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SUBJECT: Shoalwater Boat Problem

Submitted by Shoalwater Owner ( from TEXAS on

I'm having a problem with my Shoalwater and I was wondering if anyone else might have the same issue or know of someone with the problem. I have a 2002 Shoalwater Sport 22'. When I make a hard turn with more power than no-wake but not on plane, the back end of the boat will dip below the waterline and the back of the boat will take on a significant amount of water. Enough water that it has washed my ice chest and tackle out of the boat. The first time it happened was in the IC at POC. Someone lost a hat and when I turned to retreive it, I had 4" of water coming over the port side in the back. I've been able to repeat it on both right and left turns but it's worse on a right turn probably because of the torque of the engine.

Shoalwater is telling me that all their 22' Sport models do this so I was hoping I could get some feedback from others to confirm. I've been happy with the boat otherwise but having to worry about taking turns either really slow or on plane is something that shouldn't have to be contemplated.

Thanks for the feedback.

  1. Curious ( from OTHER says Your Problem....not ours.
    It sounds like the design may be faulty, that is the bottom corners are contoured incorrectly. The only way to avail yourself of this is to (a.) sell your boat or (b.) leave it in the garage.....seriously.

    You may consider wearing some of those fashionable White Captains Boots whilst you are at the helm. That may help. Also keep a life jacket on your cat....just in case you know.


  2. Jeff ( from TEXAS says nice to know
    Thats good to know. Im in the market for a new boat, now I know not to buy a Shoalwater! Anyone else have complaints about their boats so I'll know NOT to buy one?

  3. Jim Smarr ( from TEXAS says Most of these type boats will do the same
    I had a Shoalwater 19 Stealth. Best Boat I have ever had. In the right conditions the fan tail would get wet. But the other benefits of the boat as in ease in and out come with a small price. Gulf Coast and Mowdy all will get a little wet if the rear of the boat is overloaded. I would not hesitate to buy any of the above listed boats. Jim Smarr

  4. Chance ( from TEXAS says Water in the boat
    I was looking at Shoalwaters before buying my Pescador but after riding in a friends 22ft and having the back end completely fill up with water I decided against it.

    Don't know or care why they do that but it's a Shoalwater issue.

  5. snapper ( from TEXAS says Bell Boy
    I always remember Shoalwater being associated with the Bell name. Neither one of them are any good!

  6. McTrout ( from TEXAS says What?
    Have to admit I haven't heard this one. We are running 2 Shoalwaters in Mansfield every day...have been, (so are several other guides) and haven't had or heard of any other complaints. Is this problem only with the Sport?

    (one we're using is the 20' Laguna and the other is just the 20' tunnel very similar to a Majek RFL.)

  7. Shoalwater Owner ( from TEXAS says McTrout
    The Sport is a V hull design. Sounds like the models you are running are quite a bit different (i.e. flat bottom). I'll have to take some video and put it on the internet. Even knowing that it is a problem, I instinctively made a hard turn in Mitchells Cut this past weekend to retrieve a can that blew out of the boat and as should have been expected, next thing I knew I was standing in 3" of water. I've had Steve ride in the boat and he didn't seem concerned and offered no resolution. One possible cause might be water in the hull causing it to be heavy but Steve pretty much ruled that out. The hull seems to float and ride fine. It's just making hard turns at a particular speed range that can cause a problem. It's more of a nusiance than anything but you never like to be standing in 3" of water and have your gear washing out the back. The last time I spoke to the General Manager he said they all do it so that's why I'm posting here to confirm.

    Really apprecate the feedback.


  8. J-Bob ( from TEXAS says I had a similar problem
    I had a similar problem with my dad's Shoalwater. I found that if I trimmed the motor up slightly while I was running, I didn't take on water. You may want to experiment. Just trimming it up a little made the boat ride much better and dryer. Hope this helps.

  9. Joe Burke ( from TEXAS says The Laguna's don't
    do this. I had one 7 years. It was actually pretty good about powersliding without throwing stuff all around. Never took a dip. From what I've seen, a number of boats will do this, even a Flats Cat if you really honk it around. Not a knock on the Flats Cat, I love them but they just can't be yanked hard around at speed.

  10. Shoalwater ( from TEXAS says Shoalwater's saltwater washdown...
    HAhahaha. Been there, done that. I had a 22' Soalwater for 7 years. I liked the boat overall. First time I did that I thought I was going to swamp the whole boat.

