Boating Mag | RSShttp://www.bizhui.twBoating Mag News FeedSun, 25 Oct 2020 04:23:38 +00001hourly1 How To Install Humphree Interceptors Trim and Stabilization System can automatically trim and stabilize your boat while underway. Learn how to install them and tips to make the job easy. HendricksHow ToSat, 24 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000
Maximum transom thickness for the standard X300 is 35/32 inches. If you have a thicker transom, order the optional long-shaft kit that fits transoms up to 53 3/64 inches in thickness. (Tim Barker/)

Interceptors from brands such as Humphree and Zipwake offer a number of benefits. Like conventional trim tabs, these systems can trim down the bow and correct for a list while the boat is underway, and do so in a more efficient manner than trim tabs, according to both companies.

Interceptor systems can also dynamically control the pitch and roll of a boat while underway to create a more stable and comfortable ride, thanks to high-tech sensors, integrated microprocessors, and ultra-fast servo actuators that drive the interceptors.

Interceptors utilize composite blades (in a wide range of widths and styles for different sizes and types of boats) that deploy downward from the surface of the transom to create hydrodynamic lift by intercepting water flow under the boat.

Read Next: How To Trim A Boat When Making Turns

This installation can be tricky as a DIY project, especially if access to the inside of the transom is limited. If access is tight or you just don’t feel comfortable with complex projects, you may want to turn this over to a qualified installer. In this two-part series, we install a Humphree X300 interceptor system—which includes a pair of 11 13/16-inch-wide interceptors, each capable of 2 inches of blade travel—on a 27-foot runabout powered with a single sterndrive.

Skill Level: 4 of 5

Finish Time: Approx. 12 hours for Part I

Tools and Supplies

  • Humphree X-Series X300 interceptors; system includes a pair of 1113/16-inch-wide interceptors with servo actuators, a control unit, helm control panel, GPS antenna, wiring and Humphree wrench ($4,000, <a target=_blank></a>)
  • Allen wrenches (4, 5 and 6 mm)
  • Socket wrench (36 mm)
  • Power drill with 9 mm bit
  • Hole saw (60 mm)
  • Spring scale or torque wrench with optional torque adapter (for torque measurement)
  • Threadlocker
  • Straightedge
  • Sander (to create flat mounting surfaces)
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Grease
  • Marine sealant, such as Sikaflex 291
  • Rags to wipe up sealant
  • Marking pencil
Determine the Location
Determine the Location (Tim Barker/)

Each interceptor should be installed to the outside of the transom, with the case flush with the bottom of the transom (when the blade is retracted). Avoid positioning the case across a hard chine where it might protrude below the bottom of the transom. Do not install directly in front of an engine or drive where it might disrupt water flow to a propeller. Before finalizing a location, ensure the area inside the transom is free of cables, wires, hoses or any other items that might interfere with installation of the system.

Prepare the Transom Surfaces
Prepare the Transom Surfaces (Tim Barker/)

Ensure the outer and inner transom surfaces where the interceptors will install are flat. If necessary, sand or grind the surfaces to create flat, parallel planes. If sanding exposes glass fibers, coat the area with resin and let cure. Ensure the shaft sleeve can be installed 90 degrees to the mounting surfaces. If needed, sand or grind the inner wall to create a mounting area that’s parallel to the outer surface. This will ensure a proper fit of the shaft sleeve once it is installed.

Drill Mounting Holes
Drill Mounting Holes (Tim Barker/)

Use the inner plate of the case of the interceptor as a template to mark the hole for each interceptor motor shaft. Use a 60 mm hole saw to cut the hole perpendicular to the mounting surface. Insert the shaft sleeve into the hole, and position the plate in line with the hull bottom. Then mark the holes for the mounting bolts. Remove the plate, and use a 9 mm bit to bore the holes perpendicular to the transom. Chamfer each hole with a countersink bit to help prevent the gelcoat from cracking.

Dry-Fit and Torque Test
Dry-Fit and Torque Test (Tim Barker/)

Use suitable-length M8 A4 stainless-steel bolts to dry-fit the interceptor to the transom with M8 washers and Nyloc M8 nuts on the inside. Pre- install the shaft-sleeve nut, and use the supplied wrench and a spring scale (not supplied) or a torque wrench (with the optional torque adapter) to torque to the specs in the instructions. Check the rotational shaft torque to ensure it does not exceed specifications in the instructions. If it meets spec, deinstall the interceptor and move to the next step.

Final Install
Final Install (Tim Barker/)

Lightly sand the lower inside edge of the interceptor case. Apply a marine sealant to the sanded area. Insert the shaft sleeve into the hole, making sure the O-ring is greased and in position. Apply marine sealant to the mounting holes in the transom, and insert the bolts. Dab threadlocker to the threads, and secure with the washers and Nyloc nuts. Apply marine sealant to the inside of the transom where the shaft-sleeve nut will meet, and torque the nut to spec. Install the second nut, and tighten it to lock the first.

How To Choose Boat Trailer Bearing Protectors’s no such thing as maintenance-free boat-trailer wheel hubs. Learn about the different types of wheel-bearing lubrication systems, and their maintenance requirements. FalveyHow ToFri, 23 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000
Bearing Buddy is just one type of bearing protector. Choose the one that’s right for you. (Courtesy Bearing Buddy/)

Your boat trailer’s wheel bearings need lubrication to dissipate heat, stave off corrosion, and keep those wheels a-rolling. There are three general types of wheel-bearing lubrication systems, each with its particular maintenance characteristics. Take care of them right, lest you end up as a roadside attraction.

Oil Bath

Oil-bath wheel hubs feature a threaded end onto which a plastic inspection cap fits. Proponents claim less maintenance versus greased bearings. This entails periodically checking the fluid level and adding hypoid oil. Full oil changes are recommended at 20,000 miles. You still need to perform regular inspections of the wheel bearings themselves, which we recommend at about 12,000 miles or annually—meaning that’s when you’ll be changing the oil in the hub as well.

Oil-bath systems are robust—tractor-trailers use them—but versus grease, they may allow air pockets, which can lead to condensation, and if the cap is damaged, all the oil will drain, and your wheel will stop spinning immediately. Check out for one maker of oil-bath hubs.

Grease Cap/Dust Cap

With this most basic lubrication system, you pack, or fill, the hub with grease by hand. Then you install a friction--fit, flanged cap. C.E. Smith’s 16200A provides a good example ( The cap, larger than the hub, must be driven in with a mallet or a block of wood. The cap should be removed, and the bearings inspected and then repacked with fresh grease every 4,000 miles or on an annual basis.

A hub well-packed with grease isn’t likely to allow air pockets that hold moisture. Also, if the cap falls off, grease won’t stay in the hub forever, but it will stay in place for many miles—hopefully, long enough for you to notice.

Load Rite and Tie Down Engineering both offer proprietary systems wherein the dust caps are fitted with Zerk fittings through which grease is applied. The new grease pushes old grease out through a channel on the inside of the wheel. These claim longer -service intervals.


Bearing Buddy ( is the most widely used spring-loaded bearing protector (other brands exist). These install into the wheel hub with a drive fit like dust caps. A Bearing Buddy contains a spring-loaded plate and a Zerk fitting. The spring presses grease against the bearings. This is poignant because air in wheel hubs—hot from road travel—contracts when immersed in -water at the ramp. This creates a vacuum inside the hub that can suck in water and grit. The spring pressure (3?psi) helps protect the bearings. With Bearing -Buddy protectors, you can go for about 8,000 miles before inspecting the bearings (or -annually). This type of protector also provides a visual indicator: The position of the spring-loaded plate shows the grease level.

Read Next: Maintaining Boat Trailer Wheel Bearing

These types of bearing protectors may not be the right choice for use in conjunction with the proprietary flow-through systems of Load Rite and Tie Down mentioned above. The spring pressure may push grease out the exit channel or rear seal of the hub.

Pursuit S268 Sport Boat Test Pursuit S268 Sport is a boat that Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated so that boaters-boat buyers especially-can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on. Travis ClarkeBoatsThu, 22 Oct 2020 20:05:33 +0000
LOA: 27'4" | Beam: 8'9" | Draft (max): 2'10" | Displacement: 6,770 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 21 degrees | Console Headroom: 6'0" | Fuel Capacity: 139 gal. | Max Horsepower: 400 | Standard Power: Twin 150 hp Yamaha outboards (Courtesy Pursuit Boats/)

Pursuit’s new S268 Sport delivers 5 gallons from a 4-gallon bucket. The S268 Sport boasts a bigger cockpit, bigger helm, 3 inches of additional beam, and 7?more inches of internal volume fore and aft. Additionally, Pursuit added 8?more inches of deck extension on each side of the twin 200 hp Yamaha outboards, making boarding safer and changing a prop easier while the boat is in the water.

Bow seating features optional pivoting backrests and stowage underneath.
Bow seating features optional pivoting backrests and stowage underneath. (Courtesy Pursuit Boats/)

Bow seating with optional pivoting backrests and stowage underneath allows lounging while facing forward. Our test boat came fitted with a standard fiberglass hardtop with powder-coated frame, and a Makrolon polycarbonate windscreen. A tempered-glass windshield with wiper and washer ($2,130) is available.

Headroom in the console measured 6-feet.
Headroom in the console measured 6-feet. (Courtesy Pursuit Boats/)The in-console head -provides a porcelain toilet and freshwater sink.
The in-console head -provides a porcelain toilet and freshwater sink. (Courtesy Pursuit Boats/)

The foldaway transom seat boasts a raised backrest for more comfortable support than is typical. Most boxes and scuppers drain into a centerline bilge tunnel, exiting through the transom, keeping belowdecks clean and dry. The S268 Sport offers an optional removable ski pylon ($3,045), and the cockpit just feels bigger than other similar-size competitors. Pull-out tackle trays grace the side of the console.

The foldaway transom seat boasts a raised backrest.
The foldaway transom seat boasts a raised backrest. (Courtesy Pursuit Boats/)

The S268 Sport’s roll moment in a beam sea proved short and smooth. Anglers will particularly appreciate the 28-gallon livewell with a light and acrylic cover that resides in the port quarter. Also, Pursuit plumbed the fish boxes with diaphragm pumps, rather than the more common macerator pumps, which should result in fewer clogs.

Pursuit’s resin-infusion process for both the hull and the fiberglass stringer system, plus a molded-in knee at the transom, spreads torque and thrust from the engines throughout the length of the boat. Underway, we felt truly connected to this boat.

A 28-gallon livewell with a light and acrylic cover resides in the port corner.
A 28-gallon livewell with a light and acrylic cover resides in the port corner. (Courtesy Pursuit Boats/)

The in-console head provides a porcelain toilet, freshwater sink and dedicated towel stowage. Headroom here taped at 6 feet even.

Robustly built, and with an attention to detail for multi-mission boaters, Pursuit’s S268 Sport will appeal to a wide range of boating styles.

High Points

  • Pivoting bow-lounge backrests and a headrest for the foldaway aft lounge deliver comfortable crew seating.
  • Diaphragm pumps should prove superior to macerator pumps.
  • Resin infusion, a transom knee and more will please those seeking top-construction traits.

Low Points

  • Three grand for a ski pylon? Harrumph!
  • Tackle box built into the console side steals access room when entering the head.

Toughest Competitor

Check out Grady-White’s Canyon 271 (starting at $231,020). It’s about 7 inches wider, a hair shorter in length overall, rated up to 600 hp, and carries 47 more gallons of fuel.

Price: $163,655 (base)

Available Power: Outboard

Pursuit S268 Sport Certified Test Results
Pursuit S268 Sport Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Twin 200 hp Yamaha outboards

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Saltwater Series II 14 1/4″ x 18″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.86:1

Fuel Load: 139 gal.

Water on Board: 20 gal.

Crew Weight: 650 lb.

Pursuit Boats - Fort Pierce, Florida; 772-465-6006;

Marine Electrical Components Compared electrical connections have to withstand moisture, vibration and temperature swings. Learn how to best keep them protected so your marine electronics live a long, healthy life. VanceGearThu, 22 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000If you own a boat long enough, you’ll find yourself contorting your body through cramped compartments and struggling to fish electrical wire through narrow, clogged chases. It is inevitable. So, if you want to delay the agony and you want that repair to last, allow me to give you a few wiring tips.

Fuse Block, Not Spade Connectors

Many boatbuilders add circuit breakers to their wiring systems, and take a power and ground from the battery to a spaded ground block and a spaded terminal panel. That’s ordinarily where your GPS, stereo and other devices will be powered using a female spade connector held onto the male spade by friction to complete the circuit. In most cases, circuit breakers protect the circuits, but the device manufacturer calls for an in-line fuse to protect the device. Many electronics call for a 5-amp fuse per device. A stereo amp can require a 30- to 60-amp fuse. If your boat has many devices going to that spaded panel, each with an in-line fuse, the panel becomes an indecipherable bird’s nest, and troubleshooting fuses is unnecessarily difficult.

There is a worse way to do it. You may see devices run directly to the battery. Or they are piggybacked onto a spaded terminal on a switch for another device. You can get away with a direct-to-battery connection if you only have one, providing you use a fuse, but it’s far less than ideal.

The ideal wiring arrangement replaces the spaded panel with a fuse block. It should have a protective cover and include labels for each terminal. Why? Spade connectors are easily dislodged by the boat’s movement or a gear in motion around the terminal. Worse, if the ground bar is similarly an uncovered spaded panel and they are too close together, some metal object could easily fall across the power and ground terminals, shorting and causing a fire.

Choosing a Fuse Block

Take stock of how many electrical devices you already have, and choose a fuse block that will accommodate them plus allow a few spare terminals. Compartment space available will also influence terminal size.

Three of the six circuits can be switched.
Three of the six circuits can be switched. (Randy Vance/)

Blue Sea S 6-Circuit Blade Fuse Block

  • $27;
  • 30 amps max
  • 6 circuits
  • 3 circuits can be switched
  • Tinned copper contacts
  • ATO/ATC fuses
  • Blank labels

Blue Sea is one of the most respected names in marine electrical components. Use the three switched terminals for electronics to boot them up or off with a single toggle. Use the direct terminals for devices such as pumps and lights, or other functions.

This panel combines positive and ground terminals for a direct connection to the battery.
This panel combines positive and ground terminals for a direct connection to the battery. (Randy Vance/)

Blue Sea ST 12-Circuit Fuse Block and Ground Bar

  • $17; <a target=_blank></a>
  • 30 amps max
  • 12 circuits
  • 12 grounds
  • Positive and negative terminal posts
  • Tinned copper contacts
  • ATO/ATC fuses
  • Dozens of printed labels

This panel combines positive and ground terminals for a direct connection to the battery, then 12 positive fused terminals and 12 grounds. This would be ideal for positioning in the helm to collect power lines that demand an in-line fuse in spite of circuit breakers.

This bus bar features a protective cover and insulated cover on the terminal.
This bus bar features a protective cover and insulated cover on the terminal. (Randy Vance/)

Bay Marine Supply Bus Bar

  • $15;
  • 12 ground terminals
  • Electrolytic protective grease
  • Tinned copper terminals

Complete with a protective cover and insulated cover on the terminal, this ground bar should be located away from water intrusion and far enough from positive terminals that accidental shorting is unlikely. Electrolytic grease seals the terminals from corrosion, and dipping the connected terminal in the grease also seals the stranded wire from water intrusion.

Terminal Connectors

The American Boat and Yacht Council prefers ringed terminals. Flat-forked spaded terminals are acceptable, but the preferred forks feature bent tips that lessen the likelihood they’ll come off if the terminal screw loosens with time and vibration. I prefer forked terminals over rings because you can install them without removing the terminal screw completely, which risks dropping it in an inaccessible place.

Terminal Size

Terminals are sized to fit one wire, not quite snugly, allowing the wire’s strands to slip into the collar. Once it is crimped, it should take a team of Marines to pull it out. Red (sometimes pink) cover wires are from 22-18 AWG (American wire gauge—bigger numbers are for thinner wires), blue is 16-14 AWG, and yellow is 12-10 AWG. A combo sonar/chart plotter is likely to use a red terminal connector, a stereo amplifier may use a large (or larger) yellow one, and a device such as a bilge pump will likely need a blue 16-14 AWG diameter size.

Forked Spaded Terminal

Spaded flat terminals easily slide under the terminal screw head to be clamped in place. Unfortunately, if the screw loosens even slightly, it can slip off. Terminals that aren’t shrink-protected (bottom right) should be reserved for auto use.

Make sure that your terminal connectors are suitable for marine use.
Make sure that your terminal connectors are suitable for marine use. (Randy Vance/)

Flanged-Fork Spaded Terminals

Bent tips on the flanged or captive fork won’t slip off a loose terminal as easily. This is a dubious benefit because a loose connection can spark repeatedly, but if the terminal pulls completely away, the circuit is fully interrupted. The problem is if it falls against another terminal.

Ringed Terminals

However, the ringed terminal above is acceptable to ABYC standards, if it is covered in shrink tubing. A terminal with a heat-shrink collar is preferred. Hit them with a heat gun, and they will shrink down tight to the wire, protecting the connection from water.

