Follow-up Porta-bote Review and Aftermath

February 23rd, 2007 by: cheyenne

We had held out posting our 1.3-year dinghy review until we heard back from Porta-bote on our inquiry regarding warranties (so we could include at least one piece of useful information for our “used porta-bote”-Googling friends). Since they didn’t respond, we just posted the review anyway and mentioned that Porta-bote was not being expedient about getting back to us (with a palpable note of irritation). We again emailed Porta-bote, this time to ask about outboards since we were looking to possibly buy a 9.8 Tohatsu and the company used to deal Tohatsu outboards, and we got a fantastically prompt response. So Joshua responded once more asking if they had received our previous email regarding the Porta-bote and if there was a warranty; again, no response. A couple days later, Joshua responded with an irritated ‘curious-you-respond-so-fast-to-a-potential-sales-lead -but-not-to-a-warranty-inquiry’ and gave the URL for the bote review blog post, in case they were interested. Within one hour, a lengthy rebuttal was posted to the blog by Sandy, the president of Porta-bote. Of course, I had to type out my lengthy response to his very defensive response, and well you know how it goes. And he still hadn’t answered our question as to whether there was a warranty.

But at last Sandy has responded to my response to his initial response and has confirmed that yes, there is a one-year warranty on the plastic seats and transom. He also added: “if you treated an aluminum or fiberglass or inflatable dinghy the way you described treating your poor porta-bote so vividly in your blog, you wouldn’t have a dinghy left to say nasty things about. 59,989 owners can’t be wrong! Yeah for Porta-Bote!” Which, for one: I have to say I’m surprised to hear he read so extensively in my blog because I only described one incident where the bote took a wave that trashed the transom. Another: what makes him think we treated our bote poorly? By exposing it to the harsh sun? By using the rowing set-up? By actually taking it in the ocean? That an inflatable or hard dinghy of another material would have survived the abuse we supposedly lash upon our poor bote is false, as any owner of such a dinghy could verify. And did I really say anything nasty? I feel I wrote a fair and constructive review.

But back to the warranty; our bote is 1.3 years old (although the seats broke at around 9ish months and the transom at 11 months), yet Sandy has generously offered to replace our seats and transom at no cost. We sent a reply asking to have the seats and transom shipped to my mom’s house so we could pick them up next time we visited but never got a response. Two weeks later and about when we had given up of every hearing from Porta-bote again, Mom sends me an email saying that a tall box full of some weird black plastic things just arrived!

So there you have it: all you broken transom/seat bote owners (provided you are in the US) can get replacements if it’s been less than a year. If it’s been more than that, well, I guess you have to assert yourself as a major pain in the ass to get any response.


Links to our other posts on the subject of Porta-Bote.

1.3-Year Porta-Bote and Kayak Review
Porta-bote Redux Redux
Porta-bote Again



89 Comments on “Follow-up Porta-bote Review and Aftermath”

  1. di day says:

    How disappointing,

    I have never owned a boat and felt this would fit my needs of just having fun, pooteling about off the coast of christchurch UK. We have a large natural harbour here too, however, after reading these comments, I don’t feel the financial outlay will be safe, especially if the manufacturers, knowing of recurring problems such as leaks and transome breakages, arent’t upgrading their products or addressing customer’s problems.

    Thanks for the comments, my money is safe!!

  2. edward says:

    Wow I was about to buy either a 12 or 14 footer. This boat has obvious defects and the company doesn’t appear to be addressing the problems. It’s a shame. The idea is a good one. I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

  3. Karl says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I just received an e-mail from the company advertising a sale, good only until 5PM today – hmmm. Based on the information above, I’m going to pass on this. Too bad, because I’m looking for a lightweight portable boat for rowing. It sounds like there are too many problems with this one. (The internet is great for consumers, isn’t it?)

  4. Sandy kaye says:

    Hi,

    Hi, this blog started about 4 years ago. Since then, there have been many positive changes within the company and with the Porta-Bote products including newly designed “super seats” that hold 600 pounds, etc.

    So, we’re going to start forwarding some of the many positive comments from customers who are satisfied with our services and Porta-Botes.

