Here with the 282 bowrider Cobalt has achieved both European style with classic American lines. Sitting in the vessel’s spacious interior with all its curved seats and elegant layout I felt like I was in some Italian creation. But looking at the vessel from the side she’s all-American, with tail fins and her classic lines. I’m not one for fins on boats but I must admit here they truly extend her lines and fit in well.
I first boarded the vessel from the stern and was immediately taken by the generously wide-open large swim platform covered in rich teak, an option. The cockpit featured two sunning decks with wet lockers below, giving the area a wide-open feel.
When I took the 282 for a ride I was quite surprised at her handling characteristics. First off, the boat didn’t pond once, even when going through a good size wake. She didn’t roll or dance around, but stayed fairly level even when passengers moved around. When it was time to come up to speed she came up on plane fast and straight. There were no trim tabs or fins on the outdrive to explain this kind of behavior so under a trailered Cobalt I went. First I notice the large reverse chines and the absence of the inner planing strake from about the windshield aft. These factors explained the level, dry ride, kind of like a dihedral on an airplane, or training wheels on a bicycle. After a little research I learned that she had a 22-degree deadrise, which accounts for the vessel’s ability to glide through seas without pounding.
Moving further aft under the trailered boat I found what Cobalt calls their extended running surface. In essence what they’ve done is extend the hull beyond the transom on either side of the outdrive and out to the hulls sides, no bolts here. This creates a kind of huge stationary trim tab that really helps the boat to ride up on the water, level and firm even at lower speeds. To add to the hulls rigidity, Kevlar is added to the chines, one of the points of highest stress in a hull. Let’s not forget the large all-fiberglass box shaped longitudinal stringers attached to the hull with Plexus, a high-strength adhesive Cobalt uses. All this makes for really cool and effective hydrodynamics and solid ride. Confidence in their boat is how the people over at Cobalt can give a 10-year hull and deck warranty and sleep well at night.
All the deck hardware is solid stainless steel having what Peter, a representative from Cobalt called, taping plates made of heavy aluminum and built into place with fiberglass. A taping plate has screw threads tapped into the plate to accept the mounting bolts from the cleat or whatever other hardware, no nuts or washers here. Some backing plates are used under the pedestal chairs and for the arches. The aft cleats were retractable so as to create a smooth surface for ski lines and an even sleeker look. All the Cobalts are equipped with a through bolt stainless steel bow tow eye. A stainless steel scuffing plate bent to fit the bow is installed under the tow eye to protect against gel coat damage during trailering. On a Cobalt it’s either solid stainless steel or aluminum. Docking lights were installed on our test boat, but are usually an option.
Talk about quality, all the graphics are painted into the mold, no tape or decals here. When you touch a color line or strip you feel nothing. Even the gel coat is special. A product called Armorflex 952 gelcoat is clamed to have better repairability, good buff back, high blister resistance, and best of all greater flexibility to reduce cracking. Sounds too good to be true. Add to that Xycon barrier coat used between the fiberglass and gelcoat to reduce blistering due to water intrusion as well as Cobalt stands behind this with a comprehensive two-year guarantee against crazing, stress cracks, air voids, and blisters.
The surface of the vessel is mostly formed from a single fiberglass section. At the peck of the bow is a rubber lined rope locker with a gas cylinder assisted hatch having adequate room for the vessel’s needs. The gas cylinder assist is used on all the hatches throughout the vessel regardless of size. The cylinders not only help lift the hatches but also, maybe more importantly, hold them open very securely. A large bow seat area follows with its own speakers system. No opportunity for storage room is lost with Cobalt. Storage is found under both bow seats as well as behind the starboard bow seat backrest just forward of the console. The entire seat back lifts up to reveal a truly cavernous storage area large enough to easily sit in and close the hatch behind you. The tabletop and base is stored here. In the deck between the bow seats is a traditional ski storage area that is two plus feet deep.
