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Why the older Chris Craft Commanders are the best

February 22 2006 at 5:01 PM

Paul  (Premier Login FEfinaticP)

Doing a search on Mr. George Murray, I found the following about structural defects in Chris Craft Boats built in the late 1980s.


Boat defects fall into two categories: Issues of non-compliance with federal requirements and safety defects that “create a substantial risk of personal injury.” The latter have come to be defined as defects which occur without warning and which cause death or traumatic injury. Defects posing potential, rather than actual, peril are not investigated. Unlike laws for autos, boat laws were written to react to problems rather than being proactive.

For example, during the late 1980s, Amerosport 250 models built by Murray Chris Craft contained structural defects that caused hull cracks. The manufacturer cut the boats’ longitudinal frames or stringers to make it easier to install drain lines. Company officials knew this weakened the boats, but they didn’t warn owners. Chris Craft voluntarily recalled the Amerosports only after BoatUS publicized the problem.

The Coast Guard, meanwhile, declined to act on reports from BoatUS about Amerosports and hundreds of other Chris Craft boats with hull problems because there are no federal regulations for hull construction. The Coast Guard also said it could find no indication of a “substantial risk” hull defect linking several drowning deaths to Chris Craft boats that sank.


The following is an excerpt from Boat US:

The Amerosport 250 was the main problem, with “a scattering of complaints about the 320 and 230”, according to Boat US. Regarding the 230, here is a comment from Boat Usl “Our files do contain four reports about hull cracks (usually at the chines) and bulkhead separation from the hull, all involving 1987 Amerosport 230 models. If you have any doubts about your boat, hiring a marine surveyor to give it a close inspection would be a good investment.”

During the 1980s, during the Murray Chris Craft years, smaller Chris Craft
models (up to about 32 ft.) were built at three plants, in Bradenton, FL,
Holland, MI, and Goshen, IN. Boats produced at these factories tended to
have structural problems and BoatU.S. logged well over 300 complaints
from owners. I did a lot of research on these complaints and spoke with
plant managers and other Chris Craft employees, who confirmed that they were told to turn out boats as quickly as possible.

Another comment from BoatUS is as follows: “BoatU.S. published a series of articles about these hull problems and we got results. Following Murray Chris Craft's bankruptcy, OMC bought the company's assets and initiated a recall campaign on the Amerosport 250, which had been built with a stringer cut in half to facilitate running a drain line. The hulls were cracking at the spot where the frame had been cut.

At the same time Murray Chris Craft was having problems with the
smaller boats, the larger motoryachts were built at two separate factories, apparently with closer attention to detail because we never received any complaints about their structure or overal quality.”

This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Feb 24, 2006 4:01 AM

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