A. Thats a loaded question! While we do offer pre-packaged models for display at some of our dealers, you are not bound by their design. You will find that we do things a little different here at Gator Trax. We don't limit you to floor plans or layouts that you don't want or need. If none of the packages meet your specific needs, you can choose a size hull that you are comfortable with, then design the rest of the hull to your specifications! We can customize your hull anyway you want!
Q: With a slick bottom and soft chines, won't my Gator Trax hull slide if used with an outboard or a surface drive?
A: NO! The US Coast Guard actually allows soft chine, smooth bottom boats a higher horsepower rating than the traditional square chine, flat boat with crimps on the bottom. Why? Because the soft chine digs into the water and grabs it, causing it to dig in during the turn and keeping it from sliding. The traditional flat will slide long before our hull ever will!
Q: Why do your hulls not have crimps on the bottom, and won't that help to keep you from sliding?
A: First, refer to the above question. Second, the crimps on traditional flats are just that, crimps. They are not keels. They are on hulls that lack the rigidity and strength to stand on their own. The aluminum is just too thin to not be doubled over every so often to add strength. In short, they are for strength, not performance. Gator Trax hulls are made of .125 aluminum and have longitudinal runners on the inside of the hull. This keeps your bottom free of crimps that hang on logs, banks, stumps, etc.
Q: Why don't you build a standard model shorter than 15 feet?
A: Surface area. We have found that a boat shorter than 15 feet, when loaded heavily, will draft an unacceptable amount of water for effective shallow water operation. The more surface area you have in contact with the water, (not to exceed extremes) the less water you will draft. We recommend the 16 footer be as short as you go. However, if you are in need of a shorter hull, for whatever the reason, we will build it.
Q. Why are those two braces on top of the floor on all Gator Trax boats?
A- Gator Trax uses a longitudinal bracing system. All of the braces that ACTUALLY TOUCH THE BOTTOM OF THE HULL run lengthways, “with the grain of the water” if you will. They run the FULL length of the hull from bow to stern UNITERRUPTED. No brace that crosses the boat in a Gator Trax touches the bottom. This is to prevent dents. Because there are no cross braces touching the bottom, any underwater obstruction (rocks, logs, stumps)that hits the bottom of the hull can now flex the hull between the longitudinal ribs and pop out at the transom without ever contacting a cross brace, which is where the dent would most likely occur. This is basically a dent prevention bracing system, another true shallow water feature, not found in traditional hulls. That being said, the Gator Trax one piece hull is pulled up and held together in the front by the deck, in the back by the transom, and mid-ship by these braces. Placing them below the false floor will not only give the boat two places to “catch dents”, but would also give our current longitudinal braces, (which are one solid piece), two interrupted weak spots.
Q: What size boat should I buy and what motor should I pair it up with?
Watch Video on Proper Boat Selection, Click Here
First, how many hunters will I REALISTICALLY hunt with on an average trip? Two, three, more? The heaviest part of your load will be hunters so this is important to answer honestly. If you will have two in the boat, 16ft is fine, three in the boat, you need 17ft minimum. More? You need 18ft minimum. Length is the key if you stay narrow. If you go with a wider hull, length is not as critical.
Second, how far do I run from the landing to my hunting spot ON AN AVERAGE DAY? This, combined with the answer to the first question, will dictate your motor choice. If you run with a heavy load or your runs are long, say more than 5 or 6 miles, you will need one of the larger Hyperdrive Sports like the 35hp or 45hp. Anything less will not give you the performance you need. If you have a light load or your run is short, 1-3 miles or so, you can scale back a bit to a smaller motor. Remember, we NEVER recommend smaller than the 23hp Hyperdrive for any application with our hulls unless you have our duck skiff. A good rule of thumb is to purchase the largest mud motor you can afford, because that will be the one you wish you had purchased at some point!
Third, will I use this hull to hunt out of with a blind or as a transport vessel from the landing to a permanent blind? If you are going to hunt from the boat, or even fish from this boat, you will want an open floor plan of some kind. Our open hull, walk through bench, or a combo of the two will be best. If you will use the boat to transport hunters to a permanent blind then get out to hunt, the center bench will work great as a bench for your passengers to sit on while running. And, since you are not hunting or fishing out of the boat, the bench will not be in the way for your application.
If you will answer the above 3 questions as they pertain to your real situations, you will have a great starting point on boat size, hull layout and design, and motor choice. We offer this suggestion; Build this hull for what you will be doing 90% of the time, then live with the other 10%.
Q. Does a round chine hull draft more water than a square chine hull?
A. Yes. But not several inches of draft as many of our competitors would have you believe. If you are comparing two exact same boats, (example; 50" bottom to 50" bottom), and both boats weigh the same, then the difference is LESS THAN 1/4". The difference is so insignificant that giving up the superior handling and performance of a rounded chine is certainly not worth the 1/4" of draft!
