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THE TAHOE 1950

There are some people that believe calling someone or something a “Jack of all trades” is a negative decree. Clearly, none of these people have ever been to a Walmart before. You can get everything from a Bible to an iPad to a Snickers bar to women’s lingerie and be in and out in about fifteen minutes. This idea that we need to be specialized in one specific area is good in some realms — I don’t really want my brain surgeon to also be a plumber on the side. But when it comes to my vehicles, I don’t mind an AWD SUV that is plenty quick, gets 30 mpg on the highway and has enough room for five adults and can tow a small boat. I don’t need a full-bore race car that I can only drive when conditions are absolutely perfect, especially when I need to go to Walmart.

This philosophy also pertains to boating. Sure, a pure speed boat is fun out on the open water, but what happens when you want to take more than one person out with you to enjoy the sea? Or sure, all all out fishing sport boat is a good time when you’re with your buddies, but when the wife and kids want to spend the day in the sun, it’s going to be tough to explain that the trolling motor shouldn’t be used as a reboarding ladder.

But thankfully Tahoe has given us the answer we need. The Tahoe 1950 is indeed a jack of all trades, but in the good way. This boat has a length overall of 19’ 5”, and a beam of 8’ 6”. It sports a dead rise of 20 degrees and has a draft of 32”. Beginning with a Powerglide fiberglass hull with Hyrodstep lifting strakes, it serves nicely as a family friendly cruiser thanks in no small part to things like wraparound bow seating for up to ten people total, as well as a removable table that can be mounted in two different locations, and has its own storage area. Speaking of storage, there is storage abound on this boat, with an in-floor wakeboard/ski storage compartment, as well as no matter what your daily activity.

There is an aft swim platform sports a ski tow rope rack as well as a four step telescoping boarding ladder for water sports, and then optional rod holders and tackle trays with dedicated storage no matter what your daily activities. The color keyed Bimini top that has quick release hardware and a drop down changing curtain as well as the four-speaker Bluetooth capable stereo provide shade and tunes for all manner of adventures.

Max horsepower is 150, which is plenty enough to haul the max people weight of 1,430 pounds. Obviously engine choice dictates the price of this boat, but with the base Mercury 115 EXLPT Pro XS Fourstroke Command Thrust with a horsepower rating of 115, and has an estimated top speed of about 45 mph, you’ll be ponying up about $33,995. That price can climb to about $35,000 if you opt for the trailer and the 150 XS Fourstroke Mercury motor. There are also a multitude of options to choose from, so you do have the ability to cater this boat to whichever lifestyle you lean towards the most. But, no matter what your focus, with the Tahoe 1950, you’ll have the ability to fish and troll along the bay, or go water skiing and tubing with the family the very next day, and all of that versatility for the cost of a small SUV. And while it may not have all the amenities of your average Walmart, t looks like this jack of all trades has everything you need to enjoy a day at sea, no matter what your goals.

CROWNLINE 350 SY

There are certain moments in life when you realize that you’ve made it. Maybe it’s when you finally get that big promotion to senior executive. Or maybe it’s when you buy that first big five bedroom house in the neighborhood you only dreamed about when you were younger. Or maybe it’s when you pull up to your new home in that brand new Corvette ZO6, and don’t have the slightest twinge of buyer’s remorse. All of these things are common indicators to oneself, and others, that you have in fact, arrived. But above all else, there is one generally accepted way to really show that you’re new status is not just mere posturing — and that is with a yacht, and the Crownline 350 SY just might just be the best of the bunch.

Crownline makes no bones about it with the 350 SY — it’s not cheap. With nationally advertised price starting at $299,995, it may seem expensive, but when you really get into what you are buying with that money it actually is a very good deal. This 36’ cruiser has a beam of 143”, a dry weight of 16,300 pounds, a draft of 31” and a fuel capacity of 193 gallons. This is a boat meant to be taken out for long periods and enjoyed by many.