Ratcheted crimpers assure a tight connection.
Ratcheted crimpers assure a tight connection. (Randy Vance/)


You can get one of those wire-stripping/crimping combo tools if you have a strong grip and tons of patience. But by using a two-handed grip, I have failed to make a secure crimp all too frequently, wasting a connector. Use ratcheted crimpers like these to get a tight crimp. The ABYC prefers using brand-matched crimpers and terminals if possible. Slight variations in competitive terminals may create loose connections.

Read Next: Locating Ground Faults (“Current Leaks”) and Short Circuits

Disconnect Terminals

These are male and female, and are ideally used on devices that may be frequently removed or replaced on the boat, such as bilge-pump cartridges.

Shrink tubing can protect from moisture.
Shrink tubing can protect from moisture. (Randy Vance/)

Shrink Tubing

Shrink tubing can be useful for insulating, moisture protection and labeling wire ends. ABYC rules demand all power and ground lines be labeled as to the mechanism they serve within 6 inches of their terminus. You can write on shrink tubing with a fine-point indelible marker, then slip it over the wire and joined terminal, and shrink it in place. This assortment covers many wire types, from fine solid-state internal wires to battery terminals.

Must-See Boats at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show number of new boats will be on display at this year's Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. From hardcore fishing boats to family-friendly cruisers, there's something for everyone. Tech TeamBoatsThu, 22 Oct 2020 14:11:40 +0000The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is alive and well for 2020, with plenty of great boats and yachts to check out from October 28th through November 1st. Here are a few highlights selected by the Boating staff. For more information about these boats and all others on display, visit

The 280 epitomizes today’s trend in dual-console boats.
The 280 epitomizes today’s trend in dual-console boats. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

Boston Whaler 280 Vantage

Make sure you climb aboard and check out the 280 Vantage from Boston Whaler while you’re at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Spotlighted in a test in the October issue of Boating Magazine, the 280 epitomizes today’s trend in dual-console boats. It is a do-it-all conveyance featuring angling and cruising amenities, plus Whaler’s legendary unsinkable hull. It offers a summer galley, transom livewell, port-side boarding door, a sizable head compartment and beau coup seating. Twin 300 hp Mercury V-8 outboards propelled the 280 Vantage to more than 55 mph in our test.

The 341 CC bristles with fishing features.
The 341 CC bristles with fishing features. (Courtesy Caymas Boats/)

Caymas 341 CC

Swing by the Caymas Boats exhibit at the show and ask to see the 341 CC. Caymas is a new boat company started by boat-building legend Earl Bentz to create an all-new series of fishing boats. The 341 CC is the latest and largest, and it boasts a Michael Peters-designed Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel (SVVT) hull, and a deck plan to suit the most finicky fishermen. Powered by triple Mercury 300 hp V-8 outboards, the 341 CC achieved a top speed of more 60 mph in our test. In addition to bristling with fishing features, the 341 CC delivers comfort with bow loungers. In the aft cockpit, you can sit on the slide-out cooler cushion and put a couple on the foldaway transom jump seat. For mixed crews, the large console compartment below the helm not only offers a space for changing, but there is also a flushing head and additional storage. To learn more, visit

The Canyon 326 is a supremely appointed center-console boat.
The Canyon 326 is a supremely appointed center-console boat. (Courtesy Grady-White/)

Grady-White Canyon 326

If you have not seen the Grady-White Canyon 326, here’s your chance to check out this supremely appointed center-console model. Features included triple bucket seats with footrests, armrests and flip-up bolsters and an aircraft-quality acrylic windshield. Forward seating options include a lounge on the front of the console and a pair of forward lounges in the cockpit, a double couch folds out of the transom to convert coaming bolsters into seating in a flash. A SureShade deploys over the aft cockpit at the touch of button. Powered by twin Yamaha F300 outboards, the smooth-riding hull of the Canyon 326 achieved a top speed of nearly 49 mph in our test. To learn more, visit

The R246 Cayman packs a lot of fishing amenities and comfort.
The R246 Cayman packs a lot of fishing amenities and comfort. (Courtesy Robalo/)

Robalo R246 Cayman

If you’re into bay boats, drop by the Robalo exhibit and step aboard the R246 Cayman. It packs a lot of fishing amenities and comfort into its 9-foot beam. Dual livewells provide 80 gallons of bait-carrying capacity. There’s space for a 114-quart Igloo beneath the learning post. The R246 also offers comfortable sun lounges with stow-able cushions and backrests at the bow. It also features a forward console seat, dual leaning-post seat, and a double jump seat in the aft cockpit that folds out from the casting platform. With a single 300 hp Yamaha outboard, we achieved a top speed of 48.4 mph in our test. For details, visit

The 340 DC offers a ton of family and fishing features.
The 340 DC offers a ton of family and fishing features. (Courtesy Everglades/)

Everglades 340 DC

Looking for a big dual-console boat at the show? Be sure to drop by the Everglades exhibit and hop aboard the 340 DC. This brawny boat offers a ton of family and fishing features, including one of the biggest cabins we’ve seen in a dual-console model. It comes with a summer galley abaft the double-wide helm seat, hardtop with integral windshield, and abundant and richly upholstered seating, including twin bow loungers and two fold-out transom seats. On the fishy side, there’s a 24-gallon livewell, a 71-gallon fish box and optional Gemlux carbon-fiber outriggers. Powered by twin Yamaha 425 XTO outboard, the 340 DC achieved a top speed of 54 mph in our test. To learn more, visit

The new 41 will employ a cutting-edge twin step hull.
The new 41 will employ a cutting-edge twin step hull. (Courtesy Solace/)

Solace 41

The Solace 41—the follow-up model to the innovative Solace 345—is scheduled to debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat. While details are a bit sketchy at press time, the initial renderings of the 41 indicate that it will not include the unique transom design of the 345, which received Boating’s 2019 Boat of the Year Award. The 41 will offer triple or quad outboards, both of which negate the walk-through transom design of the 345. The center-console boat will employ a cutting-edge twin step hull and striking Stephen Dougherty design cues, according to Solace. Stop by the Solace exhibit and give 41 a look-see.

Sea Ray will be displaying the outboard model of its SLX 400.
Sea Ray will be displaying the outboard model of its SLX 400. (Courtesy Sea Ray/)

Sea Ray Ray SLX 400

Sea Ray will have a lot to show this year, including the outboard version of the one-time Boat of the Year Winner 400 SLX, the SLX 350 outboard and the unveiling of a new model at the show. Be sure to check out the Sundancers in the Sea Ray slips as well.

The 47 Lightning serves up amazing performance.
The 47 Lightning serves up amazing performance. (Courtesy Fountain/)

Fountain 47 Lightning

Fountain brought new life to a beloved classic go-fast model, bringing performance boating into the 21st century. The 47 Lightning features the same twin stepped hull that made it a fixture on the performance circuit and is paired with twin 1,350 or 1,550 hp Mercury Racing engines. We tested it with the twin 1,350 hp engines, which can propel the boat to speeds approaching 125 mph.

The Leader 12.5 combines a smooth-running hull with a family-centric layout.
The Leader 12.5 combines a smooth-running hull with a family-centric layout. (Courtesy Jeanneau/)

Jeanneau Leader 12.5

This Michael Peter’s designed 40-footer combines a smooth-running hull with a family-centric layout designed to maximize your on-water entertainment. With the standard triple 300-hp Yamaha outboards, this boat is capable of hitting 50 mph. It features a spacious bow cockpit, a main cockpit with a folding side terrace and wraparound seating, plus a well-appointed lower deck for overnighting.

The 43 LE is a luxurious sport boat with a great cabin.
The 43 LE is a luxurious sport boat with a great cabin. (Courtesy Tiara Sport/)

Tiara Sport 43 LE

Tiara Sport, which builds rugged outboard-powered models on par with its Tiara Yachts lineup, is displaying its 43 LE, a luxurious sport boat with a great cabin belowdecks and a cockpit designed to make the most out of any social occasion. Whether you’re running at WOT or lounging at anchor, the 43 LE will exceed expectations.

The 250 Suncoast is a spacious deckboat.
The 250 Suncoast is a spacious deckboat. (Courtesy Chaparral/)

Chaparral 250 Suncoast

The 250 Suncoast is a deckboat with a ton of seating for its size, and ample room in both the main and bow cockpits. It sports a full walkthrough windshield to protect the captain and crew, and the bow seating is deep and secure with handrails always in reach. It’s a great trailerable family boat.

The Calypso 35 mixes a solid ride with luxurious appoinments.
The Calypso 35 mixes a solid ride with luxurious appoinments. (Courtesy Chris-Craft/)

Chris-Craft Calypso 35

Chris-Craft’s new Calypso 35 makes its debut at this year’s show. This center console features a fully-enclosed “pilot house” style windshield at the helm, and triple outboards on the transom.

Boat Trailer Repair: Installing New Bunkboards this installment of Weekend Workbook, West Coast Editor Jim Hendricks, who has been trailering boats for 50 years, describes how to replace boat trailer bunk boards and what materials to use. HendricksHow ToTue, 20 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000
Check the trailer bunks each time before you load the boat for broken, boards or loose hardware. Also check for torn carpeting. (Tim Barker/)

Most boat trailers employ bunk boards to cradle the hull during towing and storage. In fact, many boats spend far more time on wood bunks than they do in the water, so these boards should be inspected regularly for excessive wear or broken lumber.

A bunk that snaps or falls off results in a loss of support that affects trailer balance and exposes the hull to the metal cross members, axles, bunk brackets and other structures that can gouge or puncture a boat.

If you see signs of a damaged bunk, replace it as soon as possible. With bunks that are more than a few years old, replace them all at the same time. The process is easy, but you will need to remove the boat from the trailer to take off?the old bunks and install the new ones.

Read Next: How to Rewire Your Boat Trailer

One approach is to first build the replacement bunks, then tow the boat to the launch ramp, pull the boat off the trailer and tie it up as you swap out the old bunks for new ones in the parking lot, if permissible.

Skill Level: 1 out of 5

Finish Time: Approx. 1 hour per bunk

Tools and Supplies

? Common construction lumber to replace old bunks ($9.18 per 8-foot two-by-four,

? Marine bunk carpeting for bunk boards ($64 per 18-foot roll of 18-inch-wide black carpet,

? 11/2-inch-long-by- 5/16-inch-diameter lag screws and washers (for two-by-four, two-by-six and two-by-eight boards)

? Wood sealant ($11.98 per gallon of Olympic Waterguard,

? Paintbrush

? Staple gun and 1/2-inch stainless-steel staples

? Heavy-duty shears (to trim bunk carpet)

? Tape measure

? Power drill and 9/64-inch drill bit

? Marine silicone sealant

? Socket wrench set

? Saw (to cut boards to required length)

? Sharpie marker (to mark positions for pilot holes)

Measure, Procure and Cut
Measure, Procure and Cut (Tim Barker/)

Determine if the board is a two-by-four, two-by-six, etc., keeping in mind that a two-by-four measures 1 1/2-by-3 1/2 inches, a two-by-six measures 1 1/2-by-5 1/2 inches, and so forth. Measure the length, and pick up the lumber at a home improvement center, making sure each is as straight and true as possible. I like common redwood, southern yellow pine or Douglas fir construction lumber. Some stores will cut boards to length, or you can trim them square with a Skill power saw or sharp handsaw.

Seal the Wood
Seal the Wood (Tim Barker/)

Giving the wooden boards a coat or two of water sealant can help extend the useful life of your trailer bunks by minimizing soaked wood and eventual rot, especially since bunk carpeting and other covers tend to trap moisture next to the wood. Use a product such as Olympic Waterguard clear wood sealer, applying two coats over a two-day period to the entire board to ensure coverage and a good seal. Let the sealant on the wood dry completely before moving to the next step, which calls for covering the boards.

Carpet the Wood
Carpet the Wood (Tim Barker/)

Most bunks are covered with marine polyester bunk carpet, available through marine retailers in a variety of widths, roll lengths and colors. This rot- and mildew-resistant covering cushions the hull while also allowing the boat to slide off and on the trailer. Cut the carpet to the length needed to cover the board using a tight gift-wrap fold and stainless- steel 1/2-inch-long staples. Staple only the underside and ends, leaving a smooth, staple-free surface on top where the hull meets the bunks.

Alternate Coverings
Alternate Coverings (Tim Barker/)

Other DIY covering kits available for bunk boards include Gatorbak synthetic covers in a wide range of lengths, widths and colors, some with LED lighting underneath ( Kits start at $43.46. EZ Slide pads ( made from polyethylene in lengths up to 10 feet attach over bare wood or carpeting. Kits start at $29.95. Both of these alternate bunk coverings offer greater durability than carpet.

Install the Bunks
Install the Bunks (Tim Barker/)

With the boat removed from the trailer, remove the fasteners from the old bunk and measure the distance of each mounting hole from the end of the bunk. Measure and mark those spots down the center of the backside of the new bunk, and drill a 9/64-inch pilot hole at each location. Don’t drill through the topside of the bunk. Squeeze silicone sealant into each hole, then lay the bunk in position on the brackets and drive lag screws (size is noted in the list of supplies) into the board to secure the bunk.

Carriage Bolts
Carriage Bolts (Tim Barker/)

You can through-bolt bunk boards with carriage bolts. They must be installed before you put on the bunk carpet. Drill the appropriate- size holes in positions that match the bunk bracket mounting holes, then router a shallow recess on the topside of the bunk. Insert the carriage bolt from the top, and tap the head of the bolt firmly downward with a small hammer to seat the square shoulders of the bolt and ensure the head is below the surface of the wood. Now carpet the board. To install, use a flat washer, lock washer and nut to secure the bunk.

Safety First at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show safety protocols are in place to keep visitors protected at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. McDonaldBoatsMon, 19 Oct 2020 19:45:45 +0000In this year of uncertainty due to the pandemic, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is doing everything possible to create a safe show environment for boat enthusiasts and prospective boat buyers. The show, which runs from October 28-November 1, will require attendees to wear facemasks at all times and to follow social distancing guidelines. Here’s how the show will help the public find the best in boating.

In an effort to prevent crowding, the 61st annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will have 13 entrances and six miles of floating docks to hold the latest and greatest boats and yachts. All of the docks have been made wider to allow people more space to social distance and safely navigate the show.

Read Next: Nine Best Boat Show Tips

Excited to get down to the show? To see how to safely enjoy it, watch the provided “Know Before You Go” safety video. For more information on the show, and to purchase tickets, go to

Seven Fast Pontoon Boats says you can’t go fast in a pontoon boat? Check out our collection of seven of the fastest pontoon boats on the market. Tech TeamBoatsThu, 15 Oct 2020 19:28:51 +0000Of all the things people love about pontoon boats—like how they’re great for entertaining and packed with creature comforts—performance is not often mentioned at the top of the list. But a modern pontoon boat equipped with a triple-tube package can achieve robust speeds and execute graceful, carving turns like a V-hull. Here are seven pontoons with triple tubes that perform just as well as they entertain.

LOA: 31'6" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): 1'2" |Dry Weight: 3,500 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 15/3,000 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 100 gal.
LOA: 31'6" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): 1'2" |Dry Weight: 3,500 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 15/3,000 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 100 gal. (Zach Stovall/)

PlayCraft PowerToon X-Treme 3000

In terms of pure, raw speed, no one else does pontoons like PlayCraft. Thirty years ago, its founder, Jim Dorris, looked at the popularity of performance boats on Lake of the Ozarks and asked: Why can’t we retain the leisure and social atmosphere of a pontoon boat while building it to power comfortably and easily accelerate to 70 mph? Our test of?the X-Treme 3000 on Lake?of the Ozarks answered that question with an exclamation point. Powered by dual Mercury Racing 450 outboards, our test boat hit a top speed of 78.1 mph, giving it the chops to take on—and pass—many traditional boats labeled as go-fasts.

Of course, performance is more than top-end speed. The twin Mercs popped us up on top and cruised at 30?mph in 5.2 seconds. Thanks to the electronic throttles and power steering, the triple-tube PowerToon banked comfortably into tight turns, held its line at speeds in excess of 40, and accomplished it all effortlessly.

Designing a boat for speed mandates considering aerodynamics as well as hydrodynamics. A nod to aerodynamics appears in the?wedge-shaped bow and the sleek Bimini top. One of the originators of pontoon lifting strakes, PlayCraft employs them on three tubes to get on top of the water, reducing drag and increasing speed all while retaining the soft ride of a?pontoon.

The raised helm station provides a clear view above the crew.
The raised helm station provides a clear view above the crew. (Zach Stovall/)

In the comfort department, furnishings on board, from the deck to the shoulder cushions, are upholstered in UV-protected vinyl. Color combinations are virtually unlimited, and owners can even match them to their favorite football team. Exterior colors are offered in a broad spectrum too. Color-matched, powder-coated tubes and rails are for durable good looks.