Q: Can exterior flotation pods help the performance of my boat?
A: That depends. If you have a short boat, (less than 16ft), yes. It will create more surface area and make up for the lack of true bottom on your hull. Or, if you plan to use an outboard frequently, it will improve your shallow water take off. (Hole shot). If you have a hull that is 16-20ft, and exclusively use a mud motor, pods will be of little advantage.
Q: Won't a hull with full flotation float better and draft less water than one without?
A: NO! It will draft MORE water! Why? Because it has the same surface area as the hull without flotation, but is weighs more. The flotation in a boat only becomes a factor when you attempt to force it under the water level. (when the boat becomes swamped) Then, and only then, will the flotation become buoyant and keep your hull from sinking. Try this. Take a 5-gallon bucket and seal it shut with a lid. Throw it in the water and mark where it floats. Now, take another one and fill it full of flotation foam. When you mark that one, it will float LOWER in the water because it is heavier. Now, poke a hole in both buckets. One will sink, and the other will float. That is the value of flotation. Don't worry, we build both models to suit your needs!
Q: Is a commercial hull (with no flotation) legal?
A: Yes! A commercially rated hull is a hull that either has not enough flotation to keep the hull afloat when full of water, or no flotation at all. Most of the aluminum flats you and I have hunted and fished from our whole lives are commercially rated. A little flotation under the bench seats is not enough to keep you afloat when the boat fills full of water and it is loaded with motor, people, and gear! You either have enough, or you don't. A commercial rating simply lets you, the buyer, know that this boat, while it meets the requirements of being seaworthy, will NOT float if 100% full of water. It means no more than that. It does not mean that you have to use it in a commercial capacity as a consumer. It is a recommendation, not a requirement. Our recreationally rated hulls, WILL float full of gear, motor, people, and water, as long as the limits on weight are not exceeded. The advantages in a commercial hull are a lighter hull, more dry storage, and a cheaper price tag. One of our competitors cites a law and they want you to believe the law makes commercial hulls illegal. Not true! If you read that law, it will state that it is illegal to claim a hull is recreationally rated when it is not. Nothing more.
Q: What is the big deal about an airboat style rake?
A: The airboat style rake is different from conventional flat boat rakes because…well because most conventional flat boats don't have much of a true rake to speak of! Most flat boats have a rake that is short, and rises quickly. Problem is, when you load that hull down in the front with 2 sacks of dekes and a Labrador, the rake sinks and you wind up pushing a wall of water that won't get out of its' own way! Our rake is a long, slow rising rake. It allows you to load your hull heavily in the front and still get on a proper plane. Let's face it, as duck hunters, all your gear and passengers go up front. They cant sit in the back with you while you drive your mud motor, so they are placed up front and, consequently, weigh down the bow. Not a problem in a Gator Trax!
Q: What if I have an idea for an option you don't carry? Or, what if I want my boat designed differently from your standard models? Are you willing to customize?
A: YES! If none of the packages at our dealers fit your specific needs, we can build your hull on an as ordered basis. They are built one at a time, to fit the needs of each new customer. That makes us 100% custom boat builders. If you can imagine it, we can usually build it! Custom orders are often made at our dealer locations. However, if you need factory expertise in designing your hull, that is a service we gladly offer, even if you are dealing with one of our dealers! Call us anytime!
Q. Will you honor your warranty even if I use my hull with an outboard?
A. YES! While NO other round chine hull in production offers a warranty with an outboard, WE DO! We offer an outboard package. (see our site page titled, "Outboard Packages") This package is a series of braces that will ensure your hull long life, even if used with an outboard. As long as you have the outboard package, and do not exceed the recommended horse power ratings, you will be covered while using your outboard. (see warranty for specifics)!
Q. Is remote steer with my mud motor right for my application?
A. Remote steer is one of the sharpest new innovations in the mud motor revolution. When used with hydraulic steering it is one of the easiest ways to operate your mud motor. However, this comes with some downsides as well as benefits. Consider the following when deciding if remote steer is best for you.
1. In order to get remote steer you must have the expense of a console, remote steer package, hydraulic steering, and rigging. This will push $1,800 over the cost of a traditional tiller handle method.
2. Consider the size of your boat. Adding a console, especially in a narrow boat, will take up valuable floor space that won't be able to be used while hunting or fishing from the boat.
3. (The BIG one!) When you get stuck with remote steer, you are STUCK! With no tiller handle to assist you in "working" your way out of the mud, through vegetation, or over that log, your steering wheel and power trim are close to useless. If you run a lot of mud flats or heavy vegetation, remote steer is probably not for you. If you run rocky rivers or sandy bottoms and the only reason you need a mud motor is you will occasionally hit something or need to make it across the sand flats, remote steer is perfect.
