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Sea Ray’s SLX series combines sophistication and performance to beautiful effect. Quiet Ride™ technology, with Tuned Transom®, quashes engine noise and vibration for a noticeably more comfortable atmosphere. The social cockpit and plush, expansive bow seating foster social connections and complete relaxation. All this combines with Sea Ray’s award-winning level of craftsmanship for a boating experience that’s unforgettable—and enjoyment that’s beyond measure. WWW.SEARAY.COM/SLX





Departments 12

Making Waves

 Navy SEAL motivation

26 The Boat Doctor

 Whatever questions you have about your vessel, weÕre going to find the answers.

34 Boat Doc Special

FEATURES 58 The SUV Less Traveled 64 Stop Sinking 70 Mountain Time

 The ABCs of boat-towing gear

56 Motorhead

 Evinrude changes the outboard engine game.

Can a small SUV and boat combo provide big vacation fun?

76 Electronics

 Ways to see in the dark

Tricks from Sea Tow captains to keep your boat afloat

78 Short Casts

B Y C A P T. V I N C E N T D A N I E L L O

 How to catch tuna off of pods of feeding dolphin

A boat, a lake and high mountain vistas. Time to go boat camping.


80 BoatingLAB

 Let there be (trailer) lights!




Editorial Size matters, unless it doesnÕt.



24 Seamanship


98 Following Seas

p. 50

p. 52

Intrepid 475 Panacea

The world’s largest centerconsole is decked out to the nines, tens, elevens and twelves. p. 42 6


Cobalt R5WSS

Bad decisions make great stories.


What you get when you take a high-quality runabaout and trick it out for water sports. p. 46


Can you ever break the rules?

p. 54


 ON T HE COVE R The Intrepid 475 Panacea is exciting, bold and beautiful. Photo: Dave Steinlauf




1.800.PROGRESSIVE / PROGRESSIVE.COM e d i to r - i n - c h i e f d e p u t y e d i to r w e st coa st e d i to r m a n ag i n g e d i to r a rt d i r ecto r


sta f f p h oto g r a p h e r co py e d i to r w e b e d i to r b oat i n g l a b d i r ecto r e d i to r - at - l a rg e


co n t r i b u to rs

i l lu st r ato rs co r p o r at e p ro d u ct i o n d i r ecto r p ro d u ct i o n d i r ecto r d e s i g n s e rv i c e s d i r ecto r g r a p h i c d e s i g n e rs h u m a n r e s o u rc e s d i r ecto r

Kevin Falvey Pete McDonald Jim Hendricks Sue Whitney Ryan Swanson Bill Doster Joy Kenyon Allen Brian Daugherty Randy Vance David Seidman Eric Colby, Capt. Vincent Daniello, Ken Englert, Michael Folkerts, Joe Friedman, Steve Griffin, Michael “Mick” Hannock, Jeff Hemmel, Forest Johnson, Tom King, John Linn, Charles Plueddeman, Capt. John N. Raguso, John L. Stein, Heather Steinberger, Richard Steinberger, John Tiger, Capt. John Page Williams Tim Barker, Tim Bower, Colin Hayes Jeff Cassell Michelle Doster Suzanne Oberholtzer Julia Arana, Willy Frei, Jennifer Remias Sheri Bass

g ro u p p u b l i s h e r / b r a n d d i r ecto r

Glenn Sandridge 407-571-4747; p u b l i s h e r / b r a n d m a n ag e r

John McEver 407-571-4682; n o rt h e a st sa l e s m a n ag e r

Matt White 212-779-5405; m a r k e t p l ac e / c l a s s i f i e d sa l e s m a n ag e r

Brian Luke 407-571-4788; d i g i ta l sa l e s m a n ag e r

Mike Staley 407-571-4803; v i c e p r e s i d e n t , d i r ecto r o f b r a n d st r at eg i e s v i c e p r e s i d e n t , d i g i ta l o p e r at i o n s

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chairman c h i e f e x ec u t i v e o f f i c e r e x ec u t i v e v i c e p r e s i d e n t c h i e f co n t e n t o f f i c e r chief financial officer c h i e f o p e r at i n g o f f i c e r chief marketing officer c h i e f h u m a n r e s o u rc e s o f f i c e r c h i e f b r a n d d e v e lo pm e n t o f f i c e r v i c e p r e s i d e n t , i n t eg r at e d sa l e s

v i c e p r e s i d e n t , co n s u m e r m a r k e t i n g

v i c e p r e s i d e n t , p u b l i c r e l at i o n s g e n e r a l co u n s e l


Matt Hickman David Butler Shawn Bean Jerry Pomales Leigh Bingham Haley Bischof Elaine Grime Charles Negron

Jonas Bonnier Dave Freygang Eric Zinczenko David Ritchie Nancy Coalter Lisa Earlywine Elizabeth Burnham Murphy Leslie Glenn Sean Holzman John Graney John Reese Perri Dorset Jeremy Thompson

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such as renewals, address changes, email preferences, billing and account status, go to You can also email In the U.S. call toll free 800-289-0399 (outside the U.S. call 515-237-3697) or write to Boating Magazine, PO Box 6364, Harlan, IA 51593. Retail Single Copy Sales: ProCirc Retail Solutions Group, Tony DiBisceglie.

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Drop your radio overboard? The red LED lights up like a flashing tail light to help you find it. Activates whether the radio is ON or OFF. Watch a demo at:

©2014 Icom America Inc. The Icom logo is a registered trademark of Icom Inc. 41711

Contact your authorized Icom Dealer today! Editorial By Kevin Falvey

Size Matters

The amazing shrinking boaT


oats grow and shrinK

Length, though convenient in charging for services,

depending upon the circumstances. Certainly, many have had the proves as distrustful a measure of experience of the large and boat size as capacity. commodious boat show cruiser that shrinks once it’s fully stocked and fully crewed and put in service out on simpler measure of the force of gravity on a the water. given mass. Capacity is, therefore, not the best Confused? i’ll leave you with the measure of size. at the yacht club, cove or sandbar, boaters american Boat and Yacht Council’s can be overheard describing the sizes of their definition of length overall (Loa). boats in boastful tones. “and it’s twenty-six 40.4.13 Length overall (LOA) feet with the pulpit.” of course if we could — the straight line horizontal eavesdrop while that same owner talked measurement from the foremost to his insurance broker, hired a detailer or part of the boat to the aftermost part contracted for a seasonal slip, we’d hear his of the boat, measured parallel to 24-foot model described as “twenty-three the centerline and to the waterline. feet ten inches, el-o-a.” attached bow sprits, pulpits, Length, though convenient in charging boomkins (bumpkins), rudders, for services, proves as distrustful a measure sails, outboard engine brackets, of boat size as capacity. handles, railings and other similar weight? advocates of heavier boats claim attached extensions are not included more comfort in rough water compared with in the measurement. integrally lighter boats of similar form and size, ergo formed, molded, or welded they are “bigger” in that they perform better components and appendages, such at sea. of course the lighter boat of similar as bow pulpits, swim platforms, size and form will provide more range with attachment structures for the similar power and fuel capacity, and range is, propulsion systems, and structural of course, a big safety factor, especially if seas rub rails installed by the builder are get rough. included in the length. For our purposes in sizing boats, weight, therefore, provides no real resolution. weight’s kissing cousin — displacement — begins to address size admirably. displacement can be defined as the weight of the boat, plus the weight of its normal complement of gear and stores. it is the weight of the boat in a specific condition of Kevin Falvey, Editor-in-Chief loading. in effect, displacement is a measure of volume, and so goes beyond weight’s


B oat i n g M ag .c o M

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Making Waves and Security Protection specialist for Blackwater and the U.S. government, primarily in the Caucasus region and South Asia.


Did you have a specialty? Yes, I was a combat paramedic. I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Joint Special Operations combat medic course in Fort Bragg, North Carolina: a truly amazing experience that provided me with countless unforgettable moments working in the ERs and on the ambulances both in New York City and San Antonio, Texas.

David Rutherford Former Navy SEAL When I first knew David Rutherford, he was the quarterback for our high school football team. He hasn’t done much since then, except join the Navy SEALs, serve our country overseas and start a motivational company based on SEAL principles called Team Froglogic (team Here’s what he had to say about his experiences. — Pete McDonald

We hear all SEALs learn to do multiple jobs. Is there a range of skills people might not expect? Not only was I a medic in my platoons but I was also responsible for taking care of all our Zodiac F470s and their 55 and 35 hp Johnson outboards. I loved the duality of sticking a chest tube and then having to sync and link a fouled motor. Definitely made it tricky to maintain a sterile environment.

To read the full interview online, go to boatingmagcom/ navyseal.

What inspired you to become a Navy SEAL? In my fourth year of college, my destructive behavior had gotten me kicked off the lacrosse team, on academic probation and moving toward serious depression. During a random trip to the laundromat, I had my first epiphany in life and realized I needed to change immediately. All my previous success in life was relative to my being a part of a team, so I figured, what better way to regain my confidence and purpose than joining one of the most elite teams on the planet, the SEAL team? 12


The training is known as the most challenging in the world. Anything else compare? Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL School is so tough because of the highintensity, long-term exposure to insane physical requirements, mind-bending mental assault from instructors and the ever-present spirit crusher called the Pacific Ocean. Any crazy examples of the training you care to share? By far the most intense, transformative experience I had during training was


Hell Week: our legendary 5½-day überevolution where students get less than four hours of sleep the entire week. In hour 90 my boat crew was paddling around Coronado Island when I watched a VW bus drive next to us in the middle of San Diego Bay. That was pretty wild. For how long did you serve? In what part of the world? I served for eight years in the SEAL teams and conducted operations in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Afghanistan. I worked for another seven years as International Training Expert

What inspired Team Froglogic? In the fall of 2005, I was in Afghanistan for the second time working as a training specialist and mentor for the country’s anti-drug commandos. We conducted a raid in the northern part of the country. After the raid, as my trainees were policing up the situation, I noticed the 30 absolutely desolate children huddled in the corner of the compound. That inspired me to change missions and dedicate my life to motivating kids around the world to embrace fear, forge self-confidence, live with purpose and live the team life. What core SEAL principles can everyone apply to daily life? What makes the SEAL brotherhood so intriguing is trying to figure out who makes it. The reality is that it’s impossible to predict. They’ve been studying it for years. What I’ve come to realize is that, regardless of our socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds, we all possess a small fire burning in our guts. And if that fire gets the right type and amount of fuel, a committed team can accomplish anything.




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Making Waves F O R C O M PA R I S O N ’ S S A K E

Basic Handheld VHF Radios

You may not need a DSC radio with internal GPS if you’re using it for communication on smaller inland waterways. You can save a buck opting for more basic radios, like these three for under $200. Ñ Randy Vance

THE CLEAR: It’s waterproof and features Bluetooth connectivity to your phone. We weren’t sure we were crazy about it until after we used it. You can actually take and place calls on it, and the sound-canceling mic for the phone gave clear transmission. Transmit volume is 76 A-weighted decibels; receiving volume is 92 dbA. For juice, it requires lithium-ion rechargeable power or two AA batteries, giving it versatility. THE STATIC: VHF transmission did not include sound canceling, and its clarity suffered. $149.95;

Standard Horizon HX300

West Marine VHF160

THE STATIC: We detected a minor hiss both transmitting and receiving at full volume.

THE STATIC: It has li-ion rechargable power too, but its four AAA battery requirement is the most of the group.



THE CLEAR: A wateractivated LED light makes it easy to find the radio should it wind up floating in the dark. It is a powerful and clear radio that received at 94 dbA and transmitted at 86 dbA. We liked the feature that allowed us to set up to 10 channels for automatic scanning. The handheld’s large LCD display easily let us see what was on the screen. It uses li-ion rechargeable power or three AAA batteries.

THE CLEAR: This was one of the clearest radios we tested, and it’s submersible too. An LED strobe/ flashlight adds utility for emergency use, and since it activates when wet, it also eases relocating the radio in the dark. Its luminous shell gasket makes it easy to spot. It’s equipped with a remote microphone jack, should you prefer to operate it with an optional mic. It transmits at 80 dbA and receives at 101 dbA.


Cobra MR HH500 FLT BT

327 Center Console

When only the best materials, craftsmanship, and service after the sale will do... the choice is clear.


Making Waves

Captain’s Test

Rules of the Road Even though you’re in the thick of the boating season, it’s as good a time as any to brush up on your knowledge of the rules of the road so you can finish the year safe and sound. Let’s see how you score. — Eric Colby

to the rules. You check to make sure that there is space on his port side and safely pass. Which rule permits this? A. The Common Sense Rule B. The General Prudential Rule C. The Collision Avoidance Rule D. The Safe Operation Rule

(Answers on p. 18)

1 You’re operating a

A. A driver must operate his boat safely at all times. B. Nothing in the rules shall exonerate any vessel or its owner or crew from the consequences of failing to comply. C. A skipper must always put his boat before all others. D. Whatever you can do to avoid a collision must be done.

slower vessel with a faster one coming up behind you. What is your vessel called according to the Inland Rules? A. The give-way vessel B. The stand-on vessel C. The burdened vessel D. The privileged vessel

2 What is the basic

4 In a potential collision between a trawler and a runabout, why would the driver of the runabout have more responsibility to avoid a crash? A. Because his boat is faster

3 You are overtaking a

premise of the Colregs (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea) Rule 2(a), the Rule of Good Seamanship?


slower boat in a narrow channel and can’t pass on his starboard, which is the correct approach according

B. Because his boat is smaller C. Because his boat is more maneuverable D. All of the above

5 If another boat is approaching you and you can’t tell his intentions, what is the appropriate danger signal to use? A. Wave your hands frantically. B. Five or more short blasts on your horn or whistle C. Five or more long blasts on your horn or whistle D. Five or more flashes with your signal mirror

See video about rules of the road by scanning this tag or visiting boatingmag .com/boatingsafety.

Happy 50th, Donzi Don Aronow started Donzi Marine back in 1964, coincidentally the same year that Ford released the first Mustang. The muscle car and Donzi’s first Sweet 16 shared a lot of the same sporty characteristics, and both are revered by collectors. To commemorate the start of the legendary company, Donzi is releasing 50th Anniversary Classics of the 22, 18 and 16. Here’s a look at a few other historical notes from 1964. — Pete McDonald The Beatles appeared on The

Boating magazine turned

Ed Sullivan Show.

eight years old.

NBC aired the first episode

The Rolling Stones released

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-

of Flipper.

their first album.

Tunnel opened for business as

Two Dartmouth professors

Lyndon Johnson defeated

the worldÕs longest crossing

created the first BASIC

Barry Goldwater in the

over and under open waters.

programming language

presidential election.

The Dow Jones peaked at 891.

for computers.




Pack It Out, Pack It In

Gas cost 30 cents a gallon.

I brought the new 20L Amphibian Weather Defense backpack on an extended fishing trip, and before I knew it the other three anglers on the boat had stuffed it with their wallets, cellphones, car keys and a change of dry clothes. The waterproof bag swallowed everything up and kept it all dry, even after leaving the backpack on deck where it got doused, knocked around and stepped on. The 420-denier nylon with TPU coating is supple enough to feel comfortable on your back and rugged enough to endure a weekend’s worth of saltwater spray. The backpack straps are easy to adjust and distribute the load in comfort while you wear it. I particularly liked the top grab handle, which I used to convert the bag into a carry-on for the flights to and from the fishing locale. The zippered side pockets are a tad small, but as a bonus the trekking pole holder — this roll-top is designed primarily for hikers — can hold a fishing rod. $59.99; outdoorproducts .com — Pete McDonald


Making Waves

How to Be a Gondolier

Captain’s Test


1 A. Older versions of the rule would call you the burdened vessel. 2 D. ItÕs a blanket term that puts the responsibility of avoiding collisions on you. 3 B. Rule 2(b) is called the General Prudential Rule, and it says that you should never blindly, literally follow the rules into a collision. 4 C. A high-speed catamaran might be faster, but at high speed, it wouldnÕt necessarily be more maneuverable than the trawler. 5 B.


In Boating’s review of the Nor-Tech 390 Sport Open (July/August 2014, p. 50), we mistakenly wrote that NMMA recommends Oetiker clamps. This is incorrect. In fact, Oetiker clamps are not recommended. We regret the mistake and will redouble our efforts in providing accurate information.


Most everyone who visits Venice takes a ride in a gondola. But there is a way to experience the famed Italian city’s waterways without the tourist trappings: Become your own gondolier by taking lessons in Venetian rowing. On a recent visit, I booked a lesson with Row Venice, which specializes in teaching tourists. An hour-and-a-half lesson was 80 euros (about $110). The instructor showed me how to set the oar in the fórcola, or oar rest. Next, she

positioned my feet — right foot pointing forward and toes even with the fórcola, so that I could use it as a fulcrum to push the oar. I held the oar palm-down and followed it upward and with my body for a more efficient stroke. “Think of it as taking a step forward that you don’t quite complete,” she said of the correct motion. “You’re just taking a walk in the boat.” There’s also the issue of steering: When you finish the stroke, instead of lifting the blade out of the water, you leave it in, slightly twisting it so that it is parallel with the surface of the water. Gently push down on the oar as you pull back, being careful to keep it in the fórcola, so that the blade drags through the water on the right side of the boat. In this way you compensate for the motion of the initial stroke. To turn right, after you finish the forward stroke, twist the blade so that it points toward the bow of the boat. To turn left, make a stronger forward stroke and ease off — or skip — the correcting downward pressure after. — Paul Abercrombie

Making Waves




Making Waves

Online This Month

This month we’re focused on everything associated with trailering your boat, whether you’re on an extended family vacation or headed to the launch ramp down the block. If you’re taking a long trip, be sure to 1 follow the pre-travel trailering checklist at and 2 follow our guidelines at trailering-olympics and create your own “trailering olympics” to test your skills. 3 Finally, are you thinking about buying a new tow vehicle? Then read our Ford Tow Guide at





Which is why we strive to make products that keep our waterways clean. Bel-Ray’s antimony free eco-friendly gear lubricant is an industry frst, offering superior performance over traditional gear lubes. Next time you change the lubricant in your lower unit, insist on Bel-Ray’s Semi or Full Synthetic gear lubricant.

Learn more at ©2014 BEL-RAY COMPANY, LLC


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all rpm, and especially at cruising speeds where the engine is used most of the time. But that’s not the only way Suzuki gives you more. Right now, when you buy a new Suzuki outboard from 25 to 300 horsepower, you’ll get our 3-Year Extended Protection Plan FREE. Add that to our standard 3-Year Limited Warranty and you get six years of product protection - and save up to $1690. “Gimme Six!” is a limited time ofer. It expires September 30, 2014.

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thunderstorm surprised us, as summer storms in Florida tend to do. The storm rolled over just as we came through the inlet into a no-wake zone. Still, we idled along, fine with the soaking until a clap of thunder occurred in concert with a bolt of lightning that seemed to strike land not 100 feet from our boat. “Just punch it,” I shouted to my friend at the helm, and he gunned it the last mile until we glided safely into our covered marina slip. Once secure, I stated that you’re allowed to break the rules in emergencies or to avoid extreme danger — such as lightning — but I wasn’t exactly sure. Like all modern-day inquisitors with an instantaneous need for answers, I pulled out my phone and conducted a Google search. I couldn’t find a direct answer on any official websites until I stumbled across a thread in a boater’s forum asking the same questions, and one participant linked to Florida Statute 379.2431. The 2013 statute lists the regulations for the

Though hard to find, the provision seems pretty clear-cut. Of course, the rules — and the exceptions to the rules — differ from state to state, so every boater should become familiar with local laws. And always keep in mind that the final say on whether your decision to forgo the rules was justified belongs to the authorities — not you. Just take a look at international maritime law. Over 40 years ago, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) established the 1972 Colregs — the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. (Read on to get a head start on our Captain’s Test on p. 16.) In it, the IMO states that “these rules apply to all vessels upon the high seas and all waters QUICK TIP connected to the high seas and navigable by seagoing vessels.” Judge miles The U.S. Coast from lightning Guard adopted these by the seconds rules for inland waterbetween a flash ways. In Section A, Rule and thunder, 2 states that nothing in divided by five. the rules exonerates the captain, crew or owner from the consequences of failing to protection of marine animals, comply with the rules. However, it using tools such as no-wake zones goes on to say that “in construing among them. At the bottom of the page, buried in the no-wake rules, is and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all the following paragraph: dangers of navigation and collision “A person may engage in any and to any special circumstances, activity otherwise prohibited by including the limitations of the vesthis subsection or any rule or orsels involved, which may make a dinance adopted pursuant to this departure from these Rules necessubsection if the activity is reasonsary to avoid immediate danger.” ably necessary in order to prevent In other words, do whatever the loss of human life or a vessel in you can to avoid a collision. So distress due to weather conditions know the rules of the road, and or other reasonably unforeseen follow them. But also know that circumstances, or in order to render in times of emergency, your first emergency assistance to persons priority is to stay safe. or a vessel in distress.”

Know Your Rules

The Coasties require all vessels over 39 feet to carry an up-to-date version of the rules at all times. You can order a hardbound or Kindle copy of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Navigation Rules: International—Inland for $9.86 on





The Boat Doctor


By Michael “Mick” Hannock in-line electric fuel pump. I’m told I can get one from the local auto store. Any thoughts?

ASK THE MASSES Go to to ask fellow boaters your questions, or to answer theirs.

Dean GUlBe

Via email

[ Q ] My engine will not start. When I turn the key the gauges light up, the bell sounds, and I can even hear the fuel pumps pressurizing the system. But the starter motor does not engage and the engine will not turn over. A very knowledgeable boating buddy told me it’s my neutral safety switch and that I could simply bypass it. What do you think, Boat Doc? mileS aTTwaTeR

Kingwood, Texas

[ A ] You can troubleshoot a neutral safety switch by bypassing the switch to see if the problem persists. But leaving it in that state is unsafe. Should an unknowing crew member happen to be at the helm, disaster could strike if the engine started in gear. You, yourself, might forget about the bypass given some time. Please replace that switch.


[ Q ] I have a classic Bertram 31 that’s fitted with the original rudders. These are small, and steering control at slow speed requires a lot of attention to the helm. With just one engine running, the boat is impossible to maneuver, meaning even though I have twin engines, I cannot “get home” on just one because the boat won’t steer. Can I fit larger rudders? DR. JoSeph maRTineZ

Franklin, Louisiana

[ A ] Many Bertram 31 owners have done just that: installed larger rudders. For one source of these — but surely not the only one — visit

Sucking Fuel?

[ Q ] I have what looks to be an original mechanical fuel pump on my 1988 big-block engine. I have a brand-new Edelbrock marine 750 carburetor. I am looking to incorporate an 26



Safety dictates using tie-down straps on trailers. But flat, woven trailer tie-downs often generate “lift” from the air passing over them at road speeds. This causes them to vibrate and scuf your boat’s finish. Prevent the vibe by disrupting the airflow: Simply put a twist in those straps before securing. — Kevin Falvey

[ A ] My thoughts are safety-oriented: Make sure that the fuel pump is ignitionprotected. This is more crucial aboard a boat than in a car because fuel fumes cannot simply fall out through the chassis and dissipate aboard a boat like they can aboard a car. Fumes, or leaking fuel, are trapped in the hull, upping the risk of explosion from a spark. So ask the vendor or contact the manufacturer to make sure. You’ll also want to wire an electric fuel pump so that, if the engine fails to start, the fuel pump stops running. Usually, (



StarGlow Extreme Metal Polish

A microphone-wearing guy at the Miami International Boat Show called the name on my tag and, as slick as a pickpocket, had my well-worn and grimy Reactor watch off my wrist. He dabbed a cloth in the StarGlow Extreme metal polish, rubbed and dubbed, and then when he was satisfied followed up with a spritz of Magic Bling and wiped it clean. It was far shinier than I could ever recall it being. Since then, I’ve polished my boat’s T-top, reels, rod holders and cleats with StarGlow and had the same results. I’ve also found a follow-up with sister product Magic Bling spray glass and metal cleaner, which removes buffing residue and adds gleam. $34.99 (StarGlow, 6 ounces); — Randy Vance

PHotos: KEVin FalVEy (tiE-Down straP), toM KinG (starGlow)


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The Boat Doctor

this is accomplished by powering the electric pump via a relay wired into a low oil pressure switch. No oil pressure equals no start. This type of wiring is a U.S. Coast Guard regulation.

Standard outboard shaft lengths: Top of boat transom

15 inches: Short shaft 20 inches: Long shaft 25 inches: Extra-long shaft (XL) 30 inches: Ultra-long shaft (UL)

Inside top of engine mounting bracket

Forever Measure this distance to determine height.

Bottom of boat (lowest point)

Bottom of anti-ventilation plate

How Many Inches?


[ Q ] Hi, Doc. Can you tell me how to determine if my outboard motor should have a 15-inch or a 20-inch shaft? Thanks.

Norwalk, Connecticut

Joe D.

Coudersport, Pennsylvania

[ A ] Thank you for providing an example of the power of maintenance done right and on schedule. As for your motor, at 25 years old and used in salt water, it will continue to run until it doesn’t. Anyone who tells you different is blowing smoke up your transom.

[ A ] The outboard’s shaft length should match the transom height. A 15-inch shaft goes with a 15-inch transom; a 30-inch shaft length goes with a 30-inch transom. The handy diagram above shows

how shaft length and transom height are related.

Foiled Again [ Q ] Hello, Mr. Boat Doc! I’ve got a 22-foot Tracker pontoon with a 60 hp Mercury BigFoot engine. My question is whether a hydrofoil would help very much with all-around performance. I had a 19-foot center-console Bayliner and put a ’foil on it and it made all the difference in the world with both cruising and hole shot. I know 60 horses isn’t much power, but could I



The Escape’s exclusive Tapered Tube Technology™ employs a forward angle that allows the hull to plane more quickly,

while the sharp-angled nosecones reduce drag and wave impact to give you superior stability, tracking and control.

illustration: ryan swanson

[ Q ] I have a 1989 Mercury 175 outboard that powers my GradyWhite. I boat in salt water, cruise between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm and have a certified Mercury technician perform all my maintenance. In fact, I have never removed the cowling; I let the professionals do that. My question is this: How long can I expect this engine to continue to run flawlessly?

PHotos: CourtEsy u.s. Coast GuarD, ZaCH stoVall (BooK CoVEr)


How to Be a Man Overboard Done properly, boating is safe, but accidents happen. If one happens to you, it’s essential to know what to do if you go overboard. If you have time to react, experts suggest covering your face and mouth with both hands. This will lessen the shock and hopefully

prevent you from taking in water. If you’re smart, you’ll have a life jacket on to keep you afloat. If not, consider how long it may be before you’re rescued. If no one saw you go overboard it’s best to save your energy and float. Floating is easy for some


Escape 21

Escape 23

people; others feel like they’re constantly sinking. For success, lie on your back, faceup, with your back slightly arched and your arms extended to each side. Straighten your legs and allow them to bob to the surface. Another method of floating is known as the dead man’s float. It should be known as the survival float, as it will help you stay alive. Take a slow, deep breath, and then put your face in the water. Completely relax the rest of your body and allow it to hang limp. The back of your head should be the only part above the surface. When you need air, raise your head and exhale,


Escape 25

using your arms and legs just enough to stay afloat as you take in your next breath. If the water is cold, it’s essential to maintain your body temperature. Float on your back and pull your knees to your chest, holding them with your arms. This is one of the best ways to retain heat. — David Seidman

 Want some

cool things for kids to do? Check out McGraw-Hill’s The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon and 101 Other Things for Young Mariners to Build, Try & Do on the Water, by David Seidman and Jeff Hemmel.



To learn more, and to locate your nearest dealer, visit


The Boat Doctor

see an uptick in performance with a hydrofoil? Thank you. DenniS Dean




Safe Launch

Crown Point, Indiana

[ A ] I doubt it, Dennis. Your Tracker pontoon is basically a displacement craft. Hydrofoils are intended to enhance the performance of planing boats, like your old Bayliner.

Bravo Three Shifting Delay [ Q ] I have a 2004 Sea Ray with a MerCruiser 6.2 engine (730 hours) and Bravo Three sterndrive. It shifts from neutral into reverse fine, but when putting it into forward from neutral there is a four- to six-second delay before it grabs. Not fun when pulling a skier. What can I do to correct it? wayne ReUTeR

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

[ A ] Hi, Wayne. It is likely that the grooves in the cone clutch have worn. You probably need to have the upper gear case rebuilt or replaced.

Ever tie a string around your finger to help you remember something? The makers of Safe Launch must practice that centuries-old memory enhancer, since it is the principle upon which their product works. Hundreds of boats sink upon launching each year simply because their owners forgot to install the drain plug. If you’ve been around the docks long enough, you may have witnessed this blunder in person. Safe Launch is a web lanyard with a spring hook that you push into the garboard drain hole. The other end of the lanyard attaches to your trailer tie-down strap with a carabiner. The idea is that it reminds you about the drain plug when launching because you must pull it out of the drain in order to remove your trailer tie-down strap. What to do if you forget the tie-down strap? That is another story. $19.95; — K.F.

Docking Woes

John hanRahan

Ithaca, New York

[ A ] John, our esteemed editor-inchief penned a great docking article in last month’s issue (“Docking 1-2-3” July/August 2014) — which you may have seen by now. Check it out, and remember that with practice you will eventually “get it.” Hundreds of thousands of others have been where 30



you are and have come through just fine with time and practice. So take heart.

Oldie But Goodie [ Q ] My 1955 Lyman Islander is powered by a Gray Marine 620. I am rather handy, but I cannot find timing marks. I figure I can ask an old salt like you this question: How do I set this engine’s timing? Ryan BeCKwiTh

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

[ A ] Whoa! I have been around a while … but not since that boat was new! That said, I have wrenched on and ran a few Gray Marine engines. The 620 is actually a Continental A140 engine that was also used in tractors. The timing marks may be on the front pulley instead of the flywheel. Back when these were more prevalent, timing was sometimes set under power by running the boat and then turning the distributor to advance the timing. When you heard knocking, or performance fell off, you backed it off a little and called it good. Fuel quality was different then, though, and regardless of that, the risk of detonation and engine damage makes the technique questionable at best. Today, unless this is a “show boat”

that must remain all original in order to maintain its classic status, I’d recommend upgrading to electronic ignition components from a company like PerTronix Performance Products ( Do so, and you‘ll likely never have to worry about adjusting the timing again.

Exhausting [ Q ] Doc, I have a 2000 310 Sea Ray Sundancer with twin 350 MAG MPI inboards with V-drives. There is also a generator mounted across the stern in front of the transom bulkhead. Space is tight, especially with the exhaust collectors directly behind the “front” of the engines. Changing oil and oil filters, and two of the fuel filters, is not a problem, but getting to the port engine fuel filter and the raw-water impellers is nearly impossible for me. And doing any maintenance on the generator is out of the question. Removing the exhaust collectors, or even just one of them, would make my work so much easier. My questions: Is it advisable to remove the collectors? Is it difficult to remove and reinstall them? Also, I know there are remote oil filter systems; I have two of them on this boat. But are there remote fuel filter

PHoto: KEVin FalVEy

[ Q ] I’ve been boating for years aboard the family ski boat, and docking was never a problem. But now I have a 2005 Cruisers Yachts 30 that I use to cruise on Cayuga Lake, New York, where there are no tides or currents, only a marina that requires me to back into closely packed slips. On calm days it’s easy; however, a vexing, embarrassing and maddening scenario takes place when there’s a strong breeze perpendicular to the slip. I don’t know what to do as, while backing up, the wind blows the boat sideways or pushes the bow over. Every bozo on the dock with a beer in his hand has a simple solution (“John, the wind is your friend!”) ranging from drifting to the slip then gunning it, to using only the windward engine, to backing into the wind and then suddenly veering in. I need help.

Simple. Honest. Dependable. It’s easy to see where we got our inspiration.

