Top Boating Trends in 2018 at Formula Boats

Top Boating Trends in 2018 at Formula Boats

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At Formula Boats, we’re focused on top boat trends for 2018, but in a unique way. We keep up with the trends because we’re the company that helps you build your dream boat — and a big part of that is customization.

Our flexibility in customization options has always been a part of our business. As time goes on, we continue to offer flexibility that’s tough to beat in the boating industry — you can design a boat online and customize it from the outside in.

The best boat manufacturers embrace giving their customers the ability to essentially be able to build a boat to their specs — and we do. Each year, our focus is on giving the maximum number of options and making it even easier to do. We’ve gathered a list of some of the most popular boat trends in four categories — color and graphics, paint, electronics and décor options. Each one includes the industry insight we have to customer demand, as well as how we’ve embraced that trend in our boat models for 2018.

Color and Graphics Trends

When it comes to color and graphics, the biggest trends all have the same, consistent foundation — a high-quality finish and the ability to customize your boat with a variety of colors and graphics available. At Formula Boats, we’ve been dedicated to providing that foundation regardless of what color and graphics styles are trending. Here are a few of the trends we’ve noticed working with our customers:

1. Tailored Graphics

In an ideal world, boaters want to have some level of control over the graphics on their boat. Whether it’s the shape and/or the color — having the opportunity to tailor boat graphics to their preferences is one of the top boating industry trends in 2018. At Formula Boats, we give our customers options and try to keep designs fresh. For example, just this past year we added two bold, new platinum graphic designs, Cosmic Fire and Cosmic Ice, to our FAS3Tech® performance boats.

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2. The Color Blue

The color blue is trending as a popular exterior color — whether you choose a dark blue or a soft blue, this color goes well with a variety of accent hues. Colors are something we take very seriously at Formula Boats — we can match that shade of blue to your car, alma mater or the color of your significant other’s eyes.

3. Tone-On-Tone

Tone-on-tone is a phrase used to describe a variety of shades of the same color on the exterior of a boat — and it’s a popular choice among our customers. Perhaps, for example, you’d take the trendy color blue and have the hull painted in a shade of dark blue, with the graphic in a lighter shade of blue, or vice versa.

4. Metallics

Metallic colors are also a popular choice. Last year, we introduced a crystal blue metallic for our Sun and Super Sport boats. We also have our Flagship Fusion, which offers a multicolor fade effect, and we’ve added gold and silver graphic and color options for our FAS3Tech® performance boats.

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5. Color Customization

Regardless of whether you want a trendy blue, tone-on-tone or metallic, the bottom line is boaters want to be able to customize the color palette of their boat. Color customization goes hand-in-hand with painting. Paint is much more flexible and gives you the option to choose from a wider variety of colors.

We have over 50 Formula Boat paint colors in our Formula Library — and we let you mix and match. If you see a color on a different style of boat that you like, we’re happy to give you that color. You can grab colors from any of the images you see in our gallery. If you don’t see your favorite color among these 50 choices, our FormulaFlex™ MyWay™ program gives you the opportunity to upgrade and offers you virtually endless possibilities. Match any of the 1,341 solid Pantone® colors or any of the thousands of colors from the major worldwide automotive manufacturers.

Paint Trends

Paint never goes out of style. You’re probably wondering where we stand on the boat gel coat vs. paint debate, too. The answer is you won’t find much boat gel coat at the Formula Boats factory. Why do we prefer paint? The short answer is because it’s aesthetically and functionally superior. When you compare boat gel coat vs. paint, you’ll notice our paint doesn’t oxidize, it’s repairable and it gives a unique depth of color to the graphics.

The decision to paint our boats dates all the way back to the late 1980s. We decided to provide a superior finish and invested in the equipment to do it. To this day, our eight spray booths and the rest of our painting and graphics facility is one of a kind. One of the biggest differences between gel coat and paint on boats is that gel coat fades over time — and while it’s possible to buffand refinish it, we didn’t want our customers to have to bother with that. We’ve also only been able to find three gel coat colors that meet our quality test standards.

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All you have to do to see the difference is look at a boat from Formula Boats — the first thing you’ll notice is the high-gloss finish with an amazing depth of color. What’s our secret to getting such a picture-perfect finish? It’s in the paint.

All of our boats are painted and finished in a process that’s very similar to that used to paint and finish luxury cars. Our paint is an automotive base clear coat, called Axalta™ ChromaPremier® Basecoat/Imron® Elite Clearcoat — it’s the same paint you see on Cadillacs and Mercedes. This stuff never chalks, fades or needs to be buffed back like the colored boat gel coat many commonly use.

