YOUR FINAL CHECKLIST — FEATURES, STORAGE, COMFORT, ETC.
OK, this is your final checklist. When you’re shopping for your new ski boat, use this to make sure all the “small stuff” is in order, because small things can become big problems really quickly.
Features. It’s your boat — make sure it has the features you want, such as a hard tank and subfloor ballast with a monitoring system. Check out the rider presets, cup holders and interior lights, and decide if dual gas fills are important to you. Sit behind the dash and make sure it’s easy to see and operate. If the boat has a video screen, test it out. If you’re eyeing a multisport boat, try the wake enhancement device.
Storage. Many boats have lots of storage compartments, but sometimes they’re small and chopped up. Bring your gear with you to make sure you can actually store it, paying attention to how easy it is to access the compartments. Also, be mindful that sacks may take up some storage space once your ballast is full.
Usability. Sometimes what looks good or cool in a showroom might not be usable on the water. Reach around and see if the cup holders are in the right places and easy to access. Then check the interior lights to make sure they really light up the interior. You’ll want the table to store neatly out of the way and set up easily. The same goes for the windbreak. Sit in the driver’s seat; swivel and turn all the way around. And lounge a bit in the rest of the seats to make sure they’re laid out comfortably.
Fit and Finish. Look the boat over for not only what you can see but also what you can’t. Look in the corners, under the dash, in the bilge and under the storage hatches. Make sure the edges are trimmed and clean. The wires should be out of sight and there should be no exposed glass or splinters. Check how the cushions and other trim pieces line up. Pinch the vinyl. It should return to its original position.
Comfort. Since the inside of the boat is where you’ll spend the majority of the day, make sure you’re comfortable — especially at the driver’s seat. It should have a usable, comfortable bolster and heat or a lumbar support. Sit and take notice of how the cockpit is laid out. Is the armrest in the right place? How are the ergonomics all around the boat? Check your seat backs and bottoms — you want them to be comfortable, thick and plush. The backs should be high enough to give support.