boat brands.


Boats built by Kingfisher are made of aluminum. Because the aluminum sections of these boats (most notably the hull) are welded together, they are extremely sturdy. Aluminum, on the other hand, makes the boat noisier than a fiberglass boat.

When you’re out on the water cruising, you won’t notice the noise. However, you will undoubtedly hear it as you navigate your way out of the marina. So, limit yourself to Kingfisher boats that are suitably noise-insulated to reduce the noise.

Low Sides

Many Kingfisher boat owners agree that their boats have low sides. A boat with low sides can quickly be swamped with water. When a boat is swamped, it is quite easy for it to sink.

Kingfisher boats, thankfully, have self-bailing decks. And these boats are built in such a way that water drains on its own. Also, this feature may even be advantageous because the water that floods off the sides of the boat cleans the deck, saving you time for cleaning.

What Are the Pontoon Boat Brands to Avoid?

So, are there any pontoon boat brands to avoid? Currently, there are no pontoon boat brands that I would steer clear of. Because they were built to the greatest standards, anything built in the last few decades has passed essential safety ratings.

Some, on the other hand, consider that everything manufactured by Genmar Marine, a group of boat builders, is questionable. What is the explanation for this? Many of the boat builders linked with Genmar Marine, according to reports, are no longer solvent.

So, I don’t recommend any particular pontoon boat brand when it comes to pontoon boat brands to avoid. However, if you’re considering a pontoon boat from Genmar Marine, proceed with caution, as the company is in debt and has received a number of unfavorable complaints in the past. They’re also unreliable when you need support.

Conclusion – The Worst Boat Brands

So, to conclude and answer the question, “What are the boat brands to avoid?” According to real-life experiences from boat owners, certain boat brands have a tendency to develop some problems. Bayliner, Monterey, Luhr, and Kingfisher are among these brands.

These boat builders do not produce all substandard vessels.
Unfortunately, reports indicate that certain boat models have problems that you should be aware of as a boat buyer.

And when it comes to pontoon boat brands to avoid, I really don’t have a particular brand to avoid. But if you’re thinking about buying a pontoon boat from Genmar Marine, proceed with caution. They’ve gotten a lot of bad reviews and aren’t a trustworthy company to rely on when it comes to support.