The fit and finish of the 350 SY is nothing short of remarkable. The plush seating is not just for the captain, but there is also plenty of extra passenger space in the cockpit along with a removable table that doesn’t feel cheap like it can in so many lesser boats. Go down into the galley and the attention to detail is even more underlined. The cabinetry is rich solid wood that simply shines. The ceramic top stove is complimented by a stainless steel refrigerator, microwave and sink. Not only that but the backsplash and counters are custom made, and oh you need to use the head? Well, you’re in luck by the seat is made of teak and the solid surface countertops go nicely with the adjustable shower head and electric flush.

Back up on the main deck, there are features and amenities commensurate with what you’d expect and want in a vessel of this caliber. An air conditioner and heater are standard issue, as is the aluminum hard top, electric cockpit grill, LED lighting, generator, and auto fire extinguishing system.

In terms of electronics there is a Raymarine Axiom 9 with a 9” touchscreen that provides engine information and sonar. There is also a Shorepower 50’ cord to help keep things fun even when not out on the water, as well as a six speaker Kicker Performance stereo that also can be controlled via a remote at the transom. But if music to you is listening to the sound of water rushing by, then the 3509 SY will provide in spades. Standard power comes from Twin Mercruiser 6.2-liter Mag Bravo III w/DTS Controls that make a serious 600-horsepower. There are quite a few optional engines available with a max horsepower at a staggering 860 ponies.

Speaking of options, obviously with a boat of this level, there are plenty of ways to customize it. There are several different flooring options aside from the standard Driftwood Woven Mat. You can have more of that teak look, or something called Moonrock, or even carpet — all of which are of the snap in variety. You can also upgrade to their Black Diamond Racing Wheel, and choose from a myriad of interior trim upgrades.

But while the Crownline 350 SY offers up a host of features and lavish accoutrements, it is more than the sum of its parts. The real achievement of this boat is how effortlessly all of those pieces flow together. When you are on it, you can almost feel your social status being ratcheted up a few notches — just by the way you feel about yourself being on this floating palace. Sure, it may cost 300 grand, but once you reach that point in life where you’ve earned yourself a reward, the Crownline 350 SY will make sure that you know that money, though hard earned, has been well spent, and you will be reminded of it each and every time you set foot on this wonderful prize. 

SEAPRO 259 CC

Whether or not you happen to be a religious type of person, there is a Biblical verse in the Book of Matthew that says, “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other.” Again, even an atheist can appreciate the symbolism and metaphorical usefulness of such a statement. Even in the marketing of products, it is much better to serve a particular niche than to try and cater to everyone. People that are in the market for a sports car will be looking at Corvettes and Porsches and probably not Honda Odysseys or Toyota RAV4s. Honda and Toyota know this and don’t try to shoehorn a twin-turbocharged 500 horsepower motor into those cars … because that isn’t their target audience’s needs or wants.

In theory, this concept also applies to the boating industry as well. Generally speaking, a cigar boat isn’t made with rod holders … because those owners are looking for speed, not bluefish. Luxury yacht owners don’t usually equip their posh vessels with a trolling motor … because that is just not in their agenda, and the companies know that. But once in a while we see a boat that changes our feelings on all of those notions. A boat like the Sea Pro D259 Deep V Series.

This 25’ 9” boat with a beam of 9’4”, a draft of 19”, power up to 400-horsepower, and a dry weight of about 4,850 pounds (sans motor) is a true fishing boat by its DNA. It has a pressurized 30 gallon live well at the transom that sports a trick clear lid, a 20 gallon freshwater tank beneath the bow floorboards, a set of in-floor fish boxes that are 160 quarts each. The macerated fish boxes are under the floor on either side of the console’s leaning post. There is plenty of rod storage and rod holders strewn about the boat, with horizontal storage starboard side and no less than five rod holders overhead. The bow table is a de facto cast netting platform. The advertised deep-V hull is set up nicely with its slightly bigger than average bow to take on the waves our on the open water with ease. The open console is nicely laid out with plenty of room for all kinds of electronics including a SIMRAD NSS12 EVO3 w/thu-hull transducer, while the dash top compass keeps you pointed in the right direction. There is plenty of space and room for multiple castings at the same time without having to worry about catching your buddy in the head with a lure.

