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The Smart Buyer: Get to know the boat you’re going to buy

smartbuyerFew purchases generate the excitement and anticipation that buying a boat does. You spend hours reading boating magazines and scanning the Web, dreaming of summer fun and cruising adventures. When the time comes to look at a boat, it’s easy to throw objectivity to the wind. This can make assessing a boat’s suitability for your needs very challenging.

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The Smart Buyer: Is a stepped boat right for you?

Stepped hulls (like the one on this Contender 30 ST) deliver improved performance and efficiency, but they're not the best choice for everyone.Does the new season have you thinking about a new boat? Many of today’s center consoles are great multitasking boats that can serve you well for day cruising, fishing or as a platform for swimming, diving and water sports.

During your research, you’re sure to find center consoles that ride stepped hulls. Speed, fuel efficiency and a smooth ride have helped fuel the stepped hull’s popularity. But is a stepped boat right for you?

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The Smart Buyer - Case Study

A careful, methodical approach

Kelmith Lopez has sea-trialed the Southport 33 FE (shown here) and several other center consoles as part of his boat-buying research.I was about to test the Southport 33 FE center console with twin Yamaha F350s at the Miami International Boat Show in February with two representatives from the builder. Moments before we cast off, two prospective customers joined us. I would have preferred to put the boat through its paces without the extra crew because I tend to drive a boat hard, but I’m glad the two gentlemen — a father and son from Puerto Rico — were aboard because it resulted in some good information about buying a boat.

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The Smart Buyer - Marine Electronics: Determining what’s essential

Your choice of electronics in large part should be based on how and where you use your boat.When it comes to marine electronics, the sky’s the limit these days, literally, as satellite services cover almost every corner of the globe. With seemingly unlimited choices and technology on a relentless advance, individual budgets play a large role in choosing your electronics setup.

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Propulsion

New power products from Fort Lauderdale

Evinrude's new E-TEC G2 outboards are available in 200-, 225-, 250- and 300-hp models.Today’s engines and helm controls are designed to accomplish a common goal: make driving a powerboat easier than ever. The easy-boating theme was apparent at this fall’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

There has been an explosion of new non-pod-drive joystick helm control systems, including joysticks for inboards and outboards. Depending on the system, they work with or without thrusters. Some of these products allow you to retrofit a boat with a joystick system.

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