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
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
2701 E. Hammer Lane
Stockton, CA 95210
Email link: email@example.com