Clearwater Drifter by NRS

10 comments / Posted on / by

NRS Clearwater Drifter

Clearwater Drifter by NRS

NRS had a very strong showing at the 2012 IFTD show in Reno this year with it’s newest boat model, the Clearwater Drifter. It won the best in show award for watercraft and created quite the buzz among the shows attendees. I personally was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the Clearwater Drifter’s super innovative design. I couldn’t help myself from thinking, “this is the perfect boat for my guiding and recreational fishing”. The Clearwater Drifter is the world’s first inflatable dory style boat of its kind to hit the market. It’s self-bailing, drafts only 2 inches of water with three people in the boat, and it’s more responsive than cataraft and other rafts on the market. The total package can be purchased for $5995. That’s a price point we like.

Three years in product development in the field, NRS has run through its design and all the boats features with a fine tooth comb, making sure the boat is loaded with functionality, durability and quick adjustability. Take for instance its solid transom that can be equipped with a kicker motor, or it’s beefed up rowing seat that’s ergonomic and features a drain hole for water. The entire NRS frame can be adjusted in just a few moments on the river if you’re trading off oar time with your buddies, and I think everyone will appreciate the diamond plated floors in the bow and stern. Another great feature you don’t regularly see in drift boats is a stripping basket in both the front and back of the boat. Weighing in at only 315 pounds the Clearwater Drifter puts itself in the same weight class of most fiberglass drift boats on the market. It’s inflatable design allows the boat to be packaged and shipped anywhere in the USA very economically. If you’re currently in the boat buying process we highly encourage you to take a serious look at the NRS Clearwater Drifter.

For more information about the NRS Clearwater Drifter, please watch our product video and interview with Jim MacAllister, the man who came up with this awesome design.

Clearwater Drifter Features:

  • Heavy-duty drop-stitch PVC construction inflates to 9 psi for a rigid hull that excels in shallow and rocky waters
  • Abrasion-resistant material holds up to the abuse of river running
  • A drainage port in the center of the boat makes the Clearwater completely self bailing
  • The frame disassembles and the hull rolls up for easy transport and storage
  • The Clearwater’s three-chamber design ensures it will keep floating and rowing even if one air chamber is compromised
  • High “rocker” in the bow and stern shorten the waterline for superior rowing while helping the boat ride over waves
  • Casting stations in the bow and stern feature swiveling angler seats, diamond-plate decks and thigh hooks with stripping baskets for secure, comfortable casting in smooth or rough water
  • A padded rowing seat and adjustable foot bar ensure all-day comfort for the oarsman
  • An integrated pulley system lets the guide operate the anchor from the rowing seat
  • A heavy-duty rub rail on the gunwales protects high-wear areas
  • 3″ stainless steel D-rings at the bow provide handy tie-off points and let you winch the Clearwater Drifter onto a trailer
Clearwater Drifter Specifications:
  • Weight: 315 lbs.
  • Length: 17′
  • Beam: 82″
  • Bottom width: 55″
  • Side Height: 26″
  • MSRP: $5995          800.635.5202
Keep it Reel,
Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

10 thoughts on “Clearwater Drifter by NRS

  1. Kent, I have looked at this and would appreciate any info you have on folks that have used it. I am in the market for a boat but for $6K (without shipping though) that gets you into a Boulder Boat Works CRT.

    Other than the rentals I’ve rowed I’m relying on industry folks like yourself for information. There is no place to “test” any of these boats and that it makes it hard to make a choice, etc.

    • Metafishic,

      Your best bet is to call up NRS and ask for some references that have purchased the boat or get on some forums.

      I love Boulder Boatworks but when you factor in the cost of the trailer and a model like the “River Taxi” that I think is awesome, you are talking way more than 6k for the complete set up.

      Its not up on the NRS website yet, not even sure if they are taking orders yet. I like what I saw at the show though and I think its a pretty safe purchase in my opinion.


