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Review: NauticStar 203SC Sport Deck

The smallest of NauticStar’s popular Sport Deck lineup offers plenty to like, led by the price. With a “Super Sport” selling price of under $28,000 when matched with a 115-horsepower Yamaha outboard, the new 203SC should be dead-center in the sights of a family seeking an all-around “fun boat” offering plenty of flexibility and elbow room.

The single console 203 we tested was rigged with the boat’s maximum-rated power, a 150-horsepower Yamaha F150TXR, which was more than enough muscle during our drive, albeit adding $4,000 to the selling price suggested by the Mississippi-based builder. Unless you plan to stack the deck to full passenger capacity each trip out, or tow multiple tubes, the base Yamaha will probably be adequate for most applications.

Speaking of capacity, the SC model is rated for 10 passengers in comfortable seating spread over the bow and main cockpit areas in the form of wraparound lounges aft and long recliners on the bow. With an eight-foot, six-inch beam, this NauticStar is plenty wide to accommodate such seating and still offer room for those who move about the boat to use it.

Up front is an offset boarding ladder on the starboard side of the bow, which offers easy access at beach landings, and a dedicated anchor locker to keep hook and rode from being underfoot — or messing up gear in a shared, generic compartment. At the aft end of the boat is a traditional transom boarding ladder complemented by a flip-up seat to avoid having to step on the upholstery, and a ski tow bar, standard.

Between the two access points, separating the bow and stern cockpits is a compact helm console topped with a short windscreen. The operator’s station holds a fully appointed dash, which includes lighted rocker switches, tachometer, trim gauge, speedometer and fuel gauge, as well as a standard JBL stereo with MP3/USB ports to feed four waterproof speakers. The 150-horsepower rig we tested came with BayStar Pro hydraulic steering and was fitted with an optional Humminbird combination GPS and fishfinder flush-mounted to the dash.

The standard, 115-horsepower 203SC is fitted with No Feedback Teleflex cable steering.

To port, replacing a passenger console and seat, is a galley console topped with a solid acrylic counter, sink and pair of stainless-steel cup holders over a compartment containing a 25-quart portable Igloo cooler and the galley’s freshwater system.

Between the two consoles is a large, in-floor storage locker for skis, wakeboards or fishing tackle. In fact, an optional fishing version of the 203 includes a pedestal seat on the bow, an aerated livewell and is pre-wired for a 12-volt, bow-mounted trolling motor.

Unlike on traditional deck-style boats, forward passengers aboard the 203 are not likely to be bumped around when the Sport Deck takes on wakes and waves thanks to a deep-V at the bow. (Admittedly, Indiana’s flat-as-a-pancake Lake Monroe didn’t present much wave action on the day we performed our test run.) On the other hand, the boat topped the 45 miles per hour mark and gave us plenty of wake action to play with, which the NauticStar handled with ease. The boat’s generous 47-gallon fuel tank means you can boat and play all day without worrying about a re-fueling stop.

Construction-wise, the NauticStar 203SC is wood-free, features a one-piece, foam-filled stringer system with watertight electrical connectors on all lights and pumps, leather touch upholstery throughout and is offered with a limited lifetime warranty.


Length Overall: 20 feet
Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches
Draft: 1 foot, 2 inches
Dry Weight: 2,100 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 47 gallons
Water Capacity: 3 gallons   
Base Price: $27,688

Jul 16, 2013 03:20 pm
 Posted by  PensacolaScott

This boat rides smooth and is real easy to handle even in choppy bay water... trying to hurry and beat the storm. Yep ... I did that. And then at the end of the day ... i still used only 6 gallons of gas... a few hours towing kids on a foam board... first time skiers... and then we left at the last second to beat foul weather... it was closer than i calculated.

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