Deck Boat 101
Taking the misunderstanding out of a very versatile boat.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Consider the plight of the deck boat. Mention a sportfish, motoryacht, cruiser, express, go-fast, center console, or even a canoe in your nautical chat and everyone will know what kind of boat is being discussed.
Yet what other vessel, perhaps in all of boatdom—a made up made word to be sure, but I do hope you get its meaning here—is more misidentified and mislabeled, or just plain gets the wrong end of the stick when it comes to recognition than the deck boat?
The confusion is, most likely, a common one. Although early deck boats did somewhat resemble the boxy pontoon layout with an extended and ‘fenced in’ fore section and a fiberglass hull instead of being supported by a pair of ‘floating aluminum thingies’, today’s models bear no resemblance to those rectangular platforms.
These deck boats are roomy, stylish, versatile and often performance-based vessels with a family profile in mind. From sporty runabouts and day boats to those providing exciting ski, wakeboard, fishing, and other fun, on-the-water activities, these adaptable craft are available from a wide range of quality builders offering equally comprehensive packages with standard and optional features to fit into individual lifestyles and budgets. And all are trailerable.
There are as many varieties of deck boats as those of the aforementioned other boat species. However, each does have a common design characteristic; that being a large, more-rounded-than-sharp bow area providing maximum seating forward with similar-use spaces amidships as well as aft. But the best way to really understand what a deck boat is, and what it can provide, is to take a look at what some of the top U.S. builders in the industry have to offer.
The Bayliner 190 from Brunswick is the entry-level into its deck boat line up. This lively performer gets its spunk from the standard 115-hp EFI 4-stroke Mercury outboard. An option is Mercury’s 150-hp EFI 4-stroke. “Our recreational day boats came about as a result of corporate research and consumer preference, designed and built for a fun day out on the water,” remarked Product Manager Mike Yobe.
Bayliner offers the 190 in two configurations: The Flight Series, and the Fish Package, each with a long list of standard and options. Other models in the product line include the 210 and I/O powered 215. “It’s a boat with the right features at the right price,” said Bayliner’s Marketing Manager, Shelby Deck. http://www.bayliner.com
Glastron offers three deck boats in its series: the outboard powered DS200, and DS205, and DS215, both with I/O engines. All the models can be configured for recreational activities or be fish-rigged.
The DS205 lies right in the middle of the pack and, as with her siblings, comes equipped with Glastron’s custom-matched trailer. Designed for the more traditional deck boat owner in mind, with padded sun lounge, snap-in carpet, carry-on cooler, and Bimini top, an optional cockpit table is available. Power options include MerCruiser® 350 MPIC/Alpha 300-hp, 4.3 MPIC/Alpha 220-hp, 5.0 MPIC/Alpha 260-hp; or Volvo Penta® V8-225C/SX 225-hp, V8-270C/SX 270-hp, and V8-300C/SX 300-hp. For more information, visit the company website at www.glastron.com and key in the BUILD YOUR BOAT tab.
Stingray’s 214 LR is one of nine boats in its sport deck series and is the outboard version of its 215LR I/O model.
“Being totally immersed in product development gives us a competitive advantage and avoids going beyond our means. We do not need to be everything to everybody but instead, want to be really good at what we’re doing,” said VP of Global Sales Mark Skeen. “Taking the feedback from our owners, on how they use their boats, and how we can make the product better, is our concern.”
The Stingray 214LR is a perfect example of this philosophy and offers an exciting mixture of boating opportunities. With its long list of standard features and Mercury or Yamaha outboard power rated up to 200-hp—for both price, performance, and economy, 150-hp is recommended—she can be jazzed up with optional wakeboard tower and racks, various canvas sets, and a wide variety of hull graphics among others.
Running on a bottom with 19 degrees of deadrise, and a notched transom, Stingray states its patented Z-Plane hull does not add volume or surfaces that can produce additional drag as the boat moves through the water, allowing for a more productive prop bite. “Performance with fuel economy make the 214LR a sensible family boat,” said Mike Mercer, the company’s Great Lakes Regional Sales Manager. www.stingrayboat.com
The FourWinns Funship Series has a pair of deck boat offerings; the F224 and big sister F244. According to FourWinns’ Doyle VanderPol, “These boats are designed and built for entertainment, water sports, and just having fun.” With a sizable swim platform and showers both fore and aft, an enclosed head, and custom trailer among others as standard items, the F224 can be customized with a stainless steel arch, wakeboard tower, a premium sound system, selection of hull graphics, and power options including MerCruiser® 350 MPIC/Bravo I 300-hp and 350 MPIC/Bravo III 300-hp; or Volvo Penta® V8-300C/DP 300-hp, or V8-300C/SX 300-hp. For further information, visit the company website at www.fourwinns.com and key in the BUILD A BOAT tab.
The Chaparral Sunesta 264 is one of a quartet in the company’s series of deck boats. “All the hulls in our deck boats are Kevlar-reinforced and use our patented Wide Tech design. We take the ‘W’ shape up forward and work with the widest outside point, and then blend it into the side of the boat rather than the bottom,” said Chaparral’s Bill Pegg. “The result is all the benefits of a wide deck boat with that of the ride of a V-bottom sport boat.”
The sleek profiled Sunesta 264 has an extensive list of standard features including a Volvo V8-300C, color coordinated Bimini with windscreen, bow ice chest and carry-on cooler, premium sound system and MP3 holder at the helm, and enclosed head just to mention a few. And you can create your own personal statement with such available options as teak and holly decks and arch board racks and custom hinged arch tower in black or white. Additional Mercury and Volvo power up to 380-hp is available. For full information, visit the company website at www.chaparralboats.com and key in the BOAT BUILDER tab.
Given its length, the Regal 27 FasDeck comes a long list of standard and optional features. “As we build boats up to 53 feet, we have a good handle on how to maximize the use of space,” said Marketing Manager Paul Kuck.
Along with a host of premium options, you can get your 27 FasDeck with an electric toilet with pump out fittings, PowerTower in black or white, multi-function RegalVue touch screen display, high performance stereo package and satellite tuner, cruise control, underwater lights, and power choices including an extensive list of both Volvo and Mercury engines up to 380-hp.
The 27 FasDeck runs on Regal’s FasTrak stepped hull design, allowing extra lift to help with fuel economy and, with inverted strakes, better control while underway and during ‘sporting’ maneuvers. www.regalboats.com
If you’re in the market for a family oriented boat, one that combines ease of operation with any kind of water-borne activity such as adrenalin-pumping wake boarding, or finding that special anchorage for an afternoon out, one of these fine deck boats just might fill the bill.