ach year, Boating editors test over 100 different powerboats of just about every description in just about every category. At each test, our tech team notes the standout features of the boats, as well as any features we believe require remediation. These are catalogued as the “High Points” and “Low Points” published with each boat test. Often these points relate to construction, design, and safety in accordance with published standards, such as those of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. At a minimum, the Boat of the Year must not exhibit violations of such standards. To avoid comparing apples and oranges — because what is acceptable for an inshore runabout may not be for an offshore fishing boat — we utilize considered opinion along with the hard data. We compare the test boat to other boats in the same category, asking not just “How well does this boat fulfill its intended mission?” but also “How much better does this boat fulfill its intended mission compared to other similar boats?” The boats are viewed through the lens of an experienced team possessing over 150 years of combined time on the water, both personally and assessing boats for a living. Ultimately, the winner is the boat that stands out in its category more than any other boat tested stands out in any other category. After a year’s testing, much debate and heated discussion, here are Boating’s Boat of the Year finalists for 2017. The Boat of the Year winner will be announced in our January 2018 issue of the magazine, and the trophy will be awarded at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show in February 2018.