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The Boat Doctor

John Swope

Via email

from the underwater throughhull fitting. Also, watch that bilge pumps and float switches are in working order. There are kits for remotemounting the oil filter, but looking through the latest 2014

[ A ] John, to best answer your question, we reached out to our contacts at Sea Ray, who were happy to give your question their full attention. Here is what they had to say: Removing the exhaust plumbing should not be an issue. The risers and standpipe height relative to the waterline (for underwater exhaust) should prevent water from coming in the boat, although some may spill that is in the lines. For some additional insurance, one could also close the seacock for the engine being serviced and keep an eye on whatever you disconnect to make sure wave action, etc. does not start pushing water up and in

propulsion engineer, Brunswick Boat Group, 200 Sea Ray Drive, Merritt Island, FL 32953

Tube Time

[ Q ] I have heard that it is ill-advised to tow a tube from a wakeboard tower. Why is this? Kenny williamS

Southold, New York

if the exhaust system needs work while the boat is in the water, use caution to remove only above-thewaterline components.

Quicksilver Product Guide, we cannot find anything for fuel that Mercury has to offer. If something becomes available from Mercury, we will let you know. — John Phillips,

[ A ] If a wakeboarder “stuffs” the board, he will fall and let go of the tow rope. If a tube should submerge, it cannot be released because it is clipped to the tow line. The force of such a sudden strain could wrench even the most sturdy tower from its mounts and possibly cause injury to crew as well. Always tow tubes from the boat, not the tower.

ASK THE DOCTOR Send questions with your name and address to: or The Boat Doctor, Boating, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789.

illustration: ryan swanson

systems available? If so, I’d like to relocate that port engine filter/ separator to a more convenient location. Thank you.








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Ray Rosher I Miss Britt Charters I

The Boat Doctor




TRAILER HITCH SERVES as a critical connection — the only thing keeping your boat and trailer attached to your tow vehicle. Yet, not all hitches are created equal.

Class I Rated for up to 2,000 pounds gross towed weight (GTW) and 200 pounds tongue weight (TW), these are available with fixed ball mounts or receivers that accept a 1¼-inch-square

removable drawbar/ball mount. The light-duty rating limits towing to the smallest of boats.

Class II Rated for up to 3,500 pounds GTW and 300 pounds

Weight-Carrying Hitches Weight-carrying (aka deadweight) hitches are the type most commonly found on vehicles for towing boat trailers, and there are five classes, each based on the total combined weight of the boat and trailer. The ratings are usually labeled somewhere on the hitch. For our discussion, we are going to forget about step-bumper hitches, and you should do the same — they are relics of the past and inferior to the types of hitches we describe here. If you order a new truck, van or sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with the factory-towing package, it will probably come with a hitch. If not, you will have to have one from a company such as Draw-Tite, Reese or Valley installed. Here’s what’s out there. 34



Class I

Class II

Class III

TW, these hitches attach to the vehicle frame but may need extra bracing or backing plates on unibody vehicles. They are available as light-duty receiver hitches that have removable 1¼-inch-square drawbars — usually good enough for small aluminum boats and personal watercraft.

Class III Rated for up to 6,000 pounds GTW and 600 pounds TW, this is one of the most common hitches. It bolts to the frame of a vehicle (usually a truck, van or full-size SUV). The receiver accepts a 2-inch-square drawbar. It can also be used in conjunction with a weight-distributing system (see “Weight-Distributing Systems”), which boosts the rating to 10,000 pounds GTW and 1,000 pounds TW. Class IV In weight-carrying mode, these frame-mount receiver hitches are designed for maximums of 10,000 pounds GTW and 1,000 pounds TW. They accept a 2-inch-square drawbar and are found almost exclusively on full-size trucks, vans and SUVs. In weight-distributing mode, the rating increases to 14,000 pounds GTW and 1,400 pounds TW.


Hitchin’ Up

Class IV & V Drawbars are available in a Class V Designed for heavyrange of drops (or risers, if you flip duty trucks and vans, these it over) to adapt to the height of receiver hitches are rated for the hitch on the tow vehicle. The 12,000 pounds GTW and 1,200 drawbar should allow the trailer pounds TW, but that increases frame to remain level to 17,000 pounds for its entire length GTW and 1,700 when hitched to the pounds TW with a tow vehicle. weight-distributing MORE There are also system. The matchONLINE drawbars such as the ing drawbar also B&W Tow & Stow increases in size to (pictured below; 2½ inches square. Knowing how $229.95, etrailer much your boat .com) that allow you Drawbars/ and trailer to adjust the height Ball Mounts weigh is a critical step of the ball mount to Drawbars/ball to picking the suit just about any mounts slide inside right hitch, as combination of vethe receiver and are well as the right hicle and boat trailer. held in place by a pin tow vehicle. To with a latching mechlearn how to weigh your rig, anism. The maximum Tow Balls watch our video ratings — labeled These come in three at boatingmag on the drawbar/ball sizes — 17∕8, 2 and .com/towedmount itself — should 25∕16 inches — to weight or scan this tag. match those on the match the coupler size hitch; otherwise the on the boat trailer. rating reverts to the Don’t mix sizes: A ball lesser number. that’s too big won’t

and drawbar. Also check to ensure that the shank diameter of the tow ball matches that of the ball mount before tightening the mounting nut. A shank that’s too small can work loose or even snap under load. — Jim Hendricks

let you close the coupler latch; a ball that’s too small can allow the trailer to come loose while you’re on the road. Make sure the tow ball maximum GTW rating (usually stamped on top of the ball) matches that of the hitch


Though not commonly employed by trailer boaters, properly adjusted weight-distributing systems can help when towing heavy boats. These use spring bars to redistribute tongue weight, equalizing the load between the front and rear axles of the tow vehicle to improve towing. These also use receiver hitches, but with special ball mounts with spring bars (aka equalizing bars) that attach to the trailer frame. The bars have chains that can be set at different lengths to adjust the distribution of tongue weight. Spring bars are available in different tension ratings, and you should choose one that is roughly equal to the tongue weight of the trailer. If the spring bars are too stiff, they can cause loss of rear-wheel traction on slippery surfaces such as launch ramps. Weight-distributing has not gained popularity among trailer boaters for a couple of reasons. One is the sheer hassle of hitching up the boat. The other is that some systems can cause binding of trailer surgebrake actuators/couplers. To overcome this, set the bars perfectly parallel to the coupler, and the trailer brakes should remain effective. — J.H.








WorldMags.netB O A T I N G M A G . C O M




The Boat Doctor


Rewire Your Trailer

FRESH WIRES DO WONDERS FOR YOUR BOAT-TRAILER LIGHTS. Few things prove more frustrating than troubleshooting trailer lights. It’s an axiom among trailer boaters that, once you fix an annoying problem, another one seems to crop up quickly, invariably the night before you head for the water. The cause is often corrosion of wires and connections. So if your trailer’s more than five years old and you can’t keep all of the lights working, it’s time to replace the wire harness. Let’s get started. — Jim Hendricks



With traditional surge brakes, you need one of two types of wire harnesses, classified by the electrical plug. The traditional flat-four has five (yes, five) color-coded wires. Newer flat-five plugs (above) have an extra (blue) wire for deactivating the surge actuator in reverse for trailers with disc brakes. Make sure you have sufficient wire length to reach all of the trailer lights, including the clearance lights on the rear cross member. You’ll find wire harnesses at most marine dealers and online at sites such as





RUN THE WIRES Disconnect the

lights and remove the old harness, noting how the wires were secured. It may be necessary to run the wires inside a tubular frame member or rings along the frame. Use the old wires to pull the new ones through before making any connections. The harness has two sets of combo wires: Yellow and brown run along the left-side frame; green and brown run along the right side. The white ground wire connects to any bolt behind the coupler. The blue wire (on a flat-five) connects to the solenoid on the surge actuator.


CONNECT THE RUNNING LIGHTS Many trailer brands use

simple pinch-wire connectors to cut through the insulation to tie the positive 12-volt pigtail from the running and clearance lights into the main wires. This works for fresh water, but for the salt, use crimp connectors with heatshrink collars to connect all of the lights. Seal the connection with a section of heat-shrink tubing. Check the ground for each light. Some ground through a connecting bolt, others with a separate white wire to the trailer frame — both subject to corrosion-induced failures.



4-5 HOURS TOOLS AND SUPPLIES  Trailer wiring harness with flat-five


Give pigtail wires a coiled look by wrapping them tightly around the shaft of a Phillips screwdriver and sliding the screwdriver away before connecting them to the main harness.

plug ($20.39 with 25 feet of 16 AWG wire,  Galvanized trailer wire clips ($2.95 each,  Rubber grommets (to replace any existing grommets that have rotted away)  Crimp connectors for 16 AWG wire with heat-shrink collars  Crimp-on ring connectors for ground wire connections  ¼-inch-ID heat-shrink tubing  Crimping tool  Diagonal cutters  Wire stripper  Multimeter for troubleshooting problem lights





circuits — one for running lights (a black or brown wire) and another for brake/turn indicator lights (red or green for the right or yellow for the left). Connect brown to black or brown to brown on each side; yellow to red or yellow on the left taillight; green to red or green on the right. In salt water, use a crimp connector and heat-shrink tubing as described in Step 3 to make these connections. Once all connections are done, hook up the trailer and plug in the lights to make sure they all work.



One way to troubleshoot lights is to hook up a female receptacle to a battery and then connect the male trailer plug into it. If the problem persists, it’s somewhere on the trailer; if everything works, it’s the vehicle or the adapter. Now you can narrow your troubleshooting efforts with a multimeter. Ñ J.H.

built with a C- or I-beam frame without any other means of wire support, secure the wires along the inside of the frame using galvanized wire clips, making sure the harness is reasonably tight but not pinched anywhere. This keeps the wires from flapping in the wind, pulling loose or chafing and wearing through the insulation while you’re towing. At the plug end, give yourself enough slack so that once you connect to the vehicle, the plug won’t pull out when you turn sharply while towing. Once done, check all of your lights again.




The Boat Doctor QUICK STUDY

Tips on Trailer Wheel Bearings While servicing wheel bearings isn’t sexy, it can prevent the loss of valuable boating time. The most effective way to keep your rig rolling is vigilance: Keep the bearings greased and take them apart and service them at least once per year. Here are some tips for the care and feeding of boat trailer wheel bearings. — John Tiger

caps using a screwdriver by tapping the blade under the lip and rotating the hub as you pry off the cap. Bearing protectors, if so equipped, have no lip to pry under, so tap the protector as you rotate the hub, using a plastic mallet so you won’t dent the protector.



CLEAN Wash the

parts in a solvent after manually removing as much grease as possible. Blow-dry them with compressed air, if available. Do not spin the bearings at high speed with compressed air! This can cause them to literally explode in your hand.

No mallet? A scrap of wood and a hammer can serve your tapping and seating needs while servicing wheel bearings.


CHECK If there’s deep

scoring, pitting or rust on the axle shaft where the bearings ride, you need a new axle. If the area where the seal rides is scored or pitted, you can solve the grease leakage problem this causes by fitting the axle with a spindle seal. The seals come in a kit, usually available from dedicated trailer retailers.




bearings are pitted, colored blue or black, scored, galled or rusted, replace them. If in doubt, replace them anyway; new ones are cheap. Replace the bearing races as well; these are matched to the bearings. They can be removed and installed with a hammer and punch.




REPACK A bearing packer ($20, harbor makes loading grease neater. If you do it by hand, place a dollop of grease in your palm and smush the bearing into it with your other hand. Firmly work the grease into the bearing until grease begins to appear on the other side. Rotate the bearing as you go, ensuring that it’s filled.



SEAL For the rear seal, with the inner bore of the hub completely clean, wipe a film of grease into the bearing races. Seat the greased inner bearing into the race. Coat the outer edge of the seal with liquid sealant, and then tap it into the hub until flush with the end of the bore, using a mallet and a socket of equivalent diameter as an installation tool.

To tighten the hub castle nut properly after having slid in the hub with rear seal and bearings installed,

tighten the nut as you spin the hub until it slows the hub from turning. Next, back off a quarter-turn and push on the sides of the hub to check for wobble. If you try this step a few times, you’ll get a feel for how tight the nut should be. If it’s too tight, the bearings will wear prematurely; if it’s too loose, the wheel will wobble. You need to find the “sweet spot” that allows free turning without wobble, so several tightenings and loosenings may be required.


Mystik’s JT-6 grease No. 2 scores high in ASTM tests for water washout resistance and wheel bearing leakage. $4.84 (14 oz. tube); — Kevin Falvey



REMOVE Pry off dust

The Boat Doctor


Power Winches for Trailers It’s nice to have a little help putting the boat back on the trailer. A 12-volt winch can make the job easier, but there are critical factors to consider to ensure you get the help you need. Mark Davis of Powerwinch gave us his thoughts. — Eric Colby boat’s weight, remember to consider the weight of the gear and fuel aboard the boat. Underestimate and you’ll fry the winch. Always err on the side of too much hauling power rather than too little.



Cables offer more length and strength but can corrode. Cables can also bind and hang up on themselves when paying out. Straps are less likely to wrap up on themselves. Powerwinch offers strapequipped winches rated up to 7,500 pounds; cable models start at 3,500 pounds.


LIGHT Launch or load at

night? Get a winch with a light, like the one integral to the Powerwinch RC30 winch shown here, to help you see better.



FEED TYPE With the power-in, freewheel-out system, the winch’s motor pulls the boat onto the trailer and a clutch release uses gravity to launch the boat. If you want more control — or you launch at steep ramps — definitely get the power-in, power-out option.



remote control unit lets you retrieve the boat when you’re standing a short distance from the winch, which makes operation safer for you in the event of a malfunction.



UV PROTECTION If the winch you are considering has any plastic parts, make sure the manufacturer uses an ultraviolet-protected ABS plastic. Many winch housings deteriorate rapidly with exposure to the sun.

1 4

Make sure the safety chain between the winch stand and the bow eye is adjusted so that it’s a tight fit.





Boat guides by Tie Down Engineering ( make the job of lining up the boat with the trailer a lot easier. They bolt in position at the rear of the trailer. They’re available in 48and 60-inch versions. $80 to $100; — E.C.






CAPACITY In addition to the


( #2844 )


475 Panacea


ow I have an Idea of what It’s lIke to be

a tv astronomer. describing Intrepid’s 475 Panacea, the world’s largest center-console, presents the same challenge as describing the universe: You fear whether the size of the numbers is so large as to become incomprehensible. for instance, I measured cockpit square footage. but informing you that it took me 18 strides to walk from the sixperson removable transom bench, past the center-console entry to the capacious cabin, and on to the table that creates a seating area in the bow may provide a better sense of the 475 Panacea’s size. fortunately, unlike the heavenly bodies illuminated by Jack horkheimer, Carl sagan and neil deGrasse tyson, anybody with a boat-show ticket can actually see, touch and tour this newest, outboard-powered “star.” (takes a tad more than a ticket to own one, though.) In person, the 475 Panacea elicits awe by virtue of its sheer size — plus a whole NoTeworThy lot more. Is it the perfect boat? It may be perfect for some of you. Read on and find out why. there are several reasons why it’s worthwhile to note that Intrepid routinely customizes the boats it builds to suit the individual customer. for one thing, it lets those in the market know that comparing equipment lists will not qualify as due diligence; you’ll have to speak with Intrepid to discover what actually can “come with” any given boat model. another reason to mention this is by way of informing potential buyers that they are dealing with a boatbuilder in possession of a great deal of design, rigging and structural expertise. finally, custom touches can also bear upon performance — or at least one’s perception of that. Powered by four 350 hp Yamaha f350 outboards (the 475 Panacea can also take Quad 557 hp seven Marines, and Intrepid states it makes 70 mph when so powered), our

Intrepid’s exclusive, remote, engine

flushing system makes desalinating the outboards easy thanks to a convenient hose connection installed in the cockpit.

Big enough to take on any ocean, Intrepid’s 475 Panacea is nimble enough for joy riding as well. Accommodations topside and belowdecks are deluxe. 42

b oat i n g m ag .c o m


PHOTOS: cOurTeSy inTrePid bOaTS

b oat i n g m ag .c o m



 Intrepid 475 Panacea

easy. access to the corner dive platforms is also easy and safe. the cockpit is self-bailing, and the gutters for the multitude of hatches in the sole are integrated into the drainage system. belowdecks, the cabin is huge; though a center-console, remember that the 475 is nearly 50 feet long. I was impressed with the electrically actuated v-berth, which, besides being cool, makes converting from queen berth to dining table easy. there’s a fully functional galley, and a head with a separate shower. Counters are Corian, cabin lighting features dimmer switches, and there are no gaps or flaws in the fit of cabinets, headliners or drawers. a diesel genset (the tester is a yacht tender, plus diesel is just safer) powers lights and the 16,000 btu air-conditioner. sunlight floods in through large fixed ports and the opening deck hatch above. looking for a big, super-seaworthy day boat with the speed and enough accommodations to make spur-of-the-moment weekend jaunts to the islands a reality? want a boat that will prove as at-home in 1,000 fathoms as it is when nosing up to a beach? sea-trial Intrepid’s 475 Panacea. — Kevin Falvey


B oAT I N G M AG .C o M

sePteMbeR 2014


For a closer look at the Intrepid 475 Panacea, see our online photo gallery at


high Points  Outside-the-box handling and efficiency impress.  Vacuum-bagged PVc foam coring combines with hand-laid multi- and uni-

directional fibers for maximized strength- and stiffness-to-weight ratios.  rigging, finish, the fit of components … it’s all as good as it gets.

Low Points  i wish one or more of the cabin windows opened. The overhead hatch does,

but even so, this cabin is light but not airy.  LOA: 47'6"  Beam: 13'8"  Draft (max): 2'6"  Displacement (approx.): 28,000 lb.  Transom Deadrise: 21 degrees  Bridge Clearance: 9'0"  Max Cabin Headroom: 6'6"  Fuel Capacity: 550 gal.  Max Horsepower: 2,228  Available Power: Triple or quad

outboard motors to 2,228 hp total

Price: $675,000 (base with test power)  BoATING Certified Test results SPEED rpm




1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500 6200

6.26 8.34 9.21 13.01 21.72 28.07 33.02 37.63 42.75 47.79 51.50

7.20 9.60 10.60 14.98 25.00 32.30 38.00 43.30 49.20 55.00 60.60

7.20 10.80 16.00 29.20 38.00 44.00 56.00 64.00 84.00 106.00 128.00

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 0.87 0.77 0.58 0.45 0.57 0.64 0.59 0.59 0.51 0.45 0.40

1.00 0.89 0.66 0.51 0.66 0.73 0.68 0.68 0.59 0.52 0.47

OPERATION sound level

s. mi. range


495 440 328 254 326 363 336 335 290 257 234

0 0 1 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 3

430 382 285 221 283 316 292 291 252 223 199

76 79 80 80 86 90 92 94 94 96 93


how we TeSTeD ENGINES: Quad 350 hp yamaha F350 outboards DRIVE/PROP: Outboard/15½" x 19" 3-blade stainless steel GEAR RATIO: 1.73:1 FUEL LOAD: 350 gal. WATER ON BOARD: 65 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 390 lb. Intrepid Boats Largo, Florida; 954-922-7544;

PHOTO: cOurTeSy inTrePid bOaTS

test boat topped out at over 60 mph and delivered stellar efficiency at 32 mph, achieving nearly three-quarters of a mile to the gallon. those are great numbers for a 50-footer, most of which would struggle to net one-half mile per gallon. such performance is even more impressive when you consider that this particular Panacea was customized, at owner request, with a solid half-inch-thick teak cockpit sole plus stainless-steel liners for many of the compartments. these mods proved beautiful and functional, but they added weight. nonetheless, Intrepid’s transverse-step hull delivered unrivaled efficiency and economy relative to the power and weight in question. testaments to design don’t get better. Most other boats this size are inboard-, pod- or surfacedriven vessels. there simply are no outboard-powered boats with which to compare performance. the closest we can offer you is to review Pursuit’s 38-foot, 17,000-pound 365 sCi (Boating, april 2013), which I tested and which sported twin Yamaha f350s. that boat hit 48 mph. how does she run? Put the throttles down and the 475 Panacea lifts and surges forward, carrying the bow proud and providing the helmsman with a sense of counterintuitive goodness: It feels simultaneously big and hefty and light and nimble. visibility remained unhindered. In the groove and romping through atlantic swells at over 50 mph, the 475 Panacea rode smoothly. I felt very low slamming loads, and I observed that the boat never displayed the hesitation some step hulls exhibit as the step vents clog and cause the momentary stalls that deliver a staccato acceleration experience. turning proved conventional v-hull easy — and safe. like every Intrepid I have tested over the years, the 475 Panacea delivers speed and thrills, smart handling and simple, “point the bow and go” operation. I was just as impressed with the fit and finish. the aforementioned bow seating accommodates a crew of eight and, with the filler cushions, becomes a circular sun lounge. More sunbathing can take place atop the cabin top. the aft cockpit — the area behind the trio of stidd helm seats — taped out at a humongous 120 square feet, providing the space to entertain a crowd, host a diving expedition or wrangle with the biggest kind of fish. the hull-side dive door — an innovation Intrepid popularized — makes water access


( #2845 )

Cobalt R5WSS


n this version of Cobalt’s r5 runabout, the

Wss stands for Water sports series. the company gave it this designation because it tricked out the boat with a forward-raked aluminum tow arch that integrates seamlessly with the fiberglass gunwale topsides, enhancing an already sleek and sporty profile. it turns the well-built family runabout into a versatile family tow-sports platform. When explaining this boat, that aluminum tower is a great place to start. in testing its sturdiness, i hung from the top and did two or three chin-ups and felt not a single flex or wobble. Watching it hold steady with nary a shudder while running over chop at wide-open throttle confirmed its construction. it helps that beefy stainless-steel pipes bolster the arch to either side. noTeworThy that piping allows Cobalt to add a pair of samson swiveling board racks — high-quality components that swivel in and out of place with grace. but perhaps the most important thing about the arch, or tow tower, is that it places the tow rope at a higher vantage point, allowing boarders more leverage for tricks and aerial displays. it also moves the towing pivot point forward in the boat, negating the pull that occurs on stern-mounted ropes when skiers and boarders make sharp cuts outside the wake. one thing i can attest to from my years of testing Cobalt is that the builder has never been guilty of producing a boat that makes you say, “Meh.” there’s always at least one thing about its boats that makes you appreciate its craftsmanship. in the case of the r5Wss there’s the tower, plus a lot more. the vibrant Wss graphics package gives the boat tremendous dockside appeal — our tester featured a red and black combination with racy silver graphics. Cobalt molds them into the gelcoat, a superior technique to adding on vinyl graphics after the fact. the r5Wss earns more style points for its interior, with a champagne vinyl that has colored accents to match the exterior graphics. the dash sports a hand-stitched brow with a new graphite inset that enhances its stylish look and blends nicely with the Garmin GPsMap 740. it’s a minor detail, but i love how the Cobalt insignia inset into the leather steering wheel always rotates so that it presents upright.

The flip-down armrests for the bow seating could support my full weight when standing on them.

The sport tower integrates seamlessly with the deck, the bow lounge is plush, and the helm provides a great view for driving this sports machine. 46

b oat i n g m ag .c o m


PHOTOS: cOurTeSy cObalT bOaTS

b oat i n g m ag .c o m



 Cobalt R5WSS


B oAT I n G M AG .C o M

sePteMber 2014


To see our full video review of the Cobalt R5WSS, scan this tag! To view more photos and an accommodation plan for this boat, go to boatingmag .com/2845.


high Points

 Stout stainless-steel piping protects the extended swim platform from

dockside crunches.  Free space reclamation maximizes interior volume of the 8-foot-6-inch

beam, making for a roomier cockpit.  WSS graphics package makes the boat a real head turner.

Low Points

 Sterndrive-crafted wakes are not at the same level as those of V-drive or

inboard tow boats.  Head could use a means of ventilation.  LOA: 25'8"  Beam: 8'6"  Draft: 3'1"  Displacement (approx.): 4,800 lb.  Deadrise: 21 degrees  Bridge Clearance: 8'2"  Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.  Water Capacity: 10 gal.  Max Horsepower: 430  Available Power: Single Volvo Penta or Mercruiser sterndrive to 430 hp

Price: $117,040 (with test power)  BoATInG Certified Test results SPEED rpm




1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 4900

5.39 7.39 10.43 19.55 27.03 32.85 37.11 39.63 45.36

6.20 8.50 12.00 22.50 31.10 37.80 42.70 45.60 52.20

2.10 4.20 7.50 7.80 10.80 14.50 20.20 24.80 28.80

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 2.57 1.76 1.39 2.51 2.50 2.27 1.84 1.60 1.58

2.95 2.02 1.60 2.88 2.88 2.61 2.11 1.84 1.81

115 79 63 113 113 102 83 72 71

OPERATION sound level

s. mi. range


133 91 72 130 130 117 95 83 82

1 2 5 4 3 2 2 1 1

75 77 80 80 84 85 87 89 90


how we TeSTeD ENGINE: 380 hp Mercruiser 8.2 MaG ecT DRIVE: bravo Three sterndrive with 22.5"pitch dual propset GEAR RATIO: 1.81:1 FUEL LOAD: 25 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 400 lb. Cobalt Boats Neodesha, Kansas; 800-468-5764;

PHOTO: cOurTeSy cObalT bOaTS

i also love how roomy the cockpit feels for a boat with a standard 8-foot-6-inch beam. Cobalt employs a technique it calls “free space reclamation” into the build process, wherein it shaves fiberglass from the hull and deck molds where they meet at the gunwales. the result is an extra foot of interior width. load the boat with a crew of boarders and that won’t go unnoticed. nor will the spacious head that occupies the portside console, featuring a faux granite countertop and pump-out toilet. boarders will like how our tester’s 380 hp MerCruiser 8.2-liter MaG engine, paired with a bravo three sterndrive, pushed it onto plane in just over four seconds, and to a top speed over 52 mph. sterndrives also have torque in reserve, providing great midrange acceleration, and the dual propellers give the boat extra bite in turns. for pro-level boarders, the wake thrown by the r5Wss can’t compete with a sport-specific boat like the MasterCraft X30 ($97,400 with a 6.0-liter ilmor v-drive) that includes a ballast system. and, with the r5Wss’s drive and props underneath the swim platform rather than at midships, you absolutely should not wakesurf behind this boat. but for recreational skiing, tubing and wakeboarding, you can control the size of the wake by working with the trim, an attribute that gives the Cobalt a big edge in pleasure cruising and running through a chop. You can also find other builders who offer the option to outfit their bowriders with arches, such as the formula 240 bowrider ($111,680 with a 380 hp MerCruiser 8.2-liter MaG). a tricked-out sampson sports razor wake tower adds $8,675 to the bottom line. for onboard entertainment, the r5Wss has a killer rockford fosgate stereo system, with tweeters inset into the dash just underneath the windshield to enhance the sound. the tunes carry forward into the bow lounge. the forward-facing recliners both have beefy flip-down armrests, and recessed stainless-steel grab rails adorn either side. to starboard, a filler cushion flips out from under the seat to create a full wraparound lounge. the aft end of the boat is set up to serve both the sporting set and sun worshippers. the sun pad over the swim platform features an adjustable backrest that converts it to a rumble seat. it’s a great place for boarders to gear up before a session or to watch the water while at anchor. use the transom walk-through on the starboard side to access the extended swim platform. the platform features Cobalt’s signature flip-down swim step, a molded fiberglass part that flips down into the water via a stainless-steel mechanism. it’s simple to deploy and store, and it makes for easy reboarding from the water after a swim. all these features add up to a boat that’s fit for duty on multiple fronts, not the least of which is towing an army of tubers, skiers and wakeboarders. — Pete McDonald Tests ( #2846 )

bench and a glass door. the two guest staterooms to either side sport twin singles that convert to doubles with filler cushions. the guest head also features a full shower. the real prize of this boat is the bridge, which features 360-degree viewing from the helm and a teak table that anchors a six-person dinette. the starboard seat converts into a sun pad, and, with the entertainment center, the whole crew never needs to leave the bridge. we ran the boat from there and, with the twin 435 hp volvo Penta engines, the 420 cruised comfortably and felt solid carving through manufactured chop. the volvo Penta iPS600s proved very nimble in carving S-curves and other maneuvers, especially turning hard-over at speed in a tight channel, and the joystick afforded great handling in close quarters around the bridge and at the marina. — Pete McDonald


more oNliNe

Virtess 420 Fly

ava i l a b l e p o w e r : pod drive

hen we heard that the Bavaria virtess 420 Fly, named the 2013 european Powerboat of the Year, was coming to the United States, we were intrigued to see what had earned the accolades of an entire continent. On board, the first thing that came to mind was the old car slogan about German engineering. From the swim platform to the bow there are multiple spots at which to marvel at the ingenuity. the platform operates on hydraulic lifts via remote control to lower completely in the water. Capable of supporting 1,300 pounds, it can be used to store a small tender or personal watercraft. all of the cockpit furniture slides on a stainless-steel track so that it can be rearranged and locked into place for however you want to use it. the faux teak flooring holds up to the sliding so you can practice feng shui Extra Point without reservation. Glass sliders separate the cockpit from the salon and can be opened to create an easy flow between the spaces. the a set of steps to dinette table raises and port automatically lowers with the push of a button. here we locks in place to noticed styling, done provide passage to by italian designers, the cockpit. that complements the German engineering. the mahogany interior finish and clean lines accent the entire cabin, which is bathed in natural light. the galley sits to port opposite the standard lower helm. Belowdecks, the master stateroom features furniture of the same mahogany and an oversize island berth. the side windows provide ample natural light. the en suite head features a full stand-up shower with a teak


When you lower the hydraulic swim platform,


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SePteMBer 2014

to see a photo gallery of the Bavaria Virtess 420 Fly, visit

High Points u Lower helm station in the salon is a standard feature. u cockpit furniture can be rearranged on a sliding rail system. u both heads feature separate shower stalls.

Low Points u on test day we experienced excessive bow rise while climbing onto plane. u the view from the lower helm is slightly obstructed due to the beefy wind-

shield supports.

toughest Competitor u the carver c40 ($458,575 with twin 380 hp cummins Qsb 6.7 diesels) has

what carver calls a “command bridge” and a plumb bow and offers straight inboard power. u LOA: 44'6" u Beam: 13'8" u Draft (max): 3'8" u Displacement (approx.): 25,133 lb. uTransom Deadrise: 18 degrees uBridge Clearance: 16'2" uMax Cabin Headroom: 6'5" u Fuel Capacity: 317 gal. u Water Capacity: 108 gal. u Max Horsepower: 870 u Available Power: twin volvo penta diesel engines

uPrice: $670,440 (with test power)  Boating Certified test results speed rpm




600 900 1200 1500 1800 2100 2400 2700 3000 3400

3.82 5.21 6.34 7.82 8.86 9.56 14.77 22.16 29.55 33.02

4.40 6.00 7.30 9.00 10.20 11.00 17.00 25.50 34.00 38.00

0.80 1.50 3.10 6.40 12.00 22.00 25.00 29.00 38.00 44.00

efficiency naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range

s. mi. range

4.78 3.48 2.05 1.22 0.74 0.43 0.51 0.58 0.72 0.77

1569 1141 672 401 243 143 194 251 255 246

5.50 4.00 2.35 1.41 0.85 0.50 0.59 0.67 0.83 0.88

1364 992 584 349 211 124 169 218 222 214

operation sound angle level 1 2 2 3 6 7 7 4 3 3

60 63 66 67 69 77 78 79 79 80

Most EconoMical cruising spEEd

HoW WE tEstEd EnginEs: twin 435 hp volvo penta ips600 diesels PrOPs: ips t4 bronze propsets gEAr rATiO: 1.82:1 FuEL LOAD: 73 gal. CrEW WEigHT: 780 lb. Bavaria Motorboats Giebelstadt, Germany;

photo: courtesy bavaria motorboats

Own The Best Cover Around Outer-Armor Built by Commercial Sewing® covers are built to be the best covers on the lake. Ask your Four Winns® dealer about the best cover on the market. You don’t want to get stuck with a cover that doesn’t protect like a shield.

