Pro-Line Boats is looking to attract the attention of anyone who’s shopped for a modern fishing boat in the past few years, and has been slammed by sticker shock. In all likelihood, that includes anyone who’s been shopping for a modern fishing boat in the past few years, period. Today it’s not unusual to see 20-something boats that hit three thousand dollars per foot of fiberglass. Is a $60,000 20 foot boat even remotely reasonable in today’s world? Puh-leaze!
The SE series includes no-frills center consoles, bay boats, and flats boats, ranging from 17’ to 23’—and each and every model carries an MSRP of $26,500 or less. But no frills doesn’t mean “stripped,” and standards like livewells, bow and grab rails, console rodholders, and flip-back cooler seats are included. Quality is also up to snuff, which you’ll notice when checking out things like the switch panels (they’re breakers, not fuses), and the hardware (which is 316 grade stainless-steel).
Naturally, however, you don’t get a ton of extra goodies at this price point; there’s no standard compass, the base powerplant is minimal, and on most models, gunwale rodholders will cost you extra. And yes, there are some other trade-offs you’ll have to make to get the SE’s low sticker price. Most models are rolled-edge, un-linered boats. That means the inside of the boat doesn’t look as sharp some competitors, in some cases gunwale-mounted rodholders aren’t even an option, and routing wires or mounting custom accessories can be problematic. You’ll also find that the plastic hatches used on the SE’s aren’t the greatest in the world. In my experience the hatch itself is pretty strong but the latch dogs can break off if someone steps on one that’s open.
What about the really important things, like seaworthiness and safety? The low cost doesn’t have any effect on the hull; these are the same Pro-Line designs people have been running for years, and IMHO they tend to take the seas quite well for their LOA, and post respectable performance figures relative to their powerplants. All are foamed to float when swamped as per USCG regulations, and they’re all wood-free boats built with high-density closed-cell foam foam coring.
In our modern world, where mass-spending and obscene opulence have been replaced by job hunting and coupon-clipping, it only makes sense for boat builders to start toning down the rigged-to-the-teeth, overly-equipped boats that recently ruled the marketplace. We need boats that are simple but effective, and carry lower price tags. They don’t have to be stripped—they just have to be reasonable. The SE series is a great start.
- Lenny Rudow