Seaswirl was started in the American Northwest in the late 1950s but didn’t become
a national brand until about 15 years ago. Five years ago it moved its production
east to take advantage of Genmar’s production economies. Now the company builds
15 models from 18’ to 33’ in center console, walkaround, and dual console configurations.
Most of the Stripers are designed differently from many center consoles, most notably
because of their high freeboard forward, deep, secure cockpits, all composite transoms,
and affordable price. By building a solid basic boat without lots of frills, they
keep the price low, allowing you to add only what you want so you don’t pay for
what you don’t need. Capt. Smith compares the Striper line with other brands and discovers
a few things that may surprise you -- see video here.
There is no tougher condition on a stern drive lower unit than saltwater. For years Yanmar has developed their stern drive units for Japan’s competitive commercial fishing business where reliability is a given -- and problems can’t be ignored or swept under the rug. Failure in Japan is not an option because it means loss of face. Little wonder, then, that Yanmar waited until it was quite confident in its stern drive unit before launching it on the marine market worldwide. Yanmar’s stern drive is called the ZT350 and it is squarely targeted at Mercury’s Bravo III. The transom plate and bolt holes are the same so that it is easy to repower your Mercury unit with the new Yanmar option. Join us for a video look at Yanmar’s new stern drive --
At the Miami Boat Show TrailerBoat Magazine presented its 2009 “Zenith Award” for design excellence to Four Winns for its new SL 222. The company calls the hull design a “split chine” as the boat’s hard chines do not come together at the stem but rather rise to the deck in the bow area. TrailerBoat editor Ron Eldridge said the SL 222 “...stood out because of its overall utility, advanced features and style...[she]...is a trendsetter that’s raising expectations of what a boat can be.” BoatTEST.com’s Director of Testing, Capt. Rob Smith, gave the SL 222 a thorough examination last year. He also reviewed the SL 222's big sister – the SL 242 and tested the huge SL 262. To see what everyone is talking about, check out our video review of the SL 222 --
Rarely do we see a new product win praise from so many different quarters, but that
is what has happened to the Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS personal watercraft, introduced
last year. Two boating magazines, the Boating Writers guild, and the U.S. Coast
Guard have all bestowed their coveted awards on the new PWC. The unit has several
innovations that contribute strongly to both comfort and safety. The USCG gave an
award to BRP’s president for the introduction of an “unprecedented electronically
controlled hand-braking system.” The BWI/NMMA award for product innovation went
to the GTX and the judge said, “It’s good enough to make an average rider, like
me, feel like a pro.” Motor Boating Magazine gave the GTX their "Best of the Year
our video review --
The new Triton 301 CC has a 10’10” beam and
a 22-degree deadrise at the transom.
At the Miami Boat Show we took one of the new Triton 301 CCs out for a spin on Biscayne Bay to get a feel for the boat. As we stepped aboard the first thing we noticed was that it was like stepping onto a concrete dock instead of into a 30’ boat. Next we walked around her and it became clear that the 10’10” beam makes this a really big 30-footer. It’s the widest 30’ CC we know of and that pays off in side clearance around the console, extra room everywhere, and in stability. To find out how she felt running -- cast your mouse.
|The 245 is Bayliner’s smallest trailer cruiser and is a good move-up boat for sportboat owners and has 6' 2'' headroom.|
Bayliner is well-known for entry-level boats and its 245 Cruiser is no exception. Once the kids are off to school or starting a career it is time for Mom and Dad to begin enjoying the pleasures of the cruising life. A good way to begin is with a trailerable boat and at 6100 lbs. this package is about as light as they come. Moreover the 245 is a good transition boat from a runabout as you can still waterski or wakeboard behind it. Equipped with a galley, head with shower and a convertible bow settee, the 245 offers a place for candlelight cocktails and a cozy nest for weekend overnighting. If you haven’t thought about the cruising life, there is not a better time than now. The Bayliner 245 has an MSRP of $60,497 with a single 250-hp 5.0 L stern drive. See complete test video --
|See all Bayliner tests|
No matter what type and size of powerboat
you are looking for
Member Services can help you.
New Dolphin Boat
|The new Innespace “Sea Breacher” jumps out of the water, does snap rolls, goes underwater and turns heads wherever it goes. It holds 2 people... gulp.|
Yamaha PWC Promo
Capt. Steve fills us in on Yamaha’s new
factory-direct financing program.
With all of the talk about banks not lending money unless you have Bill Gates' credit score, we’re glad to report that Yamaha has stepped into the breach with its own program. Capt. Steve says now is the time to get a great deal and financing, too --
On all new Yamaha WaveRunners,
you can choose: --
$0 down, and 0 payments and 0 interest
for 120 days...
$0 down and as low as 8.99% APR
for up to 60 months...
$0 down and $59/month at 6.99% APR
for 24 months.
With so many choices and types, finding the required PFDs can be confusing.
Capt. Steve makes it simple.