Your boat will thank you. Tests ( #2847 )

Kawasaki Jet Ski

pair of aft-facing, 30-watt waterproof speakers powered by two 20-watt amplifiers. a Jensen-produced head unit is integrated into the oversize handlebar pad. the music’s source is housed within the glove box in a choice of waterproof bag (for iphones and the like featuring a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack) or waterproof aluminum cylinder (for usB memory sticks). will sound distract drivers and annoy the neighbors? that was our initial contention, but after using the system we found it added to the ride, much like listening to music in a boat. we also found the volume adequate to hear while underway, yet not so overpowering that it would raise complaints from those on shore. Responsible use is key, but as boats have long featured stereos, we’re willing to give ultra buyers the benefit of the doubt here. of course, below all that power and sound is one of the best big-volume hulls in production. thanks to its deep, 22.5-degree deadrise, it clove through offshore waves with precision and almost never wavered from its line. in calmer conditions, electric trim allowed us to drop the bow and corner with the agility normally expected of a much-smaller craft. — Jeff Hemmel

Ultra 310LX


awasaki pumps up the volume. on the figurative side, the company has given its flagship ultra even more power. the Jet ski ultra 310lX adds 10 horses to the previous model, but the minor jump isn’t about bragging rights. it’s the result of engineers fine-tuning the existing engine for increased durability and efficiency. new is a heat-resistant plastic intake manifold that boosts both low-range and midrange power, cast pistons with a groove pattern designed to improve oil retention, a freer-flowing fuel pump, one more oil jet per piston to keep the engine cooler, a slosh-reducing oil pan, an additional soundExtra Point reducing water box, and larger oil return holes in the crankcase. at the pump, the impeller sports a new three-blade in harsh summer design and longer nose, sun. a new, heatwith the promise of resistant material increasing acceleration while reducing noise for the 310lX and rattles. add this promises you won’t laundry list of tweaks burn your buns. to an already-powerful 1,498 cc engine boosted by a supercharger/intercooler combo, and you’ve got a great boat made better. acceleration during testing proved brutally strong, with a newfound midrange snap en route to the peak speed we achieved of 67 mph. there’s more buzz. the 310lX is the first production watercraft to feature an original equipment manufacturer (oem) sound system. kawasaki’s Jetsounds features a

Vinyl PWC seats get painfully hot


b oat i n g m ag .c o m

September 2014


Te nation’s oldest in-water powerboat show l l l l

Climb aboard hundreds of boats, from 8-80 feet Trailerables, infatables, antique & classic boats Watch for details on Free Tursday Welcome Party Explore the center console fshing collection

l l l l

VIP Parking Packages - convenient on-site parking at the show Shop & explore hundreds of exhibitors selling boating gear Enjoy free seminars & live entertainment Register to win valuable door prizes

Brokerage Cove Featuring previously owned brokerage boats in St. Mary’s Cove

Purchase tickets online and avoid waiting at the gate! Tests ( #2848 )

Monterey 218SS

All that’s lacking is the smell of burning rubber. If you’re old enough to have driven a muscle car when they were in their heyday, there is little explanation required for Monterey’s 218SS raison d’•tre. If you are younger than that, this boat’s


aggressive stance, exciting handling and sporty performance bring to the water many of the same qualities the Trans Am or Camaro SS brought to the street. In short, we experienced awesome acceleration with the Volvo Penta Duoprop drive and 50-plus mph at wide-open throttle thanks to the airassist chine that helps reduce drag. Gain entry from the large swim platform via a side walkway. A filler cushion allows you to enclose the cockpit for running or to open up for hanging on the hook. The fiberglass sole featured sharp deck hatches with deep gutters that will keep gear dry. More dazzling glasswork is to be found in the sculpted fiberglass inserts that ring the cockpit, replacing the common upholstered trim pieces boaters have come to know and hate for their poor weathering abilities over time. The icebox built into the portside console is a nice complement to the standard removable cooler. Aft, the sun lounge has a folding backrest. — Kevin Falvey

WHo’D WanT onE: Boaters seeking more jazz than a typical bowrider would deliver.

Larson’s sporty 2100 I/O powered by a 260 hp MerCruiser sterndrive starts at $48,964.


BoTToM LinE: $56,841;  BoaTing Certified Test Results speed rpm 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 4860

efficiency operation naut. stat. n. mi. s. mi. sound gph mpg mpg range range angle level

knots mph 4.26 5.95 7.13 9.82 22.51 28.24 33.50 37.84 44.32

4.90 6.85 8.20 11.30 25.90 32.50 38.55 43.55 51.00

1.30 1.80 3.30 5.70 7.40 9.20 12.00 15.00 19.80

3.28 3.31 2.16 1.72 3.04 3.07 2.79 2.52 2.24

3.77 3.81 2.48 1.98 3.50 3.53 3.21 2.90 2.58

147 149 97 78 137 138 126 114 101

170 171 112 89 158 159 145 131 116

0 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 3

76 84 85 86 87 88 92 93 94

Most econoMical cruising speed

u LOA: 21'8" u Beam: 7'8" u Draft: 2'7½" u Displacement:

3,650 lb.

HoW WE TESTED ENGINE: single 270 hp Volvo penta V8-270/Dp PROP: F7 GEAR RATIO: 1.95:1 reduction FUEL LOAD: 30 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 540 lb.


AND RELIABILITY WITH MINIMAL SPACE AND NOISE! Strong, Reliable and 100% Freshwater cooled. Fischer Panda Generators are the ideal choice for the professional sailor or power boater. When space is tight, weight is critical or noise is an issue, many boaters choose Fischer Panda. With a standard power range of 4kw - 22kw and larger custom units, Fischer Panda is sure to have the generator to meet your needs. What are you waiting for contact Fischer Panda today! 8 Mini Digital AC Generator

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photo: courtesy monterey boats

( #2849 )


220 Sunspree These days, there aren’t too many boats capable of entertaining 10 people that cost under $30,000. Lucky for you, Premier makes one of them. Premier’s 220 Sunspree is a 22-foot pontoon with quality features and a base price of just $17,139. Our tester, outfitted with a Honda BF 60 outboard and a few extra amenities, had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price just north of $28,000.



With that 60 hp Honda, our test boat reached a top speed of 22.1 mph. Dial back the throttle and you can leisurely cruise the lake all day long. Swimmers will love the five-step telescoping ladder off the swim platform and the double-wide boarding gate for easy access to it. There’s also a boarding gate on the bow to access the forward platform, and one on the port side for easy boarding from the dock. The driver has good command of the boat from the Ensign helm, with easy-to-read gauges inset in faux wood paneling. There’s a 12-volt plug-in, stereo controls, a cup holder and an ergonomic steering wheel. The forward lounge features plush Signature Series furniture with rotomolded seat bases providing stowage underneath. The starboard side has a comfy forward-facing recliner. The L-shaped aft furniture features a rearfacing recliner, and there’s a pedestalmounted cockpit table for entertaining. — Pete McDonald

WHo’D Want onE: Family-oriented boaters looking for great value.

The Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3 sells for $25,995 with a 90 hp Mercury four-stroke.

anotHER CHoiCE:

BottoM LinE:

$28,081 (as tested);  Boating Certified test Results speed rpm 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500 6000

knots mph

efficiency operation naut. stat. n. mi. s. mi. sound gph mpg mpg range range angle level

2.09 2.43 4.78 5.39 6.78 9.38 12.43 14.08 15.73 17.99 19.20

0.30 0.60 0.60 0.70 1.00 1.20 1.70 2.10 3.30 4.10 5.50

2.40 2.80 5.50 6.20 7.80 10.80 14.30 16.20 18.10 20.70 22.10

6.95 4.06 7.97 7.70 6.78 7.82 7.31 6.70 4.77 4.39 3.49

8.00 4.67 9.17 8.86 7.80 9.00 8.41 7.71 5.48 5.05 4.02

163 95 186 180 159 183 171 157 112 103 82

187 109 215 207 183 211 197 181 128 118 94

2 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 2 2 2

68 69 70 71 71 72 74 78 80 82 83

Most econoMical cruising speed

uloa: 21'5" uBeam: 8'6" udraft: 3'0" udisplacement

(approx.): 1,900 lb.

HoW WE tEStED EnginE: honda BF 60 outboard ProP: Solas 13½" x 9" 3-blade stainless steel gEar ratio: 2.07:1 FuEl load: 7 gal. CrEw wEight: 175 lb.



Evinrude G2

A RADICALLY NEW SERIES OF OUTBOARD MOTORS IVE YEARS AGO BOMBARDIER RECREATIONAL PRODUCTS (BRP) GAVE GEORGE BROUGHTON a blank sheet of paper, an open checkbook and a mandate to challenge the “sea of sameness” in current outboard motor design. It was a career-capping assignment for Broughton, Evinrude’s director of design innovation and a 35-year veteran of the Evinrude brand, and he didn’t hold back. “We’ve been doing things the same way for too many years,” Broughton said. “It’s time to change.” The result is the Evinrude E-TEC G2, perhaps the most visually stunning and technically innovative outboard series to debut in a generation. BRP claims the 3.4-liter, 74-degree, V-6 two-stroke powerhead produces 20 percent more torque, 15 percent better fuel economy and 75 percent lower emissions than the best outboards in this category, thanks to a redesigned combustion chamber and refinement of the E-TEC directfuel-injection (DFI) system. Broughton calls it “a beautiful

combustion situation.” Six Evinrude E-TEC G2 models are rated from 200 to 300 horsepower — 225, 250 and 300 in standard trim and 200, 225 and 250 in high-output (HO) versions. All G2 motors require digital controls. Power steering is standard on all 25and 30-inch models. Starting from scratch allowed the Evinrude team to jettison “legacy” design elements. The steering system is located completely within the midsection. The rigging tube no longer moves with the motor. A massive tilt tube contributes to the exceptional rigidity of the mounting system. The exhaust

E-TEC G2 250

 TYPE: 74° V-6 two-stroke  DISPLACEMENT: 3,441 cc (210 ci)  BORE X STROKE: 3.854 x 3.000 inches  GEAR RATIO: 1.85:1  ALTERNATOR OUTPUT: 50 amps net  FUEL: 87 octane  WEIGHT: 558 lb.




manifold for the port bank of cylinders is moved from the center of the V to the outboard side so those pistons are no longer pushed into the very hot exhaust port. The drive-by-wire shift actuator is located within the gear case, eliminating the shift rod linkage. A team led by BRP director of advanced concepts Andre Cote created the motor’s stunning wrapper — a composite exoskeleton to which are secured four plastic panels. BRP has never articulated a technical advantage for this design over the traditional bucket cowl. Its main function, it seems, is to look different. As Cote remarked, “Why should the beauty of the boat end at the transom?” For more information, visit en-US. — Charles Plueddeman


F What’s Inside? Six snapshots of the new G2 outboard highlight some of its technical features. A performance chart, comprised of our certified test data, provides you with a basis for comparison against other outboards.

Six quarter-turn screws secure the lightweight side panels. Removal is easy on land, but maybe not at sea when the fuel filter clogs. Dealers will sell the panels separately in five colors (blue, silver, black, red and white) with 14 available accentstripe colors. Boatbuilders can order custom colors.

Behind the starboard panel: The built-in, two-gallon injector oil reservoir is located below the white fuel-filter element. The reservoir with the green vent tube visible aft is a telltale for gear-case lube, to indicate lube level and water contamination. The motor is designed to go five years without dealer service.

Evinrude G2 motors feature a new gear case with stronger internal parts and hydrodynamics shaped using computationalfluid-dynamics software. Two new stainless-steel props — the three-blade Raker HO and four-blade RX4 — are matched to the new gear case and the power curve of the motor.

The top panel pops off, providing access to the yellow oil-tank fill cap. Evinrude guesses many boaters will go all season on one fill (only with BRP oil, by the way). Oil level is indicated on each of three new Evinrude instrument screens. All rigging connections are concealed behind the lower white panel.

Key West 239 FS

 LOA: 23'9"  Beam: 8'6"  Draft (max): 1'2"  Displacement (approx.): 2,700 lb.  Transom Deadrise: 19 degrees  Fuel Capacity: 100 gal.  Max Horsepower: 250

Price: N/A (Evinrude G2 pricing not available)  BOATING Certified Test Results SPEED


Standard hydraulic steering lines feed a helix-type steering controller located within the transom bracket assembly. An electric power-steering pump fits in front of the helix. There are no external steering components. A 2.5-inch-diameter tilt tube resides under the chrome cover. Another hydraulic helix handles trim functions. Model

This is the 7-inch Icon touchscreen display. A 4.3-inch and a 3.5-inch display are also offered for Evinrude G2 motors, and there’s an interface for analog gauges (all sold separately). The economy screen is shown here. Selectable functions include automatic trim, engine synchronization and three levels of power steering resistance.





1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000 5500 5800

6.40 7.30 8.95 12.17 18.34 26.42 30.98 34.37 38.10 41.84

7.40 8.40 10.30 14.00 21.10 30.40 35.65 39.55 43.85 48.15

1.40 2.60 4.80 6.20 7.40 10.20 13.00 17.10 21.30 21.60

EFFICIENCY naut. stat. n. mi. mpg mpg range 4.59 2.81 1.86 1.96 2.48 2.59 2.38 2.01 1.79 1.94

5.29 3.23 2.15 2.26 2.85 2.98 2.74 2.31 2.06 2.23

289 177 117 124 156 163 150 127 113 122

OPERATION sound level

s. mi. range


333 204 135 142 180 188 173 146 130 140

0 2 5 4 2 2 2 2 2 2

78 80 84 87 88 87 90 92 95 97


HOW WE TESTED ENGINE: Single 250 hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 gasoline outboard DRIVE/PROP: Rebel 15½" x 17" 3-blade stainless GEAR RATIO: 1.85:1 FUEL LOAD: 80 gal. CREW WEIGHT: 750 lb.




Claimed Weight

WOT Range*



Power Steering

Evinrude E-TEC G2 250


74° V-6


558 lb. (20")


5 years



Honda BF250


60° V-6


600 lb. (20")


5 years



Mercury OptiMax Pro XS 250


60° V-6


505 lb. (25")


3 years



Mercury Pro FourStroke 250




635 lb. (20")


3 years



Mercury Verado 250




662 lb. (25")


3 years



Suzuki DF250AP


55° V-6


604 lb. (25")


3 years



Suzuki DF250SS


55° V-6


578 lb. (20")


3 years



Yamaha F250 Ofshore


60° V-6


562 lb. (25")


3 years



Yamaha V MAX SHO 250


60° V-6


505 lb. (20")


3 years



* Measured in rpm B O A T I N G M A G . C O M



The adage “small is beautiful” is nice for carnations and cappuccinos, but will “small” tow a sport boat over 8,000-foot mountain passes? We find out. Text and photography by John L. Stein


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Crisp pine-scented air, cool snow-fed waters and inspiring 2-mile-high peaks make Sierra Nevada boating a lifetime high. But many believe that high altitudes require high power from both boat and tow vehicle engines. We think it’s plenty cool hitching a boat powered by a big V-8 to a grunty, full-size V-8 tow vehicle. Combos like that can derail your retirement with an 8 mpg appetite on the highway and up to 30 gph thirst on the lake — not to mention the combined price of over $150,000. Is the dream dead? Maybe just downsized. b o a t i n g m a g . c o m

September 2014


priced at a base $36,675 and $29,036, respectively, the GmC terrain Denali allwheel-drive and 19-foot-8-inch Sea ray 190 Sport challenge the precept that you need monster-truck dimensions and monstrous torque to tackle high-altitude conditions. We hauled the pair into the Sierras to offer some real challenges through passes over 8,000 feet high, and lakes nearly that high, to find out how small we could reliably go on the road and on the water — and still yield good performance at high altitude.

