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Smoker Craft Ultima 172 (2014-)
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Brief Summary

Since Smoker Craft was founded in 1961 the company has flourished on the philosophy that boating and fishing tradition begin and stays with the family. Having a boat that combines some of the attributes of a family bowrider with a multi-species fishing boat makes a combination that gives the Ultima 172 added utility.

Key Features

  • Hydra-lift rolled V-hull
  • Keels
  • Treated floor with lifetime warranty
  • 6 year carpet warranty
  • Vinyl floor covering
  • AM/FM stereo with auxiliary port for MP3 player
  • Trolling motor plug
  • Movable helm pedestal with slider
  • Fishing seats
  • 6'6'' in-floor rod rack storage
  • Specifications

    Length Overall 17' 3
    Beam 96''
    2.44 m
    Dry Weight 1,350 lbs.
    612 kg
    Tested Weight N/A
    Draft N/A
    - Draft Up N/A
    - Draft Down N/A
    - Air Draft N/A
    Deadrise/Transom 17-deg.
    Max Headroom Open
    Bridge Clearance N/A
    Weight Capacity N/A
    Person Capacity N/A
    Fuel Capacity 24 gal.
    91 L
    Water Capacity N/A
    Length on Trailer N/A
    Height on Trailer N/A
    Trailer Weight N/A
    Total Weight
    (Trailer, Boat, & Engine)

    Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

    Engine Options

    Std. Power Not Available
    Tested Power Currently no test numbers
    Opt. Power Not Available
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    Captain's Report

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The Smoker Craft Ultima 172 has a LOA of 17’3” (5.26 m), a beam of 96” (2.44 m) and she weighs in at 1,350 lbs. (612 kg), dry, without the engine.

    Mission Statement

    The mission of the Smoker Craft Ultima 172 is to provide a boat primarily for fishing, but one that can also successfully combine some of the characteristics of a family bowrider. She has the relatively high freeboard and open space that parents with young kids love, and as for fishing, she has dual livewells, 17 gallons stern/15 gallons bow (64 L / 57 L), plus a walkthrough casting platform and wood-free seats with the versatility of 6 bases.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The bow has padding so that it can easily be used as a conventional V-type bow seating arrangement.

    Distinguishing Features

    Hydra-Lift Rolled V-Hull.

    The builder says that the boat's reverse chine with integrated spray rails keeps the bow down for better hole-shots. The flared bow and spray rail provides a dryer ride. •

    Built-in Strength.

    Smoker Craft uses a single piece .125 gauge bottom and AIRS (Advanced Integrated Rib System) hat-shaped ribs on 10” (25 cm) centers that combine for strength. Five keels added to that enhance the strength further and also provide better tracking for straighter trolling and protect the bottom from rocky shorelines we all love to cast into. It also adds to the protection when launching and trailering the boat.•

    Twice-Baked Urethane Paint.

    This paint and process provides a tough, long- lasting finish.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The twice-baked urethane finish not only looks good, it’s also long lasting. Despite the cleat in this picture, we're told that the boat comes standard with pop-up cleats.

    Extra-wide, Full Cockpit-length Gunwales.

    These gunwales make boarding and disembarking easier as they create a wide step. Plus they are also reinforced to accept downriggers and accessories. •

    Flow Rite Livewell System.

    This state-of-the-art design draws water from the bottom of the tank while a hole in the top allows air to mix with the water. A separate recirculating pump works in a continuous loop to keep aerated water moving at all times, and a transom drain system provides for easy tank cleaning. •

    Limited Lifetime Warranty + 6.

    The warranty includes a limited lifetime warranty on the hull and structure, and a six-year warranty on all components, carpet, upholstery and electronics. It is fully transferable to a second owner, and includes parts and labor.•

    Convertible Bow Casting Deck.

    It starts like a walkthrough bow, much as a typical bowrider, but lift up a deck hatch, fold out the extension, and drop it back down to serve as a filler creating a full casting deck in seconds with no need to find storage space for the filler.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The Ultima 172 has a layout that includes 6 pedestal seat locations, 6 stainless drink holders, 2 livewells, 3 rod storage compartments, 2 additional storage compartments, below deck storage and high, curved windshields.

    Major Features

    Riveted Construction.

    Smoker Craft uses riveted construction instead of welding when building its boats. •

    XL Plywood Decks and Floors.

    Smoker Craft says its decks have a lifetime warranty against warp or rot. •

    Injected Urethane Foam.

    The builder says this process "eliminates water pockets and gives the boat more buoyancy and a quieter ride." All boats 20' (6.09 m) are required by the USCG to float level if swamped. •

    Flip-Up Jump Seats.

    The forward corners of the casting deck flip up to expose seats that rest on top of the deck.

    General Specifications

    The Ultima 172 is rated for a maximum of 150-hp. Since the builder is not affiliated with any particular engine maker, theoretically a buyer can choose the outboard. However, we would check with the local dealer on this score as the boats he has in stock may be pre-rigged for a particularly brand. The boat has a relatively deep cockpit for this length of boat at 25" (.64 cm). The transom height is also 25" (.64 cm). Deadrise at the transom is 17-degrees, an angle that is in the mid-range for this size and type of boat. We would say it is a good compromise between ride vs. speed and fuel-efficiency.

    Features Snapshots

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The Ultima 172 is rated for up to 140-hp. Base engine is a 90-hp.