Q. What is the reason or need for a Huntdeck?
The huntdeck came about as a place to put the rear portion of the total boat’s flotation foam. Our foam goes under the original front deck, under the floor, and inside the huntdeck for full LEVEL flotation, which is required by the USCG for a recreational rating. Without the huntdeck, the rear portion of the foam would have to be just inside the transom in two boxes, one on the left, and one on the right. This takes up valuable storage space. In addition to the flotation there are other advantages of the huntdeck.
(a) Adds 20” of length to whatever model you purchase. (example- a 17x50 Huntdeck is actually 18’6” in TOTAL length.)
(b) Pushes the motor back 20” out of the way so that a hunter or fisherman can utilize the entire back end of the boat without sharing that space with the motor and tiller handle.
(c) Makes a great place for entering the boat from shallow water or in a man overboard situation it is much easier to climb onto the huntdeck than over 21” sides!
(d) Totally eliminates ANY and ALL possibility of a backwash from sudden stops.
Q. Why are there two plugs on a huntdeck?
The plug on the starboard (right) side has a pipe welded thru the huntdeck to the inside of the boat. This is your traditional drain for the water trapped inside the hull from rain or spray. It MUST be plugged when the boat is in the water!
The plug on the port (left) side simply drains trapped water inside the huntdeck and does not lead to the inside of the hull. Rain water can drain under the longitudinal braces and into the huntdeck cavity. The port side plug is how you get that water out. It too MUST be plugged when the boat is in the water. Both plugs should be unplugged when the boat is left on the trailer so rain water can freely drain out of both plugs and not be trapped.
Q. How do I go about ordering my boat?
A. When you are ready, give us a call or come to see us. We will sit down and put your ideas on paper and actually draw your boat out. If you are at a loss for the best design, we will ask you a myriad of questions to help determine the layout of the boat that suits YOU best. After you decide on every detail you are ready to order! If you are ordering a boat / trailer combo only, your deposit is $1250. If you are ordering an entire boat / motor/ trailer rig, your deposit is $2500. You can pay this by either sending us a check, or paying right then over the phone with a credit card. Once we receive your deposit, your order goes next in line on the board. At that time, we will give you an estimated date of completion, and fax you a detailed copy of your order that shows all the options you chose and what each option cost you. It will also reflect your deposit paid and balance due.
You may also order your boat through our dealer network. Some of those dealers have packaged boats ready for sale on their floors, offer financing, and take trade-ins! Pricing is EXACTLY THE SAME whether you order factory direct or from a dealer.
Q. Can I buy my mud motor from you too?
A. Yes! We are the largest Mud Buddy dealer in the US! No one sells more Mud Buddy engines than BFC Marine! As a matter of fact, most boats that we sell have mud motors attached when they leave here. We can take your rig as far as you want. Get it bare bones, or get it ready to add gas and GO! Our prices are the same as offered by Mud Buddy. We do NOT mark up the motor prices, and we do NOT charge for installation of the motor when mounted on one of our hulls. In short, no hidden fees. We also are set up to equip our hulls with both Mercury and Yamaha outboards, as well as Pro-Drive and Gator Tail Mud motors!
Q. How do I go about picking up my boat? Do you deliver?
A. The cheapest way for you to get your boat is for you to pick it up yourself. And you are more than welcome to pay us a visit and pick the boat up from the factory. However, today’s busy schedules will not permit some of you to take that much time, and we understand that. We will deliver our boats and motors anywhere! The cost of delivery is $1.34 per mile one way. (Subject to change with no warning due to outrageous gas prices!). We can deliver it to your door, meet you half way, or wherever you choose to meet us. You just tell us where you want the ticket to stop. I understand that this may seem steep, but keep this in mind. WE DO NOT MAKE A DIME OFF OF SHIPPING! The $1.34 per mile is what WE are charged by the delivery service. And it is the cheapest service we have ever heard of. As a matter of fact it is LESS than HALF price of anyone else we know. If you know of one cheaper, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LET US KNOW! Also, when you purchase a boat through one of our Bass Pro or Tracker locations, as a service to their customers, they offer a flat rate of $550 shipping, no matter which (participating) store the boat is shipped to!
Q. Do I need a tunnel hull?
A. Well, that depends. If you are running an outboard in VERY shallow water and you want the ability to run in 4” or 5” of water, yes! The tunnel will actually collect what little water is under the hull and funnel it to the prop. We use the tunnel on our personal fishing boats with outboards that we use to fish for reds and specks in the coastal marshes and would not trade them for anything! The tunnel will NOT work with a mud motor.
Q. Will the tunnel hull work in conjunction with the huntdeck?
B. Yes! We have designed a tunnel that works perfectly with the huntdeck for outboards and jets!If you have questions that are not addressed here, please feel free to contact us by phone or email .