Small Engines and Towing While researching a small truck or SUV to pair with a small sport boat, we began with four-cylinder SUVs such as the Ford escape and Honda Cr-V. However, most fourcylinder vehicles have modest tow ratings of 1,000 to 2,000 pounds — adequate for only a potato-chip-size powerboat or else small off-highway vehicles or camping trailers. Yet a few four-cylinder options can do more. Standouts include Subaru’s 2.5-liter turbocharged Outback, which can tow 2,700 pounds, and toyota’s 2.7-liter tacoma pickup, 60

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September 2014

which can tow 3,500 pounds. None of these were available in the press fleets to test, so we stepped up to V-6, which dramatically increased the options. When equipped with all-wheel-drive and a 2-inch Class III hitch receiver, it’s common for a V-6 SUV to be tow-rated at 4,500 pounds, which gets you into the range of a 21-foot sport boat and trailer. the GmC terrain, with the optional 3.6-liter V-6, has a tow rating of 3,500 pounds, letting it handle a host of sport boats including the 2,600pound Sea ray plus its 600-pound trailer.

Fear Not, Little Hitch When the terrain arrived for the test, I immediately eyeballed its trailer hitch. What I saw dismayed me, because the vehicle had a little 1¼-inch hitch receiver and a flat-four wiring outlet — the kind you see hauling


Oops! I should have had a V-8? Maybe not. The author towed a good-size boat at high altitude and used that boat in alpine lakes. In both cases, he discovered how 4- and 6-cylinder engines fared.

“LIGHTWEIGHT AS THE HITCH LOOKED, IT WORKED PERFECTLY OVER 1,000 MILES OF TOWING.” bicycles on a mommy van. Crikey! A wave of panic — and visions of a boat breaking loose from its puny hitch at speed — shocked my occipital lobe. but I needn’t have worried, because the terrain’s hitch decal (and the owners manual) thankfully confirmed a Class II 3,500-pound rating. A quick trip to the auto-parts store netted a solid 1¼-inch drawbar, onto which I bolted my existing 2-inch ball. Lightweight as the hitch looked, it worked perfectly over 1,000 miles of towing. One challenge was that the GmC’s $350 tow package included only four-pin trailer wiring, whereas the boat trailer had a fivepin setup whose crucial extra wire operates a solenoid that allows backing up. I couldn’t find a four- to five-pin wiring adapter in town, so when backing up, we made do by plugging the fifth plug on the trailer harness into the taillight outlet on the SUV’s harness and then turning on the headlights to lock out the trailer’s brake. this bootleg fix works perfectly, but it’s inadvisable because you can’t back up quickly in an emergency.

Surprisingly Stable It had been a few years since I’d towed a boat behind a vehicle as small as the terrain. the standard powertrain is a little 2.4-liter four-cylinder, but the $1,750 V-6

option (which includes 19-inch wheels) adds direct injection and the latest automotive performance/fuel-economy technology. this engine was a necessity because the standard four-cylinder terrain is rated at just 1,500 pounds of towing capacity. Variable valve timing and a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode are included in either case. Our route took us north out of the Los Angeles area through Owens Valley on the eastern side of the 400-mile-long Sierra Nevada range. Starting as desert, the scenery eventually morphed into beautiful alpine surroundings lined with pine forest and framed by high peaks. Steep grades with daunting names like Deadman Summit

Smaller tow vehicles may be equipped with a less common 1¼-by-1¼-inch tow hitch compared with the 2-by-2-inch class you may be used to. These are rated at up to 3,500 pounds.

Altitude’s Effect on Performance

At a mile of elevation such as at Denver, there’s 17 percent less oxygen in the air. Humans recognize this by finding it harder to breathe — but your boat and truck engine display it as loss of performance. In round numbers, a normally aspirated (i.e., not supercharged or turbocharged) engine loses 3 percent of its power output for every 1,000 feet in elevation climb. And as we discovered with the Sea Ray 190 Sport, while 135 hp may be perfectly adequate at sea level, 21 percent less power at 7,135-foot Grant Lake in the Sierras meant a pretty long slog onto plane. We’re glad the Terrain had a 3.6-liter V-6, and next time, we’d order the 220 hp V-6 (optional at $6,077) in the Sea Ray too. To calculate the high-altitude power loss for your own boat or truck, here’s the formula: horsepower loss = (elevation x 0.03 x horsepower at sea level ) ÷ 1,000. — J.L.S.

106 HP AT 7,135 FEET

116 HP AT 4,500 FEET

135 HP AT SEA LEVEL b o a t i n g m a g . c o m

September 2014


An engine is an air pump, and since there is less oxygen at high altitude, it will not be able to make its rated power there. Changing to a lower-pitch prop for high-altitude boating allows you to retain performance efficiency. Any good boat dealer should be able to specify the correct one for your boat. As a rule of thumb, though, reduce the prop pitch by the same percentage as the horsepower lost at altitude — about 3 percent per 1,000 feet of elevation. — J.L.S. 62

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Unexpected Maneuverability the terrain drives stable and secure, boasting road manners more like a sport sedan’s than an SUV’s. And with the full weight of the Sea ray and trailer behind it, the handling didn’t get squirrelly. there was just the hint of the classic “tail wagging the dog” feeling when the pavement undulated or wallowed. but not one time in 1,000 miles

September 2014

did the package ever feel unwieldy. I’d even go so far as to call the terrain and Sea ray’s entry-level sport boat perfect partners. While maneuvering for a parking spot one day and swinging a U-turn on another, I noted one hidden advantage of a smaller truck-boat combination — terrific agility compared to larger trucks. the terrain has a rated turning diameter of exactly 40 feet — over 15 feet narrower than a full-size GmC crew-cab, long-bed pickup has.

Creature Comforts before the trip I had advised family members to pack a single duffle apiece, reserving the terrain for personal items and relegating anything boating-related to the Sea ray for the trip. but the SUV/boat luggage balance shifted when we added an ice chest to the terrain’s load, jettisoning some luggage to the boat. even though the terrain is rated at an impressive 31.6 cubic feet of storage space with the second-row seating in the up position, we used it all —


Repropping for Altitude

range over the 8,000-foot elevation mark. particularly at altitude (see “Altitude’s effect on performance”), such climbs are taxing for most tow vehicles. the terrain took it in stride, and although it won’t set any towing speed records like Gm’s big turbocharged 6.6-liter Duramax diesel could, the terrain and Sea ray held their own, and the power was perfectly adequate to keep up with nearby traffic. there are no low-range gears in the terrain AWD system, as with a Jeep, Land rover or 4WD pickups. Fortunately, though, even at high-altitude Convict, Crowley, Grant and June lakes, we didn’t need them. the terrain was able to pull the Sea ray up the steepest ramps with reasonable ease, and the sound of gravel crunching under all four tires proved the AWD system was helping out. So launching was easy enough — and the rearview camera helped out whenever we needed to rehitch the trailer. besides having a favorable purchase price compared with those of full-size vehicles, the terrain delivered much better fuel economy than a larger truck/boat combination would. Our calculated mileage for the entire 1,000mile trip was 14.8 mpg (with the instrumentpanel display showing a similar 14.9 mpg) — much more acceptable readings than the 8 mpg that a full-size truck or SUV would deliver while towing a larger sport boat. And in a daylong side trip to high-altitude ghost town bodie, California, with the boat left behind in a parking lot, the terrain returned 20.7 mpg — showing that towing a boat used about 28.5 percent more fuel.


and then some. that’s a benefit of towing a boat, which can swallow up excess stuff. Inside, the seating positions and legroom were favorable in all positions — a welcome relief for those drawing a back-seat card for several hundred miles at a stretch. the only unpleasant trait that the terrain exhibited was significant engine noise when the transmission downshifted into fourth gear while climbing grades. Here our sound meter registered 74 decibels (dbA) under full-throttle acceleration, and then on smooth pavement, the terrain whooshed along at 60 mph with just 64 dbA interior noise — low enough for quiet conversation.

Small Really Is Beautiful Our weeklong experiment with a smaller tow vehicle and a smaller boat revealed three key advantages. First is cost. the $72,481 combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the Sea ray 190 Sport and V-6equipped GmC terrain Denali was roughly half of what a big turbodiesel pickup and top-shelf wakeboard boat would cost, and

they accomplished the same needs on our trip — meaning they transported a family in comfort and safety, competently towed a sport boat into the mountains, and then provided some high-altitude wakeboarding. Second, the GmC terrain delivered 75 percent better fuel efficiency for the trip than a big pickup and boat package would have, saving us an estimated $230 at the pump over a week and 1,000 miles. And third, the smaller size provided exceptional maneuverability, allowing a more relaxed driving experience and easier access to tight boat ramps and parking lots. So while there’s still no replacement for displacement (or a good turbocharger), when it comes to steep grades and high-altitude motoring, this Boating experiment proved that a little moderation can team up beautifully with a massively good time.

Single-axle trailers, smaller fuel bills and lower purchase prices help enable boats and vehicles powered by smaller engines to deliver lots of smiles per gallon.


SEA RAY 190 SPORT Sea Ray’s 190 Sport evinces style and function. We liked the fiberglass-lined stowage lockers as much as its spacious sun pad and transom-to-cockpit walkway. Its aggressive stance hints at the spirited performance we enjoyed. Starting at $29,036; — Kevin Falvey b o a t i n g m a g . c o m

September 2014







Hit Something Know your position and surrounding charted dangers. Watch for floating debris, particularly after a storm or on rivers after spring thaw or heavy rain.

Forgot the Drain Plug When Launching Get the boat back on plane to drain water out of the transom, and/or plug it with anything on hand.

Hose Broke Shut the seacock. If it won’t shut, wrap the hose with strips from a canvas cover, or cut the hose clean off and cap it with a tapered wooden or foam plug and a hose clamp. Dripless Shaft Seal Failed Each spring, make sure shaft-seal cooling water is flowing through hoses from each engine to each shaft seal, and install a crossover hose so one engine will cool both seals. If one fails, keep the shaft from spinning with a pipe wrench and wrap it with strips from a canvas cover, tarp or bicycle-tire inner tube.

Stern Anchored Boat Don’t anchor from astern. A change in sea state or even a boat wake might come over the stern and swamp boat. B O A T I N G M A G . C O M


65 Get Help from On and Off Your Boat Sea Tow and TowBoatU.S. vessels typically bring 20,000 gallons per hour of pumping capacity, air bags with thousands of pounds of buoyancy to lift sinking boats, and tools and materials to patch holes. But they have to find you. If you, alone, have to slow the leak and man the radio, you’re sunk, maybe literally. “The most experienced person aboard usually deals with the problem,” says Capt. Eric Dussault of Sea Tow Central Connecticut. “Make sure someone else can work the radio, give your GPS position and use the life raft and EPIRB if it comes to that.” GPS alone won’t identify your boat in a crowded harbor, so the designated radio person might have to describe

your boat and nearby landmarks, give the Sea Tow skipper a compass bearing to his red-andyellow flashing light, or even light a locator flare. Practice those skills at least once every spring.

Seconds Count A 2-inch-diameter hole 6 inches below the

water lets in about 55 gallons of water per minute. That same hole 2 feet below the water lets in 110 gallons per minute. “With every second that passes and every gallon of water that enters the boat, the flooding gets faster,” says Capt. Mike Langenbach of Sea Tow Huntington, Long Island.

A cordless screwdriver is another important tool. (Sea Tow captains use pneumatic drills underwater and prefer hex-head screws turned by a socket driver.)

Bimetal saw 3-pound sledge Pry bar 66


Pipe wrench Flashlight Knife SEPTEMBER 2014

Self-drilling screws Drill bits Cordless drill

Category 1 brackets eject EPIRBs once they sink to between 4 and 13 feet, but boats often capsize without sinking far enough to eject and activate the beacon. Mount your EPIRB where you can reach the bracket from outside a capsized hull. The good news: “If it ejects and floats up inside a fiberglass boat, if the antenna is in an air pocket it will likely still transmit to satellites,” says Chris Wahler of ACR Artex ( Capt. Will Beck recovers many boats from the beach. “The boat can’t move so it takes the full impact of the weight of each wave. The running gear is damaged. Even in moderate surf we see structural damage. Eventually the hull breaks and fills with sand,” he says. Even in protected water, one boat wake can cause damage. “If we’re close, give us a chance to get pumps on it instead of intentionally running aground.”

Finding the leak and slowing the water keeps your crew dry longer. Just identifying the source makes salvors more effective when they get there — finding a hole gets hard once there is 3 feet of water sloshing in the bilge. “The average 30-foot boat has a dozen holes in it — rudder posts, inboard-outboard bellows or inboard shaft seals, through-hull fittings, transducers. Know where they all are,” Langenbach says. “Also know each compartment or hatch where you can see the inside of your hull.”

Understand the Situation Langenbach says he often hears radio calls of a boat on fire and

taking on water, but it’s unlikely for both to happen at exactly the same time. “When an engine cooling hose fails, the engine is pumping seawater into your boat, so you’re sinking. If it sprays onto an overheated engine or exhaust parts, it turns to steam. Turn the engine off and both problems stop,” he says. Steam is usually white. Black smoke is more indicative of fire. Similarly, when a bilge pump discharge hose fails, a glance in the bilge might look like water flowing in as fast as it pumps out. Check overboard discharges to know. Check pumps before leaving the dock too. Many boaters panic offshore when they discover a week’s worth

of rainwater in the bilge left over from an inoperative bilge pump.



Find the Leak “We ask questions,” Dussault says. “Did it feel like you hit something? Did the motor stop when you did? Were you in shallow or deep water?” Answers help salvors find leaks — and should help you. “If you hit a big log or a submerged rock, you’re going to know it,” Dussault says. A bang along with a shudder you feel in your feet might make you look forward for a hole, but if a motor stalled at the same moment, the running gear hit hard, so check around the rudder or prop shaft. If everything

Hammer or kick pieces of fiberglass back into place, being careful not to cut yourself.

Make a seal. We used a piece of an unneeded life jacket. Foam from mattresses or cushions or folded beach towels work well.

Begin damage control efforts by donning an inflatable life jacket. Know how yours inflates — manually, only by a pull on the cord no matter how wet it gets, automatically when enough water reaches the waterdissolving actuator or, like this one, with Mustang Survival’s Hydrostatic Inflator Technology, which inflates only if submerged at least 4 inches.

Cover that patch with something stiff. We pried a door from its galley cabinet. Hatch covers beneath seat cushions work. Wedge it in place. We used a short telescoping brush handle turned diagonally inside the compartment. A long boat hook might wedge against the underside of the deck or cabin overhead. Be creative. B O A T I N G M A G . C O M



ERIC DUSSAULT likes Nerf balls. “Get the soft, squishy classic Nerfs, not the hard foam or fluted ones. Cut a piece and squeeze it into the hole or use a lot of little pieces to fill cracks.” MIKE LANGENBACH prefers swim noodles over Nerfs, and also toilet bowl wax ring seals. “Smear the wax on the crack. It’s quick and it seals underwater.” Wax rings from home stores are cheap, but they’re messy when stored in summer heat, and some work better than

others. A tub of Stay Afloat (stayafloatmarine .com) works like the best wax rings, and it’s easier to store and use. WILL BECK starts with whatever he finds aboard. “Wedge something diagonally across a big hole; maybe wrap a towel around a hardcover book. Then pack around it with bedding, pillows, whatever fits.” He uses flotation packets from within discarded life jackets, sometimes even pouring loose life jacket filling into a towel or pillowcase to mold to unusual shapes.

seems fine while running out but flooding starts inexplicably when you slow down, check the transom drain plug. Water flows out the drain while the boat is on plane; the boat starts sinking once you stop. “If you’re not sure, look at every part of the boat that moves,” Langenbach says. That means check shaft, rudder or sterndrive seals to start, and then around engines, generators and air-conditioners. “Look, listen and feel until you find running water,” he says.

