The 19-foot bowrider is already one of the most-popular boats on the water. It stands to attract even more attention at a time when buyers are focusing on fuel economy, ease of storage and trailerability. With those factors in mind, the newly designed 194 Ski and Fish should be on a lot of "potential buy" lists.
One issue with a bowrider less than 20 feet is finding enough ways to use it to make the boat a good investment. That's where we see obvious advantages of the 194. A boat ride and a pull on a tube are fun, but what if you don't feel like pouring gas into the boat every time out? With a trolling motor, livewell and convertible casting decks, this boat is an asset with the engine off.
The livewell on the 194 sits under the stern seat. The surprise for us was finding that it's long enough for a removable divider. (We'd use one side of the livewell for minnows and the other for the catch.) By removing the pads on the engine bay, we accessed the base for a casting chair. There's enough room on top of the engine compartment to walk around, and the lip created from taking out the pads adds just enough freeboard to make it safe. The casting deck in the bow, when inserted, sits deeper still.
We didn't sit still much in our test. Even when we tried, a tidal current in the coastal waters had us drifting, though we could have countered it with the trolling motor in place. When asked to jump out of the hole, the 194 did so like a good fishing boat, hitting plane at 3.3 seconds. And with an economical 4.3-liter MerCruiser doing the work, we came within a click of 50 mph. Given more time, we would have found a back bay, dropped the trolling motor and spent the day catching dinner, without burning another drop of gas.
• The divider in the livewell doubles as a cutting board.
• Sound system includes an MP3 jack and CD player in the glove box.
• The MotorGuide trolling motor has a wireless remote, so you can change directions when fishing from anywhere in the boat.
• Gauge pods are under an eyebrow to reduce glare; there's also a fill and drain toggle switch for the livewell.
• Bungee straps under the coaming pads hold fishing rods on a carpeted surface.
At A Glance...
Built-in fishing features add value to the 194 Ski and Fish by giving families more ways to use the boat easily.
Length Overall: 19'
Dry Weight: 2,650 lb.
Seating Capacity: 9
Fuel Capacity: 35 gal.
Maximum HP: 220
MSRP (w/MerCruiser 4.3L): $28,737
Test Engine: MerCruiser 4.3L
Test Load: People (345 lb.), Fuel (18 gal.)
Top Speed: 49.2 mph @ 4,900 rpm
Time to Plane: 3.3 sec.
Time to 30 MPH: 8.0 sec.