BTC Newsletter - 04/09/2008
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New Boats Tested
Seaway 24 Offshore
Seaway 24

This new model from Seaway features twin 37 gallon fuel tanks that give you extended range.  On test day our 24 came equipped with a Honda 150-hp 4-stroke and cruised most economically at 24.8 mph at 4500 rpm. See test video. 

  Stratos 186 XT

The new 186 XT is an affordable bass rig that you can easily enter the tournaments with. This model comes in just under $17,000 so most every serious fishing family can fit it into the family budget. See test results...
Manitou 20 X-Plode Cruise SHP

Ripped metal graphics and vibrant upholstery colors on the Manitou 20 stand out from most graphics seen in the past. The tri-toon SHP delivers eye-popping performance with turns like a speed boat in hot pursuit. See video review and test results...
  Hydra-Sports 23
Bay Bolt

With only a 10 inch draft, Hydra-Sports built the 23 to reach the shallow water.  For hard-core light tackle bay fishing, the 23 Bay Bolt from Hydra-Sports is a good choice to consider. See boat review and test results...

Grady-White 232

This popular model boasts a 297 quart insulated fish locker, a comfortable fishing layout and room below to rest. Check out test results and video.
  Tahoe 225
Tahoe 225

The Tahoe 225 offers both family and fishing features and is capable of adding a wakeboard tower for even more water fun. Go to test and video.


Paxson St. Clair, Pres. of Cobalt Boat

5 Things that Set Cobalt Boats Apart
Independent builders must work harder to compete with the big boys. Here’s how they do it and win.

paxson1 paxson2 paxson3  paxson4 paxson5
1. Paxson learned boat building the old-fashioned way. 2. No flim-flam with LWL, Cobalt’s “extended” running surface. 3. Cobalt uses Kevlar in every model for added strength. 4. Every Cobalt is tested in a tank or nearby lake. 5. The warranty – 10/5/2/1 years, all carefully spelled out by component.

Paxson St.Clair is a second-generation boat builder who learned boat building from the lamination shop. His intimate knowledge of all aspects of the building and customer-care processes has kept Cobalt at the pinnacle of the bowrider category as the competition has closed in. To see full tests and videos of the 26 Cobalt models we’ve tested…visit here.

Former Mercury President Speaks Out

Competition is Driving Mercury
The world's largest marine engine maker is getting lean and smarter.

mackey1 mackey2 mackey3  mackey4 mackey5
What is Mercury doing to keep prices down? Escalating cost
of U.S. labor
"a big issue."
Why did it take  so long to
invent SeaCore?
When will Mercury have a
5-year warranty?
Mercury Marine enters the
Modern Era.

Last month Pat Mackey retired after 7 years as president of Mercury Marine. He made positive radical changes to the company and started competing with new technology instead of razzle-dazzle. In both the sterndrive and outboard business he drew a line in the sand and Mercury Marine has stopped losing market share for the most part. Yet the macroeconomic problems facing American industry in general are no less acute in the tiny marine industry, as you will discover in this revealing interview. Listen closely, as Mackey telegraphs what is to come.

Tige Factory tour and interview
Tigé is the Tough New Wake/Ski Boat
A “life-time” hull “replacement” warranty
plus 3-year “bow-to-stern" warranty
Tigé is the "new" ski/wake boat builder on the block (it was founded 17 years ago in 1991) and it has been as aggressive as some of its TigéTeam tournament athletes. Located in Abilene, TX, this young and technologically proficient company has been making waves big enough in the field that at least one established competitor has felt the need to fire a shot across Tigés picklefork bow. For details on the company’s “Lifetime Replacement” and 3-year “bow-to-stern” warranty… go to their website.

To see BTC’s video tests of 7 Tigés…jump this wake. 

A few TigéTeam members in action...
tige5 tige6 tige7 tige8
Adam Errington,
3-time Men’s Pro
Tour Winner.
Scotty Broome, 3rd place in 2005 Planet X Slam Jam. Tino Santori, 2-time WWA Wakeboard National Champion. Daniel Watkins, 3-time Australian Pro-Tour Champion.

New Boat Propeller Basics

Is Your New Boat’s Prop Right?
The propeller is often overlooked when buying a new boat.

Capt. Smith asks PowerTech’s Steve Powers what a new owner should look for.

Usually the propeller you get with your new boat will be the right one, but the builder might not have anticipated your needs, and it is best to play it safe. Before taking delivery, council with your dealer about how you plan to use the boat and where. Get his input, then check the Test Reports on for your engine and boat.  When in doubt, call PowerTech. 

See video of Steve Powers explaining what to look for…prop up here.

New Video Boat Review

The Mighty 23’ SeaCraft is Back!
But she’s all new and far better than in the “good old days.”

Seacraft SC 23
The new SeaCraft 23 is designed for the SKA and she is loaded with features.