    We’re doing this so that there is a better balance to this blog.

    We now have over 90,000 Porta-Botes being used around the world and selling about 10,000+ a year.

    If we have offended anyone we certainly apologize. At the same time there are always two sides to every story.

    Sandy Kaye
    President
    Porta-Bote International

  5. Sandy says:

    I submitted more comments then are shown on the blog. But, was trying to show that there are “2 sides to every story”. Actually, we have hundreds of our customers who have taken the time to let us know how much they are enjoying their Porta-Bote and our service.

    Believe it or not, this blog has helped our company by illustrating some weaknesses which we have strived to overcome. So, for that we are grateful and pledge to continue to improve our service and products.

    Sandy

  6. Sandy says:

    To the BLOG “OWNERS”

    I was disappointed that you removed some of the positive comments we have received from Porta-Bote owners.

    I had hoped you were better than that. I was trying to show a better balance of comments as happy pwners rarely will go on a blog to express themselves.

    Guess I was wrong. Assume this comment will also be removed. Too bad.

    Sandy Kaye
    President
    Porta-Bote International

  7. joshua says:

    Sandy, I removed about 10 of the customer testimonials you posted. I believe they are genuine but it’s not appropriate to mass post them here as comments. If you would like to host a page on your own site with these, you would be welcome to link to it here. I took a quick look but couldn’t find a page on the porta-bote website or I would have added it myself.

    It’s great to hear that the seat design has been improved. I took a look at the porta-bote site but couldn’t find the details. We noted the extra reinforcement on our replacement transom. Is this now standard? Has the warranty on the seats and transom been increased?

  8. Sandy says:

    Thanks for responding.

    Yes, the reinforced transom has been standard for several years.

    The new seats are of a completely different design. They will carry up to 600 pounds. The seats and transom now carry a 5 year warranty.

    Each one of the positive posts were genuine. We included their email address so you could verify.

    The problem with the original section of you blog is that it no longer applies. It did a good job of calling our attention to the problems which we have strived to correct. We sent just a few of the hundreds of positive comments to illustrate how much has changed, We are deeply grateful to you for opening our eyes to these problems.

    Hopefully you will update this blog to reflect the changes. Admittedly, it’s a lot of work. But, the tone should really be updated to reflect the product and the company as it exists today.

    One poor fellow actually cancelled his order which was on and interest free layaway and almost paid off after reading some of the early messages. Several submitted years ago

    We sell over 10,000 Porta-Botes a year so we didn’t really feel it financially. But, we do feel sorry for him in that he probably will miss many years of enjoyment using his Porta-Bote.

    Thanks again for responding.

    Sandy

  9. Sandy says:

    There are two blogs we belong to. They are both made up of Porta-Bote owners and “wannabees”.

    If you monitor these blogs you will see that there are both positive and negative comments. Mostly (99%) positive.

    In all cases, Porta-Bote is encouraged to respond to both types. As a matter of fact, some of the very positive endorsements we sent you were from Porta-Bote owners who subscribe to these blogs.

    Here’s the info on the Porta-Bote Yahoo Club Blogs.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PortaBotersWorldWide/

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PortaBote/

    Sandy

  10. Dougal says:

    Interesting reading all. I recently brought a 10 year old 14′ bote with wooden seats second hand and have had it out 5 times now on the Wellington Harbour in NZ. Including one time with 4 guys on board.

    It rocks and is good fun basic boating – sure I broke a seat hole where the pin goes through, but thats what happens when you ‘sea-test’ your bote in 2ft swells to see how it will handle. No prob as will just fix this with about an hours effort. Am a bit disturbedf by all the people blaming Porta-Bote as boats do break and get hammered in the sea / river.

    Bote has been my way of being able to afford a safe, good sized boat to get out and have some fun – bring on summer!

  11. Ed Nieter says:

    Below is a comment (one of scores we receive all the time). We attached this one just received to your blog and you’ll probably remove it. But, your blog is now out of date as the company described earlier has not existed for the past few years and you are now inadvertantly misleading present day potential Porta-Bote owners.

