Product Reviews

Waterskeeter River Tamer Deluxe Pontoon Boat

by Al Campbell


As many of you know, I won't do a product review unless I can try a product out thoroughly and put it through a few good tests to see if it is worth the money it takes to buy it. That means I usually have the product for months or even a year or more before I write about it. Durability is one thing I think is important in a product.

About a year ago I purchased a Waterskeeter River Tamer Deluxe pontoon boat for use on some of my favorite rivers. It had all the nice luxury features I wanted, but the cataraft and name-brand folks on the bulletin board were selling tales of woe about Waterskeeter and similar brands being weak and poorly built, so this one had to have a workout for sure. I suppose a year and a half is long enough to decide if the thing will self destruct like the doomsday folks said it would.

I'm happy to say I survived the outings with my new pontoon just fine. In fact, I don't have a single complaint about my new boat. It does very well indeed. I didn't really think I would have any problems with it, but you know the tales of doom some folks like to spread. It didn't decompose on contact with water as some folks predicted. In fact, it did better than I expected it to. Carries more gear than some of the boats the other guys recommended too.

First of all, the River Tamer has a welded aluminum frame, so it is light and also durable. At 75 lbs, it's easy to carry and move around, and it doesn't require a lot of water to float it. The oversized 9ft pontoons provide plenty of floatation for me and lots of gear. And, since each pontoon has a double air bladder, I don't have to worry about being stranded on the river somewhere if one air chamber should decide to deflate after a tangle with a cactus or similar sharp item.

Deluxe is a fitting word for the River Tamer. It comes with an anchor mount and trolling motor mount. It has removable cargo bags on each side, and plenty of room to secure a lot of extra gear I like to take along. The rear cargo rack will hold several coolers and extra gear bags I like to carry on the water. Rod holders and beverage holders built in to the swivel seat are also nice touches included in the deal. A sliding fish basket that mounts under the seat is ideal for guys looking to save a few panfish for dinner, and it also is included as part of the package. It is truly a nice boat with luxuries not found on other models floating the rivers.

As far as handling rough water, I didn't take it down the Grand Canyon during high water, but I did run it through some heavy water on the Bighorn River while carrying about 400 lbs of cargo including myself. Some of the swells were deep enough to be over my head, but the River Tamer floated high enough in that water to keep my seat dry. The 7ft long oars (included) were just the ticket to navigate fast water too. It rows much better than my old Leigh Outdoors pontoon did, and it weighs about half as much as the old one does.

The only complaint I've had at all, is the difficulty I had putting the seat together at first. I'm glad I did that task in my garage where I had tools to help me. The seat is nice and comfortable, but it takes some leverage to put the back on it the first time. A ratchet, a few sockets and a wrench or two were all I needed for initial assembly. Being the cautious type, I also replaced the wing nuts on the seat mount with lock nuts so they couldn't work loose in rough water. I doubt they would work loose, but I had the lock nuts in my parts storage, and it seemed like a prudent thing to do at the time.

As far as inflation of the pontoons is concerned, that is an easy task. The boat comes with a quick inflate valve that allows inflation in a short time. In fact, I used a vacuum cleaner with the hose on the exhaust side to inflate the pontoons. It took less than a minute per pontoon that way. Their push-pull hand pump will inflate both pontoons in less than four minutes if you don't take a coffee break during the task. The hand pump is optional, but well worth the extra price. You can buy it and another River Tamer with all the cash you saved by buying the River Tamer instead of the pricey models the doomsday folks try to scare you into. And hey, you might even have enough savings left over at the end of the day to buy lunch.

You can buy a River Tamer at any Waterskeeter dealer in the nation. The cost varies from just below $800 to about $900, depending on where you shop. For a list of dealers near you, visit the Waterskeeter page in the Sponsor's section here on FAOL. It will arrive at your door in a handy backpack style cargo bag you can use to store your gear in while on the river.

Sorry, I was too busy having fun to take pictures, but you can view the boat here: www.waterskeeter.com/rivertamer.htm ~ AC

Water Skeeter
2701 E. Hammer Lane
Suite 110
Stockton, CA 95210
USA
Phone: 209-951-8662
Fax: 209-951-9311
Email link: wagmyers@aol.com



[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice