BTC Newsletter 4/23 - 04/23/2008
Guide to 173 New Boats Under 30'--Videos & Tests If you cannot view the see the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

Tests & Video Reviews

- Stingray 205 LR
- Doral Intrigue
- Glastron GS 259
- JC Pontoon SportToon 25
- Mako 234 CC
- Regal 2000
- Sea-Doo Wake 230
- Smoker Craft 172 Millentia


Also inside:

- Foam Flotation
- New on BoatTEST
- EPA Permit Fiasco
- Ski & Wakeboarding
- Drive Systems
- Cobalt Sales Up in 2007
- MerCruiser Taking Aim
- No Spam, Please
- CO Levels Not Affected
- Buyer's Guides
- CO Levels When Tubing
- VIP Member Benefits

Boat Review

Stingray 205 LR Bowrider

Stingray's 205 LR is priced under $30,000.


Stingray offers a 20’ “starter” bowrider for under $30,000 and we feel it merits your attention. Most details on this entry-level boat are done right and the boat comfortably seats seven adults for a day of fun on the water. With the 270-hp Volvo Penta 5.0L engine she tops out at 60 mph. To get a good feel for the boat, watch our video and see our test numbers…enter here.

Boat Tests

Doral Intrigue

Doral Intrigue

Utilizing a cabin-forward layout, the Intrigue’s design team delivers ample topside entertainment space. Everyone gets to enjoy the view yet still be close enough to enjoy the conversation without being cramped.  See Capt. Rob Smith's complete report...

Glastron GS 259

Glastron GS 259

The Glastron GS 259 represents the latest in thinking and design from a company that knows how to build express cruisers. The GS 259 is an express cruiser that gives you more room, more style, and possibly more fun with its features and well-designed layout. See complete test and video...  



JC Pontoon 25

JC Pontoon SportToon 25

The SportToon 25 has lots of convenience and comfort built-in as well as plenty of options to customize to your particular needs on the water. 

The list of options is quite lengthy and the tri-hull design delivers a smooth ride.  See Capt. Smith's complete test and video...

Mako 234 Center Console

Cruisers Yachts 460

The Mako 234’s classic lines and layout, as well as her aggressive V-hull constructed of all composites are designed for long life and function. Her 21 degree deadrise means she has the sporty handling you need and the wave-taming action you want. See complete test and video...  

Regal 2000

Regal 2000

Regal’s 2000 is among the company’s smallest boats, but thanks to its eight-foot six-inch beam this bowrider offers plenty of room, with L-shaped seating, a walkthrough to the swim platform, and even a sunpad, typically not found on boats this size.  See complete test and video...  

Sea-Doo 230 Wake

Sea-Doo 230 Wake

The Sea-Doo 230 Wake combines pleasure, excitement and awesome power.  This direct-drive sportboat will deliver wakeboarders many years of perfect wakes for tricks and fun, yet is still a boat you will enjoy taking the family and neighbors out in for a ride.  See Capt. Smith's complete test...

Smoker Craft 172 Millentia

Smoker Craft 172 Millentia

This model is now rated for 135-hp and can carry up to six people. Its Hydra-Lift design reduces drag, delivers quicker planing times and a dry ride. The one piece hull has a five-keel design for better tracking and stability.  See complete test and video...  


EPA Permit Fiasco

Only 19 Senators Support "Clean Boating Act"

The U.S. boating industry does not seem to be particularly concerned about the EPA water discharge permitting issue. Just look at the number of Senators from big boat-building states that have not moved into the “hero” column. (See the list of U.S. Senators at the bottom of this newsletter.) NMMA president, Thom Dammrich has said that permitting might cost as much as $800 or more per boat. We have no idea what it will cost, but certainly it will be enough to pay for the tens of millions needed to administer the worthless program.


We urge all BoatTEST subscribers – and the boating industry -- to take three minutes to use our ready-made software to contact their Senators. Raise your voice here…


Thom Dammrich Thom Dammrich Senator Boxer
May 2007: NMMA Pres.
explains what is happening.
NMMA Pres. Dammrich’s
Feb 17, 2008 Update.
Read S. 2766;
the boaters’ best hope for EPA permit relief.