But, despite serving one very clear fishing oriented master, the 259 does a more than admirable job at providing and serving another master — family-friendly comfort for up to 14 people. Beginning out back at the transom, there is a fold out bench that is supremely cushioned with a height-adjustable backrest that provides even more support. There are even more cushy bench seating on the forward deck that sit nicely over all of the port and starboard storage areas. There are two removable backrests to help create matching mini-sun pads. There is another seat on the front side of the helm, while the helm itself provides Llebroc seats that have adjustable bolsters and folding armrests. There is a full head inside the console replete with sink and spray hose.

In terms of optional equipment there are plenty of amenities the 259 offers up. There is an optional t-top that should be standard in our opinion for reasons of necessity. There is an optional option of the underside color of the t-top matching the rest of the boat. A ski tow, dive/scuba door ladder and LED lighting package all offer up even more fun in the sun.

So while a man may not serve two masters, it seems that the Sea Pro 259 Deep V Series has give us something more to think about. The 259 does hold true to its roots with a major in fishing, maybe family friendly comfort isn’t another master, but something more like a minor, and with that kind of ability to offer such versatility, whether you’re religious or not, the 259 will undoubtedly be considered by some to be a godsend.

TAHOE T16

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If you have taken a basic economics course, the idea of barriers to entry should sound familiar. The fundamental idea is simple enough. In most businesses or ventures of any kind, there are some hurdles that need to be jumped over before you can get where you want to be. If you want to open up a fitness center, you need a serious amount of cash on hand as the start up cost of all that equipment is very high. If you want to start your own restaurant, there are not only start up costs that can get pretty lofty, but there is a lot of government regulation in the form of health code inspectors that will nitpick (hopefully) things to make sure no one gets e-coli from your plant based burgers. Even if you want to join the NFL, you need to make it through three full years of college, and then also be a physical specimen most guys only dream about.

But the idea of barriers to entry isn’t just about businesses starting up … it also applies to the things that keep customers away from your products or businesses too. Not everyone can own a Bentley for example, because the price is too high for many people. And this isn’t just the auto industry. The boating industry faces this challenge more than most extracurricular activity based businesses. For the most part, unless you are a full time fisherman or Coast Guard, boats are a luxury item, and for most normal people, luxury items can only cost so much because disposable income is typically at a premium. But the boat price itself isn’t always the sole cost that needs to be considered. The auxiliary costs are often what ends up sinking (pun intended) most people’s dreams of owning a boat.

But the Tahoe T16 might just have an answer to many people’s prayers and wishes. The T16 is a sport boat that is a scant 16’ 5” in length overall, with a beam of 7’6” and a transom height of 20”. The T16 is exceptionally roomy for something that doesn’t look all that big. The bow seating is comfortable and has plenty of molded-in storage as well as reversible backrests to make sure you can be a part of the party no matter which end of the boat it is happening on. The rotomolded console comes with a very useful acrylic windscreen while the multi gauge display shows all the pertinent info needed to make sure things are in good working order. There is also a 12 volt outlet to help power all kinds of digital devices, as well as storage trays to keep them from flying overboard.

Around the deck you’ll notice a non-skid fiberglass floor, as well as UV-resistant upholstery. The in-floor storage is well designed, while the aft sunpad makes life better and hides additional storage beneath it. There are a total of nine cup holders scattered around the deck as well as ample grab handles to help make sure both you, and your drink, stay put.

In terms of options, the T16 provides plenty to help customize your sea-going experience to suit your needs. We would recommend first and foremost the Kicker stereo and speakers that will only run you $420. The hydraulic steering makes life much easier in tight spaces. There is a 6-gallon aerated livewell for those more fishing oriented customers, and a TurboSwing ski tow bar for those more attuned to water sports. The soft touch interior flooring and swim platform is nice, but probably best suited for those with young kids, while the bimini top and stainless steel frame is a worthwhile check box for just about anyone. And finally the trailer upgrade that gives you a swing away tongue and upgraded brakes might just prove worth far beyond the easily $560 it will cost on the day of purchase.