Know When to Quit Many boats built with flotation won’t completely sink, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe to be aboard. “When they take on enough water, boats often roll over,” says Capt. Will Beck of Sea Tow Palm Beach. That’s especially true of boats with lots of foam flotation. Once flooded, many of these turn turtle because the foam’s buoyancy makes them want to come up. “Mark a bulkhead or pick a point at water level to know if pumps are gaining or losing.” Water inside the boat shifts its weight as each wave passes. “When

that is close to sinking or rolling. The old adage about always stepping up into a life raft costs lives. Three-eighthsinch carriage bolts (10-inch length) with wing nuts fasten makeshift repairs by hand underwater, keeping your drill dry. Wrap them, along with a sevensixteenths-inch drill bit, in a piece of canvas sprayed with WD-40.

water sloshes side to side, the boat rolls with a wave but doesn’t snap back up right away,” Beck says. If you feel that logy, sluggishly recovering motion, “you’ve got to get out” or risk being trapped inside. Also get off and away from a boat

When All Is Lost Abandoning your boat doesn’t mean it’s gone. “If it’s too unstable, I’ll let it flip, tow it upside down to calm water, and then flip it back upright,” Dussault says. “If it’s going to sink all the way, I’ll hook a 2,000-pound lift bag on the bow and tow it like that.” Sure, a flooded boat isn’t a win, but insurers get something to salvage and mitigate costly environmental damage from leaking fuel. Looking at the bright side, you’ll get some of your stuff back, you’ll have a really good sea story, and you can say you kept enough water out that it never did actually sink.

“If you’re not sure, look at every part of the boat that moves.

Look, listen and feel eel until you y find running water.”

FAVORITES OF TOWBOAT CAPTAINS (clockwise from far left):

Forespar foam plug quickly fits to irregular holes of varying sizes. Great Stuf spray foam — used to insulate cracks in a home — works well for stopping leaks. Water noodle fits into cracks similar to Nerf into holes Oil-absorbent pads don’t absorb water, so they work well to seal holes, as do foam cushions and throwable PFDs. Hardwood plugs fit broken through-hull fittings. Or shove one in a busted hose and clamp it with a hose clamp. Stay Afloat wax or a toilet bowl wax ring from a home store seals holes. Duck Tape (the brand shown here) is handy for quick repairs.





Use your engine. Close the seacock, cut the intake hose between the throughhull and sea strainer, and tiewrap or clamp a T-shirt over the end to keep out debris. Diesels move more water than gas engines do — a Cummins QSB engine pumps 1,500 gph at 1,000 rpm and over 4,000 gph near wide-open throttle. But if it sucks in debris or air and toasts an impeller, you’re left sinking and without propulsion. Rather than risk the engine’s pump, use this $450 8,000 gph Rule Evacuator

How to Use a Pump If it’s too rough to tie alongside, a Sea Tow or BoatU.S. captain might hand over a high-capacity gas pump.


emergency bilge pump, which comes with a 25-foot electrical lead, battery clips and on/off switch. The 3-inch flexible hose — for recreational vehicle sewer tank discharge ($13, — is 32 inches long when stored but accordions to 20 feet with spiral ridges to keep it from kinking closed at sharp bends. For $350, a 4,000 gph Rule Evacuator pump, with a 2-inch hose, might fit better into tight compartments on some boats. The 2,000 gph model costs $250 and takes 11∕8-inch hose. Add a sealed battery with a handle or a battery jumper pack to pump from any compartment aboard.

Watch how a pro operates a dewatering pump at boatingmag .com/dewater.

Attach the suction hose to the intake side of the pump and flip the two levers to secure the hose.

The pump will have an on-off switch. It may be a rotating switch, like the one shown, or a rocker switch.

Pumps will also have a fuel shut-off valve, such as this lever below the choke.

Close the choke lever, and then open the choke gradually after the pump motor starts to run.

Gently pull to take up any slack. Then give the pull cord a full, long pull: It should start at full rpm.

If the pump starts at idle, look for the throttle lever and advance it to full rpm.

Shove a running water hose into the discharge to prime the pump.

Alternatively, pour water in from a bucket or place your hand over the discharge to get the pump to prime.


Think about the best location to place pumps. Even if the source of water is in the stern, if water is also flowing forward through the bulkhead, it might make more sense to control the water level in the engine room first, and then pump the lazarette.


We covered a hole in a hull using Stay Afloat, which is similar to toilet bowl seal wax but is nontoxic, environmentally friendly and easier to spread and store. Put it directly on cracks and gaps or use it to help seal makeshift patches across larger holes.

Forespar’s Sta-Plug is pliable foam, like a Nerf ball or pool noodle, but it’s cone-shaped and ribbed to quickly fit and stay in most holes. ( products/sta-plug.shtml). B O A T I N G M A G . C O M




Our 21-foot Sun Tracker Party Barge bobbed gently a couple of feet from shore, solar dragonfly lights twinkling in the fading day. The boat, our tent, a dancing fire and the flat rock we’d made our camp kitchen were the only signs of humanity; yet we were just an hour from the marina. Whenever you plan a camping adventure by



boat, the only certainty is that it will be heavy on the adventure, and our trip to Colorado’s Blue Mesa Reservoir did not disappoint. But it also delivered a startling dose of pure, unadulterated magic.

A Desert Oasis

When we first moved to the Rocky Mountain West, we


were shocked to see boats in people’s driveways. Where on earth, we wondered, were they boating? This state has countless highlights, but boating hot spots would seem to be thin. Then we discovered Blue Mesa, nestled at 7,519 feet in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. A glimmering blue eye in the high mountain desert

west of Monarch Pass and the Continental Divide, this Gunnison River reservoir is 20 miles long and has 96 miles of shoreline and depths of more than 300 feet. We were excited to learn that it also features four boat-in camping areas, and it’s the largest lake trout and kokanee salmon fishery in the United States. A mecca where boating and fishing

meet backcountry camping, in the heart of the southern Rockies. Go figure. This summer was prime time to explore Blue Mesa. Snowpack in the region was at 126 percent of normal the previous winter, so the lake was within a few feet of full pool. Boaters have a ton of choices when it comes to lake access. If you want to top off your gas tanks, get an

engine tuneup or purchase last-minute supplies, you can launch at the Elk Creek Marina at the reservoir’s east end or at the Lake Fork Marina to the west. Or, if you’re simply looking for a place to splash, the reservoir has four additional launch ramps, plus six beach launch sites that allow trailers. We had our sights set on the Elk Creek Marina,

located 16 miles west of Gunnison on U.S. Highway 50. This operation has more than 150 slips, a tackle shop, a fish-cleaning station and floating restrooms; its west dock, added in 2011, boasts 4-foot-wide arms. It also has an enormous launch ramp to keep traffic moving on busy summer weekends. Not only could we fill up our coolers with fresh ice and

make sure we were leaving with plenty of fuel, but we also eagerly anticipated capping off our overnight cruise-camping trip with a celebratory margarita at Pappy’s Restaurant, a beloved watering hole perched creekside with a large deck overlooking the docks. For the 24 hours prior to that frosty libation, however, we would be on our own. B O A T I N G M A G . C O M


71 Camping with a boat does give you more space and flexibility than if you actually were backpacking, yet it’s not quite the same as car camping. For one, you need to be self-sufficient; there won’t be a late-night run to the camp store or the nearest gas station if you need anything. Next, you must be able to ferry everything ashore easily. Imagine climbing down through the forward gate, wading to shore and then hiking across sand or up a steep trail to your designated campsite. Less is definitely going to be more. We tried to keep things simple. We packed our family tent, sleeping bags for two adults and one child, pillows, extra towels, clothing, camp stove, cookware and utensils, collapsible camp chairs, a five-gallon container of potable water, water treatment system as an emergency backup, propane fire pit (expecting, correctly, that firewood would be scarce) and coolers loaded with carefully planned meals and lots of ice. Despite our best efforts, it took a long time to unload the car and load up the pontoon. So we rushed more than we normally would,

stacking duffel bags and camp chairs behind the helm and piling pillows and towels on top of the forward seats. We knew this was unwise. July marks the start of the North American monsoon in Colorado, and that means storms blow up like clockwork during the hot afternoon hours. We hoped we’d get lucky. It was 2 p.m. by the time we finally fired up the 60 hp Mercury four-stroke

and cast off the dock lines. Motoring out of Elk Creek into Blue Mesa’s Cebolla Basin, we kept a wary eye on the thunderheads building around us, but it looked as if our luck would hold. In fact, it was almost too hot, which made the 60-degree water look deceptively alluring. We were grateful for the pontoon’s large Bimini top and for the floppy sun hats we forced ourselves to wear.

The intensity of the sun at altitude can be dangerous; sunscreen, hydration and shade are critical. Consulting our chart, we cruised first to the Cebolla Creek boat-in campsites, tucked in a gully on the west shore of the reservoir’s southern Cebolla Creek arm. Spying the roof of a vault toilet, we threw the anchor ashore, buried it securely and hiked to the campsites.

Nestled at 7,519 feet above sea level in the Curecanti National Recreation Area, the Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest recreational boating area in Colorado. Part of the Gunnison River, it is 20 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline, and its waters can reach depths of more than 300 feet. 72



It wasn’t quite what we imagined. It didn’t have any big views due to the thick stands of cottonwoods, oaks and junipers, and it was a long, steep walk from the beach. Perhaps too long for ferrying all the gear, and the tent pads didn’t look quite large enough for a two-room family tent with screen porch. We glanced skyward. One thunderhead seemed closer. It had a bruised, angry look, and it growled.

Searching for Solitude

Hoping we’d have better luck up the West Elk arm, we hurried westward, motoring under the Highway 50 bridge into the Sapinero Basin and catching our first glimpse of the stunning Dillon Pinnacles. Here, wind and water have sculpted 30-millionyear-old volcanic lava, rock and mud — called the West Elk Breccia, after the ancient West Elk Volcano — into surreal spires that jut dramatically out of the surrounding high mountain


Boating to the Backcountry

desert. Keeping the pinnacles to starboard, we turned northward into the West Elk arm. Somewhere at its head lay a boat-in camping area, and we were determined to find it. The arm narrowed. We sliced forward at a crawl, scanning the shoreline for any sign of a campsite. Nothing. I kept a sharp eye on the water, as submerged trees and other snags are ever-present dangers up the twisting arms of reservoir lakes. The last thing we needed was to ding the prop or throw a blade. Suddenly, there was the creek. We could see its translucent waters spilling down the rocks, and we quickly threw the pontoon into reverse. We still hadn’t spotted a campsite, but it wasn’t worth the risk to go any farther. We also noted that the wind had shifted; it was now blowing like stink down the channel, and those reputed sheltered waters for mooring had vanished. Our window for making camp was closing rapidly, so we roared southward

back to the main lake with steady 25- to 30-knot winds blasting us on the nose. Once we reached open water, toothy breakers greeted us in a barrage of cold spray. We leaped into action, stuffing pillows, towels, sleeping bags and duffels into any available

orifice on the boat, from the cubby underneath the helm console to the compartments beneath the seats. I wrapped our uncomplaining 5-year-old daughter tightly in a rain poncho and used my body to shield her from the worst of it. We set our course for the

southwest and beat our way across the lake, bound for the fjordlike Lake Fork arm and its sheltered embrace. We found the boat-in campsites right away, tucked into a secluded cove with a few downed trees. Mooring the pontoon to a large one at the water’s edge, we

SEVEN ESSENTIAL BOAT CAMPING TIPS PRECOOK MEALS Save time and effort by preparing some foods in advance — like bacon for a breakfast skillet and spaghetti and reheatable sauce or homemade chicken tenders for supper. THINK BACKPACKING At Blue Mesa, the boat-in backcountry sites were created with paddlers

in mind. Bring backpacking-style tents that will fit on the designated tent pads and are easily stowed. LEAVE THE DOCK EARLY In the southern Rocky Mountains in July and August, a morning departure is a must. Thunderstorms will fire up anywhere between 2 and 4 p.m., and you’ll want to be set up at your campsite by then.

Other regions have other patterns; learn them. REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE IN A RESERVOIR Blue Mesa’s boat-in campsites all lie along the reservoir’s “arms,” which is reservoir-speak for creeks that feed the lake. As you approach shore, or the narrow head of an arm, keep a sharp lookout for submerged trees.

HAVE A STOWAGE PLAN Before you leave the dock, stow anything that can’t get wet. At the very least, have a game plan. Otherwise you’ll be frantically shoving bags, towels, pillows and sleeping bags wherever they will fit, and they’ll get wet anyway. PRACTICE “LEAVE NO TRACE” ETHICS Nothing is more B O A T I N G M A G . C O M

unpleasant than exploring a backcountry campsite and finding garbage, leftover food … and more. Pack out everything you pack in, and become acquainted with the fine art of digging a cathole. PREPARE FOR THE SUN It’s the summer, so hydration, hats, sunscreen and a Bimini top are critical. Bring plenty of fresh water.



After the Storm

The rain blew sideways and lightning crackled across the

sky, the wind whipping the lake into a frantic bathtub of steep, breaking waves. We sought refuge at the Lake Fork Marina, trying to stay warm and watching the clock as it ticked past 6 p.m. Then we remembered the dispersed camping. While Blue Mesa features four established boat-in camping areas with vault toilets, picnic tables, fire pits and tent pads, it also allows camping along the south shore, on Red Creek Island and along the four main arms, provided you aren’t setting up camp within a half-mile of any developed area, bridge, public road or an already established backcountry campsite. It was now or never, so we made a run for it. As the storm eased, we hurtled back onto the pontoon, slipped off the lines and cruised back to the West Elk arm. We remembered a grassy place

below the cliffs, a sheltered sweep of shoreline with a deserted yellow-sand beach. It just might be the place. Steely gray water softened to emerald green as the spent storm drifted south and we approached the shallows near our chosen spot. Splashing ashore, we buried the anchor and

DRY BAGS OR DRY BOXES On smaller boats, dry stowage is limited. Dry bags, and dry boxes like Pelican cases, will come in handy for clothing, sleeping bags, towels, pillows and any camping gear that shouldn’t get wet.

WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM You may run out of water, or the five-gallon container can get knocked over. Things happen, so we always bring a Sawyer’s two-liter water treatment system (it looks like a Camelbak, and gravity does all the work).

PROPANE FIRE PIT You won’t have to worry about bringing firewood, you won’t smell smoky, and roasting marshmallows will be as simple as turning the unit on.

LAKE MAP Cellphone reception here is sketchy at best, and even a good GPS can fail. Be sure to pick up a physical lake map or chart before casting off the dock lines.




RAIN FLY OR TARP It doesn’t matter if you empty an entire can of oh-please-don’t-let-the-tent-leak spray onto the canvas. If you get inclement weather, you’re going to need a good rain fly or a tarp to stay dry. CAMP CHAIRS AND TABLE If you take advantage of dispersed camping rather than the established backcountry sites, you won’t have a picnic table. Bring collapsible camp chairs and a small folding table for meal prep and fireside lounging.


scampered up the trail to the designated sites; they included a large cleared area that would be perfect for our family-size tent. They also had people in them. We could hunker down here and wait for the weather to pass, or we could return to Elk Creek. The nearby Turtle Rock campsites might be an option — or full too. Since it was getting late, we opted to leave our safe harbor. As soon as we returned to open water, however, it was clear that we weren’t going anywhere. First, the flat-topped mesas near the Dillon Pinnacles looked blurry behind an ominous gray sheet. The storm was here. Our window had closed.

wrapped the rode around a massive rock. Finally, we found our spot. Swallows swooped and dived under the lip of the orange cliffs, and amid the array of tumbled-down boulders on the sand, we had plenty of room to pitch our tent and arrange our fire pit and camp chairs. Supper was a quick affair, thanks to our decision to precook the sauce and noodles, and with the palette of sunset colors fading, we plied our daughter with roasted marshmallows and sent her to bed. A bright, silvery moon gave way to a still dawn, and I woke to the whirr of a spinning reel as my husband made a valiant yet unsuccessful effort to catch breakfast. Instead, we fired up the camp stove for a hearty skillet of scrambled eggs, potatoes

and precooked bacon. All too soon, it was time to make the leisurely cruise back to Elk Creek Marina and our victory margarita. Sadly, Pappy’s was closed on Tuesdays, but the National Park Service concessionaire graciously allowed us to

make a picnic lunch and eat it on the broad, sunny deck. He even whipped up a signature margarita so we could share in this local boating tradition. Taking stock, we spent several hours of our adventure wet, cold and

frustrated. Was it worth it? Absolutely. There is nothing like cruising into a backcountry campsite that feels like it’s a million miles from nowhere. And, most important, it’s sheer pleasure to discover a boating haven where you least expect it. B O A T I N G M A G . C O M



Night Vision When it’s dark, using a night-vision camera is like flipping on the lights. It reveals what’s hidden around your boat, turning a hesitant helmsman into a confident captain. Let’s look at what’s available to boaters. — Ken Englert

Light-Amplification Systems There are two basic approaches to night-vision systems. One is light amplification: A special camera multiplies low-level light to create viewable images. ComNav’s fixedmount V1C ($3,265, comnav low-light camera features a 26x optical zoom and comes with a joystick for pan and tilt operation. Night to Day Camera Systems’ SC1717-2 ($2,999, nite is a portable low-light

system with a compact Canon ultralow-light camera, a mounting bracket, a cable and a 7-inch color monitor, all in a waterproof case.

