Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
Check out the all-new 2014 Ebbtide 205 SE, and the first thing you’re going to notice is the huge fully integrated swim platform. Sitting low to the water with ample real estate, the platform is going to be a choice hangout at rest. The boarding ladder, which has been redesigned to angle outward for easier boarding, sits neatly concealed beneath a hatch cover. Completing the out-back oasis is a sunpad that on our test boat has the available chaise lounge option for reclining. The chaise backrest flips vertical to allow passengers to board on the starboard-side walk-over without having to step on the classy tan-and-white upholstery. A filler cushion on the stern bench fills in the gap after passenger boarding to maximize seating capacity on this boat that’s rated for nine people.
Our test model is powered by a small-block MerCruiser 5.0L V-8 that puts out 260 hp. On plane in 4.5 seconds, the Ebbtide reached 30 mph in 10.6 seconds and had a sprightly top speed of 50.7 mph. The 205 SE turns well, and its 20-degree deadrise made easy work of the chop that built up late in the afternoon. Its 32 mph cruise speed was its most comfortable and just happened to coincide with the ideal speed for slalom skiing. There’s a standard ski tow eye at the transom with options to include either a wakeboard tower or a ski arch. And to stow all your ski gear, there is an expansive centerline locker.
A fiberglass deck covered in a nonskid surface is standard issue and makes for hose-it-down-and-go cleanups, but if you want something cushier, there’s a snap-in carpet option, or you can get the cockpit sole and swim platform clad in SeaDek padding. At the helm, the driver sits behind a compact dash that has white-faced Faria analog gauges placed high enough for easy reading. Our test boat is equipped with an optional digital readout depthfinder and has the standard Jensen Bluetooth four-speaker stereo system. Up front is a comfortable bowriding section that, like the cockpit, features a generous amount of freeboard for safety. The bow of the boat is wide enough to accommodate a roomy rear-facing seat, and the entire bow section can be made into a sunning area with optional filler cushions.