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Review: Cruisers 328 SS

The Cruisers 328 SS Limited Edition Black Diamond is not your uncle's bowrider. It's a hybrid, blending the best of both worlds. The traditional, open bowrider layout affords plenty of seating for the entire family, but what makes this boat so remarkable are the quite nice overnight accommodations below decks, with an impressive six-foot headroom, a head and galley that would be at home on a small express cruiser.

The forward cockpit is deep set for a dry, comfortable ride even at speed — a factor that's enhanced by the extremely stable deep-V hull. Unlike conventional bowriders with forward V-seating, the 328 SS features plush bow cushions arranged in a J shape with the apex to starboard. This simply means guests who want to use the area as lounge seating don't have to ride facing backwards. A removable table is perfect for al fresco dining. There's an amazing amount of storage here: underneath the forward seating area in a handy cooler, along the walkway in a horizontal storage locker, in the deck in a built-in trash can in the walkway step with a boat pole holder. Being able to stow so much gear means uncluttered decks when cruising, no matter how much "stuff" enthusiastic guests bring along.

The well-laid-out helm features custom fog-resistant gauges and power tilt-wheel steering and optional GPS. The layout places the driver and observer, in their oversized chairs, amongst the cockpit guests. Rotate both seats 180-degrees to face the L-shaped settee and relax while at anchor. Like the bow, the cockpit is set deep, which will be good news for parents who prefer their hyperactive kids not bounce out of the boat while under way.

Another feature that will appeal to parents is the aft bench seat over the swim platform that gives Mom a comfortable place from which to keep an eye on the kids swimming behind the boat. If the plans call for lounging, lower the aft seating to form a sun pad sized for two tall adults or several children. For maximum comfort and style, add the optional wet bar, power-retractable SureShade and radar arch.

Down below, the full-beam cabin is equipped with a head, galley and a dinette that converts into a restful double berth. The head features a stand-up shower and styling that comes straight from the larger Cruisers yachts, such as a solid-surface countertop and wood accents. Skylights and ports bring in plenty of light to add to the ambiance and dispel any resemblance to the usual cramped cuddy cabin on other "do it all" boats. Notable options include air conditioning, an inverter, and a gas or diesel generator to keep things comfortable on extended cruises. With this boat, Cruisers has created a new category of "SUV" sport boat.

The 328 SS has a wide array of engine options — MerCruiser Bravo 3 gasoline and Volvo gasoline and diesels — from 300 to 380 horsepower. This is a twin, so double that number. It offers speeds in excess of 50 mph and plenty of power to tow inflatable water toys. A usable 154 gallons of fuel will keep the engines, and the fun, going all day.

The best way to harness all that power is with the joystick option that allows you to maneuver the boat with the finesse of an old salt even if you can count the number of months you've been boating on one hand and still have a few fingers left over. It's really that simple and exhilarating. Joysticks are the best thing to happen to boats since props, as they're the great equalizer, allowing virtually anyone who can use a spoon without harming themselves to dock a boat even in tight spaces.

The Cruisers 328 SS Limited Edition Black Diamond is truly a boat that allows you to get the most out of your time on the water. www.cruisersyachts.com

Cruisers 328 SS
Length Overall: 32 feet, 11 inches
Beam: 10 feet, 10 inches
Draft (drive up): 2 feet, 3 inches                      
Dry Weight (w/max engine): 11,000 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 154 gallons
Water Capacity: 25 gallons
Base Price: $227,470

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