If you peel the shrink wrap off your waterborne baby this spring and decide that maybe this is the year for an upgrade, be confident that the designs and technologies going into new watercraft have never been more impressive. MyNorth’s Evan Perry spoke with three Northern Michigan boat dealers to find out what trends are seeping into the boating world. Long story short: with a new boat, you’ll have your best Northern Michigan beach and boating season yet.

Ski Boats

With more and more technology being pumped into ski boats, the control over the quality of the wake is being refined to the extent that it’s possible to surf behind a ski boat. No rope necessary: just cruising along an endless wave. Boat manufacturer MasterCraft recently unveiled its new surf system par excellence, which can’t get enough love from Northern Michigan’s MasterCraft dealer, Action Water Sports.

“Surfing is probably the #1 thing people are looking to do with ski boats now; the systems are fully automated with touch screens. There are sensors that adjust the water levels in the ballast tanks to make a perfect, customized wake,” says Riley VanDyke of Traverse City’s Action Water Sports. With a 6- to 8-foot specially-designed board for beginners or shorter boards for more seasoned surfers, it’s never been easier to hang ten in the Great Lakes.

Visit Action Water Sports in Traverse City at 988 W. Commerce Dr.; ActionWater.com, 231.943.3434.

Pontoon Boats

The tooners of yore—those sluggish, clumsy barges—have given way to agile and speedy models that give high-end ski boats a run for their money. Manitou Pontoon Boats—available through Indian River Marina—boast three water-skimming pontoons that both support a meatier motor and lift the boat out of the water, giving the craft a sharper turning radius. How does 60 (nautical) miles-per-hour sound?

“Manitou’s are the only pontoons boats able to do time trials for the American Ski Association; you could literally take a performance model to a professional ski comeptition,” says Indian River Marina’s Paul Seehaver.  One Manitou, then, does the job of two or three boats: skiing, fishing, and cruising are all covered, meaning the costs of those others are eliminated with one felled stroke.

Visit Indian River Marina in Indian River at 3020 Apple Blossom; IndianRiverMarina.com, 231.238.9373.

Jet Skis and Jet Boats

What’s flying off the showroom at Spicer’s Boat City in Houghton Lake? Jet-powered PWC’s and boats from Bombardier (of Sea-Doo fame) and a duo of Made-in-Michigan companies.

The new Spark from Bombardier is an affordable, highly-haulable, easy-to-operate PWC designed for those former thrill-seekers looking to get their feet wet again. With a dependable four-stroke engine and an innovative hull made from a light, durable, and perhaps space-aged plastic composite called polytech, watch out for a Spark searing across an inland lake near you.

For those seeking to combine the acceleration and turning of a jet ski with the comfort and capacity of a ski boat, check out jet boats from Glastron and Scarab. These runabouts are made in Michigan and are perfect for navigating the small and calm inland lakes of Northern Michigan

Visit Spicer’s Boat City in Houghton Lake at 4165 W Houghton Lake Dr; SpicersBoatCity.com, 989.366.8400.

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