The fiberglass-molded helm station is raised, giving a clear view above the crew. The captain’s chair swivels and reclines, and the armrests automatically adjust to the correct, comfortable angle. There are three boarding options: the wide bow deck, a wheelchair-width portside gate, and the stern platform. An extra-long boarding ladder integrated into the pontoon is patented and exclusive to PlayCraft.

PlayCraft	PowerToon X-Treme 3000 Certified Test Results
PlayCraft PowerToon X-Treme 3000 Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Twin Mercury Racing 450 hp V-8 supercharged

Drive/Props: Outboard/Bravo FS 24″ 4-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.60:1

Fuel Load: 25 gal.

Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Price: $229,000

PlayCraft Boats - Richland, Missouri; 573-765-3265;

LOA: 27'3" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): 2'9" | Dry Weight: 4,154 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 15/1,700 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.
LOA: 27'3" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): 2'9" | Dry Weight: 4,154 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 15/1,700 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 50 gal. (Bill Doster/)

Bennington 25 QX Fastback

Even sitting at the dock, the 25 QX Fastback exudes pontoon performance. The molded fiberglass bow rakes sharply toward the water. Fiberglass-cladded rails are sharply faceted and completely devoid of the slightest hint of traditional fencing. Spanning the twin consoles, a low-profile, steeply raked walk-through windshield is deeply tinted, adding an air of mystery to the passengers behind. At the stern, side panels finish in a mix of bright stainless steel and wire mesh. Add a swept-forward overhead arch, a 350 hp Yamaha outboard color-matched to the new-for-2020 Monaco Blue exterior, and a blacked-out trio of top rail, pontoon skirt and deck rail, and the 25 QX looks ready to?rumble.

On the water, it didn’t disappoint. Bennington equipped our test model with the ESP Performance Package, one of the most dramatic pontoon configurations on the market. The central tube is a sizable 32 inches in diameter and elliptical in shape. Flanked by 25-inch outer pontoons, it produces handling similar to a V-hull. With our Yamaha 350 test motor, the craft powered onto plane in 4.4 seconds, reached 30 mph in 7.1, and topped out at nearly 48 mph.

An optional Simrad GO9 GPS touchscreen display eliminates any gauge cluster.
An optional Simrad GO9 GPS touchscreen display eliminates any gauge cluster. (Bill Doster/)

In the Bennington model lineup, the letter “Q” denotes luxury. Evidence on this boat abounds. The interior’s clean graphite palette perfectly complemented the blue exterior. Forward, twin wraparound benches line the sides, turning into a full wraparound bench if you add the gate filler seat. The graphite theme continues at the helm, offset by complementary wood-grain accents. Chrome-clad rocker switches are neatly arrayed across the bottom of the dash. Above, an optional Simrad GO9 GPS touchscreen display eliminates any gauge cluster.

To port, a co-captain’s chair is perched behind the port console, the latter featuring granitelike counter space and an optional stainless-steel sink with faucet. Aft, Bennington’s Quad Bench mixes seating capacity with lounge space, featuring twin couches that wrap toward a central gate, and forward-facing backrests should occupants want to stretch. Off the sizable swim platform, additional cup holders, a stereo and an oversize stainless-steel boarding ladder await.

Bennington 25 QX Fastback Certified Test Results
Bennington 25 QX Fastback Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engine: Yamaha 350

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Saltwater Series XL 16 1/4″ x 15″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.73:1

Fuel Load: 45 gal.

Crew Weight: 360 lb.

Price: $140,030 (with test power, Elliptical Sport Package)

Bennington Pontoon Boats - Elkhart, Indiana; 888-906-2628;

LOA: 27'11" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max) 2'8" | Dry Weight:	5,111 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity:	13/3,337 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 63 gal.
LOA: 27'11" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max) 2'8" | Dry Weight: 5,111 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 13/3,337 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 63 gal. (Bill Doster/)

Harris Crowne 270 SL TE

The Harris Crowne 270 SL TE is a boat that can’t drive 55. In fact, it can go faster. Powered by twin Mercury 400 outboards, this boat hopped onto plane in a mere 3.6 seconds, reaching 30 mph in less than 7 seconds more before topping out at 61.2?mph. The key attribute? The Crowne’s triple 27-inch pontoons with strakes designed specifically for twin-engine performance.

The Crowne 270 SL TE has a look that goes beyond the sedate pontoon. Key to its look is the replacement of the traditional pontoon fence enclosures with sleek, curvy fiberglass. Four fiberglass modules occupy the four corners of the deck outline, the forward pair curving aggressively toward the water. Those modules incorporate the Crowne’s outer walls as well as seat bases. The result is a boat that fits in at both a sandbar party and yacht-club cocktail hour.

Step through the stainless-steel bow gate and parallel benches flank the walkway. Harris angles the seat bottom’s profile to provide a more open, spacious feel, topping off the backrests with comfy pillow tops and accenting the lumbar region with diamond-pattern stitching. Finished stowage with drains is found below.

A central Medallion Glass Dash touchscreen is standard-issue.
A central Medallion Glass Dash touchscreen is standard-issue. (Bill Doster/)

At the helm, the captain is greeted with billet dash accents, a stainless-steel spoke wheel, and an attractive vinyl wrap with accent stitching. A central Medallion Glass Dash touchscreen is standard-issue; a second touchscreen control to starboard replaces traditional switches. On our test boat, both were complemented by an additional Simrad display. Aft, an L-shaped bench includes an optional rear-facing lounger with powered flip-flop backrest. Its linear actuated motor was nearly silent and allowed almost unlimited stages of recline for both forward or aft-facing seating.

Fast is fun, but the optional Mercury Joystick Piloting system made handling this boat a simple pleasure. The intuitive joystick control allowed us to literally make kid’s play of docking, effortlessly maneuvering the Crowne around a tight marina in the stiffest of crosswinds.

Harris Crowne 270 SL TE Certified Test Results
Harris Crowne 270 SL TE Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Twin Mercury 400 Verado

Drive/Props: Outboard/Mercury Revolution 4 14 5/8″ x 21″ 4-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.75:1

Fuel Load: 58 gal.

Crew Weight: 350 lb.

Price: $306,000

Harris Boats - Fort Wayne, Indiana; 260-432-4555;

LOA: 25'7" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): NA | Dry Weight: 2,715 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 13/1,813 lb. | Fuel Capacity:	50 gal.
LOA: 25'7" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): NA | Dry Weight: 2,715 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 13/1,813 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 50 gal. (Zach Stovall/)

Lowe SS 250 WS

How does it feel to take the helm of the Lowe SS 250 WS? At speed, the SS 250 WS presses you back against the lush living room of upholstery surrounding the crew. In turns, the power steering gives smooth control, and Mercury’s dynamic throttle easily maintains torque by feeding in throttle to keep the boat turning smoothly instead of dumping speed and wallowing through the turn. In straightaways, each nudge of the throttle returns rewarding acceleration up to a top speed of 51.6 mph.

The performance that comes from the 300 hp Mercury, the added buoyancy of a third pontoon, and the reduced drag from strakes that lift the tubes to the surface of the water optimize horsepower and increase the fun. Triple pontoons, 25 inches in diameter, are made of 0.08-gauge aluminum, and a protective keel guards the leading edge from impact. Also provided by triple tubes is buoyancy to ride clear of rough wakes.

Enhancing comfort on board this speedster are dual acrylic and fiberglass consoles complete with a beam-to-beam windshield that protects you from wind while its low-profile design adds to the boat’s sleek appearance. Also benefitting from the power are watersports enthusiasts who might enjoy skiing, wakeboarding or tubing at the end of a rope secured to the optional pylon.

Optional reclining chairs are available for the captain and mate.
Optional reclining chairs are available for the captain and mate. (Zach Stovall/)

Style points at the helm include optional reclining chairs for the captain and mate. Armrests automatically adjust for comfort. Lounge seating surrounds the area forward of the windshield, but the low-profile design of the windshield keeps captain and crew in touch. The elevation of both consoles also enhances the view forward.

Aft seating is divided at the center stern boarding gate. A standard acrylic cocktail table was upgraded on our test boat with a clear acrylic table, with stainless-steel cup holders and wineglass holders for four. Three boarding gates, including a portside wheelchair-accessible gate, offer plenty of boarding options and also ease docking duties. Lowe’s durable construction, reliable power and knack for creating luxury on the water make performance, fun and comfort givens on the SS 250 WS.

Lowe SS 250 WS Certified Test Results
Lowe SS 250 WS Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engine: Mercury 300 hp FourStroke V-8

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Enertia 14.7″ x 16″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.75:1

Fuel Load: 20 gal.

Crew Weight: 200 lb.

Price: $53,287

Lowe Boats - Lebanon, Missouri; 800-641-4372;

LOA: 26'4"| Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max):	1'2" | Dry Weight: 3,885 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 4/1,935 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 43 gal.
LOA: 26'4"| Beam: 8'6" | Draft (Max): 1'2" | Dry Weight: 3,885 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 4/1,935 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 43 gal. (Bill Doster/)

Manitou 25 Legacy SL

Like nearly all Manitou models we’ve tested over the years, the 25 Legacy SL featured an ultra-smooth ride and a sporty, inside lean through the corners that’s more akin to a traditional V-hull. Chalk it up to the builder’s patented V-Toon technology. Twin 25-inch pontoons flank a central 27-inch pontoon, dropped lower than the outer tubes. Taking into account the central tube’s added girth, the effect lowers the bottom of the center pontoon a full 5? inches and mimics a V-hull’s shape. Add the wide, positive-angle lifting strakes of Manitou’s Sport Handling Package (SHP) on all three tubes, Teleflex SeaStar Power Assist steering, and a performance transom design, and the result is a boat that powers instantly onto plane, banks sweetly into turns and, with our test boat’s 300 hp Evinrude G3, tops out at over 48?mph. (Manitou now offers Mercury outboard power.)

Manitou carries the performance feel below up to the look and feel of the helm above. Here, a standard 7-inch Garmin touchscreen display is surrounded in the brand’s trademark billet aluminum, an accent that carries over to the retaining gate for a padded mobile-phone tray, the propellerlike spokes of the tilt steering wheel and, in more functional fashion, the billet transom. Elsewhere, an optional matte-black powder coat provides a pleasant contrast, coloring the stylish supports for the minimalist glass windscreen, traditional pontoon fencing and Bimini hardware.

A standard 7-inch Garmin touchscreen display is surrounded in the brand’s trademark billet aluminum.
A standard 7-inch Garmin touchscreen display is surrounded in the brand’s trademark billet aluminum. (Bill Doster/)

While both handling and styling scream performance, the Legacy’s interior is all luxury. Forward, parallel lounges, one 5 feet, 4 inches and the other 5 feet, 10 inches, feature generous thigh bolsters, and artistic, quiltlike stitching in the lumbar region. That same stitch pattern is found in the twin captain’s chairs (each with its own flip-up bolster) and on the interior panels of the aft SL lounge. The latter can be set up as a forward-facing bench with rear playpen, forward or aft-facing recliner, or just one giant 6-foot-8-inch-by-5-foot-2-inch sun bed. Eight cup holders surround the perimeter.

Manitou 25 Legacy SL Certified Test Results
Manitou 25 Legacy SL Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engine: Evinrude G2 300

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Evinrude Rebel 15 1/2″ x 16″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.85:1

Fuel Load: 43 gal.

Crew Weight: 360 lb.

Price: $94,700

Manitou Pontoon Boats - Lansing, Michigan; 517-322-3822;

LOA: 23'10" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft: 1'8" | Dry Weight: 2,100 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity:	12/1,650 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 60 gal.
LOA: 23'10" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft: 1'8" | Dry Weight: 2,100 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 12/1,650 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 60 gal. (Bill Doster/)

Sylvan L-3 DLZ

Sylvan rigged the L-3 DLZ with performance in mind, and boy, does it fly. With the 250 hp Evinrude G2 for power, it leaped from a standing start to 30 mph in just 6 seconds. Top speed was nearly 45 mph at just under 6,000 rpm. Sound levels, however, didn’t get elevated until after about 4,000 rpm; at most economical cruise speed (21 mph, 3,500 rpm, 3.2?mpg), we recorded just 72?decibels—quiet enough for conversation. While we tested the boat with an Evinrude, we expect similar results with the available Yamaha, Mercury, Honda and Suzuki power choices.

This Sylvan is an excellent multipurpose rig, and it’s stylish, with new exterior fencing and décor for 2020. For cruising and partying, a set of short lounges in the bow face each other and will fit a couple of people each. The new Ultra Soft vinyl upholstery proved comfortable and supportive, with recessed roto-cast plastic bases underneath.

Deep insets—aka toe-kicks—allow more room in the cockpit, and don’t cut into underseat storage too much. Storage abounds on the DLZ; the optional SPX Package with optional in-floor storage and teak-weave floor covering gives a modern look and easy cleanup when the day is over.

A simple dash layout features Evinrude’s combination electronic instruments.
A simple dash layout features Evinrude’s combination electronic instruments. (Bill Doster/)

Amidships, the driver’s console is not raised and features a low, sculpted Lexan windscreen. A simple dash layout features Evinrude’s combination electronic instruments, which have a classic analog look, but offer every engine parameter one needs in LCD digital presentation. A Humminbird Helix 5 LCD graph fits well in the dash center. A Kicker stereo and cellphone-storage pocket complete the helm. Dual captain and co-captain chairs provide a stable navigation station for the skipper and mate.

Read Next: Essential Traits of the Best Pontoon Boats

Behind the cockpit is a nicely done multiposition couch lounger, which can be converted from a forward-facing two-person couch to a rear-facing lounge with a multiposition backrest. Pretty neat.

Abaft, a stainless-steel perimeter fence keeps everyone safe while underway and provides easy access to the stern deck for watersports. A ski tow and boarding ladder add utility and clean style to the stern.

Sylvan L-3 DLZ Certified Test Results
Sylvan L-3 DLZ Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engine: Evinrude E-Tec G2 two-stroke 250 hp

Drive/Prop: Outboard/15.25″ x 17″ BRP Evinrude Rebel 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.85:1

Fuel Load: 25 gal.

Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Price: $76,235

Sylvan Marine - New Paris, Indiana; 574-831-2950;

LOA: 24'8" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft: 1'8" | Dry Weight: 2,471 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 	14/2,590 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 60 gal.
LOA: 24'8" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft: 1'8" | Dry Weight: 2,471 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 14/2,590 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 60 gal. (Bill Doster/)

Starcraft CX 25 DL Bar

This Starcraft CX 25 DL Bar provides an excellent example of what a triple-tube package can do for you. With a Yamaha F250 outboard bolted to the stout transom bracket, it rockets to 30?mph in a cat-quick 6.7 seconds, and tops out just under 44 mph. The best economy we recorded comes at a nice 21.6 mph clip, turning 3,500 rpm and burning 5.9 gph—that’s nearly 3.7 mpg. This 'toon rolls through turns with finesse and sure-footedness. It’s a nice ride, to be sure.

With the do-everything CX 25 DL Bar, Starcraft takes its entertaining as seriously as it does the performance, developing a convertible bar-turned-lounge arrangement on the aft deck of this new single-engine 25-footer—and boy, does it turn heads. Raft up to the fleet at the cove or island, lower the bar, then recline and tan yourself awhile. When the sun drops below the yardarm (a phrase denoting cocktail hour aboard boats the world over), convert the arrangement into the entertainment bar and watch as crowds of friends and family belly up to it. It’s impossible not to notice this cool arrangement, just as it’s impossible not to thoroughly enjoy it.

The foredeck layout is conventional, with two inward-facing lounge couches that feature nice curved sections in the bow. The diamond-pleated, tufted-top upholstery is plush; it feels great to sink in and feel the comfort in the wind. And it’s a bit windy because the console offers just a low, sculpted Lexan screen for the driver.

Behind the windscreen is a fully outfitted dash console.
Behind the windscreen is a fully outfitted dash console. (Bill Doster/)

Behind the windscreen is a fully outfitted dash console, with Starcraft electronic instruments that sport a classic analog appearance. The optional blackout perimeter rails add a sleek touch to this performance cruiser, but as mentioned, the real magic is abaft: Once your crew gets a look at that convertible bar/lounge setup, they’ll think of nothing else for a while.

But this craft is fit for watersports as well. Besides the amidships party pit with removable table and the out-back bar setup, there’s a spacious aft deck for swimming, hanging out, or diving in with a tube or wakeboard. It’s got the performance chops to make it all a blast.

Starcraft CX 25 DL Bar Certified Test Results
Starcraft CX 25 DL Bar Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engine: Evinrude G2 300

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Evinrude Rebel 15 1/2″ x 16″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.85:1

Fuel Load: 43 gal.

Crew Weight: 360 lb.