    We really owe a debt of gratitude to you for helping to shape the way we now do business. But, now we need your cooperation in explaining to your viewers about the present company and how we now conduct business.

    Don’t have your email address so we have to correspond this way.

    Best wishes for the Holidays,

    Sandy
    ==============================================
    Hi Sandy K. I must write to you to congratulate you on a really great product. I am 73, the temperature in South Bend, Ind is @45degrees and we still managed to grunt it together for the first time, inside our garage. We is my wife and I. Having spent my life with concept, design, document, fabricate, assembly, start-up and trouble shoot new automatic blast cleaning equipment (Wheelabrator, Pangborn, Erwin,) I have a good understanding of quality design. Everything with your Porta-bote is thoughtful and knowlegeable Ed Nieter

  12. Richard says:

    Question to Rick Agosta,

    Hi Rick, I read your question regarding leaving your 8′ ft Porta Bote open in your pick up. Have you recieved any replies?
    I am in the process of purchasing an 8footer for fishing local lakes and would like to know how you like your boat and if it is the right size for one man fishing? Are you happy with it?
    I intend to fold it each night and fit it into my Saturn Vue.
    Richard

  13. Sandy says:

    Hi Richard,

    You might want to join the Porta-Bote Yahoo worldwide group. It has several thousand members, many of whom own 8′ Porta-Botes.

    They’re an independent group of owners and will answer your questions directly.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PortaBotersWorldWide/

    Sandy

  14. kevin heitman says:

    I was very keen to own a 14 ft porta bote after reading the poor comments — sorry — no thanks — Kevin

  15. Sandy says:

    Hi Kevin,

    The Internet is a great form for receiving information. However, you have to judge carefully where it’s coming from.

    Our original company was getting going 5 years ago. But, it’s grown in product quality as well as stature. Over 90,000+ owners around the world who enjoy and appreciate their Botes.

    Suggest you join one of the many free Yahoo Porta-Bote groups so you get a more balanced view of how great this product really is and how well it’s owners are served. It’s made up of Porta-Bote owners who talk freely about their experiences with their Botes.

    Sandy

  16. RAy says:

    Just got a used 12.5 and like it alot. Hopefully the Porta-bote Co will help customers w/o making them feel guilty about needing help after reading all this.

    I’ve sailed for 30+ years and have never had a boat that didn’t suffer wounds and breaks. Just thought it should be said.

  17. Sandy says:

    Welcome aboard Ray,

    I wish you many pleasureable years with your boat.

    By the way, we have just introduced the first NEW Bote in 22 years. The new Alpha 1 Series Porta-Bote. It has many changes and improvements. In addition to the new ” SUPER SEATS” that hold 600 pounds each, it also has a fantastic FOLDING outboard motor transom that folds up with the boat. No need to carry a separate transom that needs to be installed! It’s made of a lightweight aircraft alloy!

    We’re all very excited about this latest boat that will once again shake up the small boating world.

    Sandy

  18. Just bought a new porta bote! says:

    Hi, is this true? Porta-Bote Alpha 1

    The new “2012″ Version of the Unique Folding Porta-Bote Dinghy offers 20% Increase in speed and new PATENTED FOLDING TRANSOM. On its 40st anniversary, Porta-Bote International has unveiled the latest Hi-Performance line of its remarkable folding Porta-Bote Dinghy. Over 41 major engineering advances have been incorporated that allow the craft to go 20% faster than the previous model.

    Because if it is its the first I have heard of it? And if it is true what else has been upgraded or changed that we dont know? thanks

  19. Sandy says:

    Hi,

    I have an interesting idea that I think the blogger owners will like very much.