So with a base price of just $15,995 with a Mercury 60 FourStroke motor, the Tahoe T16 breaks through that usual barrier of entry into the boating world, and costs about half as much as a new Toyota Camry. But, taken a step further, because the total package weight of the T16 is just 2,200 pounds, that means that you also don’t need to upgrade your tow vehicle to a a $60,000 Ford F-350, and can keep that Camry. Throw a Class 2 hitch on your Toyota (or any mid-sized vehicle for that matter), and suddenly the Tahoe T16 has taken that barrier to entry of yours and turned it into something that looks more like a welcome mat.

BULLS BAY 230 CC

It seems that we live in a world where businesses are always trying to fit as many people under their umbrella as they can. You go to a steakhouse and it’s not just steak, nope there’s pasta, asian noodles, and even vegetarian dishes. You turn on a sports radio show and they’re talking not just sports, but music, and family, and religion and politics. If you want to buy a sports car, now there are four door sports cars, and all-wheel drive sports cars, and even SUV sports “cars” so you can take your kids along for the ride. And while having more options is not always a bad thing, the saying, “you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” comes distinctly to mind. As a company that offers a product, you shouldn’t want to try to sell to all of the people. You should make a thing, make it target a singularly minded audience/customer base, and do that thing as well as it can be done. The Bulls Bay 230CC is a shining example of that philosophy.

Sure having a boat that you can take fishing and then spend the day on the bay doing all kinds of water sports with the kids is nice, but let’s be serious — when you want to fish, you want a fishing boat, and a damn good one. The Bulls Bay 230CC is a no bull (pun intended) offshore vessel that has no misgivings about what it is. With a length overall of 22’ 8”, a beam of 8’6” a draft of 17”, and a dry weight of 2,450 pounds, the 230CC is an ideal size for you and up to eight others (provided you all weigh less than 1,237 pounds) to head out onto the open water. The massive 103 gallon fuel tank makes it easy to search far and wide for that perfect spot with no concern of not being able to make it back.

You’ll quickly notice the spacious casting decks both fore and aft are complimented by plenty of seating that is more comfortable than you might expect. Stainless steel grab rails make nice accent pieces, while the horizontal rod storage space hides up to six rods away nicely, while there is an additional four vertical rod holders sit behind the helm’s lean post. The huge 35 gallon aerated live wells are a must have, as is the obligatory fish and locking storage boxes. And we certainly couldn’t leave out the stainless steel cup holders sprinkled throughout, because what is a day of fishing without a few beverages?

In terms of optional equipment the 230CC has plenty to offer. There is a very useful T-Top with a radio box, a recirculating live well, a trolling motor plug, spreader lights both fore and aft. A bow cushion and spray shield would also go on our list of ‘must-haves’ right along with the Marine audio system that comes with four speakers. There are seven hull colors to choose from, of which, we think the Steel Blue is the prettiest.

Power comes from a base engine from Yamaha (the F175XB) which makes 175 -horsepower, but this boat can be outfitted with a motor up to 300-horsepower. Base price comes in right around $45,000, and can climb over 60k depending on how many option boxes you decide to check.

The Bulls Bay 230CC isn’t going to be mistaken for a cruise liner, or a yacht, or a speed boat. Nope, it won’t be and it doesn’t want to be. What it is, is a very competent and capable boat that is purpose built for one goal — to help you fish like a champ. We applaud the singular focus of the 230CC, because seriously, who wants to order linguine at a steakhouse anyway?

PIONEER 180 ISLANDER

Oftentimes the most unassuming people in the world are some the most successful. Tom Brady still goes around to all of the rookies every year and introduces himself by saying, “Hello, I’m Tom” as if these star-struck 21 year olds have never heard of the greatest quarterback of all time. Warren Buffett still lives in a house in Omaha Nebraska that looks like a young dentist would have bought. Bill Gates has enough money to buy every major sports team in the country and make them all wear dresses if he really wanted to, and yet he still dresses like a shoe salesman. The point being here is that all of these very successful people don’t try to be flashy. They don’t scream for attention because they have an innate sense of confidence.