Price: $94,700

Manitou Pontoon Boats - Lansing, Michigan; 517-322-3822;

Princecraft Boats Announces New MAX Models provides a new opportunity for consumers to enjoy maximum value on three of the company’s popular fishing boat models., 15 Oct 2020 13:00:00 +0000
The Sport 172 MAX is equipped with a Mercury 90 EXLPT and a galvanized trailer for an MSRP of $28,499 USD. Other engine choices are offered for the Sport 172 MAX: the Mercury 115 EXLPT and 115 EXLPT PRO-XS. (Courtesy Princecraft Boats/)

Princeville (Québec) CANADA (October, 2020) – Princecraft Boats has announced the global launch of the all-new MAX models; an opportunity for consumers to enjoy maximum value on three of the company’s popular fishing boat models: the Sport 172 MAX, Holiday 162 DLX SC MAX andHoliday 162 DLX WS MAX. Each of these models will have standard features normally offered as an option. This is the best way to get the MAXimum value for one price.

The Holiday? 162 DLX SC & WS are equipped with a Mercury 60 ELPT CT and a galvanized trailer. Pricing for each is: WS Version – MSRP: $18,299 USD; SC Version – MSRP: $17,599 USD.
The Holiday? 162 DLX SC & WS are equipped with a Mercury 60 ELPT CT and a galvanized trailer. Pricing for each is: WS Version – MSRP: $18,299 USD; SC Version – MSRP: $17,599 USD. (Courtesy Princecraft Boats/)

Read Next: Our Princecraft Boats Boat Tests

“Our MAX models are going to be really successful for new boaters! A great opportunity for new boaters to experience the MAX value for a smaller price,” said Rodier Grondin, Princecraft President. “The MAX concept is introduced to consumer with a unique look and a lot of features. It is pretty simple, you don’t need to take long long to pick the options, the boat is already loaded with interesting standard features.”

The Sport 172 MAX and Holiday? 162 DLX SC & WS models are packed with standard features.
The Sport 172 MAX and Holiday? 162 DLX SC & WS models are packed with standard features. (Courtesy Princecraft Boats/)

About Princecraft Boats Inc.

Since 1954, Princecraft Boats Inc., headquartered in Princeville, Quebec, Canada, creates unparalleled experiences on the water for fishing and boating enthusiasts with “professionally rigged and ready” packages of aluminum fishing boats, pontoon boats, and deck boats. Its commitment is borne out of a deeply rooted heritage of unmatched craftsmanship, incomparable performance, and the promise of years of trouble-free boating. More fishermen, families, and dealers than ever join the Princecraft family and create some of the best moments of their lives.

For more information, visit:?

Board Racks Buying Tips store your watersports equipment with the right board racks. Find out what to look for when shopping for board racks. HemmelGearWed, 14 Oct 2020 20:02:56 +0000
Roswell Marine’s Triton board rack uses clamping rods instead of straps to secure boards. (Courtesy Roswell Marine/)

Watersports towers provide obvious performance benefits. Tower-attached board racks offer more practical dividends. “You need somewhere to safely store your equipment and keep it out of the way when you’re not using it,” explains Roswell -Marine’s chief of design Darrick Wilson. “Board racks do that for you, but not all are created equal.” What to look for? Here are six key areas to consider.

Board Type

Most board racks resemble an -elongated letter E, with twin padded cradles. Select a specific style based on the type of boards you use most often. Wakeboards are relatively thin, whereas wakesurf boards can be both thicker and wider. A universal fit is accommodating, but the board can have more play. Racks sized for specific board types will be the most secure but may limit what you can bring.


Racks are typically formed from polished or anodized billet aluminum, designed to -prevent corrosion. Board contact surfaces should be lined with foam, often in a higher density where the bottom edge of the board settles into the cradle, and a softer density along the sides to protect a board’s more -vulnerable top and bottom surfaces. Mounting hardware should be stainless steel.

Fixed vs. Swivel

Fixed-position racks are the most affordable option, but a swiveling rack is more -convenient in real-world use, allowing for easier loading and unloading from the safety of the cockpit, rather than standing atop the gunwale and reaching out around the -tower. Swiveling racks also eliminate the worry of damage at the dock or when rafting up, and decrease the overall width when towing or trying to fit into a narrow boathouse. Basic swivel mechanisms release via a removable safety pin; more advanced mechanisms include magnetic or spring-loaded pins that are an integral part of the design. One more alternative is a -removable rack that can be detached from the base.

Cords vs. Clamps vs. Telescoping Arms

Bungee cords remain the most cost-effective way to secure a board—wrapping up and over its top edge before securing back to the rack—but they allow some play and may stretch over time. Strapless alternatives are convenient and provide a more -secure hold, but they are more -expensive. Options include levered clamps that trap the top of the board against the rack’s bottom surface, and telescoping arms that secure a vertically cradled board by its top rail.

Tower Attachment

Mounting points integrated into the tower itself offer the most secure, movement-free attachment. Universal clamps, however, accommodate towers of varying tube diameters, as well as offer flexibility in the mounting location and angle to position the rack where the owner finds most convenient or out of the driver’s vision. Universal mounts are also the best solution for adding new racks to older tower designs.

2021 Jeanneau Leader 12.5 brand-new Jeanneau Leader 12.5 is a power cruiser that was built to look as good as it performs. Tech TeamBoatsWed, 14 Oct 2020 13:20:49 +0000

The brand-new Jeanneau Leader 12.5 is a power cruiser that was built to look as good as it performs, and perform it does with three 300-horsepower Yamaha outboards. It’s also built to entertain –– this boat is equipped with a refrigerator, a sink above it, a live well, a grill, an ice maker plus plenty of storage. For comfort, there’s a wraparound lounge up against the transom, which can recline to give you a sun pad. Go down below deck, and this boat continues to exceed expectations.

2020 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show: Must-See Electronics collection of some of the cool high-technology products for navigation, fishing, onboard entertainment, security, communications, and more. HendricksGearMon, 19 Oct 2020 18:23:13 +0000
The 2020 show is going on as planned with new safety protocols in place. (Courtesy Informa/)

This year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) will go on. Promoters of this big, south Florida event have announced COVID-conscious health safety standards, including requirements for screening of show-goers, appropriate face masks, physical distancing, no-contact registration, enhanced cleaning and more. To review all of the safety standards and find out more about the show, visit

For those who attend, the show will feature a wide range of exhibitors, including the leading brands in marine electronics, most of the concentrated the marine electronics tent at the Bahia Mar venue, but also at marine electronics retailers with booths at the show. You’ll see some of the cool high-technology products for navigation, fishing, onboard entertainment, security, communications, and more. Let’s take a look at a dozen of the hottest marine electronics to check out at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Garmin Fantom 254/256 Radar
Garmin Fantom 254/256 Radar (Courtesy Garmin/)

Be sure to stop by Garmin’s booth to see the new Fantom 245/256 open-array solid-state marine radars. Available in 4- and 6-foot arrays, they feature 250 watts of pulse compression power for a 96-nautical-mile range. Garmin’s signature MotionScope technology can detect and highlight moving targets in different colors, helping users avoid potential collisions, find flocks of birds and track weather. New features include scan-to-scan averaging and improved MARPA with Automatic Acquisition. Suggested retail prices are $9,999 and $10,499 for the 4-foot and 6-foot models, respectively;

Siren Marine 3 Pro 3
Siren Marine 3 Pro 3 (Courtesy Siren Marine/)

Make it a point to see the new Siren 3 Pro at the show. Siren Marine has led the field of boat telematics, and is now a partner with CZone, the leader in marine digital-switching. These systems enable a skipper to control a wide range of onboard systems using the Siren Marine mobile app on a smartphone or tablet from your home, office or car while en route to the marina. A boater can connect via cellular service and/or satellite. Adding a small satellite antenna to the system allows boat owners to connect from virtually anywhere on Earth. A Siren 3 Pro starts at $749, plus service fees starting at $15 per month;

Raymarine Axiom+
Raymarine Axiom+ (Courtesy Raymarine/)

Swing by the FLIR/Raymarine booth to see the new Axiom+ multifunction displays and LightHouse electronic cartography. Available in 7-, 9-, and 12-inch display models, Axiom+ features quad-core processors and bright IPS displays. HydroTough nano-coated screens enable touch control in all conditions. There are four built-in sonar channels – including RealVision 3D. The new LightHouse electronic charts are derived from official hydrographic sources – the same data used by maritime professionals. Axiom+ models start at $749, LightHouse charts start at $79;

Furuno NavNet TZtouch3
Furuno NavNet TZtouch3 (Courtesy Furuno/)

The third generation of NavNet multifunction displays—the TZtouch3 series—will be on display at the Furuno booth and retailer exhibits. They’re available in a 12-inch hybrid with IPS touch screen and Furuno’s RotoKey and dedicated buttons (TZT12F), and in 16- and 19-inch glass IPS touch displays (TZT16F and TZT19F, respectively). Each has a quad-core processor with a built-in dual-channel 1 kW TruEcho chirp fish finder, as well as a 50/200 kHz fish finder. They can network with Furuno’s new Deep Impact DI-FFAMP amplifier, an add-on option that increases power to 2 or even 3 kW. Starting at $3,095;

Simrad NSO evo3S
Simrad NSO evo3S (Courtesy Simrad/)

Drop in at the Simrad exhibit and ask about the NSO evo3 multifunction displays. This navigation system from Simrad connects with premium network modules and other Simrad accessories to create a vessel-wide system. The high-definition, low-profile glass touchscreen display can be viewed from any angle, even through polarized sunglasses. It supports up to a six-panel, split-screen layout. An iMX6 quad-core processor offers fast updates. Available in 16-, 19- and 24-inch screens, the system includes wireless connectivity for updates and notifications. Starting at $6,999 for a 16-inch display only;

Spot Gen4 Device
Spot Gen4 Device (Courtesy Spot/)

While roaming the show, look for the new Spot Gen4 device. It offers more tracking features, enhanced mapping interface, greater water resistance and a sleek new ergonomic design. It is engineered to provides an affordable communication with friends, family and other boaters, as well as the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) using GPS location and satellite connectivity powered by Globalstar. It also offers the longest battery life in the product category, according to the company. There are unlimited shared views with an easy interface to share a location. $149.99;

Icom M85 Handheld VHF Radio
Icom M85 Handheld VHF Radio (Courtesy Icom/)

Stop by the Icom booth and check out the compact, touch and versatile M85 handheld radio. It is built to mil-spec and IP67 waterproof standards for the most inhospitable environments. It offers 5 watts of maximum power VHF and up to 100 programmable channels for land mobile use at 2 watts power. (Proper licensing is required to operate within land mobile frequencies.) Its AquaQuake function prevents a water-logged speaker. It also features weather channels, priority scan and favorite channels function for quick access to often-used channels. $299.99;

Fusion Apollo WB670 Hideaway System
Fusion Apollo WB670 Hideaway System (Courtesy Fusion/)

Swing by the Fusion booth to see and listen to the Fusion Apollo WB670 hideaway system and ERX400 wired remote eliminate the need for a stereo source unit on the dash. The WB670 inherits the key audio features of the Apollo RA670, including digital signal processing, and can be mounted in a variety of locations like behind the helm or inside of a center console. It can be controlled through a compatible multifunction display (MFD) via NMEA 2000 or Ethernet, or with the ERX400 wired remote. With a 2.7-inch color display, its slim profile is ideal for spots where mounting depth is limited. $449.99 for the WB670, $229.99 for the ERX400;

Kicker KMC5 Premium Marine Media Center
Kicker KMC5 Premium Marine Media Center (Courtesy Kicker/)

Check out the new Premium Marine Media Center at one of the electronics retailers exhibiting at the show. The Kicker Premium Marine Media Center is a 240-watt source unit for boats that features a color, non-glare LCD screen, RCA output for front and rear subwoofer and a second zone, Bluetooth, four sets of RCA output for easy expansion, AUX RCA input, USB charging, thumb-drive playback and camera/video input with a trigger wire or push button. The video comes in handy as a back-up camera or for watching your skiers or riders. The Premium Marine Media Center is NMEA-2000 compatible and offers an AM/FM/weather-band and is Sirius XM compatible. To locate a Kicker retailer at the show, call Jason Jones at CPS at 954-993-4094. $549;

JL Marine Audio Starter Kit
JL Marine Audio Starter Kit (Courtesy JL Marine Audio/)

If you’re looking for a stereo system for a smaller center console or bay boat, check out the JL Marine Audio Starter Kit at the show. It is designed for boaters looking to add a quality two-speaker stereo or upgrade an older stock system. The kit features a MediaMaster MM-50 marine source unit with a 2.8-inch, full-color LCD display with Bluetooth and NMEA-2000 connectivity, and a 100-watt amplifier. The kit also includes a pair of 6.5-inch JL Marine Audio coaxial speakers designed for harsh marine with white sport grilles and an AM/FM hide-away antenna. $629.99,

Si-Tex Wireless Radar
Si-Tex Wireless Radar (Courtesy Si-Tex/)

Stop at the Si-Tex Marine Electronics book and ask about the Wi-Fi radar networking system, designed to pair with its NavPro series multifunction displays. The Si-Tex MDS-12 digital marine radar connects wirelessly with the Si-Tex 9-inch NavPro 900 and 12-inch NavPro 1200 multi-function displays (MFDs). This eliminates the hassle of snaking a thick cable between the radar and a MFD. The 24-inch dome radar offers 4kW of power and a 36-nautical-mile range. The NavPro series features Si-Tex’s hybrid touch control, a 10Hz GPS receiver, the latest C-Map 4D cartography and a choice of black-box or integrated chirp sonar with a wide range of frequency options. $1,599 (MFD sold separately);

Boat Telematics Marine provides a solution for both monitoring and controlling your boat from afar. Check it out. HendricksGearThu, 01 Oct 2020 17:44:34 +0000
The Siren Marine system can control a wide range of onboard systems. (Courtesy Siren Marine/)

With digital-switching technology for boats, marine accessories connect to a powered control module rather than directly to a conventional switch. The module, in turn, can be networked via NMEA 2000 with multiple user-interface systems.

This lets you use a multifunction display to control systems. Yet another benefit is remote control from a distance. Leading the way in boat telematics is Siren Marine, which has worked to interface its mobile-connectivity module with digital-switching systems from technology partner CZone. After a boat is equipped with the Siren/CZone telematics, a skipper can control a wide range of onboard systems using the Siren Marine mobile app on a smartphone or tablet from his home, office or car.

Adding a small satellite antenna allows boat owners to connect from virtually anywhere.
Adding a small satellite antenna allows boat owners to connect from virtually anywhere. (Courtesy Siren Marine/)

“Once connected, the app auto-populates with the same CZone digital-switching screen you see on an MFD,” says Daniel Harper, founder and CEO of Siren Marine. “This system, for example, can turn on the fridge, and cabin and spreader lights before you arrive at the dock.”

It connects via cell service and/or satellite, Harper says. Adding a small satellite antenna allows boat owners to connect from virtually anywhere.

Digital switching is offered almost exclusively as a factory installation on new boats. “The amount of work in converting a boat to digital switching doesn’t lend itself to the aftermarket,” says David Marynov, marketing manager for Power Products, parent company of CZone. The Siren Marine system, on the other hand, is well-suited to aftermarket installations. A telematics-capable Siren Marine system starts at $699, plus service fees starting at $180 per year.

2020 Monterey 215SS Monterey 215SS delivers in all the right ways, from performance and style to quality fit and finish. Whether you want to enjoy cruising with your family or enjoying watersports with your friends, the 215SS comes equipped to handle it all. Tech TeamBoatsTue, 29 Sep 2020 17:04:05 +0000

Monterey’s new 215SS is the outboard version of their very popular 218 stern drive. When it comes to style and features, Monterey knows their business –– they’ve been building quality boats for decades. The 215SS is ideally equipped for watersports thanks to the optional wakeboard tower, and it has an integrated bimini to shade the cockpit. Since this boat is an outboard model, it brings some unique features like the large sun pad in the back that also boasts large amounts of storage underneath.

Best Marine Electronics of 2020 year's best marine electronics are named by the National Marine Electronics Association., 29 Sep 2020 16:58:06 +0000
Icom won the VHF radio category for its M605 model. (Courtesy Icom America, Inc./)

SEVERNA PARK, MD-Manufacturers scored big at the 2020 National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Business Meeting held on September 26, following the NMEA Virtual Education Week held last week. A total of 19 products received the top award, and the NMEA Manufacturer of the Year was named.

“On behalf of the NMEA Board of Directors, staff, and membership, we congratulate all 2020 award winners,” said Mark Reedenauer, NMEA President & Executive Director. “The member voting count exceeded our expectations. This certainly sends the message to the market that manufacturers have focused on producing top quality products for the boating public, even during a pandemic. NMEA members, installers, and manufacturers have surely kept their eye on the ball.”

The 2020 Product of Excellence Awards nominees were extensively vetted by staff and committee. The awards bring global recognition and extensive media coverage for NMEA manufacturer members. The 2020 NMEA Product of Excellence Awards included one new category: Marine Specialty.

2020 Product of Excellence Awards

NMEA members selected the winners of the annual Product of Excellence Awards through an online voting process. Awards were given in 17 categories. Here are the 2020 recipients.