    I ask them to contact me not on the blog bur at sk@portaboat.com

    Sandy

  20. Concerned boater says:

    I own one of the 12 foot gen models. Beware as Mr kaye will use scare tactics about used boats. Told me that 7 years is forever in bote years and make a new transom out of plywood. This boat with the 6hp maximum size outboard with 2 adults and a dog will NOT plane slow and sluggish at 6-7mph max! I had to do a ton of mods to get the boat usable! This company will NOT state the terms of the so called 10 year limited warranty. LIMITED is the key word here. They wont tell you its PRORATED, THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY SHIPPING BOTH WAYS!!! They have a problem with the BLADDER CRACKING and wont admit that, Some have had this happen with 6 uses!! BEWARE. In my OPINION they post fake reviews and monitor and try to control posts on the net. The company and OWNER Mr Kaye has no intention of honoring their warranty.IMO they run PB yahoo like a shill site so people think its an active users group. Read posts there carefully. April 2013 on. Look there for the words Transom defect, Bladder Cracking, Defects. The list goes on. […] Bought the max 6HP motor and had to sell it at a loss and do alot of strengthening to use a 9.9hp motor. With alot of work it now usable. […]

  21. Concerned boater says:

    Please be aware that if you join Porta-Bote Yahoo group and post anything bad the Shills(Fake Users) will attack you there and if you continue the will send emails outside the group threatening you!!! If you continue the attacks will get worse and if they find out your identity they will then threaten YOU, your friends and family!! […] I have personally experienced this and have no stake in the game other than to warn unsuspecting Buyers and consumers of companies like this. In my OPINION they dont care about past customers and play dangerous games with real people!!

    BEWARE of ALL 3 PORTA-BOTE YAHOO Groups. […] Join look at the pics. statements by past users. Look at April – July 2013. […]

  22. Sandy says:

    The truth about Porta-Bote?

    Here’s an article about the company and it’s President that appeared in BusinessWeek:

    By Erin Chambers

    Porta-Bote’s Rising Tide

    If there’s a niche, expect an entrepreneur to fill it — men like Sandy Kaye, for example, and his unsinkable folding boat

    Of all the foldable things in the world — laundry, lawn chairs, paper airplanes — a boat isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. But Sandy Kaye thinks differently, and has built a thriving multi million dollar business worldwide around the idea of a collapsible water vessel.

    Yes, that’s right, foldable boats. Kaye is owner and president of Porta-Bote International, a Mountain View, Calif., purveyor of dinghy-sized boats that fold down flat to four inches in height. Last year the company sold close to 10,000 boats worldwide. “People may not recognize them folded up because they look just like a surfboard,” says Kaye, who was a Porta-Bote fan before deciding to buy the company in 1973. “And out on the water, the look just like an unfoldable boat.”

    TRADITIONAL LOOK. Porta-Bote International has racked up steady sales through grass-roots marketing to water enthusiasts all over the world. In addition to his own online outreach efforts and trade shows, Kaye says the unusual factor — the sheer oddity of seeing owners unfolding a boat before launch — has driven the word-of-mouth buzz for over 30 years.

    Believe it or not, foldable boats aren’t new. Kaye bought one for use as a dinghy on a larger boat in the early 1970s, and was less than pleased at his fellow boaters’ reactions to what he says looked more like “a pregnant canoe” than a workable boat. “When people laugh at your product, that’s a problem,” says Kaye.

    So in 1973, itching to get back to work after just two short years in retirement from a career as Executive Vice president of the world’s largest publisher, he bought the fledgling company with the intention of completely overhauling it. He put his degrees in engineering to work, redesigning the boats to look more like traditional dinghies, and began marketing them overseas (no pun intended).

    LIKE A CORK. Europeans, used to tight quarters and pricey gas, were particularly receptive to the space-saving, energy-efficient foldable boats. The flat design makes the various models easier to store than a regular aluminum or fiberglass dinghy (it fits on the side of an RV, the roof of a car, or hull of a larger boat) and less cumbersome than an inflatable. There is also no need to blow it up or patch inevitable holes of an inflatable boat.

    It even fits on a yak. Seriously. Britain’s Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Service strapped a folded-up Porta-Bote on the back of the scruffy animal for a trek up Mt. Everest. The team wanted a lightweight, reliable vessel in case it was caught in melting glaciers, but when the expedition reached a lake they expected to be frozen, the climbers unfolded their vessel and continued. The Porta-Bote International team recently confirmed a spot in the 2005 Guinness Book of World Records as the first boat to be sailed at a height of 20,000 feet. “There’s a Porta-Bote for everyone,” Kaye says proudly.

