After Three Years
The word from boat shows to dealerships and finally from two of the largest publicly-owned boat builders is that new boat sales are coming back – and not just in the U.S. but all over the world. This is good news for every boat owner because new boat sales drive the sport. These sales give the boating infrastructure the life-blood it needs to continue providing the services, parts, customer service and dozens of other things that we have come to rely upon to increase our boating pleasure. While we have been hearing from our readers all spring long that they were buying, it is reassuring now to hear it from the builders as well.
The largest single boat building company in the world is the Brunswick Corporation. It owns 16 boat companies, including a number of the largest. One could say, “As goes Brunswick, so goes the boating industry,” because it is so large and builds boats from nearly the smallest to nearly the largest. The Brunswick Boat Group reported net sales of $243.6 million for the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 19 percent compared with the first quarter of 2009. International sales, which represented 37 percent of total segment sales in the quarter, increased by 8 percent during the period.
Increased sales seem to be lifting the prospects on nearly all builders pretty much across the market. For example, Marine Products Corp. which owns Chaparral and Robalo, reported for the quarter ending March 31, 2010, net sales of $24,493,000, an 84.9 percent increase compared to the same period for the previous year. The increase in net sales was due primarily to a 73.9 percent increase in the number of boats sold.
All of this is good news for most boaters. For those who have been waiting for the bottom before buying, you have missed it, as it seems to have been sometime last winter. Dusty McCoy, Brunswick chairman and CEO, was quoted recently in the trade press as saying there are 11,000 fewer Brunswick-built new boats in the field this year compared to last year. All of this means that chances are boats on dealers’ showroom floors will not last long, and once sold they will probably be replaced more slowly than in years past.
Larson Escape 204:
Deckboat Serves the Whole Family
The Larson Escape 204 deckboat was designed as a boat for many “missions.” The reason for that was simply because if one boat can be used by all members of a growing family for fishing, tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, swimming, and entertaining, Dad only has to buy one boat and can hold on to it while his family grows and evolves from one favored recreation to another. And, no matter what the rest of the family is doing with the boat, he can always fish from it! The fact is that moving from one boat to another every 4 years or so costs money. We think the best way to save on boating is to buy a versatile boat in the first place and hold on to it. The Larson Escape 204 deckboat makes a lot of sense to us for just that reason.
Take a look...
Seaswirl Striper 2101 DC:
One of the most popular Seaswirl models is the Striper 2101 DC because it is comfortable for the whole family. It has a large livewell in the transom for the anglers, a porta-potti in the port console for Mom, and seating in the bow for the kids. This 3,300-lb. (1,500 kg.) boat has plenty of storage for skis or a huge fishbox, take your pick. It’s 20-degree deadrise is a nice compromise between a more comfortable riding boat in a chop and speed/fuel economy. Powered by a Yamaha 250-hp 4-stroke for our test, the WOT was 46.4 mph, with best cruise at 30 mph where the boat gets 3.48 mpg.
Take a look...
The Bayliner 160 Is Low-Priced --
But What Do You Give Up?
Most BoatTEST.com videos explain what features and amenities the boat being tested has, but this time our Capt. Steve explains what the boat does NOT have. When designing the Bayliner 160 the company’s mission was to make boating affordable for as many people as possible, yet serve as a safe, versatile entry level boat that would get people started off on a long and happy boating life style. The Bayliner 160 has an MSRP price tag of $11,495 with the standard 60-hp outboard, and it is one of the lowest priced boats on the market. But what do you give up in order to get such a low price?
Watch and see what you DON’T get...
Lund 2075 Pro-V Tournament Edition:
The Top of the Line for Wetting a Line
Lund introduced us to the 2075 Pro-V by saying it was the boat that was “most aspired to own in the lineup.” Really?? To quote Yosemite Sam, “’them’s fightin’ words!” So we decided to look at not only the performance and handling characteristics, but at what makes this such a hot boat in the Lund lineup and we were going to do it with a much more critical eye. So be it, the game is on. Join us as we put the Lund 2075 Pro-V Tournament Edition through a full performance and handling tests
and see if it’s just marketing hype worthy of the title.
Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230:
The Inboard Version of the Luxury Toon Lineup
Our test captains love driving the test boats on bright and sunny days, seemingly with an umbrella drink just out of camera shot. But we don’t schedule boat tests around the weather and you have to take the good with the bad. The latter was the case when we tested the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230. On test day it was cold and blowing a chop across the lake... perfect conditions to see how the Grand Mariner SEL 230 could handle foul conditions.
Check out the test video and see how both the boat and our thin-blooded captain handle it...
Triton 21HP Elite DC:
Tournament Ready-- Thrills Included
So what does it take to make a tournament-ready fishboat? Our readers have asked
that question before, and it’s a reasonable question. But rather than lump all the
features into a “go to” list of requirements, better to look at a particular boat
and see what it offers. So for today’s lesson in what fish have the most
to fear, we take a look at the Triton 21HP. We tested this performance bass boat
on a lake in Tennessee and came away with a list of must-haves that we thought this
boat delivered on. So see for yourself how Triton does things, and if the 21HP brings it all together for your version of a fishing rig, cast here...
Crestliner Fish Hawk 1650:
Fishability Plus Economy
The Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk is designed for economical fishing in freshwater. Powered by a 90-hp Mercury Optimax the boat has a WOT of 41 mph, which is fast given the power. Best cruise was 27.6 mph providing 6.7 miles per gallon -- economical traveling no matter how you look at it. Because 1650 has a dry weight of less than 1100 lbs. (500 kgs.) you can tow her with most anything, and easily launch her most anywhere. We particularly like her reverse chine which adds stability both when running and when two anglers are standing on deck. The Crestliner 1650 is a price-point boat that has all of the basic fishing amenities.
Take a look at our new test video...
Tigé Entry-Level Z1:
Wake, Bake and Sizzle!
Tigé is a boutique specialty ski/wake boat builder in Abilene, Texas where they ride their horses hard and put them away wet. In the case of the Tigé Z1, it is 343 horses harnessed to a V-drive that creates a stampede through the water which can tamp down the water and make it smooth for a slalom skier, or stir up a mighty curl for a wakeboard cowboy, depending on the TAPS number selected by the operator. We put the Z1 through her paces, and over our testing hurdles, and take a look at one of the sport’s hottest wake-making technologies.
Get a piece of wake here...
How To Dock Your Dad's
Yamaha Jet Boat
Dock talk is often equal to urban myth, and the jet boat has probably suffered as much, or more, from negative chatter than any other type of boat on the market. Most of that bad-mouthing revolves around the alleged difficulty of handling a jet boat at the dock. As we noted a few weeks ago, if teenagers could handle docking a jet boat, then certainly anyone could do it. Two months ago an average family with four teenage sons bought a new Yamaha 242, and we’ve been following them to see how things would work out. This week, 17-year-old Philip tells us how he docks.
Let’s look at the so-called hard part of jet boat ownership...
the Yamaha 242 Limited S test video...
Volvo Penta 4.3L V-6 is a Little Powerhouse
For Boating World-Wide
This 4.3L engine starts life as a Vortec GM 90-degree V-6 block that was first introduced
in 1985 as a truck engine, and now is used in SUVs and large automobiles as well.
With millions of engines built over the last 24 years it has proven reliability.
In 1991 GM came out with a throttle-body injection version, which was converted
to multi-port injection in 2002. Volvo Penta marinizes the engine for recreational
boating applications and it is typically used in stern drive runabouts from 16’
to about 24’, but is also used in pontoon applications and in some cruisers up to 30’.
To find out what sets the Volvo Penta 4.3L engines apart from other marinized versions
of the same block --
To Tow, or, Not to Tow?
It’s a rare occurrence that one boater would see another in a jam offshore and not stop to help. But in some instances, the help you render could be the wrong kind. Let’s take the subject of towing, for example. Most recreational powerboats are not designed to be tow boats, nor have their owners, in most cases, been educated on safe towing procedures. Towing another boat is fraught with risks, including the potential for serious injury, damage to the boat needing help or to tow boat, to say nothing of the possibility of resulting litigation. Yet, it is your obligation to help a fellow boater in distress. What to do? Here is our recommendation about how to do your duty and stay out of trouble at the same time.
We’re glad you asked...
Brought to you by Sea Tow
Shurhold Dual Action Polisher
The team at Shurhold has been at it again, this time their aim was to improve on, the buffing & polishing process. With many boaters turning to a more DIY approach over the last year, Shurhold wanted to give them something to help out. This new Dual Action Polisher is a marine specific professional grade tool designed for everyday boaters to provide the ability to buff, wax, and polish their boat like a professional. Couple this with the proper pads and Shurhold's award winning compounds and you will have a shiny new finish in no time. Get the info on the product here...
As an added incentive when purchasing a dual action pack use the Coupon Code:
btf, you will receive a FREE $40 bonus pack with purchase of buffer. The pack includes ProPolish Pad, ProPolish, and a Microfiber Towel. Offer Exp. 6/30/2010. Visit Shurhold...
BP Oil Spill Could
Affect Your Engine
Recreational boaters all over the Gulf of Mexico have been asking if using or mooring their boats in oil-contaminated water could harm their boats more than the obvious residue along the waterline. The simple answer is yes, it could, and Clint Moore, President of Volvo Penta of the Americas has been the first one to respond.
To read his statement and find out how you can protect your boating investment...
For a New Boat?
If you are currently researching a new boat, the BoatTEST staff will be happy to provide their expertise and guidance to you via email or phone. This is part of our "Member Services" program and there is no charge. We do not sell boats and we are not a dealer. Our purpose is to provide you with our insights and recommendations and to leverage our industry relationships in your favor.
Sign in here ...
Were UP 30% in Q1
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that first quarter 2010 sales of new aluminum boats in the 18’ range increased 30% over 2009, which was the lowest first quarter in decades. About 38% of all powerboats sold in the U.S. are made of aluminum. The NMMA said, “This increase in aluminum boat sales provides an early indicator that a recovery in new boat sales is coming.” It should be noted that in 2006 the first category of boats to suffer losses in new boat sales were aluminum boats, which preceded by a year the slowdown in fiberglass boat sales in 2007-8, and the financial meltdown in 2009. Perhaps aluminum boats will lead the industry out of its recession.
For more sales information from the NMMA...
First Boat Produced
Platinum Equity’s Recreational Boat Group announced recently that on May 28th Glastron’s first boat rolled off the production line in Cadillac, Michigan. If you’ll recall, Platinum Equity bought Glastron, Four Winns and Wellcraft early this year from the Genmar Chapter 11 proceedings. (Platinum Equity also owns Ranger, Stratos and Champion.) Previously Glastrons were built in Little Falls, Minnesota. Now Four Winns, Wellcraft and Glastron will all be built in Cadillac. The company reports that product availability remains stable and on track through the transitional phase to its new location.
Calling Seaswirl Owners
By harnessing the reach of the World Wide Web and the incredible number of visitors
to BoatTEST.com, we can literally focus the experience of the world’s boat owners
on each brand and boat model to help guide future buyers. Hundreds of readers have
already taken the time to pass along their experience on their boats to help new
buyers. These “Owner Comments” go unedited into our database. Give fellow readers
your input, no matter what Seaswirl model you own.
Lesson of the Week
MUST Viewing for ALL Small Boat Owners:
How to Prevent Swamping and Capsizing
This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on how to prevent your boat from becoming swamped and capsizing. Capt. Steve will go over the primary causes and reasons for swamping which include uneven distribution of passengers or weight in the boat, taking high speed turns in rough seas, overloading a boat, and anchoring your boat by the stern. If your boat does become swamped remember to stay calm, make sure everyone aboard has their life jackets on, and do whatever you can to keep more water from coming in -- and get the water that is in the back out quickly -- until help arrives. A swamped boat will often capsize very quickly.
These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com's USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"You need to get up to 88 MPH so the flux capacitor will work!" - E. Staub
"Eddie knew that as soon as his patent came through, his combination anchor/mast would change the face of boating forever."
- E. Jahoda
Honorable (almost) Mention
"Who said I can't parallel park this bad boy!" - M. Muscato
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