  • Marine VHF-ICOM M605
  • Radar-Furuno DRS4DNXT Solid-State Doppler
  • Satellite Communications Antenna-KVH TracPhone V3-HTS
  • Multi-Function Display-Garmin GPSMAP 8616xsv
  • Multimedia Entertainment-Fusion Apollo RA770
  • NMEA 2000 Sensor-Furuno SCX20 High Precision Satellite Compass
  • Autopilot-Garmin Reactor 40 with SmartPump v2
  • Satellite TV Antenna-KVH TracVision UHD7
  • Fishfinder-Furuno DFF3D Multi-Beam 3D
  • Marine Camera-FLIR M364C
  • AIS-Vesper XB8000 smartAIS
  • Marine PC Software-Nobeltec TZ Professional V 4.1
  • Remote Monitoring-GOST Apparition SM GPS XVR
  • Wi-Fi/Cellular Device-KVH TracPhone LTE-1 (tie)Wi-Fi/Cellular Device-Wave Wi-Fi Tidal Wave AC + Cellular (tie)
  • Marine Apps-Utility-Garmin ActiveCaptain
  • Commercial-Furuno FAR2228BB 25kW IMO Radar
  • Marine Specialty-Maretron N2KBuilder - NMEA2000? Network Design Software (tie)
  • Marine Specialty-Furuno “Deep Impact” DI-FFAMP High-Power CHIRP Amplifier (tie)
NMEA announced winners of Excellence Awards.
NMEA announced winners of Excellence Awards. (Courtesy National Marine Electronics Association/)

Manufacturer of the Year Award

NMEA members also voted on a particular manufacturer who had demonstrated superior support of their products to all who install and service them in the field. NMEA and the membership congratulate Garmin on winning this award.

NMEA normally awards a Best New Product Award and an NMEA Technology Award based on in-person judging at the Annual NMEA Conference and Expo. “Because of the pandemic these awards could not be awarded this year,” said Reedenauer. “NMEA plans to reinstate these awards in 2021 when the NMEA Conference and Expo is scheduled to be held as a live, in-person event in Anaheim, California.”

The NMEA Awards are coordinated by a committee consisting of: Brian Kane, Chief Technology Officer, GOST; Todd Tally, General Manager, Atlantic Marine Electronics; Chris Labozza, Executive Vice President, Precision Marine Center; Paul Comyns, Vice President of Global Marketing, Intellian; Bruce Cole, Manager and Advertising Director, Marine Electronics Journal; and Mark Reedenauer, President and Executive Director of the NMEA.

NMEA congratulates all 2020 winners and looks forward to an expanded awards program in 2021 when the NMEA Conference and Expo is scheduled to be held as a live, in-person event in Anaheim, California. For details, watch

About the NMEA

Founded in 1957, the NMEA has led the way in establishing technical standards for data exchange in marine electronics, with the widely accepted NMEA 0183 data protocol, NMEA 2000? and certification standards for marine electronics technicians. NMEA standards and programs focus on ensuring that the boating consumer is provided with reliable products and professional service. For more information, visit the NMEA website at or call (410) 975-9425.

World’s Largest Boat Show Set For January 2021 Düsseldorf implementing numerous health protocols to keep show visitors safe in January 2021., 29 Sep 2020 15:48:32 +0000
The boat show known as boot Düsseldorf, often called the Dusseldorf boat show in North America, is the world's largest boating and watersports show. (Courtesy boot Dusseldorf/)

"As the world’s largest platform for water sports, boot Düsseldorf is aware of its responsibility for the industry. boot, to held from January 23 – 31, 2021 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany, will set the course for a successful water sports year and a positive future. We are confident that we can all master this together and are pleased to be able to offer you the place in Düsseldorf to do so. In 17 exhibition halls, we will organize a somewhat different looking, but no less inspiring boot in accordance with the applicable hygiene and infection protection regulations. The CARAVAN SALON 2020 trade fair, which just ended, has demonstrated impressively how trade fairs in Düsseldorf can still be successful in these times and how exhibitors can achieve considerable economic results even with the new rules. We are delighted with the results, because it has shown that trade fairs are still indispensable marketing instruments for both the caravanning industry and the water sports sector, " stated Wolfram Diener, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.

Exhibitor Registration at 2019 Level

The planning for boot 2021 is on course and the current exhibitor registration numbers are, overall, the same as they were in 2019. Almost all of the boat and yacht manufacturers that were on board in 2020 are back for 2021. Apart from a few exceptions, most suppliers have also confirmed that they will be participating in boot. Petros Michelidakis, Project Director of boot, commented: “Overall, booking numbers for boot are excellent and we have even have halls where almost every square foot has been booked, such as the luxury yacht halls 5 and 6. Sectors that have been hit hard by the crisis, such as tourism, have not yet returned to their previous levels. However, we are discussing matters actively with these regions and travel agents in order to make participating in the trade fair possible for them.” The boot team also registered a good number of registrations from suppliers of houseboat vacations and the charter sector for both sailing and motorboats. Both vacation forms are considered as very safe and enjoy increasing popularity.Hygiene and infection protection concept in Düsseldorf that has been approved by the authorities.

Messe Düsseldorf has already developed a comprehensive hygiene and infection protection concept for the CARAVAN SALON trade fair in close consultation with the authorities and in coordination with the state government. "This is constantly adapted to meet the latest demands. “The visitors at CARAVAN SALON highly approved these measures. They felt safe with us, knew that they were in good hands and could enjoy visiting the vehicles in a relaxed atmosphere,” explained Wolfram Diener. The trade fair’s PROTaction campaign provides exhibitors with clear and detailed information about the measures at?

Stage Program and Hands-On Activities Will Take Place

According to Petros Michelidakis: “The most important statement for all of us at this point in time is: boot 2021 Düsseldorf will take place from January 23 to 31. Exhibitors, employees, stand builders, visitors and media representatives can currently find answers to questions about hygiene measures currently on the boot website. Everyone who is at the fairgrounds at the time of stand construction, the duration of the trade fair and the dismantling of the event will be registered. The popular program on the stages and the participatory activities such as surfing, diving, SUP or paddling will take place in compliance with the hygiene and distance rules. Scanners will record the data of the online tickets to track potential chains of infection.”

Social distancing protocols, hygiene, ventilation and more will be addressed to assure confidence and safety, according to organizers.
Social distancing protocols, hygiene, ventilation and more will be addressed to assure confidence and safety, according to organizers. (Courtesy boot Dusseldorf/)

The boot Team is Here to Help

"We ask that our exhibitors also use scanners. They can use these to simplify the registration process and they are low-cost and subsidized. Our boot team is here to provide advice and practical tips on how exhibitors can successfully implement the hygiene concept at their stands. The support and solidarity within the water sports industry is our biggest motivation, " added Petros Michelidakis.

Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA e.V.): Entry for trade fair visitors and exhibitors is possibleThe Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA e.V.) stated that entry to Germany is generally possible for trade fair participants. There are no travel restrictions for visitors from EU member states and from countries that are on the list of permitted countries. Trade fair participants from all other countries (such as the US) can also enter Germany, as they are considered business travelers with justified reasons for travel. Trade fair participants from these countries must provide proof of their participation in the trade fair when entering Germany. Employees of exhibiting companies must present a confirmation of their participation in the trade fair from the trade fair organizer. Visitors to the trade fair must present their admission ticket to the event and additionally an appointment for a business meeting with at least one exhibitor on site at trade e fair. For up-to-date information on entry regulations for exhibitors and visitors from Europe and overseas to Germany:? AUMA e.V.).

About boot Düsseldorf

boot Düsseldorf will present yachts, boats, boards, diving equipment, watersports destinations and charter companies in halls 1 to 17 of the Düsseldorf fairgrounds from January 23 – 31, 2021. Action areas such as the wave “THE WAVE”, the 213 feet long flatwater pool on which the new trend sport “Wing-Surfing” is one of the attractions, the newly built diving tower with panoramic view and the popular canoeing course invite visitor to participate also next year - this time at a safe distance.

For further information on visiting or exhibiting at boot 2021, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America; Telephone: (312) 781-5180; E-mail:; Visit?

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For hotel and travel information, contact TTI Travel, Inc. at (866) 674-3476; Fax: (212) 674-3477; E-mail:;

Bonnier, MRAA Partner to Promote Certified Dealers MRAA has announced a partnership with Bonnier Corporation in order to promote the Marine Industry Certified Dealership program and the retailers who are Certified., 23 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has announced a partnership with Bonnier Corporation, one of the largest consumer-facing, special-interest publishing groups in America, in order to promote the Marine Industry Certified Dealership program and the retailers who are Certified.

With this year’s influx of boat buyers, especially new boat buyers, saturating the market, it has become more important than ever to promote and explain the importance of working with a Certified Dealer.

“Our Certified Dealers put in a lot of work to become Certified, and much of that effort is focused on the customer experience. We’re entering into this partnership with Bonnier to tell consumers all about Certified Dealers and how Certified Dealers can serve them,” says Liz Keener, MRAA Certification Manager, “Our hope is that as consumers see these marketing efforts, they’ll make a larger effort to seek Certified Dealers when they’re ready to buy.”

Readers of Boating and Salt Water Sportsman will experience marketing campaigns through various channels, including print magazines, websites, email sends and social media platforms.

“Bonnier is committed to growing participation in boating and the enjoyment of the boating lifestyle.? Nothing is more important than having a great dealer get you started in boating and guide you along the way,” says Glenn Sandridge, Vice President and Managing Director at Bonnier Corporation.? “Choosing an MRAA Certified Dealer is the best way to ensure you are choosing a trained professional partner to maximize you and your family’s fun on the water.”

The MRAA continues to build and evolve the Certification program to help boat dealers establish efficient and effective processes that lead to an exceptional retail experience for everyone. Certification offers dealers the blueprint to developing a world-class business.

This partnership and the promotion of the Certified Dealer program will run through 2021 and 2022.

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas

At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit or contact us at 763-315-8043.

Off My Dock: The Covid Circle campfire enhances social distancing and the telling of old stories. PlueddemanHow ToSat, 19 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000
A campfire inspires storytelling. (Tim Bower/)

The Lake View Inn is surviving the COVID-19 thing, as are its loyal customers. Wally has the business advantage of owning the building and living in the apartment upstairs, and after the first month of closure, he was allowed to sell takeout food. That period of social isolation also highlighted how much time we were actually spending at the Lake View. So, maybe the break was good for our health in more ways than one.

But beer and stimulating conversation are essential North Woods life forces, and Friday evenings found us gathering in the Lake View parking lot to pick up a takeout fish fry, which led to some lingering conversation, which eventually turned into our “COVID circle”: five trucks parked in a ring in the far corner of the parking lot with five friends seated on facing tailgates, eating perch from white foam boxes and catching up on the week past—stories of fish caught and propellers bent and such. Social distancing is rigorously observed because three of us live with registered nurses who enforce the rules with some militancy.

One evening, my good friend Chuck Larson opined that sitting in a circle would be more enjoyable if we were around a campfire, and by the next week, Wally had placed an iron ring and a stack of split oak on the grass. A campfire inspires storytelling, and with Chuck’s prompting, I recounted the tall tale my scoutmaster father used to tell our Troop 28 around a fire at the lake.

“I was about your age, and fishing by myself right off the point,” my dad would start, pointing out toward the lake. He felt a powerful tug on his line, and his rod bowed to the water. “I knew that I had hooked a mighty muskie!” he exclaimed, a fish so powerful it snapped his rod. In a move straight out of Hemingway, he snatched the line and wrapped it around his bare hand, determined to fight the fish. But the boy was no match for this muskellunge. It dived for the bottom, and pulled my dad right over the side and down, down, down into the cold water until he blacked out.

“I came to, right here on the beach, and I was naked,” he continued, “and standing over me was a beautiful American Indian girl.” This made the boys very uncomfortable. He realized that he had somehow been transported back in time; it was the same lake but hundreds of years ago. The Potawatomi nursed him back to health—there were many details about the lodge and eating pemmican—and my dad resigned himself to this new reality. A year passed, and one day he was on the lake fishing with a hand line from a birch bark canoe…

“And the same muskie pulls him overboard!” exclaimed Chuck, who was totally into the story by now, “and he wakes up naked on the beach again, only this time the neighbor girl finds him.” Groans all around the circle.

“I heard a guy from Illinois caught that fish in 1996,” Wally said with a wink. “It had two hooks in its mouth, and one was carved out of bone.”

Read Next: More Off My Dock Columns

Chuck was incredulous. “Why is it always someone from Illinois catching the trophy!”

Wally kept a straight face. “Have another beer, Chuck. You’ll get over it.”

Mercury Racing 360 APX Outboard this article, a new, " racing competition," outboard is introduced by Mercury Racing. Learn how the new APX series of racing competition outboards differ from consumer outboards. FalveyGearFri, 18 Sep 2020 21:09:45 +0000
A specialized gearcase and midsection help make this a racing competition outboard. (Courtesy Mercury Racing/)

Mercury Marine’s 4.6 liter V8 outboard platform is like a tree with many branches. From the root V8 Four Stroke engine, many varieties of outboard spring to cover the many niches of marine propulsion: from luxury-performance Verado, to the commercial Sea Pro lineup, to the Pro XS tournament bass engine.

And of course, Mercury Racing, the branch from which the new APEX 360 outboard comes from.

Mercury Racing, a separate division of Mercury Marine, builds the R series of outboards for performance-oriented consumers, plus performance sterndrives, as well as manufacturing refined propellers, developing special lubricants and creating a host of parts and accessories that serve performance boaters. It is about the only player in the high-performance propulsion and parts and accessories space. The new APEX 360, stylized as APX on the cowl, confirms that. Just as there is no other marine engine maker like Mercury Racing there is no other outboard like this one on the market.

“This is a, ‘racing competition,’ engine,” asserts, Stuart Halley, Mercury Racing General Manager. That is to distinguish Apex series outboards from Mercury Racing’s high-performance consumer offerings. So, what’s the diff?

The 360 APX is specifically intended to power Formula One tunnel boats on the UIM F1 H2O World Championship. It is only available to qualified race teams. Warranty? There is none. It also boasts a 12-inch midsection, ideal for tunnel boats, but not so much for a center console or runabout. It is rated at 360 propshaft horsepower, redlines at 7000 rpm and the 12-inch midsection features integral trim and lift.

Full specs and model details for Mercury Racing 360 APX Outboard ?

The 360 APX is normally aspirated, retains its double overhead cam/four-valve architecture and the compression ratio is increased from 10:1 to 11:1. The powerhead is fitted with a short-runner intake manifold mated to a cold-air induction system vented through the cowl. The engine calibration is modified to take full advantage of the powerhead modifications. The 360 APX uses a 24-volt starter for faster dock-side starting in competition. The above water exhaust provides unrestricted flow, but also ensures race fans hear race noise. Additionally, it produces 90% lower emissions than current two-stroke racing engines. It is notable that Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) President, Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, believes this engine shows the race organizations commitment to lowered emissions. Halley posits that between the engines efficiency, and its ability to burn premium pump gas instead of race fuel, it will markedly lower race teams fuel bills.

The 12-inch midsection is all-new and designed specifically for Formula 1 tunnel boat applications, with a structural wet sump driveshaft housing and integrated power trim and power lift with remote pumps. An overdrive spur gearset between the crankshaft and the gearcase increases the input shaft speed to the gearcase to match that of the current 9600-RPM two-stroke race engine, and produces the left-hand propeller rotation desired for Formula 1 circuit racing. The overdrive gears accommodate multiple gear ratios, so teams can select the ratio that best fits each particular race.

Another special feature is the above water exhaust that ensures race fans get the sound of a racing outboard.
Another special feature is the above water exhaust that ensures race fans get the sound of a racing outboard. (Courtesy Mercury Racing/)

Halley let on that Apex is a reference to a where a driver in circuit racing is usually looking---to the apex of the turn. That it serves as a double-entendre in branding the 360 APX as at the pinnacle of mission-specific design makes it an apt moniker for this new racing competition outboard. First in a series, it slated to be available late fall of 2020.

Caymas 341 CC Boat Test Caymas 341 CC mixes spirited performance with loads of fishability. Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated it so that boaters can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on. VanceBoatsFri, 18 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000
LOA: 33'6" | Beam: 10'0" | Draft: 2'3" | Displacement: 9,500 lb. (with power) | Transom Deadrise: 24 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 8'1" | Fuel Capacity: 345 gal. | Max Horsepower: 1,200 | Available Power: Dual or triple Yamaha, Mercury or Suzuki outboards to 1,200 hp total (Courtesy Caymas Boats/)

Champion boat racer and accomplished boatbuilder Earl Bentz reunited his Triton team to bring an all-new series of fishing boats to American anglers. The 341 CC is Caymas' latest and largest, and it boasts a Michael Peters-designed Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel (SVVT) hull, and a deck plan to suit the most finicky fishermen.

The 341 CC made over 60 mph with triple Mercury 300 hp V-8 FourStrokes. The throaty engines offer relentless acceleration, and fuel economy that allows nearly 400 miles of offshore?range.