    Honestly it isn't anything to worry about. Play around with it some more and you will learn what you can and cannot do. Even if you fill it full of water just straighten the wheel, give her some gas and it'll all run out the back. It isn't going to sink or capsize. The sides are too low and it won't hold enough water. It will all ju7st drain out.

    Heck, I got to where I really liked that one characteristic. When we would get back in from wading we'd usually track a bunch of mud in the boat. I'd make sure there wasn't anything on the deck that would wash out, spin the wheel, bump the gas and scoop up a bunch of water. If you did it right it would run forward all the way up around the console, down the other side. When it made it around the console I'd hop up on plane and all the mud and water would wash out the back.

  11. boat boy ( from TEXAS says seen them all
    I have ridden in all of the boats similiar to shoalwater, gulfcoast, explorer etc..... these boats will all do it. they are not made to "corner" like a bass boat or ski boat. this is one of the luxuries given up by the hull type of the boat to run in and get out of the shallow water that they do.

  12. jdgarza ( from TEXAS says learn ya somethin

    learn to drive the boat correctly and you won't have that problem, rookie..

    no shallow running boat worth it's weight in dirt is designed to be dry or corner hard..only to run shallow and maybe take some choppy water and shoalwaters do just that..i would pit my shoalwater against any other boat....if you don't want water in the boat...get a pontoon and stay on the lake and out of my way


  13. j christoferson ( from TEXAS says Shoalwater Boats
    I have a 21' Shoalwater that turns on a dime and runs in 3" of water. The only time water gets in the boat is when I wask it or forget to put my plugs in. I guess you might have too much engin on the back or a lemon.

  14. JimmyZ ( from TEXAS says Shoalwater Swamp
    I can promise you the Gulf Coast 220 does not do this. I'd say the Shoalwater 22' Sport is designed poorly. No boat should fill with water just because you make a turn at a certain speed. I've been around and on boats my entire life and would be concerned with the safety of this boat. I'd sure hate to be on that boat on a cold winter day without waders.

  15. Mike Brown ( from TEXAS says 22 Shoalwater Legend
    I have the same problem but i have a 225 E-Tec on the back and thats some weight for that boat! What i do is when im on a plane i just let off the throttle slow...not just go from 55mph to zero in seconds. just keep an eye on the back and take it easy when you slow down! Other than that i love my legend, you just have to notice the problem and adjust to it! Also ive read about how the shoalwater has thrown people out of their boat? Thats bullshit, learn how to drive a skinny water boat...their not made to go offshore and if its rough in the bay SLOW DOWN! Ive hauled ass across the bay when its choppy and have had NO problems...just run your Shoalwater smart!!!

  16. Vch ( from TEXAS says Shoalwater
    Our family has been on the bays of South Texas for generations, my brothers know boats as do my would be hard pressed to find a better boat than a Shoalwater or a Haynie...

  17. Pat Hanrahan ( from FLORIDA says 21' Shoalwater boat issues.
    We have a 2007 21' Shoalwater. The first year we had the boat, it would top out at 52 MPH on the GPS, and steered like a dream. As time wore on, the boat slowed, and when we sat to fish, the rear of the boat would fill with 1-3 inches of water. Also, the boat was difficult to turn, and the rear would squat and we would slide sideways rather than actually turn. We thought it was because the live and bait wells were full, and with out body weight standing on the rear platforms, we pushed the scuppers below the water surface. In December, 2013, we hit something, and put a hole in one of the hulls. Our fiberglass repair guy worked with the insurance company and got permission to take off part of the deck to get to the inside of the hull to do a solid repair. When he did, he discovered that: a) the hulls were filled with open cell foam and saturated with water; and (b) there was another 150 gallons of water in the hulls that he drained. He also found that there were no stringers in either hull. He documented it all with photographs, and then got permission from our insurance company to take off the whole deck, build in stringers, strip out the open cell foam and install closed cell foam (it won't absorb and nearly as much hold water), re-deck the boat and repair all the spider cracks in the hulls caused by flexing, due to there being no stringers. We got the boat back in March, 2014. We no longer collect water in the boat while fishing, even with both rear wells filled and two anglers standing on the rear platforms. The boat's top speed is back to 50 - 52 MPH on the GPS. When the steering wheel is turned, the boat turns with no squat and little drop off in speed. All that being said, we love the boat, and it is the best fishing machine around for backcountry saltwater fishing.

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