  2. One question I’ve not seen answered in the various press releases for this boat: What are the advantages of the soft boat over a traditional hard boat?

    • Dean,

      Below are some advantages:

      1. Self Bailing for draining water. Thats nice if a down pour comes, you also don’t have to worry about your gear sitting in a puddle of water.

      2. You can deflate the boat and transport it without a trailer or ship it ups across the country.

      3. The hull and footprint it has is rated to ride shallower than most hard bottomed drift boats, only 2″.

      4. It slides over rocks and its tough PVC material allows you to drop it in at tough locations where there aren’t nice put in and take outs. Sliding it down a rocky bank is no problem, where you have to worry about your gel coat and boat a little more with fiberglass boats.

      5. It’s very quiet on the river and also very stable. If you miss a rock and hit it, it won’t jar you and make a loud knocking sound.

      This all being said, there isn’t a perfect drift boat for all water types. Its important you figure out where you will be fishing the most and choose the correct type of drift boat for you.


  3. I think this thing looks really awesome. However I think that you really have to ask youreself whether you need that portablility/shipping ability before you pull the trigger on one. It stil weighs 315lbs and I am sure takes up a fair amount of room when taken apart. So it’s not as if you are gonna throw it in the trunk of your civic… Also a bare bones 16ft aluminum drift boat such as a Willie is right around this weight as well.

    I think for people who are on the fence about a round raft or a drift boat, it is a great 3rd option. I went back and forth about raft vs db when I lived in AK for the remote float option. SO glad I got a DB over a raft. And I am pretty sure that my Willie could take a beating far and above something inflatable.

    No idea where I am going with this..other than to say this thing looks really cool/nifty. But I would be hard pressed to get one over a traditional DB unless I was doing a LOT of breakdown/shipping/portaging.

    • Narwhal,

      Thanks for your input on this post. Like I said at the end of my last comment. No one boat is perfect for every where.
      There are both positives and negatives for all.

      Where I live we have extremely low flows, under 140cfs most of the time. That extra inch of shallower draft is a big plus for me.

      As for shipping and transport, I’m the guy that assembles and puts it on the trailer and once, but I have buddies, one specifically that uses his prius to haul around his three person boat with frame. It sounds crazy but there are anglers that go this route.

      Have a great weekend everyone.


  4. Kent, I think it would be really helpful if you posted any feedback you get that you think is credible/worth sharing on who has rowed this boat. I think that is the biggest factor – how does it row/track, etc.

    I’ll drop you all a line if I come across anything but chances are you will know before we do 🙂


  5. Great idea…but not worth the time or the money. You’ll spend all morning setting it up and takedown will be just as bad. Can’t carry it on top of a truck. Does the frame fit into the trunk as well….or does it need to be disassembled first? In my opinion…to utilize this vessel efficiently…put it on a trailer. With a trailer…might as well purchase a regular driftboat. Just saying!

    • Matooka,

      I’m with you on putting it together and breaking it down every time you go out fishing. I’m a trailer guy myself. That being said, I’ve got a good friend that hauls his 13′ pontoon around with frame without a trailer and has no problem doing just that. I don’t get it but he apparently does.

      I hear you on the price. But I think if you compared top of the line fiberglass drift boats, you’ll see they are a little more expensive than the NRS, even after you buy a trailer. If they draft less and slide over rocks without scraping off fiberglass in the process and are quieter and more stable, I can see where the NRS could be an asset. Where I live we have horrible put-ins and take outs. That’s why I have a raft. I can drop it off a ten foot bank or rocky rip rap bank and have no worries. Then you also have to factor in the self-bailing feature. That’s a really nice feature when you’re on the river and it’s raining all day or you’re getting in and out of the boat. This feature will keep your gear from sitting in a puddle of water all day.

      Is it the boat for everyone? No, it’s not, but it is for some. And I don’t think it should be pushed aside and looked at like it’s not worth the money.

      Thanks for your comment. I do agree with a lot of what you say.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...