Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
Since 1903 the family behind Starcraft boats have paved the way with innovative designs, striking new technology, and a seemingly endless stream of accolades and recognition from both consumers and industry peers. If I’m looking to invest in my next boat, I want to know I am partnering with a brand that has the right combination of staying power and passion for my investment. You get all that, and more, with Starcraft.
The Delta 188 DC is a welcome addition to the Starcraft lineup. Since its introduction in 2020 it has served notice to the competition and made waves on retail showroom floors. In a word, this boat is a weapon!
Powered by Suzuki’s 150 Four Stroke and decked out in Sapphire Blue with Silver Stripe and graphics package, the 188 DC looks stunning dockside. Burgundy or black colour choices are also available. Our test boat was fitted with the optional Fisherman’s Top, full enclosure, and bow cover. While some may say all that canvas hides the beauty of the boat, I say all that canvas means an earlier start and a later end to the fishing season. I don’t know how that can possibly be a bad thing.
That being said, some factory canvas installations make the mistake of not providing enough ventilation and/or access options. Not so on the 188 DC. All 3 forward curtains between the windshield and the top can be individually removed, there are ‘smiley face’ windows on both port and starboard side panels, and the rear curtain has a generously wide double zipped opening. There’s a seemingly endless array of options for each and every different boating day. I have to note that I stand 6’ 1” tall and am always nervous about top height – but there was tons of room to spare which was perfect.
The interior design and attention to detail on the 188 DC is what sets her apart from so many other boats in this category.
On the bow casting deck storage abounds with 4 carpeted and generously sized storage compartments – think lifejackets, anchors, safety gear, and extra tackle. The pre-wired trolling motor system allows you to pair your choice of trolling motor to suit your needs, and the 68L (18 US gallon) Fresh Catch aerated bow livewell allows you to take care of business while you are on deck. A lockable center rod storage locker securely stows up to 12 rods and an assortment of gear.
The cockpit brought endless smiles to my face – the helm lays behind a beautiful and tall windshield (think cool spring/fall mornings), your Captain’s dash is a work of art with hot rod automotive appeal adorned with a wrapped tilt steering wheel, toggles, stereo access, and all the right gauges. Over to the Co-Captain side, there is a right sized glove box and that same hot rod dashboard feeling. At your feet, tucked neatly under the dash, is a 12 litre removable baitwell with its own 12V charging system.
Easy to clean vinyl adorns the flooring throughout the cockpit and the in-floor drainage system runs from helm to stern on both sides. Four seat bases are standard along with 3 seats. The easy to use IGTS (Integrated Gunnel Track System) starts in the forward bow and runs all the way to the stern on both port & starboard sides – add your choice of gear based on your style of fishing. An additional lockable rod locker can be found under the port side gunnel, while quick access storage lays under the starboard gunnel.
The stern casting platform starts with a pair of wide and comfy jump seats, houses a 106 L (28 US gallon) aerated Fresh Catch livewell along with a seat base, has battery access, and an additional storage compartment.
Our September test day started at a brisk 3 degrees Celsius (yeah, it was cold), and thankfully by the time we got onto Georgian Bay for testing the temps had made their way up to about 12 degrees (that’s 54 F for those who want the reference). The Bay itself decided to light up before we got out there and we found ourselves running into swells 2’ in height and rollers spread about 6’ apart. While not ideal conditions for performance tests, these waters were great for pushing the 188 hull to the test. The hull is built from Starcrafts’ Vertex Performance Strake design which they tout as providing best in class performance, undisturbed water to the prop, great hole shots, and a high dry ride.
Despite the conditions we found blistering hole shots in the 3.5 second range, great cruising speeds, and a quick and eager willingness to climb to top speeds. Admittedly I tapped out at 48 MPH (in the pure interest of safety) and I firmly believe 50 is achievable. More importantly is the cruising speeds, which is where most boating takes place. With a full load of fuel, safety gear, and just me on board, 20 MPH @ 3100 RPM was just about perfect. Always remember that every hull and engine package will perform differently based on load conditions and other factors. Take the time to get to know your boat!
The Starcraft Delta 188 DC is a home run. She’s a great performer, she’s striking at the dock, inspirational and functional in her interior, and she will serve for years as a capable performer for any angler.
|Dry weight:||1,603 lbs||727 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||38 US gals||143 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Suzuki|