See the new boats

Boating - - EDITORIAL -

Ijust re­turned from the Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Boat Show, where I un­der­went an epiphany. My po­si­tion at this mag­a­zine af­fords me both a back­stage pass to the lat­est boat and marine-en­gine projects in de­vel­op­ment as well as a front-row seat once those projects hit the wa­ter. For a boat nut and motorhead, it’s a dream job, but one that comes with some not-so-ex­pected con­se­quences.

One of these con­se­quences, ap­par­ently, is that the fu­ture can creep up on me while I watch it com­ing. Call it not see­ing the fleet for the ves­sels, but boats now dis­play a level of tech­ni­cal so­phis­ti­ca­tion, de­sign and build re­fine­ment, and sys­tems in­te­gra­tion that I did not en­vi­sion even five years ago. In the same way that so­lar pan­els on res­i­den­tial roofs overnight (seem­ingly) went from no­table be­cause of their scarcity to ubiq­ui­tous and hardly worth men­tion­ing, recre­ational boats went and got so­phis­ti­cated in ev­ery as­pect by which one might as­sess them.

I mean, one can cer­tainly still find boats where seams and screws show promi­nently, and aboard which the gauges re­main di­als in­stead of touch­screens. Boaters can still choose to take shade un­der hard­tops sup­ported by bare or an­odized pipework rather than com­pos­ite sup­ports and take respite from the wind be­hind wind­shields lack­ing the op­ti­cal clar­ity to be of use dur­ing night­time nav­i­ga­tion. Plain fiber­glass coun­ter­tops, mon­key-fur cabin over­heads and in­can­des­cent light fix­tures still ex­ist. One can forego seat­ing and up­hol­stery com­prised of an eye-catch­ing va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als and pleas­ing tex­tures and col­ors for squishy foam cov­ered in piped white vinyl. All these things can be found, but they no longer rep­re­sent the norm.

You won’t find an in­ter­nal-com­bus­tion marine power plant that isn’t quiet, emits smoke and vi­bra­tions in of­fen­sive quan­ti­ties, and re­quires tech­nique and spe­cial knowl­edge to start re­li­ably. Nor will you find elec­tric marine mo­tors that serve merely as proofs of con­cept. You can pur­chase vi­able elec­tric marine power. These boat-propul­sion char­ac­ter­is­tics now rep­re­sent the norm.

In fact, the new gen­er­a­tion of boats rep­re­sent a quan­tum change in user-friend­li­ness, re­li­a­bil­ity and style. If you haven’t been to a boat show to see where state-of-the-art cur­rently re­sides, I sug­gest you do so soon. You owe it to your­self as a boat nut to see what there is to see, lest, like me, rou­tine hides the fu­ture from view till it ar­rives.

En­joy the is­sue.

Plain fiber­glass coun­ter­tops, mon­key-fur cabin over­heads and in­can­des­cent light fix­tures still ex­ist.

Kevin Falvey, Edi­tor-in-Chief edi­[email protected]­ing­

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