Our multi-stage process creates brilliant designs — impossible to achieve with gel coat or Imron paint alone. We’re able to get stunning graphics on our boats without the use of accent tape striping.

The best part is it’s low maintenance. You take care of it just like you take care of your car — wash and wax — and the paint job will outlast the boat.

Electronic Trends

While the thought of being unplugged for a day of boating may be a nice thought initially, the trends show the reality is we all want the ability to remain plugged into social media, radio, GPS and more while we’re on the water. That’s why in addition to adding cutting-edge piloting, lighting and navigation on our boats, we also go the extra mile to make sure you won’t have to miss a beat on the water. This is not your grandfather’s boat.

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1. Bluetooth Integration

Whether you prefer texting, calling, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, it’s important to share your adventures with your family and friends. It’s no surprise that one of the top boating trends is Bluetooth capabilities. Having the ability to connect via Bluetooth helps you share your experience with those close to you.

To help you keep your Facebook timeline and Snapchat story up to date from your phone, we’ve included multiple USB charging ports and Bluetooth capabilities as a standard feature on all of our Sun Sport and Super Sport boats. You’ll never run out of battery.

2. GPS Systems

Just you and the wide-open water — an exciting thought to some, but intimidating to others. As technology advances, it makes sense that marine GPS systems are a must, whether you’re plotting your next course or searching for fish.

There are a wide variety of marine GPS systems available, everything from basic models to the latest models with all of the bells and whistles. Regardless of which you choose, navigating the wide-open water is certainly made easier with a GPS system. Who knows — it just might lead you to your new happy place.

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3. Digital “Joystick” Piloting

Joysticks are no longer just for playing video games. Navigating with a digital joystick provides the ultimate driving experience on the water. This technology gives you more control over the movement of your boat forward, backward and side-to-side — it’s especially handy for making corrections due to wind and currents. It’s also helpful when you’re pulling into the dock.

On most of our boats, this top boat trend comes standard — we believe it’s an intuitive way to steer a boat.

4. Digital Dashboards

Digital dashboard displays make controlling each part of your boat seamless. Whether you’re cruising, fishing, exploring or jamming, digital dashboards make it easy to see everything in one place — and make adjustments to your engine, stereo and GPS.

Our FAS3Tech® series of performance boats features digital shifters/throttles and intuitive waterproof rocker switches within easy reach.

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5. LED Lighting

Who doesn’t want their boat to have an extra glow? You can fully seal LED lights to eliminate corrosion concerns, and they can last for thousands of hours of use. You also have the opportunity to change their colors, customizing your boat’s look, but also maximizing your vision on a night fishing trip.

You have the option to get blue LED underwater and cockpit lighting for all of our Bowrider models. Our FAS3Tech® series of performance boats features illuminated gauges, digital instrumentation and navigational electronics logically arrayed on sleek, liquid black aluminum dash panels. FAS3Tech® series of performance boats features illuminated gauges, digital instrumentation and navigational electronics logically arrayed on sleek, liquid black aluminum dash panels.

6. Stereo Systems

If you like to cruise on the water, chances are you enjoy listening to your favorite tunes while you do it. It may scare the fish away, but adding a little bass-heavy sound is something many boaters are interested in having as they spend time on the water.

Our Bowrider boats come standard with a Clarion AM/FM stereo with 6 1/2-inch speakers. Choose to upgrade the stereo system in any of our Bowriders to include lighted cockpit speakers and a subwoofer. Our FAS3Tech® series of performance boats come with premium stereo systems throughout with dashboard and transom remotes — subwoofers and blue LED lighted speakers also come standard. With one of these performance boats, or our come with premium stereo systems throughout with dashboard and transom remotes — subwoofers and blue LED lighted speakers also come standard. With one of these performance boats, or our Sun Sport and Super Sport boats, you certainly won’t be at a loss for music with iPod™/MP3 and iPod/USB ports and the ability to activate a SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio subscription with ease.

7. HDTVs

Love time spend out on the water, but want to catch the end of the game? Or maybe you’re planning an overnight trip, and you don’t want to miss out on the comforts of home? You aren’t alone. That’s why many of our boat cabins feature larger LCD HDTVs with a clear, sharp picture — plus Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray players.

Décor Trends

Trends surrounding boat cabins continue to evolve. Customization is also key in interior décor options. Overall, there are a few top boat trends in this area, including the use of textured vinyl, lack of carpet, interior design and the ability to mix and match cabin features.

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1. Textured Vinyls

Textured vinyl for upholstery is trending. While we’ve always had vinyl options on our boats, we’re selective when it comes to the quality of our interior vinyl. That’s why we’re working to offer more options while making sure we don’t sacrifice superior quality. If it doesn’t spec out to our quality standards, we aren’t going to provide it, no matter how trendy it is.


