Choosing which new boat to buy is always a tough decision. But when there are four young boys involved ranging in ages from 10 to 17, plus a working mother and a demanding Dad, it is not necessarily an easy decision. Everyone has a slightly different agenda for the boat. For that reason, the boat for this family had to be multi-functional, easy to handle and safe. And, of course, it had to be affordable. Today we look at one family who chose a Yamaha 242 Limited S for their summer of fun on the water. We take a look at the family’s needs and how the 242 fulfilled them, one at a time.
Getting ready to cast off, the four boys in the family practice acting nonchalant in their brand new Yamaha 242 Limited S.
The Yamaha 242 Limited S has an MSRP of $47,599.00 and that includes the trailer, wakeboard tower, custom Bimini top, GPS enabled multifunction helm displays and twin 1812cc Yamaha Marine engines. So why did this family select this boat?
The integrated stern seating and swim platform give this 23’6” (7.23 m) boat the feel of a larger vessel because the stern provides more usable space than many other boats in class.
Dad Has Priorities
First, Dad wanted twin-engine jet drive propulsion for several reasons. With four boys operating the boat, often times on their own without adult supervision, the old man wanted to eliminate as many opportunities for injury as possible. That meant jet drives. So, even careless or thoughtless behavior wouldn’t be catastrophic in all likelihood.
Dad also liked the idea of engine redundancy. With a jet boat he got both safety and the peace of mind of having two engines, all for about the same price as a sport boat with a single stern drive engine.
Then there was the subject of boat maintenance and repair. Again, even though all four boys had taken a boating course in order to get their operator’s licenses, it is easy to run the boat over rocks in Long Island Sound where the boat will be used and destroy a prop or two. Props aren’t cheap. Once more the jet drives solve the problem.
The twin jet drives provide two levels of safety for this family. First, is the lack of props when swimming and conducting watersports off the stern. Second, is shallow water capability.
Boys in the Band
The boys had completely different priorities. They really didn’t care about the jet drives one way or the other. Most important to them was that the boat had to look “cool.” We’re not quite sure where the boys had developed a nautical eye, but evidently not just any boat would do. Perhaps the older boys were looking for a babe magnet. It had to have a wakeboard tower, and a stereo with speakers all over the boat, and an MP3 port for their iPods. Happily, the Yamaha 242 Limited S had all of those things and a few others that the boys didn’t care much about.
The two younger boys wanted to be able to fish for blues off the stern, and the two older boys wanted to go wakeboarding with their friends. The stern of the Yamaha 242 was made to order for casual fishing and while there is no fish box, the boys simply planned to use the cooler if they got lucky. And both the boys could sit comfortably in the stern like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, waiting for the fish to get hungry.
Seen here are twin 182cc 4-Cylinder, 4-stroke High Output Yamaha Marine Engines. It’s obvious when you open the engine hatch how Yamaha is able to design the stern seating the way it does. The engines have a low profile.
When it came to wakeboarding, the Yamaha 242 came standard with a wake tower, which is a bit unusual for boats in this class. The boys also knew that there is no boat on the planet faster getting on plane than a jet boat. Quick planing time makes it easier for wake dudes/dudettes and skiers to get up. The easier it is, the more friends who will want to hang out on the boat. The tower and quick time to plane sold the two older boys (along with the fact that Dad would let them have the boat almost anytime they wanted).
Mom Lays Down the Law
Not surprisingly, Mom was the hardest family member of all to satisfy. While she was happy about the safety aspects of the Yamaha 242, and was pleased that her boys would be able to wakeboard and ski from the boat, she didn’t want any smelly, slimy fish in the cockpit when she was aboard.
The first thing Mom wanted was a boat that could be easy to clean inside. That meant no carpet that would stain when kids spilled their Hawaiian Punch on it. She wanted just a clean, non-skid white fiberglass deck with scuppers so she could hose the boat down if need be. But on the other hand, she also wanted a carpet available to put down in the cockpit for times when just she and Dad were having friends along for a cocktail cruise in the evening.
The business end of the Yamaha 242 Limited S takes advantage of the low profile of the engines to provide aft-facing seats.
Second, she wanted cushions that would not fade or get blown away. She also wanted to make sure there was plenty of storage room for life preservers, canvas, towels, swim fins and other gear. She said she didn’t want this stuff strewn all about, and wanted a place for everything. Thankfully, the 242 has plenty of storage space.
Mom As A Queen
Mom also wanted to be able to easily – and slowly -- slip into the water from the swim platform. Because the swim platform on the 242 is so low to the water and the swim ladder has four rungs, Mom can take her choice of how to slowly slip into the water.
She also wanted a place where she and Dad could sit by themselves when the boys weren’t around, and snuggle up, while watching the sun go down. The stern seating provided a perfect spot for just that sort of inactivity. A table that goes there is installed on the port side, leaving the center open to the swim ladder.
Ok boys, you can eat some chips, but no crumbs on the carpet.
Mom had some other requirements, too, such as hot water for the freshwater shower on the transom, and a head and a changing cabin. Unfortunately, the Yamaha 242 doesn’t have a hot water system. To get that she would have to get a larger, more expensive boat (with higher monthly payments), and she’d also have to give up the jet drive and some other things she liked.
The 242 Limited S does have a compartment that is large enough for an optional Porta-Potti, so Mom was happy. Since all boats are a compromise, Mom compromised on the lack hot water and went for the 242.
So that is how, more or less, one family zeroed in on a boat that suited everyone. It was probably not perfect for everyone, but it obliged so many of the family’s needs, it became the obvious choice.
Next month, we'll ask the kids how things are working out.
Yamaha 242 Limited S test video...