    The Stern

    The rear deck includes a pedestal base in the forward center of the large casting deck. One of two livewells is also located here, this one is 17 gallons (64 L). The other is in the bow so there’s no need to keep transitioning back and forth to keep bait up. Both of these are making use of the Flow Rite system to draw water in from the bottom of the tank while mixing with air from a hole at the top. Two storage compartments are in the corners for additional fishing gear. Additional seats flip-up from the sides of the deck eliminating the need to move pedestal seats in and out. Very clever design.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The rear deck features a pedestal base with a livewell just behind. To the sides are flip-up jump seats. These pictures show fixed cleats but the builder tells us that the boat comes with pull-up cleats.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    With the jump seats flipped open, a comfortable riding position is created that suits adults and kids. Note that the boat's carpet extends to the outboard side of the cap rails, something that is somewhat unusual.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The Flow Rite Livewell System is a state-of-the-art design that draws water from the bottom of the tank while a spigot in the top allows air to mix with the water. A separate recirculating pump works in a continuous loop to keep aerated water moving at all times, and a transom drain system provides for easy tank cleaning.

    Rod storage on the 172 is not lacking. Under the port gunwales is a lockable compartment that holds up to four 8’ (2.4 m) rods. The cap rails to both port and starboard have a top-loading compartment that holds 6’6” (2 m) rods. Convertible in-deck storage holds six 6’6” (2 m) rods.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    Convertible storage in the deck can hold up to 6 rods or, with the insert taken out, converts to ski storage.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    Additional rod storage is in the cap rails to both port and starboard. These will accommodate rods up to 6’6” (2 m) long.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    Internal racks keep up to four rods organized.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    A rod sorter can be inserted into the in-deck storage locker for storing another 6 rods.

    The console

    is simple and uncluttered, laid out under a clean curve Taylor Made windshield that shows no distortion at the point where the windshield wraps around. The layout is rather minimalist but all the ingredients are present. Smoker Craft also offers a standard AM/FM stereo with MP3 port right at the helm. This option is something we’ve come to appreciate as we’re often boating alone and having to keep going to the observers console to skip a tune that is getting old.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The helm is basic and uncomplicated, just as it should be. We like being able to use the carpeted cap rail as an arm rest for the throttle.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The compass is a nice standard touch. A multi-function gauge to the right keeps clutter down. The blank spot can accommodate an optional depth gauge, but not really needed when we have a fishfinder.

    The Bow

    Heading to the bow, we have another casting deck with a second livewell, this time 15 gallons (57 L). Having two is a huge perk and one that many others in class are sorely lacking. This casting deck can also be converted to a walkthrough bow in seconds so it can be used as a conventional bowrider might, with some limitiations. Just lift a deck hatch, flip-out the hinged extension, and lay it back down. Voila… a casting deck.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    This flip-out casting deck insert is a brilliant use of space and eliminates the need to find storage for the insert.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    Just look at the comfortable-looking pedestal seats. The Ultima 172 comes pre-wired for the optional trolling motor.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The bow pads help the 172 maintain its family features along with the walkthrough deck. It converts to a casting deck in seconds.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    Another shot of the bow showing the removable cushions that can be used when in “bow rider” mode. The cockpit deck comes with a standard vinyl covering.
    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    The filler base flips out from the forward cover and fills in to create the casting deck. No need to worry about storing the filler piece. It’s hinged to the front section.

    Optional Considerations

    Smoker Craft offers some pre-packaged options that are pretty popular. First is an “All Weather” package that is as the name implies. It includes a mooring cover, snap-in carpet, and a fisherman’s top. The Anniversary package is all about looks so choose wisely. Here we have Anniversary paint, graphics, seats, and a Sea Weave snap-in carpet.

    Other Options.

    More along the must-have line is the Power Pack-1 package (no idea why it’s called Power Pack-1 when there’s no -2 offered). It includes a Hummingbird 718 fishfinder, a 70PD trolling motor, quick disconnect, shrink wrap and the dealer will hang the engine and rig all controls. Other options include hydraulic steering, 5 or 10 amp chargers, a swim platform, a ski tow pylon, the optional stereo and separate snap-in carpet.

    Smoker Craft Ultima 172
    Typically boats of this type are used by two buddies to go fishing or a father with his family.

    How Much Power?

    When we compare the Ultima 172 with other boats in class about the same length and weight we find that they are typically powered by engines from 75-hp to 125-hp. Before deciding on how much power is needed, consumers should decide on the primary and secondary missions of the boat. They should also decide on how fast they want to go.Since the primary mission of the boat is fishing, if watersports is a prospective owner's primary mission we would look elsewhere no matter what the power. Boaters who want a WOT speed in the low 40s with a couple of people aboard should opt for a 115-hp or 125-hp engine in our opinion. Those happy with a WOT speed in the high 30s and cruising in the low 30s, or high 20s should be happy with the 90-hp engine that comes standard.


    The MSRP of the Ultima 172 is $29,050 with a 90-hp engine and trailer.


    Smoker Craft takes the family business seriously. It’s been a family-run business for over 5 decades and three generations, and getting others families on the water is the main goal. We suspect that few if any anglers enter professional tournaments in the Ultima 172, but by the same token, those pro level boats are usually ill-equipped to bring the family out on. Most also cost much more than the Ultima 172, so which is more important? Be sure to answer that question with the wife and kids in the room.

    Standard and Optional Features


    Battery Charger/Converter Optional
    CD Stereo Standard

    Exterior Features

    Carpet: Cockpit Optional Snap-in
    Swim Ladder Optional


    Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!

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