UGH ! 1960’s Boaton Whalers!

Cool Classic 1969 Boston Whaler. Those are 1969 fish as well..

I have been in the market for a small knock around boat. Something that does not need to be pampered, and something with an outboard so we can go exploring into creeks and up on beaches. No boat does a better job for this than a Boston Whaler. We have owned several over the years and with no disappointments. OK, I have about lost a set of teeth on occasion because of the pounding. But that’s half the fun. With that said, I do have a certain style that needs to be maintained. So I have chosen an old 16 ft 1960’s whaler as the boat to look for. NOW… These years are visually cool as all get out, blue interior, Wood console, red compas.. etc.. But they all have a tragic flaw. Bad gel coats and the unsinkable foam between the hulls soaks up water if its exposed to water. So finding a good one is a bitch. I have found two in the past two weeks. One in Albany.. 8 hrs away, and one a 20 minute drive away.. The one in Albany is owned by a FANTASTIC guy who gets it and the boat is priced fairly. But has a bump on the bottom that will require money to repair. UGH, here we go again.. This is supposed to be a fun knock around boat.. the other 20 minutes away is PERFECT! A time capsule. The inside is flawless.. PERFECT.. But the hull is riddled with spyder cracks and the engine is shot. Yet the owner, because of a comment on a forum.. A great forum on whalers by the way, made a passive comment reflecting the guys price of $8,000 as OK, so the owner is sticking to that. Without seeing the boat. So when I went to go look at the boat last night, I had to be the guy that speaks the truth. You can’t price a boat at top of the market if the motor is shot and the bottom is not as advertised. The guy was insulted by my opinion, and chose to stand his ground. A value guide would have helped, as would an app at that time to show others out there in the market. We have talked about this here on Woody Boater for years. I know what to expect, but it still hurts being accused of trying to rip someone off. Buying and selling a classic boat is an emotional task. NO ONE NEEDS A CLASSIC BOAT. So its all emotion.I hate being the first guy to a sale like this. the second guy is the guy that buys it.

Look at all the things you can do with this boat. Im sold! But wait, whats that gel coat look like.. UGH damm it!

Like anything classic. these old whalers are cool looking and full of hidden issues. Why is it that way. Why in the hell does everything cool out there have to be riddled with tragic flaws.. Gel coating a boat is not fun for a knock around boat. before you know it, you can have 20K in a frieke’n 5K boat. So much for the simplicity of fiberglass.. I have not given up though.. Anyone out there have a cool old whaler 17 you want to find a home for.. Bring it on.. I like pain… Now if you will excuse me, I need to go hammer my head against the wall.. Ahhhhh that feels good!

If you want to know more about these cool whalers here are two cool sites. and

40 replies
  1. randy rush-Captain Grumpy
    randy rush-Captain Grumpy says:

    $8000 for one of those ,all screwed up? I must be out of it, I bought a 14′ Carolona skiff with a 15 hp mercury and nice trailer for $600 2 years ago.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Whalers hold their value and command a lot of dough. Why would you sell one unless you really needed to? My first love as a boat, growing up watching Flipper. The 70’s era banana hull Outrages are one of the most beautiful yet completely utilitarian creations ever.

  3. Tom Frye
    Tom Frye says:

    I’ve owned a 1990 15′ Boston Whaler Super Sport/70hp Yamaha for the past 20 years. Out of the four boats I own this would be the last to go, (the other 3 are wood). This is a fast, easy to own boat. It’s got just enough wood and varnish to satisfy my wood obsession. Pull tubes, fish, or just go for a 45 mph thrill ride. The 15’s will almost “fly” with the motor trimmed out. With a jackplate they’ll hit 50mph! They start to chine walk a little at that speed, so you better be hanging on.The new Whalers do nothing for me. I refer to the “classic” Whalers as “Woody Whalers”. There’s a small movement in the restoration of “Classic Whalers”. You can now buy complete new wood interiors for your Whaler. Classic whalers hold their value and I always get the …..”if you every want to sell that boat” comment whenever I take it out. It took me a year to find this boat and motor combination used. Love the “Woody Whalers” I’m sure Alex Watson would tell you next to wood boats in the Les Cheneaux Islands (lHessel) Boston Whalers would be running a close second.

  4. matt
    matt says:

    We have had 3 of them. My first boat was a 13ft whaler. I LOVED THAT BOAT.. The trouble here is finding a good one that wont bury you in restoration costs.. After the 70’s they fixed the foam so it would not soak up water. The problem for me is that the wood is all gone on those.. The one in town here is flawless, the wood is like new! UGH..

    • Tom Frye
      Tom Frye says:

      I wanted a 13′ as kid, like you it all transpired from watching Bud and Sandy on “Flipper”. Look for a 17′ Super Sport/wood seating and console/wrap around rail. There rare, I think they were made up until 1993. It was the same hull as the Montauk without the fiberglass center console.