For veteran saltwater anglers, SeaCraft evokes a response of reverence, one of respect for a brand and hull that profoundly shaped the history and evolution of the modern center console. To view Capt. Smith's video review of the new SeaCraft…cast here.

NMMA Banner 

Bass Boat Sales Incentive

$1000 Down Payment Credit on New Stratos Boats

Stratos 186 XT Stratos 176 XT
The 186 XT (left) and the 176 XT (right) have down payment bounties of $500 each.

From now until May 15, 2008 you can get a $1000 credit on your down payment for a new Stratos 200 XL or 201 XL so long as it has a Mercury, Yamaha, or Evinrude engine and is sold by a participating Stratos dealer. Other models, including the two pictured above, will receive a $500 down payment credit.

To see our tests of Stratos boats…. 

Barge Sinks another boat

4 Die As Barge
Plows over 32-footer

boat remains
A floating crane pulls the remains of a
32’ aluminum cruiser.

William Hill Jr., 59, was killed recently when a tugboat, with several barges in tow, collided with his 32-foot aluminum cabin cruiser. The crash happened shortly after 8 p.m. just east of Wilson Dam in Wilson Lake in the Tennessee River. TVA police said they are still looking for three other bodies of people said to have been on the boat at the time of the accident.

For more details and a link to a silent video showing the boat…read on.


“Formula Guard” Warranty Clarification

formula guard

Formula’s 5-year Warranty program is one of the best in the business.

Last week we called the Formula 5-year warranty program a “Stem-to-Stern” warranty which obviously implies that it covers everything. We got a call from the folks at Formula saying that isn’t quite so and would we please set the record straight. We appreciate Formula’s vigilance in not permitting us to overstate their program, even if it was inadvertent. The builder requests that interested consumers go to the company’s website and read for themselves the specifics of the program. Here is the link to their PDF file on the subject…Formula Guard ®

See video of Formula president Scott Porter on the subject... 

BTC news

BoatTEST Visitors Up 57% in March
362,000 unique visitors did new boat research and watched a growing number of videos.

In March the World Wide Web connected 362,000 different people from all
over the world to

BoatTEST saw a huge jump in visitors in March vs. a year ago, from 230,000 in ’07 to 362,000 in '08. Also, 23% of the visitors came two or more times during the month, up 4 percentage points from the previous year. 22% of the visitors were from outside the U.S. The total number of pages viewed was 2.4 million. In 2000 became the first marine website in the world to stream video, but also preceded many major news media organizations such as CNN, NBC and others. Today, BTC has a video library of over 3,000 videos – all on your favorite subject.

To do research in our video library, simply go to the home page and type in your subject (just as you would with Google) in the box next to “Video Search.” Try it now…

USCG Monthly Recalls

Check the
USCG Recalls

If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Boating safety is everyone’s business.

Most USCG recalls are turned in by the manufacturers themselves because they are good corporate citizens and they know safety comes first. However, many recalls are the result of consumers bringing matters to the attention of the USCG’s office of boating safety. To contact the USCG…go here.

To check last month’s recalls…

Weather Radar

Radar Weather Maps On Your Chartplotter New system takes the guess work out of NOAA weather reports

With WxWorx weather service you always know what is coming.

You can see the weather just as well as the weatherman with XM WX Satellite real-time weather feeds to your chartplottter screen or to your laptop computer. Weather detail is down to less than half a mile, so you know exactly where to bob and weave to miss the worst weather cells. To get signed up with a system …read on.

See Capt Rob Smith’s magical video tour...

FREE Boat Valuation For BTC VIP Members
Get FREE ABOS “Marine Blue Book” values for Used Boats.

Marine Blue Book 1 Marine Blue Book 2
The ABOS “Marine Blue Book” is used by many of the nation’s leading boat dealers to price their used boat trade-ins.

Now BTC VIP Members can have access to the same pricing source used by America’s leading boat dealers in setting prices for used boats that they sell, and to valuate boats that they take in trade. Now, you can have access to that vital information BEFORE you go to trade in your boat or sell it – and when buying a used boat. Find out what that boat should REALLY be selling for!

The ABOS “Marine Blue Book” is sold only to the trade for $229.95 and is not intended for consumers. Why be in the dark when valuating your boat? Get a professional valuation in minutes by becoming a VIP Member of

For details about this fantastic offer and to learn more about BTC VIP Membership…

Boat Dealers wanting to order the ABOS “Marine Blue Book"…

Sylvan Video

Revolutionary New Pontoon Boat Hull Design
New Sylvan design goes faster
with less horsepower!

Sylvan RPT
You are looking at the shape of the future for pontoon hulls. See Sylvan commercial video.

Last year tested the prototype of a revolutionary new design in pontoon hull shapes. The two-pontoon boat went 41.6 WOT, unheard of for such a vessel. The secret of the 22’ Signature’s incredible speed was that instead of the round aluminum “logs” that have been used by virtually every pontoon boat builder for 75 years, Sylvan engineers designed the bottom to have a deadrise of about 14-degrees like that on a fiberglass catamaran hull. Sylvan calls the hull RPT for Revolutionary Planing Technology.

