You might say there are three command centers on the 250 Grand Mariner SEL — it would depend on whether you think the captain is the commander or the chauffeur. Two optional forward swivel recliners give the most-commanding view on the boat. Loungers behind them have two optional drawers for organizing important gear items like charts, phones, a VHF handheld and other gadgets.
Our idea of command is the lazy one, and the aft platform arrangement suited that perfectly. The aft seating converted from forward facing to aft facing or laid flat for a sun pad. This form of command demands the stereo remote at our fingertips conveniently placed.
Type-A commanders will salivate over the elevated fiberglass helm station. The adjustable swivel helm seat and arm rests position the Type-A guy for perfect control. The tilting helm and throttle give fingertip control enhanced by standard power steering.
The 250 Grand Mariner couldn't be grand without optional bling, and we found plenty. Mood lighting set the deck off in a soft glow. Granite-style surfaces and stainless-steel hardware add luster. A center tube locker kept the gear below and the deck clear. We prefer plenty of boarding options on a pontoon, so we were pleased to see forward, port, starboard and transom boarding gates.
The 250 Grand Mariner SEL was grandly appointed for true mariners.
Key Note: Stern-drive power on the Grand Mariner is exciting but most fuel efficient at the ideal pontoon cruising speed.
• Fuel-flow monitoring lets boaters tailor their speed for economy or fun.
• Reclining swivel loungers are the top seats in pontooning.
• Roomy platform makes the transom water-sports central.
• Helm styling gives the captain the luxury of command and the distinct feel of comfort.
* Test Engine: MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI Bravo 3
* Test Prop: 22.5 Bravo 3
* Test Load: People (375 lb.); Fuel (40 gal.)
* Optimum Cruise Speed: 11 mph @ 2,000 rpm @ 3.7 gph
* Top Speed: 44.6 mph @ 5,000 rpm
* Time to Plane: 5.8 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 8.2 sec.