So how does that relate to an article that is about boats you might ask? Well, in the case of a one such as Pioneer Boats’ 180 Islander , there is proof that you can feel successful, while still maintaining a very unassuming profile.

The 180 Islander is a wonderful package of just the right amount of space and features to host a lovely day out on the water for up to six people. With a length overall of 17’ 10”, a beam of 7’ 7”, a draft of 11” and a dry weight of just 1,100 pounds, this vessel will not be a burden to two to the water for most basic SUVs. No need for a monster eighty thousand dollar F-350 diesel to muscle your way down the highway … nope, a simple Ranger or Wrangler will do just fine.

In terms of standard equipment, the 180 Islander comes stocked with everything you might need to enjoy your day, however you want to spend it. A 12 gallon live well, a total of eight rod holders, a dedicated anchor locker, as well an insulated fish box and a large bow casting deck allow for plenty of fishing fun. If fishing isn’t your thing that day, that casting deck up front can transform with ease. The bow is decked out with a large seating area with firm but comfortable bolsters, and what used to be a casting deck can be made into a lovely sun pad. There is also a huge 80 quart cooler that comes with a seat cushion and back rest to offer up more seating space. The pilot seat is fully reversible so the captain can enjoy the party even if it’s behind him. The cockpit is self bailing, and the flooring is fitted with a very useful non-skid liner.

The 180 Islander also has a long list of optional equipment too. Things like a removable ski tow, a tackle center, additional rod racks, an upgraded Polk Audio system (highly recommended), a 12/24v trolling motor plug, a bimini top, t-top, cargo net and even a casting chair kit. There are also seven hull colors to choose from to further personalize it to your tastes.

Power comes from a range of engine choices. The standard Yamaha F90LB produces 90-horsepower, while the max power comes from a Suzuki DF140TLW that cranks out a solid 140-horsepower. Whichever power and options you choose, Pioneer offers up a seven year fully transferable structural hull warranty.

For a base price of just about $33,000, the 180 Island from Pioneer Boats is the perfect example of how to be able to have fun without looking like your starving for attention. It has the ability to allow friends and family to enjoy a great day on the water without secretly harboring (no pun intended) some latent jealousy for all your success. We’re not sure what kind of boat men like Tom Brady, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates own or might have owned in their time, but if their unassuming personalities hold true, then the 180 Islander would be a perfect fit.

ROBALO 246 CAYMAN

Being purpose built is something that has increasingly been en vogue in recent years. It can be seen everywhere. So few doctors are just primary care internists anymore, so you can’t just go in and see if the pain in your arm is a tumor or not, nope, now you have to go see a skeletal oncologist surgeon who is one of three in the state and hope he has time for you. Cars are much the same too — no more five seats and four wheels that all kind of look the same. Nowadays you can find an all-wheel drive SUV that has a power convertible top, because … why not. The days of ‘one-size fits all’ are pretty much gone for good. Niche markets are the demand, and more and more specialization is expected at this point. This philosophy can be seen in the boating world as well. A boat like the Robalo 246 Cayman is a wonderful example of exactly what we expect a bay boat to be. It can get into and out of skinny water without so much as tickling its hull and has all the features and amenities you might expect to find in a true fishing boat.

The 246 Cayman picks up where Robalo left off with the 206 and 226 variations and synthesizes what it learned from each of those into a shallow water and weeds loving boat that can handle a bit of rough every once in a while. At 24’6” the 246 Cayman offers incredibly large casting decks at both the bow and stern. The unusually large 9’ beam allows for wider side decks, not to mention more stability to help it take on those unexpected storms and choppy waves. Also helping with a stable ride is the pronounced bow flare that keeps things dry when choppy waters threaten to soak everyone onboard.

