Boat Test: Seaswirl new 237 Deck

Nobody likes turning 50 — unless you’re a boat company celebrating its golden anniversary, that is. Then it’s time to break out the balloons and noisemakers and raise some ruckus… and that’s exactly what Seaswirl did in unwrapping its new 237 Deck Boat.

We tested this 23×81/2-footer in hot, calm conditions on Lake Mead, just outside of Las Vegas, and found it to be a worthy addition to Seaswirl’s fleet. The little company that started as Highway Products 50 years ago by building trailer cables and car toppers it called Seaswirl has gained most of its recognition lately for its Striper Series fishing boats — but the debut of the 237 characterizes its recommitment to family sport boats. And the 237 is the queen of that court.

As the largest of the company’s sport boats, it reigns over a line that includes a 21-foot deckie, and 21-, 19- and 17-foot runabouts available as bowrider or fish and ski models.

Seaswirl new 237 Deck

BRING IT ON

Rigged with an upgraded 280 hp Volvo Penta 5.7L Gi mated to the single-prop SX drive, our 237 test unit was both responsive and fun to drive. Although calm water prevented us from making any definitive evaluation of its rough-water capability, we can say with confidence that it delivers a solid ride and crisp handling.

Even when we sought out the largest holes we could find — and Mead has its share of big boats that carve up some pretty nasty troughs — the Seaswirl powered through like it was no big deal. We’re not saying we didn’t feel the hits, it’s just that the biggest bother through any of the crossings was a rattling head door on the helm console.

Turns were sure at any speed and the boat showed no handling quirks that might surprise less-experienced drivers. This is true of nearly all of today’s boats and is a testament to the state of hull design — for this isn’t a blanket statement you could have made 10 years ago.

HOLESHOT HAMMER

Seaswirl’s basic design is similar to many deck boats in this size range. It utilizes a cathedral-style hull with pronounced reverse chines — especially through the bow section. Two sets of strakes and 16 degrees of transom deadrise provide a lift that helps the boat plane quickly and also maximize the punch of engine options that range from 220 hp 5.0L MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrives to the top-rated 320 hp Volvo 5.7L GXi/SX.

Lightly loaded with a crew of two and only one-quarter of a tank of fuel, our 237 jumped up on plane and was able to keep that momentum moving, knocking down 7.4-second times in our 0-to-30 mph romps. True, she wasn’t carrying much weight, but that’s still darn quick for a nearly 4000-pound boat.

Midrange acceleration wasn’t quite as strong but was still more than satisfactory — as was its 49.6 mph top end. Our boat was swinging a 141/2×17-inch four-blade aluminum prop, and it’s not hard to imagine that with a slightly taller, three-blade stainless wheel, you might wring more than 50 mph out of this hull. That’ll give you bragging rights in most deck-boat circles.

Seaswirl new 237 Deck

SUNSPOT

Our test unit’s throttle was a bit stiff, but helm ergonomics were generally good and we found the helm seat both comfortable and supportive. The seat swivels and adjusts fore to aft, and there’s a raised footrest that aids driving comfort. An arched visor projects over the instrument panel, and a smaller panel under the tilt steering wheel holds additional switches and a satellite-ready Clarion AM/FM/CD stereo that feeds four speakers. About the only thing, we might like to see changed is the white-faced gauges, as they were hard to read through the glare of the Las Vegas sun.

The 237’s wide, wraparound windshield did a fair job of fending off the warm desert zephyrs, but protection would jump to the next level if Seaswirl were to add a wind door between the consoles.

Engine bay and bilge checks are easy to perform, thanks to a large gullwing hatch that lifts with the aid of a gas-charged strut. Access for maintenance chores or serious repairs is excellent — although the single portside strut means you’ll enjoy slightly better access to starboard. Egg-crate foam handles noise-insulation duties. And though our boat was only equipped with one battery, there seems to be plenty of room to install a second battery and switch.

Snap-in carpeting is standard but under that expanse of Berberis a nonskid deck that drains via two scuppers in the cockpit and another in the bow playpen. The forward scupper is a nice touch — as is the use of brushed aluminum table-base sockets that stay cool even in the hot sun (an important consideration to barefoot-loving boaters). And just so you can have a party going on at each end of the boat, Seaswirl includes both fore and aft snack tables as standard.

DIFFERENT DRUMMER

So you’ll always have a cold drink handy to place on those tables, the 237 offers an alcove behind the driver’s seat that holds a 25-quart Igloo cooler. Across the aisle, you’ll find dry stowage under the L-shaped bench seat that extends aft from the passenger’s console to the engine bay. Rather than offering a stand-alone wet bar/ entertainment center (as is found in many deck boat designs), Seaswirl did something a little different by incorporating the sink, drink holders and built-in cooler into the top of the console. This opens up space in the cockpit. The countertop is Corian, and the sink has a pull-out faucet that can be used to spray-off spilled Coke from the 30-ounce marine-vinyl upholstery. The new 237 also features a well-placed stainless grabrail that will help steady anyone using the wetbar or transiting to or from the bow.

Seaswirl new 237 Deck

Stash Your Stuff

Additional storage is found inside both consoles, and the helm unit also doubles as a small changing room/head compartment. There’s no ventilation porthole, but it does have a light, as well as stretch pockets for stashing boat paperwork, wallets, car keys and such. Access to the instrument panel wiring is via a snap-out flap. There’s also room in each compartment to stow the snack tables and pedestals — but we found ourselves wishing for dedicated racks to hold these items securely. One element we really liked, however, was the swing-out trashcan that’s built-in adjacent to the helm footrest. It is conveniently placed and handy to use.

Moving forward into the bow, you’ll transit over a good-sized ski locker. This compartment measures 59 inches long by 26 inches wide by 13 inches deep, and the hatch features a gas-assist strut. It’s a serviceable setup, and the only complaint we have is that the underside of the lid isn’t highly finished.

BRING ON THE SUN

Our Seaswirl 237 featured the optional bow filler cushions and, trust us when they’re installed, they create one gargantuan sun pad. Stainless bars spanning the passageway provide no-sag support for the filler cushions, and the bars are easy to put up, take down and stow. In fact, the supports and cushions can be stored in a sizable locker under the starboard seat. Nicely done. Heck, even without the filler cushions, this is a sizable seating area. The seat stretches 51/2 feet in length along each gunwale and, even with a crowd, it still offers plenty of knee room.

A built-in bow cooler means passengers riding or sunbathing upfront will never have to reach far for a drink or sandwich. Equally handy is the full-length, U-shaped grabrail that rims the gunwale.

Just forward of the cooler is a gate that swings open to access a bow swim step equipped with an anchor locker and three-rung, foldaway swim ladder. To port is another gate that provides a convenient means of taking on passengers at the dock. Passengers can also board from the swim step through the starboard transom gate. All three gates, however, would benefit from some means of keeping them locked open while taking on passengers.

But don’t you hate it when your guests track in dirt from the dock? No sweat. Seaswirl’s standard, pull-out transom shower will make short work of gritty, grimy decks.

It’s just one of the many nice touches that make Seaswirl’s 237 Deck Boat a pleasant place to while away a summer day. With its massive bow playpen, L-shaped cockpit seating and swim steps fore and aft, this rig has the seating, swimming and sunning capacity to keep your whole gang happy, while its punchy performance gives it the pep to keep the skipper smiling and watersports fans grinning.

If it’s beginning to sound a bit like a party, that’s perfectly OK. After all, you only turn 50 once — so why not celebrate in style aboard Seaswirl’s new 237 queens. By the way, you can buy a 6000K h8 led bulb in this site, their bulbs are in good quality.

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