It’s not surprising that the Caymas 341 CC is a performer, but it comes by its fishability honestly too. Both Benz and Falk are avid offshore anglers.

The helm is outfitted with a plethora of modern electronics.
The helm is outfitted with a plethora of modern electronics. (Courtesy Caymas Boats/)

A 70-gallon livewell centered on the transom is fed by dual pumps in a sea chest, keeping the livewell pressurized so bait rides securely in rough seas.

Caymas traded a transom walk-through with a convenient inboard swinging gunwale door for easy boarding, or landing tuna, swordfish and wahoo.

Rod holders are well-placed on the transom, gunwales and foredeck, and locking stowage under port and starboard gunwales provides a secure hideaway for two pairs of tuna sticks. Four more lock up in the console below in additional racks.

Tackle stowage is found in gunwale cabinets that tilt out, and two doors in the leaning post reveal two utility-box racks. Slide-out boards give stowable workspace, and a large cooler slides out below on rails for easy, convenient access.

The aft cockpit features a foldaway transom jump seat.
The aft cockpit features a foldaway transom jump seat. (Courtesy Caymas Boats/)

Caymas' 341 CC also delivers features such as a double lounge contoured for guests to relax in comfort, and two foldaway seats at the bow offer seating for four more crewmembers while allowing passage to the anchor windlass and fender locker.

In the aft cockpit, you can sit on the slide-out cooler cushion and put a couple on the foldaway transom jump seat. For mixed crews, the large console compartment below the helm not only offers a space for changing, but there is also a flushing head and additional storage.

The 341 CC is efficient, fast and smooth-riding.
The 341 CC is efficient, fast and smooth-riding. (Courtesy Caymas Boats/)

High Points

  • Ample rocket launchers and rod holders for stowage and trolling.
  • Comfortable seating throughout stows quickly for fish-fighting.
  • Michael Peters hull design is proven to be efficient, fast and smooth-riding.

Low Points

  • We would like to see some teak brightwork on board to enhance style.
  • Three-wide console restricts passage fore and aft, but adds comfort behind the helm.

Toughest Competitor

The Regulator 31 ($349,995 with twin Yamaha 300 hp outboards) sounds shorter, but it employs an engine bracket on the transom, adding to its running length, and allows the entire hull length to commit to fishing amenities. The 31 is beamier too, by 4 inches, adding enjoyable real estate to its dimensions.

Price: $451,150 (as tested)

Available Power: Outboard

Caymas 341 CC Certified Test Results
Caymas 341 CC Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Triple Mercury 300 hp FourStrokes

Drive/Props: Outboards/Enertia 16″ x 21″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.85:1

Fuel Load: 70 gal.

Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Caymas Boats - Ashland, Tennessee; 888-422-9627;

ePropulsion Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries this article, the introduction of lower cost LiOn marine propulsion batteries is discussed, and points concerning power-performance-price comparisons are raised. StaffBoatsFri, 18 Sep 2020 14:01:18 +0000
These new batteries cost less than other similar capacity marine propulsion batteries, yet are said to offer high performance. (Courtesy ePropulsion/)

Electric marine propulsion isn’t on the rise…it’s here. While choosing an electric motor for your boat is an important decision, choosing the batteries that power the motor, or motors, is just as important. Weight, cost—both in terms of purchase cost and longevity—recharge time and more, all affect the performance and satisfaction a boater will derive from the chosen motor. In fact, the availability and accuracy of many of the monitoring functions, such as range, remaining run time and more, are dependent upon which battery is selected.

Now, ePropulsion, introduces the E-Series Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) high-performance batteries for, they claim, the pinnacle of performance in electric boating.

Rating highly affordable, these are designed precisely to complement ePropulsion’s lines of Spirit and Navy electric outboard engines, the E-Series offers boaters unparalleled functionality, while reducing weight and space requirements compared to traditional AGM lead-acid batteries. A key innovation of the ePropulsion product line is that all outboards are built on a 48V platform, allowing for a greater degree of flexibility. While third-party 48V batteries will work with these powerful engines, the E-Series batteries are designed for optimal performance for the entire range of engines, from 3 HP to 9.9 HP. The E-Series provides long life cycles, consistent performance and smart operation for the easiest ownership experience. Connected with ePropulsion outboards and pod drives via a communication cable, ePropulsion motors are able to read all the data from the Battery Management Systems (BMS) and apply the best operation strategy.

Read Next: Learn More About ePropulsion Motors

The E-Series LFP batteries are primarily designed to lower the overall cost of electric boating. The chemistry of E-Series batteries is 60% lighter but provides about 50% more usable capacity than AGM lead-acid batteries. As an example, a single 192-pound E175 E-Series battery will provide the same full-throttle run time to an ePropulsion Navy 6.0 6kW 9.9HP electric outboard as a 750-pound AGM battery pack.

In addition, E-Series LFP batteries have a longer life of up to 3,000 cycles, while AGM batteries only reach 300 to 500 cycles. This results in significant replacement cost saving for the E-Series versus lead-acid solutions. If used continuously every day for 8 years, the E-Series will retain more than 80% capacity available. Comparatively, the lead-acid battery has a short life span and for the same usage, will likely need to be replaced every two to three years."We are excited to provide high-performance E-Series batteries to North American boaters and ePropulsion customers," said Chris Ponnwitz, ePropulsion spokesperson and marketing specialist, Mack Boring & Parts Company. “Offering an affordable option for powering your electric outboard, the E-Series brings the vast benefits of quiet performance, environmentally responsible propulsion and reliable operation to a wide-range of boaters.”

Available in three models, the E-Series E40, E80, and E175 have a rated voltage of 48V and a lifespan of 3,000 charging cycles. E-Series batteries are tough and corrosion-resistant. Each model can be configured with up to 16 batteries connected in parallel. The E40 has a capacity of 2048 Wh can be charged in 2.5 hours with a 20A charger; weighs 61.7 pounds; and has a width, depth and height of 16.5-inches by 15.4-inches by 8.2-inches, respectively. The 4096 Wh E80 can be charged in 2.5 hours with a 40A charger; weighs 105.8 pounds; and has a width, depth and height of 21.9-inches by 17.3-inches by 8.4-inches, respectively. The 8960 Wh E175 has a 5-hour charge time with a 40A charger; weighs 191.8 pounds; and has a width, depth and height of 19.7-inches by 22.2-inches by 10.9 inches, respectively.

The E-Series E40, E80, and E175 cost $1,199, $1,999 and $3,999, respectively, are IP67 waterproof rated and come with the E-Series LFP battery is a smart system that keeps you informed of operating status. They are covered by a two-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. For more info visit

Four Electric Boat Motors Compared Magazine's BoatingLAB Director, Randy Vance, compares four electric marine motors, from primary propulsion to trolling and auxiliary use. VanceBoatsMon, 21 Sep 2020 17:05:17 +0000
Electric motors have come a long way. (Courtesy Torqeedo/)

Electric marine propulsion is rapidly advancing in market share while providing a fun and unique boating experience not available from internal combustion power.

Electric Motors Then

You might be surprised to learn that electric boats have been around since 1838. Inventors from Prussia, England and America began making vessels with lead-acid batteries—tons of lead-acid batteries per vessel—to move passengers quietly and efficiently. But the internal combustion engines invented in the late 1800s were more powerful and convenient, and with the exception of Elco electric motors, electric power fell away in popularity. In 1934, Minn Kota manufactured the first electric outboard. Then, in the 1960s, bass tournament fishing popularized big-horsepower gas engines for speed, and electric trolling motors for precise boat handling. You might say the fishermen were ahead of the curve by about 60 years on hybrid boats.

Electric Motors Today

We are focusing on production models that can be easily installed by a do-it-yourselfer or OEM without special training. Lithium-ion batteries can be volatile if not properly installed, so some companies require their trained tech to do that.


Electric outboards are expensive, and while we’ve listed the purchase cost, the batteries available are too numerous to name or price, and can cost more than the motor.

KW vs. HP

A mathematic equation easily converts kilowatt-hours to horsepower, and our math revealed the calculated horsepower to be considerably less than the equivelant horsepower suggested by manufacturers.

Single and dual throttle controls are available from Torqeedo.
Single and dual throttle controls are available from Torqeedo. ( Courtesy Torqeedo /)


Torqeedo provides completely integrated motor, battery and controls. Electronically controlled systems give its motors greater range per battery capacity and, similar to a fuel gauge, help operators conserve energy when needed or tell them when they can splurge on maximum throttle. The batteries are provided by BMW, but it is Torqeedo’s control system that manages output, heat and recharge operations to protect and optimize battery capacity and motor performance.

Range of Power: Outboards from Ultralight 403 at 400 W (about 1 hp) to Deep Blue at 50 kW (about 80 hp equivalent with 20 percent hole-shot boost), and inboards up to 100 kW (about 135 hp).

Most Popular Motor: Torqeedo’s Cruise 10 ($8,999) puts out 10 kW, or about 14 hp, but performs comparably to a 20 hp outboard thanks to Torqeedo’s software. In remote control, it is popular among pontoon boaters in particular, and commonly installed on pontoons used on neighborhood lakes requiring electric propulsion. Through digital controls, peak output is boosted beyond nominal output for a short time to improve acceleration at the hole shot, then returns to nominal output for optimal heat, range and speed control. A side- or top-mount controller—akin to the throttle—will cost $1,399, by the way.

Best Battery: The Torqeedo 48-5000 (5,000 Wh) lithium-ion battery ($5,159) is rated IP67 waterproof; connecting two or more in parallel extends the range.

Battery Compatibility: Compatible with any lithium-ion or AGM battery bank providing 48 volts, the Torqeedo can only operate in smart mode, measuring discharge, heat and other factors to dynamically manage power with Torqeedo batteries. With nonproprietary battery banks, Torqeedo motors mathematically, and less accurately, estimate range and consumption.

Chargers: The 2213 charger ($899) can recharge a 48-5000 battery in under 10 hours. It is rated IP65 water-resistant. The 2212-10 charger ($2,199) can recharge it in two hours.

Electronically monitored batteries extend range.
Electronically monitored batteries extend range. (Courtesy Elco Motors/)

Elco Motors

Elco has been building electric outboards for over 100 years—a figure that seems implausible to boaters who are beginning to see electric propulsion for the first time. The company’s engineering philosophy has remained the same: build plug-and-play systems, relying on battery power preferred by the customer, and design its motors to fit existing motor mounts, or provide standard transom clamps to make repowering simple and seamless.

Range of Power: Elco builds electric outboards with tiller or remote controls from 3.7 kW (about 5 hp) to 37 kW (about 50 hp). Elco’s inboards range from EP 6 to EP 100, with horsepower equivalents from 6 to 100.

Most Popular Motor: The EP 70 inboard ($15,995) can replace inboard diesel kickers and trawler motors, providing a top speed of 8 to 10 mph (7 to 8.5 knots) and a range of 23 to 41 miles. Its peak output is 51.5 kW (about 69 hp), and continuous output is 29.75 kW (about 40 hp). It needs nine 8-D 12-volt AGM batteries for a total of 108 volts. Lithium-ion batteries are also compatible in comparable volts and amps.

Best Battery: Battery banks from Lithionics are most commonly selected for new builds, and an EP-12 Victron AGM Deep Cycle 12V/220Ah bank is ideal ($5,409).

Battery Compatibility: Elco batteries are completely brand agnostic and connect with any quality battery bank providing the motor’s power demand. However, lithium-ion batteries still provide the most efficiency, along with full power to complete discharge. Even though their upfront investment is often more than double that of AGM batteries, the cost per charge is comparable while also lightening the boat and bringing better performance and range.

Chargers: The ElCon UHF3300 (1x) charger (starting at $825) takes three to four hours to restore battery banks, and the PFC 5000 fast charger reduces the time to two to three hours.

Larger outboards use 48-volt external batteries.
Larger outboards use 48-volt external batteries. (Courtesy ePropulsion/)


This company boasts five electric propulsion systems engineered at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and entered the market in 2013. HKUST is also known as the incubator of many electronic products, including the DJI drone. Persistent engineering has brought new innovations to the marketplace.

Range of Power: The smallest offering from ePropulsion is a strap-on stand-up-paddleboard motor. Mainstream power includes two large outboards boasting 1 kW (about 1.35 hp) and 3 kW (about 4 hp) power, two pod drives of the same output, and the most popular portable Spirit 1.0 Plus.

Most Popular Motor: The Spirit 1.0 Plus ($1,999 including charger) is ePropulsion’s top-selling motor, ideal for small vessels, square-stern canoes, tenders and more. It’s a 1 kW motor that the company says offers 3 hp equivalent power with an industry-first direct-drive brushless motor. That’s a quiet arrangement, making the motor lighter and more efficient. It’s got a 75-minute run time at full speed, making 22 miles on a quickly exchangeable, integrated and included floating battery. Take a spare battery ($899) for longer range.

The Navy 3.0, ePropulsion’s latest motor, is 3 kW, or about 4 hp, though ePropulsion claims 6 hp equivalence. It’s available in tiller-steered and remote-control models. Its direct-drive, no-gear-case motor was a breakthrough in electric outboards, using a brushless motor that produced less sound and drag, and increased power and efficiency, offering a more serene experience.

Best Battery: There are three E-Series 48-volt batteries offered: The E40 ($1,200) provides 2,048 Wh, the E80 ($2,000) provides 4,096 Wh, and the E175 ($4,000) offers 8,960 Wh. The data-cable connections in ePropulsion batteries give battery management, enhancing range and speed.

Read Next: ePropulsion Lithium Iron Batteries

Chargers: Chargers available from ePropulsion are 10-, 20- and 30-amp modes ranging from $300 to $620.

Read Next: Learn About Garmin and Lowrance Electric Motors

A button on the tiller quickly lifts the motor.
A button on the tiller quickly lifts the motor. (Courtesy Minn Kota Motors/)

Minn Kota Motors

Minn Kota has been making electric outboard motors since 1934, and its first model was a gear-driven, transom-mounted motor with a tiller. As time progressed, it improved motors slowly until the tournament bass-fishing craze began in the early 1960s. In that time, the motors have been popular as primary propulsion for dinghies and utility boats used for tenders, or positioning the boat for casting.

Range of Power: Models today range from simple tiller- steered motors to digitally remote-controlled motors complete with autopilot features and smartphone compatibility. The Vantage is the company’s primary propulsion motor.

Most Popular Motor: The Vantage ($1,549.99) is not Minn Kota’s most popular motor, but it’s a top contender in the boat market where electric propulsion is desired or required. The tiller-steered Vantage is ideal for use as a kicker for trolling, or propulsion for a tender or small johnboat. The variable-speed motor is digitally controlled to manage and conserve power for optimum range. Forward, neutral, reverse, and power trim to raise it are easily accessible on the tiller of this 24-volt motor. For some reason, Minn Kota does not list specs such as amps, kilowatts or watt-hours.

Best Battery: Minn Kota doesn’t offer batteries, but the motor is compatible with any battery bank producing 48 volts.

Battery Compatibility: Lead-acid, wet-cell batteries are still the most commonly used for small electric motors, but AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries are more durable, offer more charge cycles, and are quickly replacing wet-cell batteries. Lithium-ion batteries shave 75 percent of the weight of lead-acid batteries, deliver full power to total discharge, and are actually more economical per charge cycle in spite of a 100 percent premium over AGMs.

Chargers: An MK 345 PC Precision Charger ($449.99) provides three-bank charging at 15 amps per bank.

Bennington 23 SCCTTX Boat Test Bennington 23 SCCTTX is a pontoon boat that takes fishability to a whole new level. Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated it so that boaters can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on. HemmelBoatsThu, 17 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000
LOA: 24'9" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (max): 2'7" | Displacement (approx.): 3,064 lb. | Bridge Clearance: 9'1" | Fuel Capacity: 32 gal. | Max Horsepower: 250 | Available Power: Single gasoline outboard to 250 hp (Courtesy Bennington Marine/)

Pontoons have always been a natural fit for fishing. Even without dedicated fishing packages—optional groupings that typically come in the form of fishing chairs and livewells grouped on the bow or stern—their spacious, open decks allow anglers plenty of space to work their lines. Stability and minimal draft also offer a fishing-friendly twofer. Bennington’s 23 SCCTTX takes things to a new level by adding a feature plucked right off the deck of one of its fiberglass V-hull counterparts: a coastal center console, complete with overhead?T-top.

The helm serves up space for the -buyer’s choice of displays.
The helm serves up space for the -buyer’s choice of displays. (Courtesy Bennington Marine/)

To be fair, it’s not an altogether radical concept. Center-console pontoons with a fish-friendly focus have been done before. Avalon’s 23-foot GS Center Console Fish ($42,803 with Mercury 250) and the 2020 model SunChaser 23-foot-10-inch Eclipse 8523 CC Fish ($63,299 with a 250 hp Yamaha, standard third-tube package and no options) are two examples of similar-size center-console pontoons. Bennington’s design, however, arguably comes closest to blurring the lines between a pontoon and that familiar center-console V-hull.