    Available in four sizes, from 8 feet to 14 feet, the boats can be ordered with Nissan outboard motors for those with a need for speed, Rolly Tasker sails and accessories for the skipper who prefers the wind, even in olive drab for duck hunters. Among its accolades, the Porta-Bote has passed all stability tests by the Tokyo Fire Dept.’s Water Rescue Scuba Team. Kaye says his boats are unsinkable, even when filled with water, and have exceeded the latest U.S. Coast Guard compliance standards.

    SURF AND SAIL. How does the foldable phenom work? Two big words: polypropylene copolymer. Porta-Botes’ hinges and patented “flexihull” are made from a resin material developed decades ago by NASA and used today in many car bumpers. Original manufacturer DuPont conducted tests and found the material actually became stronger after 500,000 foldings, and Sears uses it in their lifetime DieHard batteries because the material is impervious to acid. Kaye fields many inquiries on his company Web site, most asking how a foldable boat is going to hold up on the water. His response: “Nothing is indestructible, but this comes pretty close.”

    In the 1990s, Kaye noticed more people downsizing to condominiums and small cars and decided to start step up his marketing efforts in the U.S., a market he had all but ignored. Word of mouth alone would not have been enough, he says, “so we got on the Internet.” His site catches many random boaters surfing the Web, but the company also uses trade shows to spread the Porta-Bote buzz.

    It’s an approach that has paid off with a loyal following. Since 1999, professional photographer John Petralito has owned at least one of every size Porta-Bote, using them in “oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds from Maine down to Florida.” Now a permanent Floridian, he and wife Ellen were looking for an alternative to a pricey, high-maintenance inflatable boat.

    INVENTOR ENVY. “It turns on a dime, goes through the water like nobody’s business, and is half the price of an inflatable,” says Petralito, who has started something of a Porta-Bote fan club, operating two Yahoo! groups for Porta-Bote owners, who post information on aftermarket accessories, options, and ideas on new ways to use the boats. “When people at the campgrounds see us unfold it and ask if I’m the inventor, I wish I could say ‘yes,'” says Petralito.

    Since redesigning and relaunching the boats, annual sales have nearly doubled. The boats come with a 10-year warranty, but Kaye says no owner has ever filed a claim — despite 70,000 having been sold. And this year, armed with the new optional sailing package and a bigger 14-foot model, he and his staff of 39 will represent Porta-Bote International at over 400 boat, RV, and outdoors-lifestyle trade shows in the U.S. alone, more than ever before. For Porta-Bote, it looks like smooth sailing ahead.

    Chambers is a reporter for BusinessWeek Online in New York.

  23. Numbers says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Quick question, in an earlier post from 2011 you mention that over 90,000 boats have been sold and in this post it’s only 70,000. That coupled with the fact that you have been in business for 40 years and quote that you sell 10,000+/year (which also doesn’t add up) can you tell me the actual figure?

    Furthermore, how does this compare to the new Quickboat that I saw in the paper and why should I chose you over them?

  24. Newbie says:

    Hey Everyone,

    Wow there’s a lot of stuff going on here! I’m very interested in a Portabote but I must admit I’m a bit scared now after reading all these comments. I know nothing is unbreakable however customer service is more the factor for me. I’ve been on the receiving end of some poor service many times and it’s probably the most off-putting aspect for me about any company.

    Numbers what’s a quick boat? I’ve never heard of one before but that’s not entirely unusual for me.

    Can anyone give me more details and whether I should be concerned about PB customer service or if it’s just a case of people will tell everyone when they’re upset and noone when they’re satisfied?

    Thanks for the help!

  25. Sandy says:

    Hi,

    This site dates back to 2007. 6 years ago. That’s the reason for the discrepancies. We now produce over 10,000+ Botes a year.There are now over 100,000 Porta-Botes out there being used around the world. Many for rescue pruposes.

    While it has some honest comments from obviously concerned people, it has also attracted some individuals who are obviously jealous of our success.

    The Quickboats has been around for about 12 years. It started with the name Flatout boats and this is the third owner.

    Porta-Bote is the time proven folding boat. If you go to: http://www.porta-bote.com you can learn all about third magnificent marine product.

