Princecraft Aluminum Boat
In 1973 I had my first part-time job working in the Sports Department of our local Canadian Tire store. It wasn’t a bad job, I enjoyed sporty outdoorsy stuff like fishing, hunting, hockey, camping, you name it, in those days, just like today, Canadian Tire sold it.
I began my illustrious retail career assembling and repairing bicycles, tricyles and for that matter anything else that had to be assembled, including artificial Christmas trees when the Christmas season rolled around.
I started working for $1.75 per hour and worked my way up to $2.15 per hour, when I moved from assembling stuff to working as a store clerk in the Sports Department. That was before the days when everyone was called a “customer service representative” or some other glorified job title like they have today.
I thought I had it made when Kmart, located across the street from Canadian Tire stole me away for $2.25 per hour.
Kmart gave me a job in the furniture department, apparently they had learned of my prowess assembling stuff. Ultimately it probably saved lives, when a wheel comes off a chair it is usually less dramatic than a wheel coming off a kids bicycle going downhill.
One of the first things I purchased with my newfound riches, was a Princecraft aluminum boat, from Princecraft Aluminum Boats, a Canadian company.
The first Princecraft aluminum boat I bought was a 12 foot model called the “Ungava.” Modern boat parlance would describe it as a “utility boat”. I paid the “Princely” sum of $495.00 including taxes.
The Ungava was a well built open boat, with deep sides, plywood seats, and considering it was only 12 feet long, it was a great boat for the often choppy, rough waters of our cottage lake.
In fact, in my opinion, it was the best 12 foot boat available around here in those days, the other 12 footers were smaller, usually made with the intention of being “car toppers”.
I ran that Princecraft aluminum boat with a 9.5 Johnson outboard for many, many years. It eventually began to leak around the rivets, and I sold it to an acquaintance who refurbished it with some new rivets and as far as I know, he still has it.
In those days a 12 foot boat on our lake took quite a pounding, especially with a 9.5 horsepower motor and a teenager at the helm. The rough lake took it’s toll on the short boat, which I admit pounded quite hard.
Princecraft aluminum boat began being manufactured under the company name “Aluminum Boats and Canoes” in Princeville, Quebec in 1954 and became Princecraft.
In 1973, around the same time I purchased my first aluminum Princecraft boat, Aluminum Company of Canada (ALCAN) purchased Aluminum Boats and Canoes and merged the company with another aluminum boat manufacturing company they owned, called Springbok.
For several years they sold aluminum boats under both names, Sprinkbok and Princecraft. For all intents and purposes, around here, you either owned a Princecraft or a Springbok, any other aluminum boats were anomalies. The companies manufactured several models and styles, but the red painted Springboks became quite common on our lake.
In my opinion, the 12 foot Springbok model was not nearly as seaworthy as the 12 foot Princecraft Ungava. I owned one of each for a time, and found the Ungava safer. The Springbok had fewer rivets, which was a plus, as fewer rivets meant less places for it to leak.
Sometime in the late 1980’s I purchased a new 14 foot Springbok aluminum boat from a local boat retailer. As I recall I paid around $1400 for it. It was one of the first of the new ‘modified semi-v hull’ designs that were being offered. The model I purchased is called the “Fisherman.”
It was then that I learned from the dealer that I could have a Springbok or Princecraft as the company had merged the lines and the only difference was the decal on the side.
I ended up with a Springbok aluminum boat because that was what he had in stock. Up until then I did not realize that the two boats lines were owned by the same company. Ya live and learn I guess.
I still have that boat today and it is as good today as it was when I purchased it. It’s a little different than the same boats that hit the water the following year as it was not painted the signature blue color that denoted the boats the following years.
Today, the Springbok name appears to have become one specific model in the Princecraft lineup. It is the “Princecraft, Springbok DL BT” model.
In 1990 Outboard Marine Corporation, (OMC) famous for the Johnson and Evinrude lines of boat engines, purchased the parent company, which was Altra Marine, and acquired Princecraft.
In 2001, Brunswick International Limited acquired Princecraft and the company became Princecraft Boats Inc.
These days Princecraft makes every aluminum boat you might want, and I want one of each…check out their website to see all the models as well as lots of tips and info for boaters. Princecraft.com
Personally, I believe Princecraft manufacture some of the best boats on the water today, and if you get a chance to purchase one, don’t pass it up.
Wow, I started out talking about my first job assembling bicycles at Canadian Tire and ended up selling boats, I do cover some ground here at The Cottage Chronicles…..