If you’re a fisherman in the pacific northwest, you have probably heard of the legendary Boice jet boat. While most fishermen end up buying a more mainstream Alumaweld or North River jet boat, people in the know talk about Boice jet boats in hushed tones. So what’s the hype all about around Boice jet boats?
You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over exactly why people love Boice jet boats as well as the pros and cons of owning a jet boat. We’ll also answer some common questions around owning custom boats versus buying a more mainstream brand.
Let’s get started.
The History of Boice Jet Boats
Boice jet boats was founded by the Boice family in the late 1950s. The Boice family has been around river jet boats their entire lives. Alden Boice began making wooden jet boats in the 50s and designed their first aluminum jet boat in 1971. Justin Boice now runs the business and building a limited run of jet boats today.
Author Note: Court Boice began by operating tour trips on the Rogue River in the 1970s. In 1973 he gave tours in the first aluminum boat in Oregon, and in 1976 he navigated a river jet boat over 120 miles between Gold Beach and Grants Pass.
Then in 1985, he designed and built the first three-engine white water jet boat that he used to give tours as well as perform rescue missions for river goers in distress.
Why are Boice Jet Boats so Hyped?
Clearly, the Boice family has been around jet boats for a very long time, but why are their jet boats so hyped? The answer is because of several factors. We’ll list them out below.
- They are custom-made. When you want to buy a new Boice jet boat, you talk directly to the boat maker with your specifications. Want it to be a specific color? Great, talk to Boice and they’ll make it happen for you. In general, custom boats are more desirable to the buyer than mass-manufactured boats.
- They handle on river and white water very well. Boice jet boats are known for handling really well on rivers and other low water conditions. This is because they are designed by boat makers who have spent thousands of hours navigating boats on rivers and know exactly how they want them to handle. They are designed with especially flat bottoms which allows them to navigate shallow water other boats can’t. They also have a tighter turn radius then most other jet boats their size. Washing out is also quite hard with a Boice jet boat.
- They are made in very limited numbers. Since boice jet boats are custom made, they are made in very small orders. A product with high demand with low supply generates even more interest and buzz for consumers. It’s a matter of simple economics.
- They have excellent customer service. Because Boice jet boats are a family business, they provide their customers with outstanding customer service. This means any service or issues that you have will be handled by the manufacturer. It’s something that most other larger brands of boats can’t offer.
Pros and Cons of Aluminum Jet Boats
Now that you have a better understanding of why fishermen love Boice jet boats, let’s take a step back and talk about jet boats in general. Why would you want to get a jet boat (or an inboard vs outboard) over an outboard boat? And when should you probably stick with getting an outboard boat?
Here are the pros and cons of aluminum jet boats.
Pros of Jet Boats
- They can operate in very shallow water. Probably the biggest advantage jet boats have over outboards or boats with props is that they can operate safely in very shallow water. At speed, jet boats can glide in water that is less than a foot deep! Outboard motors and boats with props would most definitely hit the bottom at this deepness and cause major damage. This makes jet boats great for river water sports and river fishing (we still recommend getting a keel guard if you frequent shallow water).
- They usually have more power than outboard boats around the same size. Most inboard jet boats have over 200 horsepower, while outboards of similar size usually only have around 100 horsepower. This makes jet boats more effective for water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. When you are towing someone behind your boat for water skiing, you need to have enough horsepower to pull them out of the water and up onto a plane quickly. If you don’t, it will be virtually impossible to water ski or wakeboard.
- They sound better. Yes, this is subjective and doesn’t really matter, but we think the jet boats sound much cooler than traditional outboards or prop boats. This is because they typically rev higher than outboards or have larger car engines inside them (like a V8).
Now that we have highlighted the pros of jet boats, let’s go over the cons as well.
Cons of Jet Boats
- They are less efficient than outboards and prop boats. The jet system on a jet boat is effectively a massive pump that propels water out the bat of the boat through a nozzle. This system is significantly less efficient than simply spinning a prop in the water. THis means that jet boats use up more gas than prop boats on average, and you get less propulsion per horsepower.
- They don’t handle swell and chop as well. Jet boats tend to have flatter bottoms than other types of aluminum boats. This is better for shallow water, but worse for waves. Taking your jet boat out in the ocean can be much less comfortable than a boat with a deeper v hull and an offshore bracket.
- Their motors are harder to perform maintenance on. Jet boats usually have their motor built into the hull of the boat, and it’s much harder to perform maintenance on. If the motor breaks, it’s also much more expensive to replace (since it is usually a car engine).
- They are harder to clean than outboards. If you do decide to take your jet boat in salt water, you’ll need to take it out in freshwater soon after to flush the engine system of salt. If you don’t it will corrode and break much faster. With an outboard you can simply flush the system with a hose at home (or at your own convenience). It’s much less of a hassle.
When we first heard about the Boice family and their jet boats, we were skeptical of the hype. But after seeing them in real life and researching the family, they are a great option if you are in the market for a new jet boat.
We hope you enjoyed this article on Boice jet boats and the pros and cons of jet boats vs outboards. If you have additional questions or want to share your own experience, feel free to hit us up in the comments below.