    As far as how the company treats it’s customers, here is an email just received this week from a new customer:
    ———————————————

    Hi Mr. Kaye,

    I just wanted to thank all of you guys there at Portabote for going out of your way and getting the boat here as quick as you did for my fishing trip with my brother. I thought I would just give you a update and let you know that the spots that started showing up on his lungs were not there previously but are small and they are just going to keep a watch on it for the time being and let him continue with his regular
    Chemo. He was afraid they might change his
    Chemo and it be like the one he was originally taking that made him sick afterwards. So, for now he is content.

    Because of his stage of colon cancer ( 4 ) some of the side effects of the chemo are loss of feeling and nerve damage in his hands and feet, so I guess since the boat flexes it actually may have made it a little more comfortable for him. Besides trying to work thru tying knots ( with the loss of feeling ) which got frustrating at times he actually hooked a 15 inch Black Bass. We didn’t know for sure what the length had to be to be legal but I told him I’d keep it. he threw it back. We later checked and the legal length was 12 inches.

    At night we swapped stories while around the fire and I was able to find out some things that I never knew about him.
    That
    weekend was made possible
    by you guys there at Portabote and I thank you so much for going
    out of your way and doing all that you did to make it possible. God
    willing, we’ll be
    able to do it again next year.

    I sincerely wish everyone there at Portabote a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.

    Sincerely,
    Chris Auter Sr.

  26. Terry says:

    Newbie, Like yourself I am rather concerned about the transom, seat and back skirt problems. It is all very well for Sandy to say that PB has sold many PB’s without a concern about reliability. That being the case, the small percentage that do strike a problem should be looked after better. If they are a minority. We have procrastinated 6 months about buying a new PB. And the after sales service and warranty is what has stopped us from making a purchase. Especially that back skirt cracking because there is no way of repairing it successfully.

  27. Konstantin says:

    Hi,
    I just bought 12′ model. should arrive in April. I have been reading blogs to see what to expect and this one makes me worried. So knowing my experience in dealing with bad support and dishonest business I went to see what BBB has in terms of porta-bote (BTW consumer laws in CA are tough). So there was 1 complaint in last 3 years which was resolved. Did any of you unsatisfied customers try BBB? if not, please do so we have a record and not speculation.

    http://www.bbb.org/sanjose/business-reviews/contract-manufacturing/porta-bote-in-mountain-view-ca-198868

  28. Sandy says:

    Hi Terry,

    I rarely get to look at this blog. So it’s always best to contact us directly to see what can be done to help. I would appreciate knowing the HIN serial number of your boat, also.

    Try: sk@portaboat.com

    Sandy

  29. Peter says:

    Comments from an owner of two portabotes.

    I originally bought the old-styled double-ended portabote some time in the 1980’s. Surprisingly sea-worthy because it was so flexible. Hard to tip because the boat would flex with you, leaving the rest of the boat upright. Would plane and really scoot on a 5-horse OB with the planning do-hickies down. I used to hit face-on 5-6 ft ship wakes in fairly shallow water and then surf down the other side.. No problems. Eventually, the seats went (as they will) and I made some new ones.

    Impressed. Then bought the old/new style (with the plywood transom) so that I could stand up and fish. Considerably less flexible. So a bit harder riding. Hardly-used. Foolishly, left outside so the transom rotted. Now looking for a replacement and/or to make a new one to get back out again. Portaboat needs to have such parts on-line.

  30. margaret ketelsen says:

    I just dont know what to think?

  31. Serge says:

    Well, I bought a portabote that is about 10 years old now that I bought used and that has not been abused. We use it as a research vessel that students use to sample coastal waters and lakes. The boat was great for that. I wrote “was” because the plastic at the stern where the transom mounts is now open at the seam where the plastic folds. It is about a 12″ cut and the boat is now inoperable. The boat was always stored in the container pod and I do not think UV could have affect it since it is in the fold where UV do not reach when folded.