On board there is room for nine actual adults that can all be seated in various places at once. In so many average bay boats, we are used to having to play the game of having to choose whether we want to fish and have a casting deck, or have seating so everyone won’t be mad at us. The bow seating that you might think would be nonexistent due to the casting deck, actually shares the space nicely, and can even be had with removable backrests. There is a removable table that can affixed and still not be intrusive to those that want to fish. Lower that same table and suddenly you have a very nice sun pad to lay out on, all the while it will be hiding not less than three compartments for storage underneath in the form of lockable storage bins.

while the helm sports some molded setbacks and all the basic necessities of modern boating — a compass dead center flanked by useful storage space, as well as all-too-necessary cell phone holder, and even a 12-volt plug for charging those devices. Stainless switches control everything on the boat, while there is space for a pair of 12” screens if so desired, as well as space provided for an optional Garmin 741xs nav system. The stainless steel steering wheel feels solid and provides more than adequate feedback. The helm bench seat is made with an aluminum tube frame while the seating material is UV-resistant. The seat backs pull double duty as they also are mounts for four rod holders, while below the seat is a 70-quart cooler for all things beverage.

Power comes from a 4.2-liter 4-stroke Yamaha 300 XCA that pumps out 300 horsepower, which is enough power to help the 246 Cayman to plane in 3.0 seconds, while helping it to run from 0-30 mph in 8.7 seconds. Not bad for a fishing boat with a dry weight of 3,500 pounds.

So for about the cost of a new BMW 3-Series, you can have yourself a very specialized bay boat in the form of the Robalo 246 Cayman. It isn’t a boat that can do everything, but then, that’s kind of the point. No one wants generic or universal anymore. The 246 Cayman was made to be what it is, a wonderfully purpose built bay boat. In this world of niche markets, Robalo has created a very special specialist we can all enjoy.

Boston Whaler 160 Super Sport

With the increasing complexity of the world at an exponential rate, occasionally it helps to remember that sometimes the simple things are the best. Something as simple as taking a walk through a forest after a long week of work in the city. Or maybe enjoying some quality time with that one (or three) special dogs or cats in your life. Or possibly just singing along to your favorite song on the radio in the car ride home. Any of these things are easy enough to accomplish, and can pay untold dividends in terms of quality of life enjoyment.

One of those big joys in life for most people, is being out on the open water in one way or another. For most, that means having a boat of sorts. Of course, so many of us tend to cringe at the thought of buying a boat, not just because of the horror ownership stories we’ve all heard, but because advertising has us chasing dreams that aren’t actually ours. We’re lead to believe that bigger, and more expensive somehow always equates to better. And sure, there is some truth to the old adage, “You get what you pay for”. But sometimes, a boat like the Boston Whaler 160 Super Sport comes along and you actually get a hell of a lot more than you paid for.

At only 17’5” in length overall, and having a beam of 6’10”, not to mention a empty weight of just 1,060 pounds, the 160 SS is not big by anyone’s definition. The hull is a completely new design helps the Whaler retain its ‘unsinkable’ claim thanks to the company’s patented Unibond hull structure that has closed-cell liquid foam injected into the spaces between the hull and liner. The bonus perks of this process also include higher overall hull strength and integrity as well as a noticeable noise reduction.

Six full sized adults have plenty of room to enjoy the 160 SS. Up at the bow there is a very prominent grab rail engulfing the front of the ship, which is not only aesthetically pleasing thanks to its stainless look, but also reinforces the safety aspect of the boat, as does the non-skid flooring. There are four possible seating options available for this boat, the most fun of which looks to be the dual bucket seats for the the captain and passenger. Both seats swivel 360 degrees, and sport a dual cup holder in between the two. There is also a bench seat option, but we prefer the space to be utilized for drinks rather than another person crammed in. There is also space for a removable 34 inch cooler next to the helm, which could come in handy if you want to use those cup[holders. Also hidden below the bow’s casting deck is a self draining anchor locker neatly integrated into the hull.

Out back there is a huge 5’5” wide by 4’5” long deck that can be used for anything from water sport storage to sunning or dancing if you’d like. The dual-purpose ski tow frame that borders the outboard motor can also be used as a re-boarding grab handle.