In the leaning post you’ll find a 19-gallon livewell, along with a removable bait bucket.
In the leaning post you’ll find a 19-gallon livewell, along with a removable bait bucket. (Courtesy Bennington Marine/)

For starters, the console is more similar in physical size to what you’d find on a fiberglass center-console. A Plexiglas windscreen adds protection from the elements. Below, there’s space for the buyer’s choice of displays. On my test boat, a pair of 12-inch Garmin flat screens nicely flanked the stock Ritchie compass; both 7- and 9-inch alternatives are available from Garmin or Simrad. A row of lit rocker switches spans the midsection. A stainless-steel spoke wheel and a footrest complete the picture.

Behind the console, Bennington pairs a familiar, leaning-post-style seat. It is a 3-foot-2-inch-wide bench with slide-in backrest. Below the hinged seat, you’ll find another standard 19-gallon livewell, along with a removable bait bucket. A freshwater washdown hose tucks under a pie plate. The look is completed overhead by a beefy Fisher T-top (in a buyer’s choice of three powder-coated colors: black, silver or white) that includes five rocket launchers. Twin LED lights illuminate the dark.

A standard 18-gallon well sits below the flip-up seat in front of the console.
A standard 18-gallon well sits below the flip-up seat in front of the console. (Courtesy Bennington Marine/)

While the center console hogs the spotlight, additional fish-friendly features are spread evenly throughout. Forward, twin deluxe high-back bass seats with flip-down armrests are positioned just inside the fencing; roto-molded stowage cabinets nestle in each corner. Our test boat traded out one cabinet for a 24-gallon livewell with flanking rod holder and cup holder. Behind, a standard 18-gallon well sits below the flip-up seat in front of the console. Generous rod stowage is recessed into the open space below the coaming pads running down both port and starboard sides. Additional slots are at the ready to secure fishing rods and nets.

Bennington’s familiar Swingback stern lounge makes an appearance aft, offering arguably the SCCTTX’s most traditional pontoon seating. It can be optioned to include a pedestal mount below the removable sun-pad cushion for a matching deluxe bass seat. The same folding bass seats are standard in the bow, with this boat sporting the optional twin recliners. In this fashion, the aft platform (4 feet, 10 inches by 3?feet, 2 inches by 1?foot, 1?inch, when raised) becomes an elevated casting deck, with diamond-pattern nonskid on the surface. Lift the entire gas-shock-assisted platform to access stowage below, along with a standard pop-up privacy curtain.

There is an optional pedestal mount below the removable sun-pad cushion for a matching deluxe bass seat.
There is an optional pedestal mount below the removable sun-pad cushion for a matching deluxe bass seat. (Courtesy Bennington Marine/)

With a partial focus on coastal waters, it’s worth revisiting Bennington’s construction details. Full-length, extruded-aluminum M brackets offer a solid base for deck cross members. The deck is through-bolted to these oversize cross members using fanged, stainless-steel elevator bolts rather than screws, minimizing twisting and promising a secure, quiet ride. Full-length, anodized skirting runs port and starboard. Bow decks and corner channels are beefed up using heavy-gauge anodized trim. All underdeck wiring is encased in conduit; sealed Deutsch connectors are used for electrical connections within the console. The T-top is bolted directly through to the cross members and boasts a sturdy feel. And yes, I swung on it just to verify.

Read Next: More Bennington Reviews

Though the target audience will definitely have rod in hand, when not baiting those hooks, you can still do all those things that pontoon enthusiasts love, whether it’s party, cruise, entertain, or even pull the kids on water toys. Bennington builds the 23, along with currently a similar 22, on the SX Series platform, a more value-oriented line in the Bennington hierarchy. And while the look may be newly fish-focused above, below deck, the SCCTTX retains the builder’s familiar feel and performance.

A beefy Fisher T-top includes five rocket launchers.
A beefy Fisher T-top includes five rocket launchers. (Courtesy Bennington Marine/)

My test boat came equipped with the optional SPS+ Sport Performance System, which consists of triple 25-inch pontoons paired to a 250 hp Yamaha outboard that is controlled by SeaStar hydraulic steering. Handling during our sea trial was spirited with a hint of inside lean in the corners, thanks in part to lifting strakes on the central pontoon and performance foils on the inside of outer logs. An underdeck wave shield streamlines the underside of the deck and adds a layer of protection. Acceleration onto plane was virtually instantaneous, with almost no bow rise of note. Top speed peaked at 45.2 mph.

High Points

  • Deluxe stainless-steel steering wheel with tilt.
  • Curved, four-step aluminum ladder offers a more natural path in and out of the water, and eases reboarding.
  • All-in-one Kicker KMC45 stereo system.

Low Points

  • Leaning-post backrest must be removed—and laid elsewhere or stored—to access the livewell below.
  • Aft casting deck platform is difficult to raise; twin releases are cumbersome.
  • Stow with care—loose wiring under the center console is easy to snag items on.

Price: $83,849 (with Yamaha 250)

Available Power: outboard

Bennington 23 SCCTTX Certified Test Results
Bennington 23 SCCTTX Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engine: Yamaha 250

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Saltwater Series II 15 1/2″ x 16″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.75:1

Fuel Load: 32 gal.

Water on Board: 0 gal.

Crew Weight: 390 lb.

Bennington Marine - Elkhart, Indiana; 574-264-6336;

Boston Whaler 280 Vantage Boat Test Boston Whaler 280 Vantage is a boating family’s do-all conveyance, it’s built with precision and it’s unsinkable. Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated it so that boaters-boat buyers especially-can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on. John Page WilliamsBoatsMon, 14 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000
LOA: 29'1" | Beam: 9'6" | Draft: 1'9" | Air Draft: 9'1" | Displacement: 6,700 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 21 degrees | Fuel Capacity: 185 gal. | Water Capacity: 20 gal. | Waste: 6 gal. | Max Horsepower: 800 | Available Power: Twin Mercury outboards to 800 hp total (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

Whether built of plywood or fiberglass, big family boats of my past ran on a shallow-deadrise V-bottom, which pounded hard in choppy seas, and featured a small-block inboard for power. Though its family would have referred to it as a cabin cruiser, they probably used it only for day cruises.

Today, a boating family’s basic requirements for a big dayboat remain mostly unchanged. But new dual-console dayboats, such as Boston Whaler’s 280 Vantage, offer huge differences in power, speed, seaworthiness, safety and efficiency, and with the added benefit of open cockpits fore and aft. So, though the requirements may be the same, boats like the 280 Vantage raise boaters' expectations.

The bow is a great place for entertaining guests.
The bow is a great place for entertaining guests. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

Our test boat was sold. The owners' first boat, the couple had thought through what they wanted in a family rig for raising two young sons. The husband took an online boating-safety course for a state operator’s permit (his wife already had hers) and studied all the specs, focusing especially on Mercury’s Verado V-8 outboards, joystick controls, twin 12-inch Raymarine displays, VHF, AIS and radar, all integrated. Family features included a summer galley, a full electric head with holding tank, a bunk for naps in the starboard console, and tow points for various water toys. The integrated hardtop works well for shade and protection from rain. A full set of weather curtains allows three long seasons of boating on the Chesapeake.

The modern helm makes keeping an eye on the relevant data a breeze.
The modern helm makes keeping an eye on the relevant data a breeze. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

By the time we sea-trialed this 280 Vantage, the family had kept it busy for a month. They love the forward cockpit not only for kid boat rides and lounging, but also for ease of anchoring and using the new bow ladder for beaching. As to the head in the port console, “I didn’t think people would want to use it, but they actually love it,” the owner told us. “Even one linebacker-size friend has gotten used to it, once he figured he had to do business sitting down.” The space is 60 inches wide, with 54 inches of headroom. “We also love the three-way portside lounge and use it a lot. Ditto for the fold-down stern seat, and we’ve found we can stash a pair of Yeti soft-side coolers under it.” The summer galley just aft of the helm chair offers a grill, sink and work surface, with a fridge beneath, perfect for parties or refueling your crew.

“The cockpit swim door is also a big success,” he continued. “It is perfect for tubing and swimming.” As a platform at rest, the hull is steady as a rock.

There's a well-equipped summer kitchen on board.
There's a well-equipped summer kitchen on board. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)Transom seating is comfortable.
Transom seating is comfortable. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

We discovered plenty of power for towing and cruising, even with a couple of families, coolers, food and ice aboard. Merc’s new 300s are torque monsters clothed in the company’s innovative Verado midsections, which damp out noise, vibration and harshness. They are silky-smooth. Combined with the 22-degree transom deadrise and sharp bow forefoot, our tester loped through a 2- to 3-foot chop at 30 to 37 mph (3,700 to 4,000 rpm), with a top speed of 55.6 mph. According to Mercury’s own data, the 280 Vantage runs nearly as well with 250s (which are based on the same powerhead), with a slightly quicker hole shot due to rigging those engines with an inch less propeller pitch. (That power option also saves $5,294 to apply toward the $30,894 joystick option.)

Speed isn’t everything. “We came back into our river at sunset last weekend,” the owner remarked. “I throttled back to 6 to 7 mph, and we just slipped along quietly. It was so peaceful and comfortable all the way home. We’ll be doing that again.”

What about fishing? “We’re going to learn,” the owner promised. The hardtop offers a lot of storage and rigging options for rod holders and setting trolling lines. With the transom seat folded down and the bow cockpit cleared, there’s plenty of space for multiple anglers to bottomfish, jig, and cast lures to breaking fish while the skipper keeps an eye on the Raymarine sonar and chart details.

The portside dive door helps keep boarding easy.
The portside dive door helps keep boarding easy. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

Whaler’s new 280 Vantage is a thoroughly 21st-century vessel, built of heirloom quality to serve two or even three families on an active day cruise. Another refined vessel is Grady-White’s Freedom 285 ($275,880 with twin 300 hp Yamaha and Helm Master EX), which performs similarly with twin 300 hp engines. It does not offer a side dive door, bow ladder or full summer kitchen, but offers more tackle?stowage.

Read Next: 2015 Boat of the Year: Boston Whaler 420 Outrage

The Vantage is unsinkable and full of safety features, from the electronics to the configuration of the cockpits. Access to fuel, wiring and plumbing systems for maintenance exhibits the Whaler design team’s attention to details.

Anchoring is easy on the 280 Vantage.
Anchoring is easy on the 280 Vantage. (Courtesy Boston Whaler/)

By the way, the 280′s overall cruising fuel efficiency with the twin Verados is comparable to a much smaller 23-foot bowrider that I tested for Boating in 1998, with a single 225 hp old-style two-stroke outboard that topped out 15 mph lower and cruised 8 mph slower. Think about that. It’s a good index of how far the marine industry has come in the past 22 years, much less since 1960, two years after Boston Whaler was founded.

High Points

  • Mercury Marine’s Verado V-8 outboards deliver great power, speed, smoothness and fuel efficiency.
  • Integrated hardtop serves multiple functions, from shade and rain protection to fishing.
  • Portside dive door with stowable ladder serves both convenience and safety.
  • Bow compartment offers both an anchor with windlass and a telescoping ladder for beaching.

Low Point

  • Comparable boats offer more standard stowage for fishing rods and tackle.

Price: $278,289 (with test power and joystick docking)

Available Power: Outboard

Boston Whaler 280 Vantage Certified Test Results
Boston Whaler 280 Vantage Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Twin 300 hp Mercury Verado V-8 outboards

Props: Twin Mercury Eco Enertia 16″ x 20″ 3-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratios: 1.85:1

Fuel Load: 116 gal.

Water Load: 20 gal.

Waste Load: 0 gal.

Crew Weight: 540 lb.

Boston Whaler - Edgewater, Florida; 877-294-5645;

Regal 36 Grande Coupe Boat Test Regal Grande Coupe is a sterndrive-powered boat that delivers the best qualities of a runabout and cruiser, and does so in fine style and with innovative design. Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated it so that boaters-boat buyers especially-can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on. VanceBoatsFri, 11 Sep 2020 15:14:57 +0000
LOA: 37'3" | Beam: 11'6" | Draft (max): 3'3" (drives down) | Displacement (approx.): 17,300 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 16 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 10'11" | Max Cabin Headroom: 6'5" | Fuel Capacity: 200 gal. | Max Horsepower: 860 | Available Power: Dual gasoline Volvo Pentas from 300 to 760 hp, or 860 hp DP Cat diesels (Courtesy Regal Boats/)

In a world where boat companies come and go, or ownership and leadership changes at bankruptcy and the whim of the economy, Regal Boats is one of the few companies that can boast 50 years of continuous, family-owned leadership. While it’s always a nice thing to celebrate a big year, that consistent management brings great benefits to the boat owner too.

And, in my opinion, that jubilee year is key to Regal’s continued quality, high-scoring awards in consumer surveys and its innovation in bringing boats like the 36 Grande Coupe to the water.

The helm offers joystick controls and a panoramic view.
The helm offers joystick controls and a panoramic view. (Courtesy Regal Boats/)

The 36 Grande Coupe we tested showed how the experience of Regal engineers is not only applied to designing a smooth-riding hull, and a comfortable and convenient, flowing deck plan, but they also carefully select each and every component of hardware, custom-designing many, and even choosing hardwood furnishings to complement fabrics, cushions, couches and berths.

A portside lounge featured backrests, one -forward and one aft.
A portside lounge featured backrests, one -forward and one aft. (Courtesy Regal Boats/)The Grande Coupe presents a full galley with grill, sink and refrigerator.
The Grande Coupe presents a full galley with grill, sink and refrigerator. (Courtesy Regal Boats/)

Our test boat was powered with twin Volvo Penta 350 hp sterndrives that were digitally controlled, complete with a joystick for close-quarters maneuvering. Our 45.7 mph top speed satisfied us, and the hull’s efficiency proved itself with an economical cruise speed of 36.8 mph at 5,000 rpm. If you need to push through seas at a slower speed, the torquey sterndrives will be almost as efficient—24 mph and 30.5 mph at 4,000 and 4,500 rpm, respectively. Regardless of planing speed, the Grande Coupe was easy to control at those speeds, offered a clear view ahead, and cornered well without dumping off plane. It even got the tip to plane in a respectable 6.7?seconds, and did so without obstructing our forward view.

A fold-down TV adds to the entertainment options in the cockpit.
A fold-down TV adds to the entertainment options in the cockpit. (Courtesy Regal Boats/)

Our test boat also boasted joystick steering for docking and navigating tight quarters. We are getting used to seeing this on premium cruising boats, popular not only because it shortens the learning curve of safe docking, but also because one-handed control over rudder, throttle and shifting is intuitive and convenient—enough throttle-docking captains quickly abandon the double levers and grab the stick. Our experience revealed the Volvo Penta joystick controls smoothed shifting, completely eliminating the banging gear shifts of other joysticks, and allowed us to slide the joystick from sideways to forward, and reverse to quartering in at an angle, and it was done so smoothly, passengers would not be startled or annoyed by the shifting and accelerating.

Regal is also offering an outboard version of the Grande Coupe, and it boasts the same cabin and deck, with more space below but smooth outboard power.

While the Grande Coupe is built to go, it’s also ready to stay, giving families a comfortable home on the water that begins the moment you enter the cockpit via the transom door from the swim platform.

An aft-facing transom lounge invited us to step on the swim platform.
An aft-facing transom lounge invited us to step on the swim platform. (Courtesy Regal Boats/)

An aft-facing transom lounge invited us to step on the swim platform and lean back against a comfortably firm seatback. That seatback could slide forward, extending the sunning area, or it could slide aft, increasing the cockpit accommodations for cruising. A portside lounge featured backrests, one forward and one aft. Both of them were movable, allowing the lounge to be customized to the crew’s taste.

The captain’s lounge is designed for a companion as well, and bolsters accommodated piloting from a standing or seated position. Electric controls adjusted legroom, as well as the reach to the throttle and wheel for added comfort and convenience.

The Grande Coupe is built to be an entertainer, and presents a full galley with grill, sink and refrigerator on the starboard-side. Stone surfaces are smart-looking and easy to maintain.

The coupe enclosure can be completely closed to offer weatherproof boating.
The coupe enclosure can be completely closed to offer weatherproof boating. (Courtesy Regal Boats/)

The Coupe moniker comes from its hardtop covering and glass side windows with large sunroof. It can be enclosed aft, if desired, but either way, when equipped with a genset, you can enjoy the comfort of air conditioning in the cockpit as well as the cabin below.

The hardtop’s expansive windshield offers a panoramic view, but the neatest trick was the large portside glass door that opened to the bow. Walkways to the bow pulpit and anchor windlass proved easily traversed, and we found them protected by thigh-high rails. But that’s not the most exciting reason to access the bow: Instead of simple sun cushions, we discovered a wide, sculpted lounge to offer secure seating, and do so without negatively diminishing cabin headroom.

Entering the cabin is easy too, via a wide stairway and well-positioned handrail. Below we found an aft berth, and an enormous forward berth that also provides port and starboard galley seating. And yes, there is a comfortable head, big enough for larger individuals to move about in comfort.