Located at both outer corners of the windshield were two small hatches that open up to deep fender storage wells, one per side, no more clutter from lose fenders rolling around. The windshield is nicely racked back and complements the overall lines of the boat. The windshield on the test vessel had a stainless steel frame, about a $2500.00 option. The stock unit is a Taylor creation having aluminum extruded frame and lightly tinted safety glass. Aside from the mirror shine and weight of the centerpane when opening, both are the same shape, and size. The dashboard is covered in a double stitched, which is hard to tell it’s not real leather, vinyl.
On the starboard side is a glove box with a Sony detachable face systems. Also there is a light, 12-volt receptacle (one of three), and a heavy gauge aluminum drop down door that can be used for writing, eating or whatever you need it for at the time. But hang on, behind this innocent but functional looking glove box lays a complete head with toilet, sink with running water, and mirror. Don’t fear there is plenty of room to move around and be comfortable. There is even a bench seat with storage compartment below. On the opposite side is the helm and console. As with the glove box the console was covered with real wood and made and finished in house at Cobalt. The wood dash and trim package is standard on the 282. The gauges have a touch of gold with large numbers, easy to read at speed, adding to the class of the glass finished wood console.
Incorporated into the console were depth, water and air temperture gauges as well as the Sony remote control unit mounted in the corner. The actual helm wheel was adjustable and went nicely with the Cobalt Flip-lip Seat. For those of you who don’t know what a Flip-lip Seat is I’ll try to do it justice. The bottom part of the seat is in two sections. The forward section is hinged is such a way as to allow it to be lifted up and on to the aft section creating a bolster seat. Having the seat in the up position I could see over the windshield, and in the down position I was well out of the wind. This is a very nice arrangement and is stock on all the seats on all the models. The helm and passenger seats were not bucket but roomy bench seats that adjusted up and back. The passenger seat had the Flip-lip Seat system as well, with a stainless steel handle. There were handles everywhere you could possibly need one on the boat. On the starboard side against the back of the helm seat was a molded fiberglass cabinet concealing a wet bar. The wet bar had a sink with a cold water faucet, trash bin, and storage below.
Entering the cockpit area from the aft I had to decent two steps, with deck lights down into the vessel from the walk through. So this area is truly down in the boat. The built-in seats were arranged in a semi circle, which focused the attention of a conversation to a central point leaving no one out. Abundant storage was found under the seats with the battery selector switch and ski pylons in the port seat storage compartment.
Separating the cockpit from the swim platform were two large raised padded seating areas straddling the through transom walkway. This entire area is the fiberglass molded engine room hatch that extends full beam for max access, and I mean maximum. As with all hatches throughout the vessel gas assist cylinders made opening these large units child’s play.
The engine room hatch had a power assist motor and a hinged base to allow lifting manually. Below each platform I found large wet storage areas with drains. The port compartment had a 12-volt DC compressor for all your water toys. How many times have you had to blow up the kids toys the hard way? You know what I mean. Also attached under the port lid was a handy tool kit. You won’t be rebuilding the engine with this but it will get you home.
The swim platform as mentioned before was covered with gorgeous optional teak and had several storage compartments and a boarding ladder. In the center of the swim platform is a stainless steel fitting for the ski tow post. The three rung boarding ladder is a stainless steel arrangement that folds out and telescopes down. I found it easily accessible from the deck and it had its own storage compartment on the starboard side and another shallow rope locker inboard of it. A waterproof Sony remote controller was also installed back here making it easy to work the radio without leaving the action.
All in all we had a boat that really looked good, had loads of room, full of creature comforts, and performed like a sportboat at its best. No wonder J.D. Powers and Associates recognized Cobalt for two years running. The tag is steep but you definitely get what you pay for.
By Capt. Manny Rebelo
Cobalt 282 Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Cobalt 282 is 49.1 mph (79 kph), burning 32.15 gallons per hour (gph) or 121.69 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Cobalt 282 is 26.4 mph (42.5 kph), and the boat gets 2.49 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.06 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 201 miles (323.48 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 425-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG HO.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Cobalt 282 Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Cobalt 282 Warranty
Cobalt 282 Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.