There have been a multitude of boating trends in recent years, and I’d pick two leanings for 2024: wider and more entertaining.
Boats aren’t necessarily getting wider, but builders are finding ways to get more usable space, and the newly developed “beach” or “terrace” that folds out from the cockpit creates an entirely fresh idea in boating. Used at anchor, at the sandbar or the dock, these designs butterfly out for access to the water or to simply hold more chairs. Either way, they offer the cockpit space of a vastly larger yacht.
This leads to more entertaining and, perhaps as a rebound from Covid, we’re seeing boats for family and friends designed to enjoy on the water. With grills to sear steaks, ample seating and lounges for sun worshipers, these boats fulfill our need for fresh air.
We’re also highlighting a sailboat because Tampa Bay is just so darn perfect for sailing. Flat water and a good breeze are every sailor’s delight. Sailing is very eco-sensitive and our offering compounds that with an emission-free electric motor to get home when our trustworthy winds die.
Get on the water with these offerings from Tampa Bay area dealers.
Marina Pointe is Tampa’s only new luxury residences on the water. Their unique coastal location allows boaters to make the most of bayside living.
Go from door to dockside in minutes with unrestricted access to your private slip in their deepwater marina. Cruise to sand bars or set sail on the open water. After your day on the water, walk to Marina Landings to enjoy a variety of shopping and dining.
With each residence boasting panoramic views of the shimmering blue water or city skylines, Marina Pointe has crafted unique floorplans with the newest features and designs.
Whether you’re looking for your paradise away from home or a luxury forever home, these residences enable you to make the most of every day.
Tower One – Select residences available now.
Tower Two – Pre-construction pricing from the $700s to over $4m.
4900 Bridge St. Tampa, FL 33611 | (813) 930-9800
The Sea Hunt Ultra 305 SE is jam-packed with clever features like cushy rear seats with wrap-around bolsters. At the bow, backrests transform the bowrider area for front-facing fun. Families and anglers will delight in the spacious walk-around spaces, and side doors on each side. Rod holders and a live bait well make this the most comfy fishing boat on the water.
The fiberglass T-top is integrated into the tempered glass windshield for sun and wind protection. Electronics include twin Garmin 16-in. Touch GPS/fishfinder monitors, and Bennett trim tabs. Power is a pair of Yamaha F300 XSB outboards.
The wide Carolina-style flare to the bow provides a dry ride, and a sturdy anchor windlass is hidden under the deck.
Everyone—families, anglers, divers.
Ultimate Marine Tampa | 7501 N Dale Mabry Hwy.,Tampa, FL 33614
The GLS on the name of this new yacht from Cruisers means Grand Luxury Sport and it’s all those things and more. Start with the cockpit where the sides butterfly down to create a mega yacht-sized 21-foot beam. Three 600 hp Mercury outboards push this 19 tons of luxury to nearly 50 knots (56 mph).
Three separate seating areas flesh out the cockpit and there is a bow seating area with triple sun lounges. The skipper will delight in the triple-screen Simrad electronics and the joystick linked to a bow thruster. Down below, find a private stateroom is forward with queen-berth and 6-foot-8-inch headroom while another guest cabin is aft with singles that convert to a queen.
Experienced skippers who want to entertain (and cruise) in luxury.
The Aviara 40 is a Florida-built hardtop cruiser that showcases how designers are creating seemingly impossible space onboard. The cockpit, shaded by a rakish fiberglass hardtop, provides ample seating for the whole family.
The cockpit sides of the Aviara hinge outward, origami-style, 18 feet wide. When the sides are “butterflied” outward, they become twin terraces with easy access to the water.
A spacious interior and outdoor kitchen are a boater’s dream. Power is a pair of Mercury Verado 600 hp supercharged outboards that have ample power for pulling water-skiers up to 55 mph. For overnight power for the air conditioning (and blender), a 7.5 kW generator is standard. Day or night, the Aviara 40 is a delight.
Families looking for an all-purpose boat for water fun.
This pocket-sized racer-cruiser checks off many boxes: it’s fun to sail, small enough to trailer, designed for offshore sailing and has everything needed for weekend adventures.The most surprising features are the twin wheels – usually found on larger yachts – which make the 30.1 easy to handle from either side of the cockpit.
With the swing keel version, she can explore shallow areas such as sand bars, yet nearly 2,900 pounds of ballast keep her steady offshore. High-end equipment from Raymarine to Harken is standard and the roller jib simplifies sail handling.
No wind? The 30.1 can be emission-free with a 14 hp electric engine for 4 knots up to 6 hours, refreshed with solar panels on the cabin top.
Novice sailors for its easy handling, expert skippers for its features.
The new Hanover 377 is truly “The Girl from Ipanema” with a spacious cockpit (one side butterflies down) and a cabin as airy as the beach at Copacabana. Brazilian-built, this 37-footer arrives with tons of standard equipment and a low price that causes a double take.
With inboard sterndrive (twin MerCruiser 350 hp Bravo 3s) or outboards (twin Mercury 350 hp Verados), the 377 tops out around 40 mph.
The cockpit is clearly party central, starting with the extra-wide transom platform that can drop into the water to create a beach or launch a tender. The cabin (6-foot-5-inch headroom) has a settee that converts to a queen berth, plus a private aft cabin with another queen. The enclosed head is highlighted by a full-stall shower and the salon has a mini galley.
The equipment and finish say experienced skippers who appreciate a bargain.
Chris Caswell is an award-winning writer and the former editor of several yachting magazines. He has appeared on Oprah as a boating lifestyle expert and hosted the Marine Voyager series on the Speed Channel.