    • bud
      bud says:

      I found a 14 foot whaler, late 70’s early 80’s, not sure b/c owner is unavailable. moisture meter indicates 1oo percent, off scale, over entire hull and deck, many thru deck screws not sealed w/ marine 5200, just soft caulk. I have a 1000 dollar good will deposit. owner has done 1100 dollars engine work for me. do I walk away?

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    Absolutely love those Whalers from my youth. Even though I had a Winner one of my buds had a Whaler and it was a blast. Careful about the transom also though as the plywood core also tended to get water intrusion and rot.

  6. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    If you have the skills to cut one open, replace the foam and wood core, and glass it up better than new, it wouldn’t be all that expensive. Just a bunch or hours. If you are going to pay someone else forget it.

    BTW, love the article title, Boaton Whaler! It sounds like the Aldi knock off brand of generic whalers.

  7. matt
    matt says:

    HAHAHAHA Thats a typo.. I like it better now that I see it! Thats funny as hell.. I needed that laugh today

  8. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    I bought a 1964 13′ with a 40 Johnson on a trailer when I was in 8th grade (’68) for $600.00. That boat and I were “as one” until I sold it in ’77 for around $1,500.00 sans trailer…

    I waterskiied every chance I got, cruised it all over Puget Sound, at 15 years old spent two weeks in it cruising the San Juans and Gulf Islands, going as far north as Nanaimo.

    The last good run was to Bellingham where I then kept it on Lake Whatcom that summer as I was finishing some college credits. The day before the new owner came to pick it up two buddies and I went for one last ski – I took the rope and was really carving a nice line way out, laying over when the handle broke…

    The boat was not happy I decided to let it go…

    I have a clean ’64 40 Johnson in my garage – waiting. I have yet to come across a good early 13′ at a price I will pay. I don’t care about the condition of the visible wood, but the internal boat has to be dry and light.

    Ahh Matt, you got me going again with this!

  9. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Let me get the fish hook out of my mouth. Just what I needed, a reminder of another collectible I covet that I had forgotten about but don’t have. Love the 13’s thru 17’s. They were prevalent where I grew up in Narragansett Bay but down south, pretty rare.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      I wonder what your advertisers would think if they knew half your webclicks came from a fictional dolphin!

      Sorry couldn’t resist the pun.

      • matt
        matt says:

        They call them Clicker, Clicker, faster than lightning,
        No-one you see, is smarter than he,
        And we know Clicker, lives in a world full of wonder,
        Flying there-under, under the sea!

        Everyone loves the king of the sea,
        Ever so kind and gentle is he,
        Tricks he will do when children appear,
        And how they laugh when he’s near!

        They call him Clicker, Clicker, faster than lightning,
        No-one you see, is smarter than he,
        And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
        Flying there-under, under the sea!

  10. Alex
    Alex says:

    Tom’s right. A beer in every hand and a Whaler in every slip in Hessel.

    The best all-purpose kids boat. (Provided it is not powered to allow 50 mph that is.)

  11. matt
    matt says:

    Ha, I have looked at those. They give them away i my area.. Those jet drives are different for sure.. For me a whaler is all about tradition.. Like a 911.. The 17’s and 13’s are there main stay for me. Like a timex.. But they need to evolve.. but jet drives? Ugh.. kinda ruins the entire brand image for me..

  12. WoodenRookie
    WoodenRookie says:

    Been on the same search, just can’t get past the Jet drive. I also can’t call those pwc’s “water gnats” if you go out and buy a jet whaler!!!!

  13. matt
    matt says:

    DONT EVEN GET me STArTED ON JET SKIS! These old whalers are tough. and have major issues if you dig deep enough. Air pockets in the hulls, any leak is horrible.. Transoms that need repair.. At least with a wood boat you can see all the crap.. And fix it in your garage. This stuff is messy.. But the good ones are out there. the one here in alexandria is very very nice. But the bottom will require a new gel coat and a new motor.. BAm add abother 12K right off the bat.. You can buy a new one for 20K..

  14. 72Hornet
    72Hornet says:

    I had always wanted a Whaler 13 when I was a kid. The 1949 Crestliner Aluminum boat that was mine required bailing three times a day! I bought my first 13 in 1995. A mid 60’s model with the Aqua interior color. That was sold after I traded for a 1984 13 Super Sport, followed by a 1992 Super Sport 15. All of them and absolute riot. I currently have a 1992 13 SS with all of the seat cushions and a 40 HP Evinrude. I taught all my neice and nephews to ski behind that fun machine. Great boats to have…Did I say that one just needs a special boat for each occasion? LOL!

  15. Allen
    Allen says:

    Hey what about 1970’s Chris Craft Crooked Island Cat boat……..I saw one in a picture and they are pretty cool too……inboard….lots of fishing room or cruising. Let me know if you know of any for sale ???

  16. WoodenRookie
    WoodenRookie says:

    Matt, Wooden Jets are good, just not plastic & Jet!!! Nothing marked “CC” on engine!!! 350 CC 275 CC and i dont mean Chris Craft

  17. George Emmanuel
    George Emmanuel says:

    Dad bought us a 13′ Whaler in 1964 and put the 28hp Evinrude on it. That lasted 1 year! My brother and I busted more motor mounts than the dealer could supply. So dad replaced the motor with a 66 Lark Selectric shift and that was a nice combo.

