Things started to change over the past couple of years, though, as a handful of companies introduced fiberglass into the equation. Fiberglass decks offer rot-free dependability and can provide one-piece molded seat bases and components that are sturdier, as well as sleeker looking and easier to care for and keep clean.
Cobalt, a builder of superior-quality fiberglass sport boats and cruisers based in Neodesha, Kansas, launched its forward-thinking Marker One Platform Series in 2015 and this year is adding to it with the Marker One ML4. Overall, the series now consists of four fiberglass deck models ranging from 23 to 27 feet in length.
The new ML4 features three aluminum tubes with large diameters and a new strake design that adds lift and stability while underway. In addition, the brand’s patent-pending power wedge flotation keeps the deck more level, even with the weight of a big, brawny outboard astern. (Top-end options include a single 300-horsepower engine from Yamaha, Mercury or Evinrude.)
Inside, the ML4’s layout takes full advantage of the wide 8-foot, 6-inch beam. There’s a large bow seating area with facing lounges and a walkway that leads to the non-slip bow platform. (Note the wraparound, stainless-steel grab handle on the bow gunnel for security.) The cockpit has an L-shaped lounge and a jump seat opposite; the backrest of the lounge reverses to create a rear-facing bench at the swim platform. Storage compartments are available under all the seat bases, finished with gaskets and gutters to keep your gear dry.
At the helm, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and composite painted dash panels are protected by a tempered glass windshield with stainless-steel frame. That’s a high-end feature that you won’t see on too many other pontoon boats. Ditto the swim steps at water level on either side of the engine and the optional electrically actuated swim step that flips down to help with re-boarding.
Other options, such as an entertainment center with sink and refrigerator, head with Porta-Potti, underwater lighting, transom shower, removable dinette table, blender, air compressor for inflatable water toys and forward-folding arch allow even more comfort, convenience and luxury on board — helping you make the best use of your boat.
Your daddy wishes he’d had it so good on his rickety old pontoon boat.
Marker One ML4
Length Overall: 24’10”
Dry Weight: 4,600 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 55 gals.
Base Price: $90,025
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of HeartLand Boating magazine