Ski & Wakeboarding

Bill Yeargin, President of Correct Craft

The sport of waterskiing was virtually invented by Correct Craft over 80 years ago. Despite its longevity, Correct Craft is still at the top of its game. For most of its 83 years the company has been run by a member of the founding Meloon family, but more than a year ago Bill Yeargin took over as the president. An avid wakeboarder himself, Bill fills us in on the latest from Correct Craft…

correct craft 1 correct craft2 correct craft 3 correct craft 4 correct craft 5
What % of
buyers do tournaments?
How Nautique Boats create
“Big Air.”
The company’s latest
5-yr. warranty explained.
Why do ski boats cost more than sterndrives?

Foam Flotation- What Does it Mean?

Boston Whaler says that all of their boats float level.

Each year a score or more center console boats capsize offshore. The reason is that some fishermen are so keen they will go out in nearly any condition, or they go so far out, they get caught if weather moves in. Most boaters also have confidence in their boat. Unfortunately, many boat owners are under some misconceptions about flotation in center console boats specifically, and in small boats in general. This is the first of a series of video interviews intended to shed light on this very important subject. We start with the company that started the whole concept of flotation and literally changed the way all boats under 20’ are built – Boston Whaler. Vann Knight, Engineering Manager for Boston Whaler, answers our questions...


Knight1 Knight 2 Knight3 Knight4 Knight5
Do all CC's float level when swamped? Does the USCG
test boats
under 20'?
What does "swamped" capacity mean? Can large swamped boats float level? Boston Whaler's flotation foaming process.

New on BoatTEST

New Reader "Comments" Functionality

In addition to the "Rate Your Boat" function, now has a simple and easy-to-use “type-in window” below each boat test and engine review. If you have owned the boat or engines being discussed, feel free to add your comments to help our new members make the right product selection. believes strongly that the best test is the “test of time.”


Why not add your comments now at ?


To "Rate your Boat" click on the Owner Reports tab. Click on the "Comments" button located on every engine test page and boat test video page.

Drive Systems

The Case for Internal Drives

Merc 496
Are Yamaha jet drives faster and more
fuel efficient than sterndrives?
Find out here.

Since its introduction several years ago, the Yamaha line of internal drive (aka jet drive) powered boats has captured the imagination of America’s runabout buyers. They now have captured a significant amount of market share too, which means Yamaha and other internal drive builders are on to something. The safety advantages of internal drives have always been obvious. What is not so well known are its performance advantages over sterndrives. Our Captain Smith shows you some startling data and makes the case for internal drive propulsion…sit down here.

Engine News

MerCruiser Taking Aim at Gas Inboard Ski Boats

Scorpion 350
MerCruiser's Scorpion 350.

For years Indmar and PCM have been the gas inboard engines of choice for the major ski/wakeboard boat builders such as Malibu, Mastercraft, Correct Craft and others. But our sources in Stillwater, OK tell us that MerCruiser is now laying plans to aggressively assault the wakeboard boat market with some re-engineered products and, perhaps, a different approach. Merc’s engineers are working on the 350 Scorpion and a new version will probably be unveiled this fall. To learn more about the current 350 Scorpion, and maybe get an insight into what’s coming…sting this.

Industry News

Cobalt Sales UP 9% in 2007 

It is truly remarkable that the only builder of runabouts or express cruisers which was up in sales in 2007 was the company that builds the most expensive boats – Cobalt. The company built 2,500 units in 2007. Perhaps one of the reasons that Cobalt was up was because the president of the company answers the phone.



grady-white ad

sun tracker

boat history





Offshore Motoryacht



Nitro News

No Spam Please,  We're Boaters           

No Spam
Not even lettuce, tomato, cheese and mustard can make spam palatable. does not spam. We hate it. All member information received by for access to videos or other materials on the site is kept confidential. We do not share it, sell it, rent it, or in any other way pass it on to a third party without your permission. There IS a lot of spamming going on in the boating industry these days, but it does not come from us. When you request dealer contact info or product brochures we do pass on your member information to boat builders to aid your boat buying research. We are all getting a lot of spam these days, but the boating industry is beginning to wise up on the subject, so matters should slowly improve.


CO Levels Not Affected by Fuel Injection 

MerCruiser with CC
New MerCruiser engines with catalytic converters reduced CO emissions by 99%.

