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Formula Boats: A Comprehensive Guide to Performance and Luxury

Formula Boats is a renowned powerboat manufacturer, known for producing high-quality and versatile vessels. As a family-owned company based in Decatur, Indiana, Thunderbird Products has a long-established philosophy of offering uncompromising quality in every detail of their Formula Boats line. This dedication to excellence has earned Formula Boats recognition as one of the world's premier powerboat manufacturers, with a well-regarded presence in the boating industry.

The diverse range of Formula Boats caters to the varying preferences of boating enthusiasts. From smaller boats measuring 23 feet to larger vessels extending to 48 feet, there is a model suitable for every taste and adventure. Formula boats are designed with innovative features that blend Super Sport performance with the versatile open bow and cabin elements of a Crossover. This unique combination allows boaters to experience the full potential of boating, enjoying all its aspects beyond traditional conventions.

History of Formula Boats

Formula Boats, a family-owned company located in Decatur, Indiana, has a rich history in the production of premier powerboats. It originates from Thunderbird Products, a renowned name in the boating industry for over six and a half decades, and has become recognized for their performance and quality construction in the United States and globally [1][4] .

The company had its beginnings with Don Aronow, who established Formula as his first boat company. Formula boats bear the distinct mark of Aronow's deep-V influence, which was derived from racing victories in the past [1].

Over the years, Formula Boats has gained a strong reputation in racing history. A notable accomplishment occurred in 1985, when Scott Porter raced the 302 SR-1 "Secret Formula" and won the Southeast Divisional Championship. Furthermore, Formula boats from the company's catalog triumphed at the American Power Boat Association World Championships in 2003, emphasizing their continued success in the industry [2].

Formula Boats has evolved to offer an extensive range of cabin cruisers, bowriders, and yachts, featuring sizes that range from 24 feet to 50 feet. These boats are celebrated for their luxurious, durable, and quality construction, coupled with their stability and handling in various waves and water conditions [5].

Through the decades, Formula Boats has maintained a commitment to innovative design and exceptional craftsmanship. By building upon their storied legacy, the company has attracted a devoted fanbase of lifetime Formula owners and continues to be a leader in the powerboat manufacturing industry [4].

Boat Models and Types


Formula Boats offers a variety of bowrider models suitable for different boating activities. Among their offerings is the innovative Crossover Bowrider, a versatile boat combining the best features of both bowriders and cruisers.


Formula boats are well-known for their performance cruisers, including the Formula 40 Performance Cruiser, which is characterized by its sleek design and powerful twin-engine system. This type of cruiser provides unmatched handling and speed capabilities, making it perfect for those who desire a fast and comfortable ride on the water.

Express Cruisers

The Formula 34 PC (Performance Cruiser) is a popular express cruiser offering both luxury and performance. This boat features a comfortable layout, with ample seating and lounging areas, making it ideal for overnight stays and long-distance cruising.

Sports Cruisers

For those looking for a sporty, yet comfortable boating experience, Formula offers models such as the 400 Super Sport and the 430 Super Sport Crossover. These boats blend performance and luxury, with a focus on high-speed capabilities and smooth handling.

Wide Beam Boats

For boaters seeking additional space and stability, Formula provides wide beam boat options like the 350 Crossover Bowrider. The wide beam design offers more room for passengers and gear, making it ideal for entertaining and watersports.

In summary, Formula Boats offers a comprehensive range of boat models and types to suit various boating activities and preferences. With a wide selection of bowriders, cruisers, express cruisers, sports cruisers, and wide beam boats, there's a Formula boat model for every boater.

Formulaflex and Craftsmanship

Formula Boats, a renowned powerboat manufacturer, offers a unique program called FormulaFlex™ that emphasizes individuality and personalization in key areas such as graphics, upholstery, surfaces, and electronics <a href="">(source)</a>. This program allows customers to interchange graphic colors and swap colors on the hullside graphics, resulting in a more personalized experience for boat owners.

Formula Boats carries out the graphic color painting process in-house, similar to how professionally painted show cars are done. They use an Axalata ChromaPremier base coat and an Imron Elite clear coat <a href="">(source)</a>.

In addition to the FormulaFlex™ program, the company also offers FormulaFlex MyWay™, which provides further customization options for customers who desire features beyond what is available at no cost through FormulaFlex™ <a href="">(source)</a>. This allows boat owners to have more control over the design aspects and make their Formula boat truly one-of-a-kind.

The craftsmanship of Formula Boats is what sets them apart in the industry. This family-owned company, located in Decatur, Indiana, is recognized for its beautiful styling, advanced engineering, and exciting performance on the water <a href="">(source)</a>. With a long-established philosophy of uncompromising quality in every detail, Formula boats continue to be renowned as premier powerboat builders.

The combination of the FormulaFlex™ program, the FormulaFlex MyWay™ offering, and the exceptional craftsmanship of Formula Boats creates an unparalleled customer experience. Boat owners can truly make a statement by customizing their boats with the perfect graphics, upholstery, and electronics, all backed by the renowned quality of Formula Boats.

