Have you ever seen a Cobalt pontoon boat? We hadn’t either – welcome to the Marker One Platform Series.
Cobalt boats, long known for building high-end runabouts and cruisers ranging from the zippy little R5 to the elegant A40, has entered new territory with the Marker One Platform series of pontoon boats. From the rubrail up, the Marker One looks like a fiberglass Cobalt runabout—sleek curves, multi-color gel coat, molded diamond non-skid, buttery-smooth vinyls and all. But moving down from there, it’s an entirely different story.
The Marker One rides on a triple-log pontoon hull (a tri-toon, in pontooner’s parlance) and the logs have lifting strakes, chines, and a keel. The pontoons are bolted to the fiberglass deck and topsides’ stringer system. Matching up a pontoon hull with a runabout-style deck and topsides may sound a bit strange at first, but it eliminates several of the usual pontoon boat gripes: there are no noisy, flimsy “fences” surrounding the deck, and there’s no plywood in the construction.
These boats are also semi-customizable, with multiple graphics and color options, snap-in carpets, and different available seating arrangements. And as you’d expect from Cobalt, the fit and finish is excellent, while pieces and parts are extremely high-grade. Take a peek at the slide-out cooler, for example, and note that it’s a Yeti, instead of the common Igloo or Coleman. The helm also looks more runabout than pontoon, with a stitched leather wheel cover, stainless-steel switches, dual digital multifunction gauges, and a stainless-steel framed windshield.
Cobalt has integrated many of the features they’ve found popular on their traditional line into the Marker One Platform series. Check out the swim platform, for example; it has a molded-in swim step that gets you right down to water level. The picnic table is on a slide-in side mount instead of the standard pontoon pedestal, which makes it easier to sit around without kicking the leg. And the helm has a comfy flip-up bolster seat à la sportboat.
Could Cobalt be going out on a limb, here? Sure—only time will tell if the boating public is ready for a hybrid aluminum/fiberglass pontoon boat. But judging by how popular pontoons have become in the past few years, this seems like a savvy move. If Cobalt can convince the public that it has carried its attention to detail, craftsmanship, and construction quality over into the pontoon realm, the Marker One Platform series could turn out to be a big winner.
by Lenny Rudow