Last week in an article about CO from gas engines we published that CO levels in exhaust for fuel injected engines is lower than for carbureted gas engines. Reinhard Burk, Director, MerCruiser Product Engineering, called to say that there is no significant difference in the levels of CO produced by either type of engine. The big difference, he said, comes from gas engines with catalytic converters, such as the new line that MerCrusier has recently produced to meet new California emission requirements.

To find out more about this important subject…inhale this.

Buyer's Guide

31 Bass Boat Tests

31 Bass Boats
This 175 Tracker is a high-speed
economical bass package.

The season is upon us and it is shaping up to be a good one. Most of the Rockies got record snow falls and lakes and reservoirs are rising. BoatTEST’s captains have tested 31 of the newest bass boats from the country’s leading boat builders. The best builders are working hard to cram all of the latest features into their boats. Cast your eyes here…


Tests and Videos 16’ – 20’…

Tests and Videos 21’ – 25’…

Buyer's Guide

85 Sportboat Tests

85 Sportboats
Four Winns F244 sportboat design blurs the line between a deckboat and a sportboat.

No matter what size sportboat you are looking for, our tests can help you zero-in on a short list of boats that are right for you and your pocketbook. From 16’ to 29’ has tested most of the best boats built in class. Before you buy, check out our performance numbers and captain opinions. Take a look…


Tests and Videos 16’ – 20’…

Tests and Videos 21’ – 25’…

Tests and Videos 26’ – 30’…

Buyer's Guide

36 Pontoon Boat Tests

36 pontoon boats
Pontoon boats -- like this tri-toon from Premier  -- are gaining in popularity.

For the last five years or more pontoon boats have been the fastest growing category in boating. All pontoon boats look similar at first glance, but once you look closely you will find huge differences. Before you buy, review the tests has done of pontoon boats from America’s top, and most respected, builders…

Tests and Videos 16’ – 20’…

Tests and Videos 21’- 25’…

Tests and Videos 26’ – 30’…

Tests and Videos 31’+…

Buyer's Guide

21 Cruiser Tests

21 Cruisers
Pocket cruisers offer room for
entertainment and cruising comfort.

Once you have experienced the fun, room and utility of an express cruiser, chances are your runabout days will be over. While most people think that all express cruisers are over 30’, in fact there are quite a number that are smaller "pocket cruisers." We have 21 live tests of cruisers under 30’ from leading builders…


Tests and Videos 21’ – 25’…

Tests and Videos 26” – 30’…

CO Testing

Levels When Tubing

CO levels when tubing

CO readings were taken from the inflatable at different distances and speeds.


With the advent of tubing the USCG and ABYC wanted to find out exactly what the CO levels were for people tubing from a tow boat powered by an inboard gas engine. So several years ago they teamed up to test the levels of toxic CO gas to which a wakeboarder or tuber would be subjected. To find out the results…inhale here.

How to

Pee in a Small Boat

Safety Tip
When nature calls, don't fall overboard.


Each year more people die from drowning after falling overboard while relieving themselves, than from any other single cause. Over 50% of the time they have also been drinking alcohol. Now, brings to you the fool-proof solution to this #1 danger at sea – a 5 gallon plastic bucket! To get your technique right, just watch this video…unzip here.

Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?


First Place

“The engines stalled and the tide came in, that’s my story and I’m stickin' to it!” -- Len


Second Place

“I told you we should have boarded that fat lady, but nooo….” - B. Lamarche

What's Going on Here?



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


Please send all submissions by 5/5/08.

cross ruler

VIP Member Benefits

Huge Savings for VIP Members

Some people have asked us why we have when our primary business is testing new boats. It’s a fair question, and the answer is that there is more to boat-owner satisfaction than just boats themselves. Our store allows us to become intimately involved with the gear and equipment installed in boats we test. We find out quickly what gear works (and what doesn’t), and which companies give good customer service (and which don’t). We can direct our members accordingly. Because of our unique position in the industry, we are in a position to offer our VIP Members huge savings on gear and equipment – in most cases our special VIP pricing can’t be beat anywhere. Just look at the savings below. VIP Membership costs $49.95 per year, and for that we offer services and discounts not available to free members. Check it out.



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