We offer base colors of white, tan and gray. These neutrals are the perfect combination for the over 20 accent colors we offer. Accent colors are ideal for giving your vinyl some personality. For example, in our Bowriders, you’ll have color options ranging from electric blue to latte.

2. No More Carpet

Carpet is a thing of the past. While the non-skid characteristic was certainly an attribute that made sense for many boats, there are synthetic flooring options that offer the same quality but are easier to clean and dry faster. You’ll see this trend reflected in many of our boat models — at Formula Boats, when we discover a more efficient material that maintains our high-quality standards, we make it available to our customers.

3. Interior Design

When you have a boat with a cabin, you want it to feel like an extension of home — so it’s no surprise that one of the top trends on our list is décor personalization. It may not have anything to do with the performance of the boat, but having an aesthetically pleasing cabin is important.

That’s why in our FAS3Tech® series, 430 All Sport Crossover and Sun and Super Sport, you’ll find four standard interior décor combinations to choose from, including warm Gulf Sand, sophisticated Pebble Beach, cool Silver Surf and the edgy Midnight Treasure/FX. If one of these isn’t what you’re looking for, you’re able to personalize even more through FormulaFlex™.

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4. High-Quality Function

Boaters are looking for superior quality features that serve a purpose. While we all want our cabin space to look nice, that’s only half of the goal — it needs to be functional as well.

You’ll find high-gloss cabinetry thatis precisely cut and shaped for exacting assembly and fit, with drawers that are dovetailed hardwood maple construction. Space is at a premium in boat cabins, so having everything cut exactly right is key to maximizing the space.

5. Mix-And-Match Features

Just like the mix-and-match trend with paint and graphics, the same goes for internal cabin choices — everything from the cabinets to the bedspreads.

This mix-and-match ability takes your interior design to a whole new level. If none of the out-of-the-box combinations are appealing, you have the option to customize it even more. We offer five cabinetry choices — wenge, open grain walnut, open grain driftwood, ash and linen steel. Each cabinet has a corresponding wood floor that complements the design.

From there, you can choose doors, countertops and — depending on what accessories your boat cabin has — fabrics, bedspreads and pillows. Customers that make the trip to our factory have the opportunity to sit down and flip through books with hundreds of fabric swatches to choose from.

Of course, these selections aren’t the same selections we’ve been offering since we opened our doors — they have evolved. But, if you discover something you like that we’ve done in the past and isn’t on our current list, we’ll do our best to bring it back just for your boat.

Here are a couple of examples of opportunities our customers have to mix and match features in two key areas of the interior — lounges and galleys, specifically for our Sun and Super Sport, Performance Cruiser and Bowrider boats:

  • – Ultraleather lounges give you the opportunity to mix and match upholstery, flooring and décor to create a relaxing escape.
  • – Galleys enable you to choose from beautifully finished cabinetry, upscale Corian® surfaces and solid wood tables to give you a functional space that’s also stylish. Fabric choices enhance each theme.

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Overall Flexibility — FormulaFlex™

In each of these trend categories — paint and graphics, electronics and décor — flexibility and personalization are an overarching theme trend. We get it. You want to build your dream boat and customize it in every way possible. That’s why we’ve created FormulaFlex™ and FormulaFlex™ MyWay™.

Here are some examples of the thing you can customize through these new programs:

  • – Exterior graphics
  • – Basecoat colors
  • – Upholstery base, accent and piping colors
  • – Cabin fabrics
  • – Corian surfaces
  • – Cabinetry
  • – Positioning of electronics
  • – Graphic color selection plus more cockpit, cabin and electronic choices
  • – Pillow, drapery and bedspread fabrics

With superior quality and standards along with our flexibility, our boats stand the test of time rather than trends. Have you ever wanted to design your own boat online? Our online boat builder gives you the opportunity to choose one of our boat models and personalize it from the outside in.

See Boating Trends Come to Life

Whether you’re interested in purchasing a new boat or are a boating industry enthusiast, we’re sure you’d like to get a behind-the-scenes look at our Formula Boats Factory. Keeping up with boating trends is fun, but seeing the facility and staff that work together to bring trendy, new boats to life is even better. This is an opportunity to get behind-the-scenes at a facility that’s equipped with the latest in advanced technology to ensure a superior level of quality.

Our factory, now at nearly 600,000 square feet has been continually updated and improved for research and development — and it’s open for you to tour! Tours of our factory are usually scheduled weekly, but contact us if you’re planning a visit so we can be sure there’s a factory tour for you.


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