Boatie Blog: 325 Center Console Review

Categories: Video Review

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Visiting the Belzona Marine booth was by far my favorite Miami Boat Show experience.  It wasn’t just the fact that they build a great looking, innovative center console, or the fact that they offered us a test ride, or the fact that they gave us free stuff for our readers; they were my favorite because they recognized us before we could even say hello.

When we last met Belzona in Ft. Lauderdale they were quite busy introducing their new 325 model.  For this boat show we made sure to try and carve out a bit more time to get to know the Belzona 325 in better detail.  There is no lack of excitement around the unique features of the 325; the port and starboard sliding doors, the reverse raked windshield, the bow seating even stows away like nothing we’ve ever seen before.  Not only did we get more intimate with Belzona’s static display model, we were invited along for a demo run through Miami’s Government Cut and out offshore on a shakedown cruise.  To say the least we were impressed.  Click through the jump break to see what we learned about the Belzona 325.

Easy and Intuitive:

Obviously, the “stand-out” feature of this brand is the sliding side doors.  This one of those features that, if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to overlook just how intuitive they really are.  Let me explain.  It’s one thing to see their static display with the walk up platforms at deck height and just be able to step into the boat, no swinging your legs over the gunnel; but dockside is where this feature really stands out.  Yes, the first man on board will have to do the dirty work of opening the door.  But as you welcome your guests and family on board, it’s as simple as a single step.  You don’t have to lunge over the gunnel and you can see the entire landing as you step down.  It’s so intuitive you almost don’t notice it.  The door also opens wide enough to allow wheelchair access, a simple ramp could make it possible to roll the chair into the cockpit of the Belzona 325 at any tide.

One of the other nice features of the side doors is access to the water.  Whether you are landing a big sea monster, scuba diving for treasure, or just taking a dip to cool off, the water is right at the tips of your toes.  Each side door (port and starboard) has an integrated, pull-out, dive-style ladder built into the hull side.  So when the kids are done swimming, you won’t have to worry about them having to climb around the propellers out back.   And with the opening about twice the width of a typical dive door, you can get them aboard two at a time; the fish that is.  I imagine these wide open gunnels will offer many a great photo opportunity with the likes of massive tarpon and billfish alike.

Now for the big question on everyone’s mind.  How do the sliding doors perform while under way?  We’ve heard, and been asked, this question quite a bit since Ft. Lauderdale.  The truth is, you’ll forget they are there.  We saw some steady rolling, and choppy two footers in the Atlantic.  While they weren’t the most treaturous waves to test a boat in, they were big and steady enough that with a little speed you’d expect enough of a slam to jounce the rear doors.  Only, the more our captain pushed down the throttle, the softer the boat seemed to land onto the next wave.

The video you see here is from our run toward Government Cut; we are inland so the water is relatively flat.  But you can still see the doors are rattle free and hold solid.

No matter how fast we went, or which direction we attacked the waves, the only result was a soft, quiet reentry.  Even while banking into a beam sea, the chines entered the water with the same grace and yielding of the keel.  So the answer is no; despite our best efforts, the doors would not rattle, pop, creak, or fly open.  And the same goes for those stow-away bow seats.

It’s easy to see what set’s Belzona marine apart from the rest.  Not only are they doing something different, they are doing it right; beautiful design, solid engineering, and one of the softest riding boats we’ve ever been on.  Go check out a Belzona, they’ll be at the Palm Beach Boat show March 21st-24th.  And be on the lookout for a new walkaround model from them later this summer.

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