Boat owners looking for a little more than traditional bowriders have some impressive options these days. The Cobalt 30SC, the Sea Ray 310 SLX OB and the Regal 33 OBX are three common choices when owners are looking for many of the features of a bowrider but want a little more size and some outboard power.
These boats cater to boaters and families who want to island hop, cruise the intercoastal with friends and still have the option to partake in some skiing or wakeboarding. Utilizing outboards frees up space that can then be used for seating and storage, and these boat builders are adept at designing the boat in order to not lose the entire swim platform.
At a high level, each of these boats might seem quite similar. After all, these runabouts in this class have many similar features: An open layout, a full head, useful storage for facilitating both watersports and entertaining, and of course, reliable outboard power. While we’ll get into some obvious and not-so-obvious differences between the models, understand that often times the small details in the fit and finish - perhaps more important to a spouse - can often be a deciding factor between similar models in a boat category.
The 30SC is the largest boat in Cobalt’s outboard SC line. The boat represents the addition of easy-to-maintain outboard engines to the hull construction, performance and luxury that boaters have come to know with Cobalt products.
When comparing the Cobalt 30SC against its comparable Sea Ray and Regal models, there are some obvious differences, but many of the things to note are smaller details that boat owners often only come to appreciate after a period of time of use and ownership. Let’s first document some of the major Cobalt items that are worth mentioning, then we’ll get into the less obvious distinctions.
When comparing similar models with overall similar layouts, the reality is that Cobalt’s construction methods are tough to beat. Cobalt’s hand-laid, Kevlar-reinforced hulls means you're getting an extraordinarily strong boat with an excellent ride. It’s important to note that the Cobalt 30SC hull was designed with outboard power in mind, and not all boats in this category are. If a hull from a sterndrive-designed model is used, with the sterndrive swapped out for outboard motors, weight distribution and ride dynamics can be off. With boat builders offering outboard power on more and more models, it's important for buyers to inquire whether or not the hull was designed with outboards in mind.
The captain will notice the standard dual screens on the 30SC immediately, and Cobalt’s are known for nailing the interior details throughout. The stitching and premium materials used will catch your eye.
Other features like grab rails that are inside the boat in the bow are nice features that might not be so apparent at first glance. While the Regal 33 has grab rails that extend the length of the bow on top of the boat, the comfort of the ergonomic arm rests on the Cobalt along with the inside-the-boat grab rails result in a more natural position while riding. Moreover, the Cobalt’s storage compartments don’t have carpet inside - something active boaters who tend to store wet items will indeed appreciate.
Seating configuration is similar at a high level, but it’s worth noting the differences between some fixed seating vs. flexible and more versatile seats. For instance, the Cobalt 30SC features transom seating with an adjustable backrest that also lets you kick back on the sunpad.
The Sea Ray 310 SLX OB features Mercury outboard power, and the Regal 33 offers Yamaha outboards. With the Cobalt 30SC, you have your choice of either Mercury or Yamaha.
All three models have the option for a hard top. The Regal and the Sea Ray include a retractable feature within the hard top that’s a nice feature. However, some individuals who have been around boating for years remain skeptical about cutting holes in a hard top as it can potentially lead to water getting into unwanted areas and causing maintenance issues down the road. At a minimum, it could be worth talking to trusted mechanics or service personnel to get further insight into whether or not this might be an issue.
The Regal 33 OBX is a larger boat than both the Cobalt 30SC and the Sea Ray 310 SLX, and as such, Regal is able to fit a few more features into the boat. The beverage station with refrigerator behind the helm is a nice feature. With the added space, the Regal 33 also is able to provide a quarter berth giving space for a nap or even an overnight if you’re not too claustrophobic.
The Cobalt 30SC, the Sea Ray 310 SLX OB and the Regal 33 OBX are all common options for boaters and families looking to get out on the water, hit the sandbar, hang with friends or do some watersports. Each can accomplish most use cases common with these boats just fine. As such, it’s important to see the boats in person and get a first-hand feel for the qualities featured on each boat.
Do you have any questions about the Cobalt 30SC, the Sea Ray 310 SLX OB or the Regal 33 OBX? Tom George Yacht Group representatives can talk through your planned boating use cases and help you find the perfect long-term fit for you and your family.