Thermal-Imaging Systems

shown far left) camera offers 320 x 240 pixel resolution. Other popular FLIR models include the M-Series (price starts at $8,999, shown near left), which offers 360-degree pan and tilt with a joystick control. You can see out to about 2 nautical miles. FLIR’s InstAlert feature can highlight the “hottest” element in view, such as a man overboard. All models easily mount on a cabin roof, radar arch or T-top. The IRIS295 NightRunner ($4,500, boat-cameras .com, shown right) features full pan, tilt and zoom. Installation is simplified by use of a single inexpensive Cat-5 cable to deliver power and to control data and video. Iris also offers a line of digital video recorders (from $1,100).

display. With the FLIR cameras, you can also control functions via an MFD from a variety of brands, including Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine and Simrad.

Remote Monitoring

Handheld Devices

Want to see what is going on at your boat at night? The GOST Watch HD ($2,300 basic package, with connection to one of FLIR’s M-Series cameras (purchased separately) lets you spy on your boat from anywhere by viewing the thermal images on your computer, tablet or smartphone via the Internet. Most fixed-mount, night-vision cameras display their images on a separate dedicated monitor or more commonly on the boat’s multifunction display (MFD). Cameras with pan, tilt or zoom ability can be controlled by a joystick or control pad mounted near the

While lacking some features of fixed-mount models, a portable night-vision camera offers the ability to be used anywhere, such as on a dinghy while going ashore or returning to the boat. FLIR’s First Mate II series of handhelds ($1,999 to $8,925, shown below) offers features such as 240 x 180 to 320 x 240 resolution, 2x to 4x zoom, and the ability to store a picture or video on an SD card. Optical distances range from 1,000 feet to about 1 nautical mile for a man overboard, and to 2.5 nautical miles for seeing larger objects, like boats.

The second approach is thermal imaging. Such systems don’t require visible light, but rather read the temperature differences of objects in infrared light and show them in pictures. The fixed-mount FLIR MD-324 ($3,499,,


Light-amplification cameras cannot “see” in total darkness. Some ambient light, even moonlight or starlight, must be present. Fog can impair the effectiveness of these devices. Thermal-imaging cameras might not be able to sense an object’s heat patterns when viewing through a windshield, an enclosure or fog. — K.E.





Short Casts

Gotcha Covered

Three tips to keep your gaff safe while not in use

QUICK TIP Gaffing tuna in the head preserves tasty flesh. A gaff with a cutting point makes this job easier than a gaff with a conical point.

A gaff is an invaluable fishing tool, enabling the landing and control of fish too large or too feisty for a net. But a gaff’s point can pierce an angler’s flesh as easily as it can that of a fish. That’s why it’s imperative to keep the point of gaffs covered when not in use. Here are three ways to keep your gaff points safe. — Kevin Falvey

SPONGE BALL I like a sponge ball better than a tennis ball because it tends to grip the point more securely.

Tuna on Porpoise While the exact nature of the feeding relationship between short-beak common dolphins and yellowfin tuna is subject to debate, there is no doubt that for generations fishermen have used these mammals to help guide them to biting fish. — Ron Ballanti the group is heading and run up ahead to intersect its course. This can be challenging, because dolphins that are feeding (not traveling) tend to change directions frequently. It can be frustrating for anglers to do everything

right — get into position, shut down the motor, fly-line baits behind the boat — and then watch the dolphins and tuna turn away. When it all clicks, however, and the dolphins cross your stern, multiple hookups on hard-fighting yellowfin

are often the result. On busy summer weekends, any bunch of jumping, feeding dolphins will quickly attract a crowd of boats. It’s critical that anglers work together; all it takes is one “gung-ho” boater to shut it down for everybody.

Furuno FCV-627

The 5.7-inch Furuno FCV-627 is a 600-watt color LCD finder with bottom discrimination function enabling structure analysis. $730; — K.F.




CORK Some anglers go traditional and place cork on the point of their gaffs.

SURGICAL TUBING Surgical tubing, sourced from your tackle dealer, is a great way to sheath a gaff point. Affix it to the handle with tie wraps so it doesn't get lost.


Whether you’re trolling lures or attempting to catch yellowfin with live baits, you just don’t want to run your boat into the middle of the pod. Instead, try to predict the speed and direction BY RANDY VANCE

Trailer Lights LED Light Test



PRODUCT INCLUDES: Kit with wiring; license-plate bracket. PRODUCT LACKS: Watertight heat-shrink connectors. PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: Optronics’ LED lights feature a watertight potted polymer LED pod protected inside the Fresnel and housing. Stainless-steel mounting hardware is included. It also has an integrated license-plate illuminator.


BEST APPLICATION: Freshwater trailering or RV trailers are ideal; they’re saltwater serviceable too, with careful attention paid to waterproof connectors. ALSO NOTED: The lights functioned perfectly but lacked tinned wire. That can be mitigated, however, by making all connections watertight with heat-shrink watertight connectors, such as those by Ancor.











LED lights prove more reliable than incandescent bulbs. LEDs boast life cycles of 100,000 hours and use less power, putting less strain on the rest of the vehicle’s electrical system. Unless you are planning to replace only one light and the system is incandescent, we’d recommend LEDs. Once your incandescent lights start to go, you can keep replacing them or redo the whole system with LEDs and solve the problem, probably for the life of your trailer. The products here aren’t the entire universe of LED trailer lights out there, just several of the most popular and available options.

Learn more about trailer lights and watch our videos at


TLL-12RK Oval Flush LED Pair

50080290 Rectangular LED Kit with Wiring

407560 LED 4-by-6-Inch Taillight Kit


































PRODUCT INCLUDES: Right and left taillights; brake and turn lights and wiring terminal plugs. PRODUCT LACKS: All sidelights and license illuminators are individual components for a great custom look. PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: These lights are watertight and potted. Light plugs are pre-filled with silicone grease to extend corrosion-free operation. BEST APPLICATION: Freshwater trailering with custom bass boat, RV, utility or equipment trailers. They replace easily. ALSO NOTED: They lacked tinned wire, so careful watertight connections with heat-shrink or silicone 3M connectors are essential — supply your own. The lights were solid feeling, with durable Fresnels and complete submersibility. Optronics manufactures a number of custom lights in this genre and also makes watertight LED sidelights and license-place iiluminators to keep the entire look consistent.




PRODUCT INCLUDES: Driver- and passenger-side taillights with license illuminator and sidelights, plus a tinned wiring harness with plug. PRODUCT LACKS: Sidelights; center clearance light (both required for trailers wider than 80 inches). PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: A very bright LED array makes this highly visible, and the potted LED pod is watertight inside the Fresnel housing. All hardware is stainless steel. BEST APPLICATION: Great for freshwater or saltwater trailering. Its low amp draw protects the vehicle’s power system. ALSO NOTED: SeaSense makes numerous trailer lights. It is committed to the efficiencies of LED lights, which include low-amp draw and thousands of hours of continuous use. Many lighting options are available including LED sidelights and complete wiring kits for an overhaul.

PRODUCT INCLUDES: All wiring and stainless-steel mounting hardware; license-plate bracket; driver-side taillight with license-plate illuminator; passengerside taillight. PRODUCT LACKS: Amber side-clearance lights; center clearance light (both optional for trailers wider than 80 inches). PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: The Wesbar light was totally watertight but did not include tinned wire for maximum corrosion protection. All connectors are waterresistant, and taillight connector plugs are greased for added protection. BEST APPLICATION: These lights should give their best service in freshwater marine trailering applications or saltwater trailering with special care to watertight wiring procedures. ALSO NOTED: Non-watertight butt connectors for wiring mean salt or fresh water can penetrate wiring insulation, causing hidden corrosion.




Learn more about trailer lights and watch our videos at

Trailer Requirements (All Trailers) The manufacturer of your trailer has very likely complied with the following requirements for lighting; however, an older trailer may have malfunctioning or missing lights. WHAT


Tail Lamps





Widest point of rear, both sides

15" to 72"

Stop Lamps



Widest point of rear, both sides

15" to 72"

Turn Lamps


Red or Yellow

Widest point of rear, both sides

15" to 72"




Widest point of rear, both sides

15" to 60"

License Plate Lamp



Over license plate

Not specified

Side Marker Lamps



As far to rear as practicable, both sides

15" to 60"

Rear Side Reflectors



As far to rear as practicable, both sides

15" to 60"

Additional requirements for trailers longer than 30 feet


STL-80 (Kit 287512) Submersible for Under 80-Inch-Wide Trailers











Near center, both sides

15" (min.)

Middle Reflectors



Near center, both sides

15" (min.)

Additional requirements for trailers wider than 80 inches



Middle Side Marker Lamps

Rear ID Lamps



Centered between taillights

6" to 12" apart

Rear Clearance Lamps



Near rear, facing rear

High as possible

Front Clearance Lamps



Widest forward point, facing forward

High as possible

Lighting Tips Lighting manufacturers are permitted to combine tail, stop, turn, rear clearance and license plate lights into a single lamp. Be sure you select a light certified for the width of your trailer — over or under 80 inches wide. Taillights aren’t always ambidextrous. Combination lights feature a license plate illuminator only on the left light.

PRODUCT LACKS: Watertight connectors; side marker lights. PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS: Durable housing, potted electronics and molded-in stainless-steel mounting studs make the installation easy. Also includes tinned wire harness. BEST APPLICATION: Trailers under 80 inches wide, such as smaller utility boats and PWC trailers. ALSO NOTED: Wesbar is one of the oldest names in marine trailering equipment and its complete line includes lighting, winches, hitch components and other hardware. For a complete rewiring and relighting of trailers, they have LED sidelights and full wiring harnesses as well. This light system boasted a very tough outer case, sealed and submersible.




For saltwater boaters, it’s important to use stainless-steel mounting hardware. It’s best for fresh water, but galvanized will do. Tinned copper wire is more corrosion-resistant than untinned copper wire and essential to long trailer-light life.

HOW WE TESTED Bright is better, and light intensity levels are regulated by the Department of Transportation. All our lights met DOT requirements, but we verified light levels in our lab and also noted several other characteristics we felt were important for relighting a trailer.


We measured lumens

from 15 feet away with a light meter and scored 3,

2 or 1 for the brightest to dimmest lights.


All LEDs are electronic devices and must be protected with a watertight polymer poured and cured over the circuits to keep them functioning. All our lights scored 3 points in this test.


We measured current draw and gave a 3 to the

least draw and a 1 to the highest draw. Incandescent lights draw about 100 times the current.


Tinned wire is an essential feature for added corrosion protection, especially in salt water. We scored lights that use it with 3 points.




PRODUCT INCLUDES: Right and left taillights; stoplights; turn indicators; license-plate illuminator. Automotive Accessories

See Our Full Line of Automotive Accessories at

Cargo/Trunk Liner


Laser Measured

FloorLiner™ Laser Measured to Perfectly Fit your Vehicle Available for over 900 Applications in Black, Tan and Grey

Accessories Available for Order Now: 800-441-6287


Side Window Deflectors

Acura · Audi · BMW · Buick · Cadillac · Chevrolet · Chrysler · Dodge · Ferrari · Ford · GMC · Honda · Hummer · Hyundai · Infniti Isuzu · Jeep · Kia · Land Rover · Lexus · Lincoln · Maserati · Mazda · Mercedes-Benz · Mercury · Mini · Mitsubishi · Nissan Oldsmobile · Plymouth · Pontiac · Porsche · Saab · Saturn · Scion · Subaru · Suzuki · Toyota · Volkswagen · Volvo · and more!

American Customers

Canadian Customers

European Customers © 2014 by MacNeil IP LLC Following Seas By David Seidman  We’ll feed them until they’re full and then they

Bad Decisions

THEY ALWAYS MAKE GOOD STORIES. ROM THE MOMENT YOU WAKE UP, YOU BEGIN MAKING choices. Most of them will be of little consequence, such as whether you scratch your head or butt first. Either one will do just fine. But some can have long-term effects on your life. Granted these are rare. Generally, our lives are so dull that you can’t screw up too badly no matter which way you go. But we boaters get to lay it on the line each time we go out. I get to go out a lot, mostly for this magazine. Which has given me the opportunity to make some truly memorable bad decisions. Usually these begin with conversations in my head that start with “I’m surprised no one else has thought of doing this!” or “how bad could it be?” Which is how I came to volunteer to test a shark repellent. A guy from South Africa sent me a belt with some batteries, wires and brass studs. As his brochure explained, it creates an electrical field that shocks the sharks — making me less appetizing. It sounded reasonable. Now all I needed were some sharks. Easy enough. I found this professor at the University of Miami who was up for an experiment. As he put it, “We’ll feed them until they’re full and then they won’t bite you.” Beyond dumb. But he was a professor, and he professed to know sharks. We went out; the sharks began to show up and were soon seriously chowing down. The one image that is seared into my few remaining brain cells is of a 6-footer halfway out of the water, jaws snapping mechanically, trying to reach the


professor’s chum bucket. Which was the moment when I decided to scrap the whole thing. But, as predicted, the sharks eventually lost interest in the food and were just lingering around. So I slipped into the water, fumbled for the switch, turned the gadget on and immediately felt my back go into spasms. The current stung and made me twitch like a wounded flounder. Not good. I soon got used to the tingling and swam directly into a ball of eight reef sharks. To my surprise they instantly twisted away. It works! Cool. Since I was sharkproof, I grabbed the tail of one. Nothing happened and my hand was still attached to my arm. Very cool. I was now on the far side of the sharks and had to swim through them to get back into the boat. But this time, no one was moving and I was stuck in this rotating mass of increasingly curious sharks. I made it to the swim platform and flew out of the water, bringing my legs up as fast as possible. “Did you see that?” I asked the professor. “How come it didn’t work the second time?” “Don’t know, but check this out,” he said, pointing to floating electrocuted baitfish and the sharks that were nibbling on them like so many soggy french fries. “I thought they weren’t supposed to be hungry.” “Guess I didn’t throw in enough fish heads.” Either way, I survived. And I’ve got a great story to tell. Lately, when I start hearing those voices in my head, I’m learning to say “no” and to point my bow seaward. There are plenty of stories outside the inlet, most of them good ones. Hope to see you there, without the fish heads.

BOATING (ISSN 0006-5374) (USPS 504-810), September 2014, Volume 87, No. 8. ©2014. Boating is published monthly, except July/August and November/December, by Bonnier Corporation, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789. Periodicals postage paid at Winter Park, Florida, and additional mailing offices. Authorized periodicals postage by the Post Office Department, Ottawa, Canada, and for payment in cash. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to BOATING, PO Box 6364, Harlan, IA 51593-1864;; Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement No. 40612608 Canada. Returns to be sent to IMEX Global Solutions, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2 Canada. If the postal service alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year.





won’t bite you.

Š2014 Porsche Cars North America, Inc. Porsche recommends seat belt usage and observance of all traffic laws at all times.

Purity in its most impure form. Nothing can replicate the feeling of driving a Porsche. No other combination of sound, feel, sight and soul will suffice. Nothing else is as timeless nor as thrilling. And with the first ever Cayman GTS, nothing else delivers mischief quite as powerfully. Its legendary mid-engine layout, now more potent than ever, brings agility to a whole new level. Equipped with a standard Sport Chrono Package and optional Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission, 340 horsepower handily delivers 0–60 in 4.3 seconds on its way to a top track speed of 175 mph. Clearly, the Cayman GTS is in possession of ulterior motives.

Porsche. There is no substitute.


Boating 2014 09  
Boating 2014 09