PFDs are required in all boats, but figuring out which types -- I, II, III, IV, or V -- can be confusing at first. Moreover, there are now many different styles and brands of the five types, each with their own unique attributes, making proper selection even more perplexing. The USCG tells us that the single most important thing you can do aboard to protect yourself, your family and guests is to make sure PFDs a worn at all times. That is particularly important in boats under 26’. Capt. Steve explains the PFD mystery in one quick video --
J.D. Power News
Honda Wins 4-Stroke Outboard Honors
J.D. Power News
|Capt. Rob Smith takes a good look at Evinrude’s 225 DI engine.|
Evinrude won the 2-stroke DI outboard engine category in the 2009 J.D. Power study,
beating Yamaha by 15 points and Mercury, which was in last place, by 21 points.
A J.D. Power spokesman said Evinrude demonstrated “considerable improvement in both
satisfaction and quality in 2009...and performs particularly well in shifting smoothness,
fuel economy and reliability.” Todd Markusic, the Power spokesman, said, “Engine
hesitation during acceleration and the engine running roughly have the most significant
negative impacts on customers’ satisfaction with their engines.” This is the third
in eight years that Evinrude has won the 2-stroke DI award; the other years were 2003 and
2007. This years' rankings were --
|Florida boater Wesley Szanyi clung to the bow of his high-performance boat until he was rescued by the USCG.|
"I was hanging on that bow as the boat was vertical," said Wesley Szanyi, owner
of a $75,000 high-performance boat that reportedly "hit a wave, lost its engine,
and started taking on water," off Cocoa Beach, Florida last week. In a local news
video broadcast Szanyi was all smiles but he admits he was on the verge of panic
as his boat was slowly sliding vertically underwater.
To read the rest of the story --
See local news video interview of owner and boat sinking --
Above are some examples
of featured mobile phones.
We consider them requirements, and so we compiled a list that can act as a primer on how to buy a mobile phone for marine applications. If you are looking to purchase a new phone, we suggest you consider the list while comparison shopping. If you already have a phone, it may help you decide whether to keep it or to look for a new one. Learn more about our requirements for purchasing a mobile phone for marine applications.
Mako’s “Rapid Planing System” enables
low-speed planing with no
bow rise in skinny water.
If you have ever owned a small boat that had horrible bow rise before it would get
on plane, then you will appreciate the Boating Writers International/NMMA Innovation
Award to Mako for their new 18 LTS. The bay boat has a patent-pending “Rapid Planing
System” that not only pushes the boat up on plane quickly, but it can do it in only
24" (60.96 cm) of water. The boat has a stepped hull. The BWI/NMMA Innovation Awards
are given out each year at the Miami Boat Show. The judge said that the boat gets
out of the hole quickly in skinny water and does it at an affordable price (as low
as $16,495 according to the Mako website).
See tests on Mako boats --
|“Hey, Dad, the breaks just didn’t work.”|
If you are new to boating a little apprehension about your first launching is perfectly
normal. There are definitely some basic rules you need to follow when launching
and most boaters know them well. If you are new to boating, not to worry, it is
all a piece of cake, as long as you are careful. All it takes is a lesson or two,
observing others, and some practice. A good place to start is right here --
How not to lauch video #1 --
How not to launch video #2 --
BoatTEST safety trailering video --
|BoatTEST now has over 100,000 classified listings. Is this boat listed among them?|
It is no secret that used boat prices, just like homes, corporate planes, hotel rooms and most everything else are fetching lower prices than they did a year ago. That’s the bad news. The good news is that in all likelihood your boat’s value has not fallen nearly as far as your stock portfolio. Traditionally boat dealers and boat owners could refer to several used boat price guides to check trade-in values with some degree of accuracy. But these days the price guides can’t keep up with changing market. Now your best bet is to use classified ads as a guide. That’s what the dealers are doing. Happily, BoatTEST’s classified section now has over 100,000 listings. Keep in mind that these are retail prices and dealers will offer you less in trade because they must re-sell them. Also, we’d kick out the highest and lowest prices and go for the mean. Visit BoatTEST’s 100,000 classified listings --
|Less than 48 hours after an Australian boater’s email to the U.S. Danforth office for help with his compass, a replacement unit arrived at his doorstep in New South Wales.|
Occasionally a letter crosses our desk that cries out for publication. With seemingly everything going wrong these days, it is heart-warming to hear about things going right, even a small something. In this case good customer service from a huge multi-national conglomerate publically traded company is what got our attention! In honor of good – and quick! – customer service in the marine industry, BoatTEST.com is instituting its “Customer Service (Coveted) Ducky Award.” The first winners are Roberta Frusteri, Export Customer Service Manager of ITT Rule, Jabsco, et al, Gloucester, MA, and Martin Basham, managing director of RW Basham Pty Ltd, Waterloo, NSW. Find out what good customer service really is --
Capt. Steve's Lesson #25
Rules Pertaining to
|A vessel unable to maneuver is unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.|
This week Capt. Steve covers basic rules of the road in these ten new lessons and guidelines on: different categories of boats and who must keep out of the way, restrictions on working vessels, fishing vessels and all other vessels which may not be able to maneuver because the nature of their work, sea planes, and why one should never anchor in the middle of a channel. These are basic rules which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of Capt. Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
View this week’s lessons --
View past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Don't worry Captain, I saved the doughnuts!" - F. Cuteri
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