Performance and Hull Types

Formula boats are known for their performance and range of hull types. Some of the popular hull types found in Formula boats include deep vee, modified vee, and planing hulls.

Deep vee hulls provide excellent performance in rough water, as they have a sharp bow entry that slices through waves, offering a smoother ride. This hull design is common in Formula boats such as their sports performance models. The deep vee hull design allows for better handling and stability when navigating choppy waters.

Modified vee hulls, on the other hand, are a combination of deep vee and flat bottom hulls. These hulls have a gradual transition from the bow's sharp angle to a flatter midsection and stern, allowing the boat to maintain stability at higher speeds while reducing the impact of waves. This versatile hull design is favored for various Formula boat models, as it provides a balance between stability and performance.

Planing hulls are designed to lift the boat out of the water as speed increases, creating a minimal wetted surface area and reducing drag. This design allows the boat to achieve higher speeds, as it enables the vessel to glide across the water. Formula boats also offer models with planing hulls for those seeking maximum performance.

In addition to these hull types, Formula boats are equipped with advanced technology and construction methods, such as the classic FASTech multi-step hull and a molded structural grid, increasing strength and durability. These innovative features contribute to the impressive performance and handling of Formula boats.

It is important to acknowledge that each hull type offers unique advantages, and the choice of hull design ultimately depends on the specific needs and preferences of the boater. However, Formula's diverse offerings cater to a wide range of requirements and preferences, ensuring that customers can find the boat best suited to their performance and handling expectations.

Propulsion Systems and Fuel Types

Propulsion systems in formula boats can be classified into several categories, including inboard, outboard, inboard/outboard (also known as sterndrive), and outboard-4s. Each of these systems has unique features and benefits, and each boat owner should consider their specific needs before choosing a propulsion system.

Inboard engines are located inside the hull, providing a low-profile appearance and optimal weight distribution. These engines are typically more powerful and are available in both gas and diesel options. Gas inboard engines are often more affordable but may have higher fuel consumption, while diesel inboards offer better fuel efficiency and torque but may come at a higher initial cost. Inboard engines are often preferred for larger formula boats, where their power and efficiency benefits become more significant.

Outboard engines are mounted externally on the transom of the boat, providing easy access for maintenance and allowing for a larger interior cabin space. Outboards come in various sizes and power ratings, with the outboard-4s being a popular choice for their fuel efficiency and quieter operation compared to traditional two-stroke models. Outboard engines typically run on gasoline, providing a relatively affordable fuel option. These engines are ideal for smaller formula boats and those who prioritize easy handling and lower maintenance requirements.

Inboard/outboard (Sterndrive) engines combine the advantages of inboard and outboard propulsion systems. The engine is located inside the hull like an inboard, but the drive unit is mounted on the transom like an outboard. This setup provides a balance between power, efficiency, and accessibility for maintenance. Sterndrive boats can run on either gas or diesel fuel, offering versatility in both power and fuel options.

To choose the ideal propulsion system and fuel type for a formula boat, factors such as boat size, usage, budget, and personal preferences come into play. Here's a summary of the key features of each propulsion system:

  • Inboard Engines

    • Located inside the hull
    • Optimal weight distribution
    • Available in gas or diesel
    • Suited for larger formula boats
  • Outboard Engines

    • External mounting on transom
    • Larger interior cabin space
    • Commonly run on gasoline
    • Suited for smaller formula boats
  • Sterndrive (Inboard/Outboard) Engines

    • Combines inboard and outboard features
    • Versatile in power and fuel options
    • Suited for a wide range of boat sizes

In conclusion, selecting the right propulsion system and fuel type for a formula boat comes down to the specific needs of the boat owner. Considering factors such as boat size, usage, and personal preferences will help to make the best choice for an enjoyable boating experience.

Boat Pricing and Dealers

When it comes to Formula Boats, a well-known powerboat manufacturer, there is a range of prices and dealers available for boat enthusiasts. The cost of Formula Boats varies depending on the model, age, and condition of the vessel.

On the more modest side, a Formula boat can be found for as low as $15,668, while more sophisticated, luxurious yachts can reach up to $1,712,127. A notable example of available models includes:

  • 34 PC
  • 45 Yacht
  • 400 Super Sport
  • 330 Sun Sport
  • 31 PC

Buyers interested in purchasing a Formula boat have multiple options, such as Boat Trader, where there are currently 590 Formula boats for sale, including 65 new vessels and 525 used boats. These boats are listed by both individuals and professional dealerships, primarily in the United States. The selection spans from classic boats built as far back as 1972 to more recent models up to the year 2024.

For those specifically seeking a dealer for their boat purchase, Boat Trader also provides a useful search tool to locate Formula boat dealers. Additionally, individuals who prefer to buy directly from a boat owner can find listings on Boat Trader by Owner.

When it comes to locations with a high concentration of dealers and popular boating destinations, Lake of the Ozarks offers a thriving boating community with several Formula boat dealerships in the area. The region offers an ideal environment for enjoying the luxury, performance, and style that Formula boats bring to the water.

In conclusion, Formula boat pricing and dealership options cater to a wide range of budgets and preferences. By considering factors like location, model, and condition, buyers can find an ideal Formula boat to suit their needs.

Boating Activities and Use Cases

Formula Boats are known for their versatility and can be used for various activities on the water. Some popular activities that can be enjoyed with Formula Boats include overnight cruising, day cruising, watersports, saltwater fishing, and freshwater fishing.

Overnight Cruising: Formula Boats offers a range of models that are suitable for overnight stays on the water. These boats have comfortable cabins, modern amenities, and a sleek design, making them ideal for weekend getaways or vacation trips with family and friends.

Day Cruising: Whether you are exploring local waterways, visiting nearby islands, or simply enjoying quality time with loved ones, Formula Boats provides a comfortable and enjoyable platform for day cruising. With ample seating, shade, and entertainment options available, day cruising on a Formula Boat is both relaxing and fun.

Watersports: Formula Boats are equipped for a variety of watersports, including water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. With their powerful engines and agile handling, these boats provide a thrilling experience for watersports enthusiasts. The Formula Boats blog highlights water skiing as a popular activity that can be enjoyed with their boats.

Saltwater Fishing: Some Formula Boat models, such as the 387 Center Console Fish, are designed specifically for saltwater fishing. They come equipped with features like rod holders, live wells, and fish boxes, essential to a successful day of fishing.

Freshwater Fishing: While many Formula Boats are geared towards saltwater fishing, they can also be used effectively for freshwater fishing. Anglers can easily adapt these boats to the specific needs of freshwater fishing by adding rod holders, tackle storage, and other necessary fishing accessories.

In summary, Formula Boats cater to a wide range of activities and uses. From overnight cruising to exciting watersports and rewarding fishing experiences, these boats offer versatility and performance to suit the varying interests of boating enthusiasts.

Cockpit, Luxury and Entertainment Features

Formula Boats are renowned for their exceptional cockpit design, luxurious accommodations, and innovative entertainment features. Their models, such as the 350 Sun Sport and 400 SSC, showcase these premium characteristics.

The cockpit, for instance, offers sumptuously contoured seating arrangements, designed with precision stitching for a touch of elegance. The flush cockpit sole provides seamless transition to the bow, further accentuated by an innovative slide-open windshield. This attention to detail in cockpit design ensures that the experience onboard any Formula boat is comfortable and enjoyable.

Luxury is exemplified in the spacious lounge area, which features wraparound seating with stainless-steel grab rails for safety. The open bow on some models, such as the 400 SSC, provides multiple views, keeping guests engaged during their time onboard.

Entertainment plays an integral role in any boating excursion, and Formula Boats doesn't disappoint. With the addition of bow tables to create social gathering points, guests can spend quality time together in comfort. The dedication to entertainment and relaxation can also be seen in the deep, secure lounges, which can be converted into sundecks, providing an excellent relaxation spot.

Innovation is evident in the design and features of Formula Boats. The integration of luxury and entertainment elements, along with the use of advanced materials and seamless design innovations, showcases the premium quality and attention to detail Formula Boats enthusiasts appreciate.

In summary, Formula Boats' cockpit, luxury, and entertainment features combine to provide an unparalleled experience for boating enthusiasts seeking a blend of innovative design, comfort, and elegance. From the sumptuous seating arrangements to the cutting-edge designs, these boats truly set the standard for luxury powerboats.

Technical Assistance and Customer Feedback

Formula Boats is dedicated to providing top-notch technical assistance to its customers. One of the key components of their customer support is the Technical Assistance Group (TAG) which is available to help boat owners with issues they may encounter. To enhance the customer experience, Formula Boats has expanded its support platform to offer 24/7/365 customer technical support (source). This ensures that customers have access to assistance whenever they need it.

New Formula boat owners also receive a free 5-year membership to Sea Tow, an on-water emergency service provider (source). Benefits of Sea Tow membership include 24/7 expert service, nationwide free boat towing, fuel delivery, covered groundings, and jumpstarts. Additionally, members can enjoy discounts on fuel, lodging, and more through the Sea Tow Savings Club.

Customers have shared their positive experiences with Formula Boats' level of service and technical assistance. Some of the feedback from clients includes appreciation for the swift response and resolution of issues, as well as the helpful nature of customer support personnel. The continuous improvement of Formula Boats' support platform and TAG's efforts demonstrate the company's commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction and providing the best services possible.

In summary, Technical Assistance Group and client feedback play crucial roles in upholding Formula Boats' reputation for excellent customer service. Offering round-the-clock technical support and valuable membership benefits, Formula Boats prioritizes the needs and satisfaction of its customers. 

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