Frequently Asked Questions

To properly answer, you must ask yourself a few questions. First, how many hunters will I realistically hunt with on an average trip? Two, three, more? The heaviest part of your load will be hunters so this is important to answer honestly. If you will have two in the boat, 16' is fine, three in the boat, you need 17' minimum. More? You need 18' minimum. Length is the key if you stay narrow. If you go with a wider hull, length is not as critical as you will still be displacing an acceptable amount of water for performance.

Second, how far do I run from the landing to my hunting spot on average? This, combined with the first answer, will dictate your motor choice. If you run with a heavy load or your runs are long, say more than 5 or 6 miles, you will need one of the higher horsepower motors being a 35HP minimum. Anything less will not give you the performance you need. If you have a light load or your run is short, 1-3 miles or so, you can scale back a bit to a smaller motor. Remember, we never recommend smaller than the 23HP for any application with our hulls. A good rule of thumb is to purchase the largest mud motor you can afford because that will be the one you wish you had purchased at the beginning.

Thirdly, will I use this hull to hunt out of with a blind or as a transport vessel from the landing to a permanent blind? If you are going to hunt from the boat or even fish from this boat, you will want an open floor plan of some kind. Our open hull, walk through bench, or a combo of the two will be best. If you will use the boat to transport hunters to a permanent blind then get out to hunt, the center bench will work great as a seat for your passengers while underway. And, since you are not hunting or fishing out of the boat, the bench will not be in the way for your application. If you will answer the above 3 questions honestly as they pertain to your real situations, you will have a great starting point on boat size, hull design, and motor choice. We offer this suggestion; build this hull for what you will be doing 90% of the time, then live with the other 10%.
The drain on the starboard side has a pipe welded thru the huntdeck to the inside of the hull. This is your traditional drain for the water trapped inside the hull. It must be plugged when the boat is in the water. The drain on the port side drains trapped water inside the enclosed huntdeck and must be plugged when the boat is in the water. The lengthwise bracing is closed, hollow channel and will allow water to get inside the hull from the bow. Water can drain under the lengthwise braces and into the enclosed huntdeck. Both drains should be unplugged when the boat is not in water so that it can drain freely.
Gator Trax uses a longitudinal bracing system. All of the braces that touch the bottom of the hull run lengthwise from bow to stern. No brace that crosses perpendicular to the longitudinal bracing touches the bottom. This is to prevent hooks and dents. Because there are no cross braces touching the bottom, any underwater obstruction (rocks, logs, stumps) that hits the bottom of the hull can now flex the hull between the lengthwise braces and pop out at the transom without ever contacting a cross brace, which is where the dent would most likely occur. This is basically a dent prevention bracing system, another true shallow water feature, not found in traditional hulls. That being said, the Gator Trax Boats one piece hull is pulled up and held together in the front by the deck, in the back by the transom, and midship by these braces. Placing them below the false floor will not only give the hull two places to “catch dents”, but would also give our current lengthwise braces, (which are one solid piece), two interrupted weak spots.
The crimps on traditional flats are just that, crimps. They are not keels. They are on hulls that lack the rigidness and strength to stand on their own. The aluminum is just too thin to not be doubled over every so often to add strength. In short, they are for strength, not performance. Gator Trax Boats are made of .125 aluminum (5086 Marine Alloy) and have longitudinal bracing on the inside of the hull. This keeps your bottom free of crimps that hang on logs, banks, stumps, etc. to prevent hooking and dents.
Due to the lack of displacement. We have found that a boat shorter than 15', when loaded heavily, will draft an unacceptable amount of water for effective shallow water operation. The more surface area you have in contact with the water, (not to exceed extremes) the less water you will draft. Through research and development, we have found that shorter than 15' loses performance. However, if you are in need of a shorter hull, for whatever the reason, we will build it.
Yes. A commercial rated hull is a hull that does not have enough flotation to keep the hull afloat when full of water, or no flotation at all. Most of the aluminum flats we are accustomed to are commercially rated. A little flotation under the bench seats is not enough to keep you afloat when the boat fills full of water and it is fully loaded. A commercial rating simply lets you, the buyer, know that this boat, while it meets the requirements of being seaworthy, will not float if 100% full of water or below the water level. It does not mean that you have to use it in a commercial capacity as a consumer. It is a recommendation, not a requirement.

Our recreational rated hulls will float fully loaded as long as the limits on weight are not exceeded and safe boating is exercised. The advantages in a commercial hull are a lighter hull and offer more storage. Some of our competitors want you to believe the law makes commercial hulls illegal. Simply not true. If you read that law, it will state that it is illegal to claim a hull is recreational rated when it is not.
No. The US Coast Guard actually allows soft chine, flat bottom boats a higher horsepower rating than the traditional square chine, flat boat with crimps on the bottom. Why? Because the soft chine digs into the water and grabs it, causing it to dig in during the turn and keeping it from sliding. The traditional flat will slide before our hull ever will.
Yes. However, not several inches of draft as many of our competitors would have you believe. If you are comparing two exact same boats, (example; 50" bottom to 50" bottom), and both boats weigh the same, then the difference is less than 1/4". The difference is so insignificant that giving up the superior handling and performance of a rounded chine compared to any other chine is certainly not worth the 1/4" of draft.
No. It will draft more water because it has the same surface area as the hull without flotation, but is weighs more. The flotation in a boat only becomes a factor when you attempt to force it below the water level. Then, and only then, will the flotation become buoyant and keep your hull from sinking completely. Try this. Take a an empty 5-gallon bucket and seal it shut with a lid. Throw it in the water and mark where it floats. Now, take another one and fill it full of flotation foam. When you mark that one, it will float lower in the water because it is heavier. Now, poke a hole in both buckets. One will sink, and the other will float. That is the value of full flotation. Don't worry, we build both models to suit your needs.
The answer to the question is conditional. If you are running an outboard in very shallow water and you want the ability to run in 4” or 5” of water then the answer is yes. The tunnel will actually collect what little water is under the hull and funnel it to the prop. We use the tunnel on our personal fishing boats with outboards that we use to fish for reds and specks in the coastal marshes and would not trade them for anything! The tunnel will not work with a surface drive motor.