If you wanted to tear yourself away from the Grande Coupe and look at a competitor, you’d need to turn to another family-owned company, Formula Boats, and its 37 PC performance cruiser ($595,00 with twin 380?hp MerCruiser 8.2L Mag ECT sterndrives and joystick). The consistent leadership of Formula aligns with the integrity of its designs and construction, and gives a bigger nod to the cabin below while keeping the cockpit wide open with a classic hardtop.

If you want to customize your Grande Coupe, Regal offers 10 color choices for the side-hull, boot-stripe and hull-bottom colors—you tell me how many combinations that offers.

High Points

  • Coupe enclosure can be completely closed to offer weatherproof boating.
  • Woodwork and stone counters are elegant.
  • Custom lighting adds to the open feel of the cabin below.

Low Points

  • Long acceleration period to 30 mph can be shortened by dropping trim tabs.

Price: $468,290 (with test power)

Available Power: Sterndrive

Regal 36 Grande Coupe Certified Test Results
Regal 36 Grande Coupe Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Twin Volvo Penta 5.3L V-8 350 hp

Drive/Prop: FH5

Gear Ratio: 2.32:1

Fuel Load: 160 gal.

Water On Board: 0 gal.

Crew Weight: 400 lb

Regal Boats - Orlando, Florida; 800 US-REGAL;

Sea-Doo Introduces the 2021 RXP-X 300 PWC introduces its 2021 RXP-X 300, the latest version of its flagship performance model. HemmelBoatsThu, 10 Sep 2020 23:31:00 +0000

Sea-Doo today introduced an all-new version of its flagship high-performance model, the RXP-X 300. Highlights include a new hull design. Dubbed T3-R, a nod to a race-influenced version of the “tight-turning, T-shape” design that defined the previous model, the hull features a more dramatic, deeper-V that promises to slice through choppy waters with more precision as well as provide greater stability at high-speeds. The latter trait should give the craft broader appeal with performance-minded recreational riders as well as the hardcore performance crowd. A new “shark gill” feature has also been introduced to regulate air flow below the surface for greater control at speed. The craft also accelerates more aggressively than before, in part thanks to a 67-pound weight reduction.

As to ergonomics, the RXP-X already boasted Sea-Doo’s ErgoLock system, consisting of an hourglass-shaped saddle and canted footwell chocks that allowed riders to better use their legs for leverage in tighter turns. That saddle now features even deeper knee pockets, as well as a tacky, textured surface to keep riders from sliding in the saddle. More support comes via a movable rear bolster. It can be positioned as much as 5 inches forward or back to match the rider’s physical size or preference.

Additional improvements for 2021 include expanded storage capacity, the addition of the brand’s popular LinQ accessory system and an optional 100-watt Bluetooth sound system. There’s also an add-on saddle. Recognizing that even a performance model is often used for recreational riding, an optional quick-connect rear seat is now available, transforming this previously solo craft into a two-passenger model.

Look for in-depth reviews soon in Boating Magazine.

Formula 380 SSC OB Boat Test's popular 38-foot Super Sport Crossover now has a version with outboard power. Boating's top crew of editors sea-trialed and evaluated it so that boaters-boat buyers especially-can learn the in-depth details about this boat's performance, construction and other features. Is it the right boat for you? Read on. PlueddemanBoatsTue, 08 Sep 2020 21:10:06 +0000
LOA: 38'0" | Beam: 11'6" | Draft (max): 3'5" | Displacement (approx.): 20,500 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 21 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 9'4" | Max Cabin Headroom: 6'5" | Fuel Capacity: 300 gal. | Freshwater Capacity: 43 gal. ·|Max Horsepower: 1,350 | Available Power: Triple Mercury/Mercury Racing outboards up to 450 hp each (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

When Formula set out to add a 38-foot model to its Super Sport Crossover (SSC) line of “full-cabin bowriders,” it knew inland customers would want the boat with sterndrive power, while those on coastal waters would prefer outboards. The Formula 380 SSC debuted first with sterndrive power. Now the outboard version of the 380 SSC is here, and it is very similar yet very different from the sterndrive model.

The helm features two 16-inch Raymarine display screens plus a 7-inch Mercury VesselView display.
The helm features two 16-inch Raymarine display screens plus a 7-inch Mercury VesselView display. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

Our test boat was rigged with the maximum power option—triple 4.6-liter supercharged V-8 Mercury Racing 450R outboards—for a combined 1,350 hp, good for a top speed on glass-calm water of 65.8 mph, or almost 15 mph faster than the 380 SSC we tested with twin Mercury Racing 520 sterndrives. Like the sterndrive version, our outboard-powered model cruised most efficiently at 30 mph, but burned about 20 percent more fuel than the sterndrive boat at that speed. A typical captain is not going to run this boat at wide-open throttle very often, but Formula points out that its owners do frequently fill SSC models to capacity, and that power is desirable for getting a loaded boat on plane smartly. Our test boat hopped on top in 7 seconds with five adults and about 200 gallons of fuel on board. The Merc Racing 450R outboards are impressive machines; in this application, the midrange punch is always on tap, and the motors pull eagerly to the redline.

The three-across helm seat is brilliant.
The three-across helm seat is brilliant. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

The trade-off for outboard power is the clutter on the transom. The platform on the sterndrive 380 SSC is vast, and can be extended farther with a section that lowers hydraulically into the water, a feature that will make you king of the cove. The platform on the outboard model is about 48 inches deep, so there’s plenty of room forward of the motors for boarding and hanging out. On future models—we tested Hull No. 1—Formula will extend the platform about 30 more inches outside the motors so a guest can reboard, for example, without being right next to the motors. Our boat had the optional platform Sport Station ($9,410), a padded leaning post with drink holders meant to enhance socialization.

The sterndrive engine bay turns into stowage on the outboard model.
The sterndrive engine bay turns into stowage on the outboard model. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

What would be the engine bay on the sterndrive 380 SSC is available for stowage in the outboard model. The electric-lift hatch is retained, with a manual 18-inch-wide hatch for more-casual access. The area belowdecks is unfinished and holds the optional Westerbeke 7.5 kW gasoline genset ($20,380) forward, and a sea chest for cooling the genset and air-conditioning systems at the transom. There’s enough remaining space for stowing canvas, water toys, a small auxiliary outboard or spare propellers.

The 380 SSC OB mixes performance with numerous entertainment options.
The 380 SSC OB mixes performance with numerous entertainment options. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

The location of the genset is farther aft on the outboard version of the 380 SSC, just one of the differences between this model and the sterndrive version made to accommodate the shift in engine weight from the bilge to the transom. The hull is completely different, with the location of the Fas3Tech steps moved aft, and an angled notch added to the transom—which is, of course, designed to mount the outboards—to direct water to the props and provide more buoyancy aft. The outboard-powered boat has a single 300-gallon fuel tank, while the sterndrive version has a pair of 125-gallon tanks port and starboard.

The broad bow accommodates wraparound seating for up to six adults.
The broad bow accommodates wraparound seating for up to six adults. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

Outboard power is all the rage these days, and other players to consider in this big-dayboat-with-cabin class include the Tiara Sport 38LS (base $642,590 with triple Mercury Verado 400 motors), which lacks the one-level flow of the Formula design but offers about a foot more beam, and the Boston Whaler 380 Realm ($775,641 with quad Verado 400 motors), which has an even larger bow area but less room in the aft cockpit.

The standard hardtop shades about three-quarters of the cockpit.
The standard hardtop shades about three-quarters of the cockpit. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

Topside, the 380 SSC with outboards is identical to its sterndrive cousin forward of the transom. This is a luxurious, wide-beam dayboat with just enough cabin for entertaining and occasional overnight potential. The key design feature is the Formula Smart-Zone concept, which puts the cockpit, helm and bow all on the same deck level so guests can move effortlessly from social zone to social zone. The standard hardtop shades about three-quarters of the cockpit—when its glass section is covered—which includes an entertainment galley to port with sink and fridge, plus a dedicated stowage cubby for a blender. There’s an inboard-facing settee to port and another seat aft with a pivoting backrest that doubles as a sun lounge. Want more cockpit shade? Request the optional electric SureShade ($12,600), which deploys from the hardtop. The three-across helm seat is brilliant because everyone wants to hang with the captain. Our test boat was rigged with two 16-inch Raymarine display screens plus a 7-inch Mercury VesselView display. Mercury joystick control and a bow thruster are standard. The cabin is well-lit, and features a full galley, queen-size midberth and convertible V-berth/settee. There’s standing room in the head compartment, which is shower-equipped. The broad bow accommodates wraparound seating for up to six adults, with forward-facing backrests on the console and wraparound seating in the stem.

The optional platform Sport Station includes a padded leaning post with drink holders.
The optional platform Sport Station includes a padded leaning post with drink holders. (Courtesy Formula Boats/)

Kudos to Formula for carefully optimizing the design of its 380 SSC for outboard power. It’s one thing to go fast, but a bigger challenge to go fast well, on a balanced and secure boat that has plenty of great features. Formula nails it again.

High Points

  • Carefully engineered specifically for outboard power, this boat is not only fast, but also handles with grace and confidence.
  • Attention to detail, from the rubber covers over each snap screw to the thoughtful stowage slots for the fender clips.
  • Two wireless smart chargers reduce technology conflicts.

Low Points

  • Outboards steal the swim platform.
  • Learn to use the tabs—this boat is a little tender in a crosswind.
  • Upcharge for Mercury Racing 450R power is $23,000 for each motor over the 400R option—yipes!

Price: $1,032,870 (base with test power)

Available Power: Outboard

Formula 380 SSC OB Certified Test Results
Formula 380 SSC OB Certified Test Results (Boating Magazine/)

How We Tested

Engines: Triple Mercury Racing 450R

Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Revolution 4 14 5/8″ x 19″ 4-blade stainless steel

Gear Ratio: 1.60:1

Fuel Load: 187 gal.

Crew Weight: 950 lb.

Formula Boats - Decatur, Indiana; 844-775-9440;

OXE Diesel Outboard sea trial and record performance numbers for the OXE 150 diesel outboard. McDonaldBoatsTue, 08 Sep 2020 19:21:24 +0000
The new OXE Diesel outboard is a common-rail, turbo-charged, freshwater-cooled engine. (Courtesy OXE Diesel/)

It’s no accident that Cimco Marine, the Swedish company building this new diesel outboard, named it OXE. That is the Swedish word for ox, the farm animal known historically for taking on incredible workloads. In building the new OXE outboard diesel, Cimco hopes to provide a rugged new outboard option that can handle thousands of hours of duty on workboats—but that also has recreational appeal. Think yacht owners looking to run the same fuel through their tenders or boaters looking for increased fuel economy and durability in their outboards.

The OXE is based on a 2L GM automotive diesel normally found in the European Opel line of cars. It is a common-rail, turbo-charged, freshwater-cooled engine turned horizontally to work in a marine outboard design. The key to the OXE is its patented belt drive system, which replaces traditional bevel gears with a twin belt system in order to better handle the higher-generated torque and to allow for a smaller, slimmer lower unit. One of the most intriguing aspects of the engine is its low-speed control, which is a clutch system that allows for seamless shifting between forward-neutral-reverse.

I had the opportunity to test a 150-hp OXE with a 25-inch shaft mounted on a 23-foot Highfield RIB, as part of a demonstration through Mack-Boring, the east-coast distributors for the U.S. We ran the boat with two adult males aboard and 27 gallons of fuel. One of the first things I noticed was how smooth and quiet the engine was at 900 rpm in forward idle. The reading of 63-dBA on my soundmeter confirmed that my preconceived notion that the engine would be a loud vibrating beast was way off. The second thing that surprised me was the OXE’s nimble performance. We climbed on to plane in 3.5 seconds and hit 30mph in 7.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 37.5 mph.

The OXE diesel uses a patented belt-drive system to handle the higher torque.
The OXE diesel uses a patented belt-drive system to handle the higher torque. (Courtesy OXE Diesel/)

Here’s the most impressive number from our collected data: At that top speed, while turning 4300 rpm, we burned just 9.6 gph. That translates into 3.9 mpg, an excellent efficiency number. By comparison, a typical 150-hp four-stroke gasoline outboard would push a similarly-sized boat to that speed at around 5500 rpm, burning about 13-14 gph, and averaging out to about 2.6 mpg. (These numbers are averages based on performance bulletins from a few different gasoline outboard manufacturers.) So there’s a definite jump in efficiency. Not to mention that, while the gasoline outboards can crank up to hire RPM and faster speeds, diesels traditional can run for much longer at WOT or near-WOT.

While running at slow speeds, I put the seamless-shifting through its paces and came away impressed. This will make close-quarters handling where the captain need to constantly shift between forward and reverse a non-issue.

Read Next: More Boat Engine Tests

So what’s the catch here? There are two numbers to take into account when considering the OXE diesel. The first is weight:150-hp version that we tested tips the scales at 675 pounds, comparable to the weight of a 300 hp four-stroke gasoline outboard. The second is cost: Mack Boring shared a suggested retail price around $45,000, which is around the times the cost of a 150-hp gasoline outboard. Also keep in mind that as of press time, according to the US Energy Information Administration, the cost of diesel was about 30 cents more per gallon than gasoline in some states.

For people putting serious hours on their engines, the durability and fuel economy will pay off over time. And for yacht owners looking to outfit their tenders with outboards that burn the same fuel as the mothership, the OXE could be a perfect fit.

Sea Tow Foundation Announces Official Call for Entry for National Boating Industry Safety Awards an entry for the 2020 National Boating Industry Safety Awards. This year there are a variety of categories to choose from. ToWed, 09 Sep 2020 13:07:54 +0000
The 2020 contest features an enhanced series of categories. (Courtesy Sea Tow Foundation/)

The Sea Tow Foundation in cooperation with its North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, announced the official call for entry for its “National Boating Industry Safety Awards.”

The 2020 contest features an enhanced series of categories which recognize top boating safety programs and campaigns within the for-profit segment of the recreational marine industry. This year’s event includes 11 categories of entry, up from four the previous year.

“Due to the positive response from our inaugural contest in 2019, coupled with recommendations from our advisory council, we have nearly tripled the categories of entry in hopes of recognizing the outstanding work of many more boating safety advocates throughout all segments of the recreational marine industry,” said Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail R. Kulp.

See What Last Year’s Award Winners Have To Say About Entering!

The 2020 National Boating Industry Safety Awards include the following categories for submission: Powerboat Manufacturer; Sailboat Manufacturer; Engine Manufacturer; Gear/Equipment Manufacturer; Human Powered (Canoe, Kayak, SUP) Manufacturer; Marine Retailer with up to 3 Locations; Marine Retailer with more than 3 Locations; Marine Media Outlets; Marine Marketing and Outreach; Marine Distributor; and a Multi-Year Campaign will also be available for any category.

Also new for 2020 is the title sponsorship from KICKER Marine Audio, based in Stillwater, OK.

“KICKER Marine Audio is very pleased to contribute to this important effort that promotes boating safety within the recreational marine space,” said KICKER Marine Audio’s National Brand Manager Jeremy Bale. “The good work of leading marine organizations in educating and advancing boating safety messages benefits the entire industry, as well as boaters throughout the nation. KICKER is very proud to lend our support to this worthwhile and very important cause.”

“We appreciate the generous financial support of KICKER Marine Audio in helping to support our national awards program,” added Kulp. “We hope to continually build this program and involve many in the industry who share our passion and focus on boating safety.”

Entries may be submitted from September 3 through midnight, October 15, 2020 for any boating safety campaigns conducted between August 15, 2019 and August 15, 2020. A new multi-year category is also available to recognize ongoing boating safety programs and promotions.

Contest information and applications are available for download at along with information and samples from the 2019 winners.

Winners for the 2020 awards contest will be announced live during the MRAA’s Dealer Week scheduled for December 8 – 11, 2020 in Austin, TX.

“We highly encourage all those organizations throughout the marine industry involved in promoting boating safety to apply in this year’s awards competition,” said Kulp. “The Sea Tow Foundation and our North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, coupled with the title sponsor KICKER Marine Audio, are very pleased to shine the spotlight on the best boating safety efforts by companies in the for-profit segment of the recreational marine industry.”

2021 Centurion Ri265: Q&A Interview Ri265 is a completely new-for-2021 boat model and is Centurion's biggest yet., 01 Sep 2020 13:00:00 +0000

Garrett Cortese, Editor of Wakeboarding and Watersports Editor for Boating Magazine, sits down for a virtual Q&A with Amy Mauzy, Centurion’s VP of Sales and Marketing, to talk about the brand-new 2021 Centurion Ri265.

The Ri265 is a completely new-for-2021 boat model and is Centurion's biggest yet. This wake machine fits a crew of 18, boasts an insane 5,850 pounds of ballast, and throws some of the most perfect waves you've ever seen. Bigger often means less fuel efficiency and decreased drivability, but that is not the case with the Ri265. The hull design is based on lift, decreasing resistance and increasing handling performance.

To explore this all-new boat model in more depth, visit:?