Yamaha Marine Group last week hooked up with the professional anglers behind the National Geographic Channel TV series "Shark Men" to promote the durability, endurance and low maintenance of its outboards and control systems.
About 20 journalists gathered at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, Fla., for the media event. They tested boats powered with Yamaha outboards from 70 to 300 hp and interviewed a team of fishermen and researchers led by Chris Fischer, the man behind the TV show and the founder of Ocearch, a non-profit organization that researches large marine species such as the great white shark.
"The reason for getting the Shark Men involved is that they have such an excellent story to tell in that they use our product really hard. They're unforgiving in the way they use the product," says Yamaha communications manager Martin Peters.
Click play to watch a review of the Yamaha press event.
"With Yamaha, you turn the key and it runs. That is the most important thing for us," says Denny Wagner, engineer aboard Ocearch’s 126-foot mothership, who maintains the operation's engines, boats and equipment. "We're working real tight to the beach and around big reefs and rocks. And with the sharks it is pretty obvious why we need stuff to run without failing. If you have a 3,000-pound white shark you're dealing with, you want your equipment to function."
Journalists got a chance to test the 21-foot Safe Boat center console, a rugged aluminum boat with a polyethylene foam collar. "They really needed a boat that was open and as ergonomic as possible so they could run around the deck when they have a shark on," says Kevin Rowlee, sales manager for Safe Boats, based in Bremerton, Wash. "The deck layout was really minimalized."
And the non-skid was maximized. "They can step up or sideways or any way without having any sort of a slip," Rowlee says. "The boat was designed to keep them safe."
The media also took tours of Fischer's mothership, Ocean, a former Bering Sea crabbing vessel. It was anchored just outside the resort's marina.
"We want to make a global impact on the future of the ocean and ensure robust fish populations for generations to come. That's what it's all about on the mothership Ocean," Fischer says. "It's not about the thrill of catching the big one. It is about fishing for science."
In addition to the Safe Boat, 12 other boats were tested, including two Rangers (168 Phantom with an F70 and a Z518 Intracoastal with twin Yamaha F200s); a Maverick 17HPX with an F70; a Nautic Star 2200 with F250s; a Shearwater 23TE with an F250; two Skeeters (a ZX 20 Bay with an F115 and a ZX 22 Bay with an F250); a Scout 251 XS with an F300; a Pursuit ST310 with twin F300s; and a Contender 35ST with triple F300s.