Boston Whaler 170 Super Sport

The 170 Super Sport integrates old-school Whaler qualities with modern features.

For a video of the 170 Super Sport in action click here.

We Say: Whaler takes the standby teen idol 13-footer to a new "gotta have one" level. Ask some accomplished Northeast boaters what they had their first boat date in, and the Whaler 13 is apt to be the answer. This one is refreshingly jazzed up with an optional blue color wrap, full cushions, sun pad, cooler seat and the 90 hp motor.

All those options plus a stereo are available aftermarket to the buyer through the dealer from Land ’N’ Sea Distributing (landnsea.com). Equip it with a permanent 12-gallon tank or opt for twin six-gallon portables. We prefer the latter — especially if going with the 60-horsepower base engine.

The boat is jazzed up but still traditionally “Whaler” with its wide footprint and proud chines. Old-school Whaler qualities are updated with features like a port gunwale gear shelf integrated into the seating and more low-maintenance StarBoard. The deck is scuppered to drain overboard, and because of the design, during our test we were able to leave the bilge plug out and shipped only a bit of water through it when standing at the transom.

In our test on the choppy, windy waters, we clocked 46.9 mph with great stability. Whaler’s famed structural foam construction is evident here, sandwiched between the fiberglass deck and hull, giving it the solid feel we experienced.

Who'd Want One: A great starter boat for a fancier of the Whaler brand, or a companion or tender to a family fleet.

Another Choice: Few compete with the hull style in terms of stability and reliability, but the Zodiac Pro 550/Pro 12 Man ($29,322), at 17 feet 1 inch with 90 hp max, gives a sporty ride. It doesn't have a tow pylon.

Bottom Line: $25,619