Speaking of that outboard, there are two engine choices available. Either one is a four-stroke Mercury built engine, one has 75-horsepower and the other offers up 90-horsepower. If you choose the bigger of the two, then you’re likely to see your time to plane tick off in just 3.4 seconds, while 0-20 mph takes 5.3 seconds. The 75-horsepower version accomplishes those same tasks in 3.2 seconds and 5.8 seconds respectively. Out on the water the 160 SS feels confident and nimble, and never feels like there is too much slide through the corners.

All in all, you can have your new Boston Whaler 160 Super Sport for around twenty grand depending on your option choices. But you won’t have to break the bank to find some enjoyment out on the open water. So whether you’d like to troll through nature, or bring your dog out for a ride, or just sing along to some tunes where no one can hear you, the 160 Super Sport is another shining example of how something very simple, can be one of the very best.

The NITRO Z17

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For the most part, impulse buys are typically frivolous wastes of money that we tend to regret or overpay for. In supermarkets, all the candy, and occasionally soft drinks, by the register are strategically placed there because marketers know that when you’re done grocery shopping, you are more than likely tired, worn down, probably dehydrated, and after spending the last hour or two staring at every food imaginable, probably hungry too. So they put things that call out to you, like Snickers and Milky Way, or peanut butter cups or chocolate covered pretzels to entice you to buy them for two or sometimes three dollars, when only five minutes beforehand you could’ve gotten an entire package of them for about the same price.

Sometimes, impulse buying a larger purchase like a home or a car can be a huge, life altering mistake. Mid-life crisis strikes all of us at some point or another, and one of the biggest impulse buys people make, and regret, is buying a boat. The old saying that the best day of owning a boat is the first day you have it, and the second best day is the day you sell it, comes clearly to mind. But, we are here to tell you that sometimes, an impulse buy can end up being a good purchase. And the new Nitro Z17 might just be the best boat you can go out and grab right now.

This 17’ 4” bass boat has a beam of an impressive 8’4” and a dry weight of just 1,450 pounds. It has a weight capacity of 1,100 pounds, and a person capacity of 460 pounds. Nitro designed this boat with the first time (read: novice) buyer in mind, meaning that they tried to make it as complete a turnkey package as possible. Things like a built in cooler, livewell, fishfinder, and even a trolling motor are all standard issue. Oh, and let us not forget the custom-matched trailer too — all for one shockingly low price of just $23,595.

Starting up front, the Z17 has a huge bow fishing area as well as a raised aft deck. The aforementioned trolling motor has a recessed foot pedal and also controls for the outboard motor and anchor light well within reach. There are locking compartments up front as well that can hold 7’ rods on either side and the center locker can handle a rod up to 7’6” while the marine-grade carpet makes every step feel surefooted and the included bungee cords come in remarkably handy for securing rods, and just about anything else when you’re out on the water. You’ll also find the fire extinguisher has its very own bracket mount tucked away in the starboard bow compartment.

in the cockpit, there are two seats standard with the third middle seat being an option, as is the console that comes with a locking glovebox. All of the seats fold forward on hinges to expose more storage space and access to fuel fittings. The console on the port side is more of a placeholder for one lucky passenger and provides the necessities: A windscreen to keep their eyes from tearing up, and a grab bar to keep them in the actual seat when this Z17 rockets off.

And don’t be mistaken, this Nitro built boat lives up to its name. Have a seat at the helm and look down at the VeeThree gauge cluster and you might be surprised at what that tach and speedometer is telling you. Powered by a Mercury ProXS FourStroke outboard motor that makes a serious 115-horsepower, this powerhouse exemplifies what power-to-weight ratio is all about. The Z17 sprints to plane in only 3.7 seconds, runs from 0-20 mph in 6.2 seconds, 0-30 mph in 9.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of over 50 mph. That may not be powerboat fast, but it’s certainly enough to kick some bass (sorry). But, the Z17 isn’t just about speeding from fishing hole to fishing hole. It also has a massive 24 gallon tank that it sips on quite judiciously with a prudent driver at the helm, with its best cruise coming at 3,000 rpm at about 21 mph. That translates to 7.5 mpg and a range of just over 160 miles on a full tank.