    My current Whaler is a ’87 15′ Sport with a 70 Johnson. I’d be hard pressed to find something better that rig.

    It is interesting to note that the 15 Whaler holds more people than a 19′ center console

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      George – Last Saturday when Matt & I were at the Lake Arrowhead boat show banquet, we spoke with a fellow Woody Boater that grew up with a 13′ Boston Whaler on Long Island, NY.

      He absolutely loved those boats and is now hooked for life on Whalers. The stories he told us of those days as a young man growing up on Long Island with the Boston Whaler were great to hear.

      Matt has uncovered another segment of the hobby that’s wonderful to share.

    BOB CARMODY says:

    HAVE HAD A 1988 THIRTEEN FOOTER NEW HAD BOUGHT A USED 1979 13 . had blisters on bottom of boat called whaler and brought it to rockland plant in ma no longer there. they said because of there ten year warranty they would sand and spray new gelcoat and paint bottom. or they would give me a new one with my wood or for 800 i could get new wood supper sport with locker what a deal loved them. Then i bought cigaret racer and penn yen and other boat always had something eventually going back to a whaler 17 foot 1974, bought 1991 100 hp merc same year. then divorse had to sell it because she wanted a million for her share. great boat use to tow it from cape cod to fl keys never ever felt it behind me . bought new hydrasport 1800 vector cheaply made by genmar. bankrupsy for genmar funny though master craft bought them. of coarse they owned whaler and drove whaler to the ground. two years ago sold hydrosport bought Doral 215 inboard outboard need a sledge hammer to put a hole in figerglass good canadian workmanship so much fuel to run though so got the whaler fever again bought a 1973 13 super sport lots of work found a bullet proof 1989 evinrude 40 hp trim and tilt no salt Im in love again today though i found a 1963 13 flipper boat you know has no spider cracks inside put does on the outside gel coat im so confussed does any one have a clue about this is it common on those old whalers every one that old i have seen has so much paint on inside and the outer hull and the bottom paint has one coat is the reason because of those cracks looks okay to me boat not waterlogged been in a garage for two decades. tell me what you think bob

  19. gordon
    gordon says:

    i found a sakonnet this winter that basically has a flawless hull. a couple scuffs, but no extra holes. no spiders, nothing.

    for a ’62 i just couldn’t believe it. i just went to look but ended up buying.

    i’m redoing the bright work now. but using modified tung oil in lieu of marine varnish. i hate varnishing.

    at one point i was considering a barrel back chris craft, glad i didn’t go there. as much as i love them, the woodwork would have killed me.

    i will send pics when i’m done. and maybe sell it in 10 years.
    but got to live the dream first.

  20. cliff gentry
    cliff gentry says:

    One of these woody boston whaler just got put in the lot out by my work at dennys marina indianapolis in looks a little rough but its got a 60hp mercury motor i think the wood looks good they might have just took it on on trade i dont know just letting it be known its there if anyones interested

  21. old school whaler
    old school whaler says:

    If you had them young you will look for them forever…..

    I was weened on an old 60 something w/ an old 80 hp super quiet motor. We sold that to the local yacht club and one of the knuckle head kids filled it with fuel never put the gas cap back on “BOOM” burnt to the water line. Later I got a 1971 Katama BW with the Fiberglass side console. The best model out there IMHO. jump forward to a few years back i bought a project Sakonett never got around to finishing it sold it to a friend… Then i bought a 13 1963 used it quite a bit up at the lake with the kids… but needed more power ( Towing tube ) so I sold it…
    THEN… just the other day I found “HER” !!!! A 1972 Katama same owner last 30 years , bottom never painted !!!! Clean Barn Kept BEAUTY !!!!!!! Im in love LOL !!!!!! she will never leave this family as long as I am alive …… Its a cult, its in your blood, you love them or you hate them !!!!!

  22. Kenny G
    Kenny G says:

    Memories. This Boston Whaler is a ’63 Sakonnet ’16. She has only ever known one family. On this boat my dad taught me about outdoors, fishing, and family. I am now teaching my son the same lessons. Does she keep up with today’s ski boats? Nope. But it’s hull holds lifetimes of memories.

  23. Tommy H
    Tommy H says:

    The Legendary Whaler! Classics. Quality American craftsmanship and a rich historical tradition. There is a reason these restored beauties sell for $45,000!!
    I have a 16’7″ Boston Whaler Nauset, cruised the shorelines of Buzzards Bay; from Mashnee Island to Redbrook Harbor; explored, fished, clammed and navigated 6-8′ for seas off of Wings Neck. She is riddled with ‘Crazing’ in and out – no time for project, time to sell… might be gone tomorrow. 2 months ago purchased a BW 1974 Montauk for my son, his 9th birthday… Passing down the tradition. Many great memories to be had harvesting the waters of Cape Cod Bay. Ah, the Legendary Whaler!

Comments are closed.