See exciting new Sylvan RPT video commercial…

See BoatTEST for the prototype…

Read more about the new design…

New Engine Video Report

Mercury’s New
350-hp Verado Outboard

350 screen grab
The new 350 Mercury will be available
in October, the company says.

Mercury announced at the Miami Boat Show that it is joining Yamaha with a 350-hp outboard motor. The application for this size outboard is limited pretty much to large center consoles and outboard-powered express fishboats. There are presently about 2000 of these type boats sold annually in the U.S. See Capt. Smith’s video look at the new Merc 350…crank this.

 Mako logo 

Pirates of the Indian Ocean

Large Cruise Yacht Taken by
Somalian Pirates

Where is Stephen Decatur
when he's needed?

le ponant
The beautiful 290’ Le Ponant has three masts, but don’t be fooled, she is really a
single-engine powerboat in disguise.

Having once spent a month aboard Le Ponant in the Med, our ears perked up when we read last Friday that she had been taken by pirates off the Somalia coast. She has been traveling that route each spring for years, and her young crew was well aware of the potential danger.

To find out more…jingle your doubloons.

Visit the World's Largest Boat Show

product video

Discover Batteries Are Safe and Powerful
Discover Batteries pack more amps per sq. in of footprint.

Discover Batteries
Discover Batteries are AGM which
means you are green.

Discover has been in the energy business for 60 years and makes a full line of AGM batteries. That means when you use them you do not have to worry about explosive hydrogen or chlorine gas emissions, you don’t have to fill them with water, and you need no special chargers. To see a product video…charge this.

Boston Whaler Dauntless

Whaler 180 Dauntless Makes Ideal
Utility Boat

Dauntelss 180
The new 180 Dauntless comes standard with a 135 Verado and all the basics.

If you are looking around for a good knock-about boat for Dad, or an exciting multi-purpose boat for the kids, then put the new 180 Dauntless on your short list. It is a terrific utility boat and can do most anything you ask on rivers, lakes, and in coastal waters. She is new this year and has a sleek curve to her topsides. For more information, go to Boston Whaler’s website…harpoon here.

To see Boat Tests and videos of other Whalers…

USCG "Defender Class" Patrol Boats
New USCG 25' Patrol Boats
are Rugged and Reliable
Currently 425 of these 25-footers -- powered by
twin Honda 225-hp engines -- are on patrol.

defender1 defender2 defender3
When it comes to national security, only the very best and most reliable will do.

After 9/11 the USCG decided that it needed over 700 patrol boats to secure U.S. ports, harbors and borders. It would need a platform that could handle its 30 mm machine guns, be fast and nimble enough to intercept water-born suicide bombers, and be extremely reliable in the harsh saltwater environments where they would be deployed 24/7 in all kinds of weather. Not only that, but it would need to do all of that on a budget. To find out more about the boat…read on.

To see video on the Defender class engine, the Honda 225-hp outboard…view this.

USCG Rescue of the Week

Boaters with Life Vests & Life Raft Survive

rescued boaters
Rescued boaters and their grateful pets with USCG rescue staff.

Coast Guard rescue crews from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, NC, and Coast Guard Station Hobucken, NC, rescued two people from a life raft after their boat sank near the mouth of the Neuse River recently in Pamlico Sound, NC. The rescue went perfectly thanks to boaters who were prepared for the worst and an alert USCG.

To find out about the details…hit mayday.

What is going on here

 Only one winner this week. Come on readers be creative!!! The winner for the coveted ducky award is:

rubber duckyReader Captions
First Place – Winner of the Rubber Ducky!

“Not exactly what I had in mind when I said, 'I’ll take it on the rocks.'”
--J. Gerdom

What is Going on Here?

what is going on here
You write the caption!

Will you win the coveted "Ducky Trophy" for best caption? Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky...quack here

Please send all submissions by 4/14/08.

Visit the World's Largest Boat Show
what happened at four winns

What Happened At Four Winns?
Pres. Jeff Olson explains a sea change in Cadillac.

Accident Report

8 Die in
Swollen Rivers
Every spring dozens of boaters die after torrential rains.

swollen rivers
Ice melt and spring rains make rivers powerful and dangerous.

At least eight people died recently in the U.S. when they ventured into swollen rivers in small aluminum boats. In one case the boat was overcrowded and capsized. In another, the boat capsized as it got caught in the undertow by a bridge piling. This happens every year. Boaters need to wait until high waters recede before doing their boating. To get an idea of the scope of the danger and the tragedy…plunge in here.

sound off

Reader Feedback, Opinions, Inquiries, Ideas, Suggestions

When a thought crosses your mind about boats and boating, chances are hundreds of other boat owners would be interested in what you have to say. Let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll try to produce an article to answer your questions, publish your thoughts, or just take it to heart. To make it easy for you, all you need do is …Sound Off here.