  32. Greg says:

    Hi. I thought it was worth saying that I have a porta bote from 1976 and I still use it. I recently took off the trim to check the metal stables and the folding parts for structural integrity. They seemed fine so I used the boat another summer. I have also owned a 12 foot gen 3 model. It was great, my family had so much fun on it. The only thing I didn’t like about the gen 3 is that all the plywood parts took up a lot of space. I plan on buying an alpha model as soon as I save enough for it. They make fantastic dinghys on other boats, and great fishing boats. They are very easy to transport. Its true after use some things break. Rather than whine about this I just repaired what was wrong. I absolutely love porta botes.

  33. Alan says:

    I just bought an older Gen porta-bote and have no idea of its age or where to get spares or advice on repairing it. if anyone reads this and know any sort of info on older models or where to buy parts or how to make parts would you please email me and I will send you some photos and maybe get some or any advice please?

    cheers

    Alan

    email alanchappell1964@hotmail.com

  34. John F. says:

    Can the sailing rigs be used with the 8′ model? Where can I get repair advice for me 1990’s boat. Re; stern leak @ center. Thank you.

  35. Jason says:

    When I bought my new alpha 1 boat it was a pleasant experience. I called with a couple questions afterwards and the people I talked to were very helpful and polite.

    As for the boat, it is very well constructed, and performs exactly like they claim. Stability is pretty much on par with an inflatable boat (at least the 14′ model). Cuts through chop easily, and goes great with a 6hp. I much prefer it to an aluminum or inflatable for fishing since it combines the best of both.

    Only downside is limited speed. Top end is limited to 15 mph, but then again I’m not in a big hurry, and that will get me anywhere on the lake fast enough. Even if you could put a larger engine on it, those get a bit heavy to lift if you are folding it up.

    Overall I am extremely happy with it, the wife and kids love it, and it seems to do everything they claim.

  36. CAPT BOB says:

    It is now January 2016 and only one comment, pro or con, (Jason 6/19/15) about the newly redesigned Alpha Series of Porta Botes that came out in 2014 which according to propaganda from the company flex less due to thicker material used and have a newly redesigned transom built in to the hull which eliminates a heavy board and its assembly onto the hull. What gives? Has the company fixed the obvious problems listed above with its redesign? I would not consider buying a used one of the old design, but have not heard enough about their redesign. Any Alpha Owners out there? Tight Lines

  37. Dave says:

    I bought a 12ft Alpha Series in 2015 and run an 8hp Mercury 2 stroke outboard on it (just on the 25kg weight limit for this size bote.
    The folding transom works well although the wing nuts can be awkward to thread. (A mod performed by some is to replace the L pins with outboard tilt/trim pins that have the flip lever on one end. Poke it in the transom holes, push down and flip the bottom lever over. The spring on the pin locks it in place.)
    The bote planes easily with three on board and provides a relatively soft, dry ride in choppy conditions. Very economical to run. We just returned from 5 weeks camped by the water so the bote got a great workout!
    I found the SS split pins used for locating the seats a little flimsy (one appeared a little bent) and replaced them with SS 5mm bolts just for peace of mind.
    Overall very happy with my purchase.

  38. Len says:

    Setup was quick as usual and considering we had 6 sets of hands boats were in the water in no-time. But then the hard part… Our gear and food stretched entire length of the dock over-spilling on the beach. was unbelievable and with a little more effort we were all setup and ready to take in the first evening on the lake! more review on http://www.portabote.ca

  39. Bill Bina says:

    I have a 2003 portabote. It has been pretty good for the most part. I am currently fixing the transom with fiberglass tape and epoxy along top and bottom edges to stop delamination issues. My currently unsolvable problem is that this boat now stays tied to a dinghy dock all summer long in a high fouling area. Frequent scrubbing and scraping of growth has left the bottom of the boat rough and pitted. When I asked the company about how to fix the problem, all they did was screech, “whatever you do, don’t sand it!”. The best they could advise was to spray it with Armorall, which obviously isn’t going to do anything. At this point, sanding it with 120 grit discs would leave it smoother than what I have. The surface looks as if it is at least a bit porous. Sure would be nice if the company had a good anti-fouling paint that would stick to the flexible bottom. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who would like a serious and helpful solution to this issue.

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell