My first memories of Arima Boats harkens back to my Salmon and Albacore fishing days on the West Coast of Northern California. The water is numbingly cold, cold enough to quickly cause hypothermia resulting in certain death in about 30 minutes. The fact of the matter is the hardy breed of sport fishermen and women that use Arimas to pursue the Albacore tuna and Salmon are very selective about which craft they operate in the big Pacific.
It is common to run 50 miles from the dock in potentially rough and really cold conditions. I was lucky enough to captain a 26' diesel powered boat that was owned by someone other than myself. It was a 26' Fortier built in the North East, a very seaworthy vessel. I also took note of what other boats fisher folk put their faith in, especially the small ones. There is one that everybody knows and that is the venerable Boston Whaler 17 Montauk. The concept of the "unsinkable boat" was quite marketable and had a certain air of invincibility. The regular use of foul weather gear for a casual cruise or a long fishing trip was a detracting feature however, as these boats were not only known as very seaworthy but also very wet and somewhat less than comfortable. I have distinct memories of people on 16' Arimas with the standard soft top up, way out in the Pacific with the "big boys "looking as though the world was right and without discomfort or worry.
Juichi Arima and Don Gross were and still are boat builders based in Seattle. They worked for a company called Fiberform. Fiberform built big boats for the, cruising, and commercial fishing market. There are many Fiberforms still running to this day and have a sterling reputation as a strong and seaworthy West Coast boat. Don and Juichi are both sport fishermen that love the great Salmon, Cod, and Dungeness Crab fisheries, as well as the beautiful cruising opportunities available in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. They felt there was a need for a smaller, but equally seaworthy craft for the sport angler and cruiser. A boat that could be towed by a small to midsize vehicle, kept in ones garage or driveway, and still allow for comfortable and economical use in the less than tropical conditions of the Northwest. Thus, Arima Boats was founded 22 years ago.
Arima Marine is still a small company located in Auburn, Washington. Their model lineup consists of 15' through 22' foot models. The construction technique is totally handmade throughout the entire process utilizing all composite "unsinkable" structural materials and genuine human craftspeople .The designs are concepts that work for the long term with innovations such as foam filled stringer systems, and after planes on the hull which have been widely copied by numerous manufacturers .The early boats were small and tested extensively until the desired results were obtained. One of the many long-term employees told me of a picture of Don and Juch towing a 16 footer behind a Volkswagen Beetle. That gave me a familiar and historical feel to my middle aged sensibilities as well as making a statement to efficiency. Speaking of the long term, the average length of employment for Arima Craftspeople is around 10 years, which is unheard of in the fiberglass industry. Arima has employed a few for 20+ years and that says a lot in my book. A good "non corporate" company with longevity, making a good product is unusual in today's marketplace. Perhaps "old fashioned" is an applicable term.
I now reside on the Gulf of Mexico in Northern Florida. I have developed a new respect for a boat design that is comfortable and capable in the "Square Chop" By that I mean waves that are equal in height to their distance apart. That is a common condition in the Sounds of the Northwest as well as the Great Lakes and the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I think that there is far more challenge in the design and execution of boats when intended for use in these conditions. In the big rolling swells of the Atlantic and the Pacific the challenges of design are different .But if it works in the Square Chop it will work well just about anywhere. Arima has combined the design, quality, and the style to appeal to Gulf Fishermen as well as intercoastal cruisers. It's not a boat based on an image or status or "lifestyle" as much as the reality of years of testing and day-to-day function. That is an enduring statement in itself.
My wife and I recently had the opportunity to sea trial a 17-foot Sea Chaser in a couple different scenarios. That is the model with the smaller cuddy cabin. The feel is of a far larger boat with room to stow amazing amounts of gear and still have what has been termed as the "spousal approval unit " otherwise known as the porta potti. The cockpit is deep and you stand at water level making gaffing or netting an easy job. The side mounted controls [as opposed to a "Center Console"] design allows for front to back utilization of space. Another unique Arima Feature is the forward driving position. The visibility is great and with the 50-degree entry dead rise the ride is excellent even though you are at the front of the boat. The boats are all made to plane with lower horsepower motors at slower speeds than most boats. In rough water it allows you to pick a comfortable speed we were able to make 18 miles an hour in 2-3 foot seas. In bigger swells the boats short length allow it to "fit" in between swells. In smooth water you can still get up and go. The boat we tested had a silky smooth 70 Suzuki 4 stroke. One of the impressions you get immediately is how stable the boat is at rest. The beam is 8' and this is on an 17 foot boat! It is almost as wide as it is long. The boat is capable of comfortably fishing 4 anglers with plenty of gear. The built in insulated fish boxes in the floor save space and there is a cover over the motor that provides a place for cutting bait, rigging tackle, and holding a beverage with the included Aroma Cozies. There are bait wells in the corners of the transom that are quite handy .One is plumbed as a live well and the other is plumbed to the fresh water tank located in the bow. Scenario 1 was a King Mackerel Trolling Day. We ventured out to the reef and found the boat to be really comfy to fish on .We were out about 20 miles and felt very safe and comfortable. Scenario 2 was a Scallop diving trip with another couple .We loaded a 200 Qt. SSI cooler in the back along with all our snorkeling gear, food, etc, and headed west in the intracoastal waterway for an 85 mile round trip to the scallop grounds. Every piece of gear had a place and there was room to spare .The boats draft with all aboard was about 12" and the side mounted dive ladder worked well .The economy was great as we burned just 17 gallons of fuel on our adventure.
This may not be the boat for everybody, but if a boat with a classic design and very high quality construction that serves multiple purposes in an economical way appeals to you, it might just be worth looking at. Their website is: www.arimaboats.com. This site is quite informative and well worth a look .If this sounds like a boat you can use and enjoy contact one of their full service dealers for more information and a sea trial.