All in all, the Nitro Z17 is a one-stop-shop for all things bass boat. It’s fun, fast, cheap on gas, and even comes with a trailer. To further entice new buyers Nitro also offers a one-year warranty on electrical components, plumbing, live wells, the fuel system and carpet, and even a six year 100,000 mile warranty on the trailer. All of that for less than a new Mazda Miata? Bring on the mid-life crisis, because this boat is one impulse buy that will quell your angry spells better than a Snickers or convertible ever could.

Formula 290 Bowrider

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Summertime is here, and that usually means fun is not too far behind. Sure, every one loves a good barbecue with burgers, hot dogs, maybe some vegetables to feel good about yourself and plenty of adult beverages on hand, usually in a cooler filled with more ice than beer. Or maybe it means taking the kids to the waterpark and aside from getting a nasty sunburn that’ll hurt like hell for a few days, there is always lots of fun whipping down waterslides, pin balling off each other’s inner tubes, and having plenty of ice cream. But true summertime usually involves the ocean, and sure, the beach is fun. Sandcastles, boardwalks, funnel cake and sea gulls are all a good time, but when you’ve been on a boat built for partying on the water, fun takes on a whole new level. That’s where there Formula 290 Bowrider comes into play — emphasis on play.

The Forumla 290 Bowrider stands 29 feet in length overall with a beam of 9 feet and a dry weight of 8,950 pounds. It is made from plenty of high end materials, not the least of which are its stainless steel hardware and corrosion resistant welded rails. Beginning out back, it is clear right from look of the redesigned swim platform that this boat is ready to play. The stainless steel boarding ladder is now center mount and is actually a very ingenious feature — it folds down into a three part ladder, allowing for swimmers who want to be back on the boat, but aren’t quiet ready to leave the water behind to sit and enjoy just that for as long as they’d like. Once they hop up to the actual swim platform itself, it also becomes evident that no one will be jostling for space, as there are at least four easy to find cupholders and what feels like an acre of deck to lay out on. There is also a stereo control system available out back, so no one has to get up to skip a track.

The transom hides a massive storage compartment that keeps the pedestal tables tucked away until needed, as well as anything else from water toys to fishing supplies. Moving forward, next we come to the very lavish cockpit accentuated by a large L-shaped cushioned seating space, with the ability to place one of those aforementioned pedestal tables in the middle of the action for the occasional lunch break or card game. The entire cockpit can easily handle eight people, and is dressed in very sexy blue LED lighting that sets a wonderful mood on any summer night. Even the speakers can light up blue if you chose that option. There is also a cockpit heater to warm up on those breezy, sunburned nights.

To keep those eight or more guests happy, there is a sure-to-be-popular wet bar as well as a stainless steel refrigerator, shelving and even a Corian countertop that has a moveable cover for the sink to add prep real estate if needed. Down below resides the walk-in head that sports a VacuFlush head and full sink, while a 23 gallon holding tank keeps things sanitary until it can be pumped out.

Just ahead of the helm, on your way to the bow is a cavernous walk-in storage locker that can seemingly hold all of time and space (or maybe just a bunch of stuff). But that little extra feature is bound to go under appreciated as it is sure to be outshines by the six passenger plush bow seating area. The open concept seats have flip-down armrests that are well appreciated, and there is a removable table at your disposable, as well as another Corian insert if more room is needed for those cocktails.

Fun isn’t just about laying around, for some, fun is about speed, and the Formula 290 Bowrider has plenty of it. Powered by twin 320-horsepower gas engines, this big boat feels a lot smaller as it gets up to plane in only 6.7 seconds, while 0-30 mph takes just 11.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of a very impressive 53 mph. Not bad for a test weight of about five tons.

So while summertime means different things to different people, for those that have a little over 200k to spend on fun, the Formula 290 Bowrider may have just redefined what fun really is and can be.

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