For starters, Harris FloteBote set out to make sure you could store whatever you needed to bring aboard, and did it with the “a place for everything and everything in its place” mentality. And in the optional entertainment center (add $1,400), they created “smart storage” where you actually have dividers to insert in various places to create storage sections depending on what you have to store, be it dry towels, wet towels or silverware.
The Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230 is also easy to clean. The textures of the seats are such that no moisture will collect in corners or low spots, and the material is Torino vinyl with PreFixx™ built in to ease removal of marks and stains. Typically, when a cleaner such as 409 is used on vinyl, it strips the protectant off and then every wet bathing suit leaves a color stain. PreFixx™, on the other hand, allows you to use even acetone nail polish remover without doing harm to the vinyl or its coating, and even the toughest marks, such as made with a Sharpie, can be cleaned. The boat is loaded with standard equipment: A 25 quart (23.7 L) cooler is standard, as well as the LED docking lights, custom designed two-toned 32 oz carpeting, courtesy lighting, the Sony Gold stereo system, and Bimini just to name a few. The side bulwarks (called “fences” in the toon trade) are built ¼” (6.35mm) off the deck, so you won’t get beach sand collecting in the corners, and water, whether it be from rain or a dock hose, will run right out.
The Aft Deck
The lounge in the stern that is facing aft is one of the most unusual, and practical, aspects of the boat and sets the Grand Mariner SEL 230 apart from most other toons on the market. Since customers influenced the design, it most likely is a winner. First, a flip-style back rest provides optimal flexibility in seating – either aft facing lounger or forward facing in the traditional style. (Harris has thoughtfully provided stereo controls and an iPod holder when using the aft facing position.) Under the back corner cushion is a self-draining cooler so swimmers have quick access to cold drinks. Under the lounger cushions is self draining storage which is an ideal place to put wet bathing suits and damp towels. Finally at the touch of a switch the hatch automatically opens for access to the engine compartment.
Pontoon boats are made with plywood decks and wood rots… right? Not so fast. Harris adds a few touches to their build process to fend off that worry. Four touches to be exact—First, they add protective tape to the aluminum cross members, so the wood is not resting right on top. Next, the plywood is joined by tongue and groove joints. This prevents water seepage into the joints and vulnerable end-grain. But water is tricky, and maybe some will still sneak past the joints. So Harris adds sealant to the joints to completely protect them. Finally, they add sealant to the tops and bottoms of the seams. Now it’s watertight and when combined with the marine grade pressure-treated wood, the result is a deck with a limited lifetime warranty. The pontoons are constructed in house with baffles to create separate chambers in each tube. All welds are pressure tested for integrity. In effect, you could hole a pontoon and the boat will still float due to the separate chambers. A flange is welded to the top, to mount the deck onto, and this distributes the load through the length of the tube (or, “log” in toon talk).
Accommodations for safety are evident everywhere. The gates all have full length stops, so falling into one from a boat wake will not mean falling through. The re-boarding ladder is custom built, not off the shelf. It’s 20” (51 cm) wide (you almost never see a ladder that wide on a boat) with 2.5” (6.4cm) foot pads, and made of heavy duty stainless steel. You typically see these ladders with three steps that are difficult to step onto. This ladder has four steps and it’s angled out so it’s easier to find underwater with your foot. Decks run out past the ends of the tubes, non-skid is everywhere you would step (even on top of the nav lights)… the list of safety features goes on and on.
Options and Customization
Having options means you can fine tune your ‘toon to suit your needs and desires. This is much better than having a “one size fits all” boat, and at Harris FloteBote the options are diverse and varied. The most important questions are... how far do you want your luxury to go and how much do you want to spend? While it’s nice to have the standard Bimini, hydraulically operated is even better (add $2,990). Deck extensions are available in 1’ (add $340), 2’ (add $670), and 4’ (add $1,340) lengths.
Tired of dock lines lying around the boat? Then, retractable lines are for you (add $920). Since we’re partying onboard we’ll need the entertainment center with fridge (add $2,250). If you’re not a fan of carpet you can add the look of faux teak to the whole boat (add $7,980) or choose to teak just the bow (add $180) or the swim platform (add $1,980). Of course there are individual seating choices for the bow and helm positions. It’s all a matter of taste and whatever yours is, Harris has you covered. The base boat is powered by a 220-hp 4.3L MPI MerCruiser with a Bravo III outdrive and has an MSRP of $53,660. An upgrade to the 260-hp 5.0L will run an additional $6,860, and upgrading to a 300-hp 5.7 MAG is an additional $9,060. Naturally street prices will differ, so don’t be afraid to wheel and deal.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230 (2010-) is 45.5 mph (73.2 kph), burning 22.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 85.16 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230 (2010-) is 24.8 mph (39.9 kph), and the boat gets 2.68 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.14 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 202 miles (325.09 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 5.7L 350 MAG.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|