The Marker One ML4 is the latest edition of the Platform Series concept from the makers of Cobalt Boats. Yes, it’s a Platform Series boat, not a pontoon, even though it runs atop three aluminum hulls. What’s the difference? In a word, fiberglass. The ML4 has a fiberglass deck attached to those aluminum hulls, which means its seat bases and all components are molded fiberglass parts. It’s really a hybrid boat with the space and utility of a pontoon-boat layout.
The ML4 features a new strake design for its hulls, which act like reverse chines on a fiberglass V-hull to provide more lift when climbing out of the hole and more stability underway. On test day, we could see the results. Powered by a 300 hp Evinrude E-TEC G2, the ML4 climbed onto plane in under three seconds and reached 30 mph in under eight seconds on its way to a 46.2 mph top-end speed. Moreover, it exhibited inboard heel in turns, more closely mimicking a fiberglass V-hull than some of its outboard-heeling pontoon relatives.
But if you’re interested in the ML4, you’re interested in what it offers above decks as much as below. The L-shaped cockpit seating features adjustable backrests on both the chaise-style lounge and the portside passenger seat. The bow cockpit features wraparound seating with plush vinyl cushions. The wraparound grab-rail recess on the exterior of the gunwales and the high freeboard add security. A center walk-through leads to the nonslip bow platform. There’s plentiful storage under the fiberglass seat bases both fore and aft, with gaskets and gutters to keep your gear dry. The ML4’s profile matches the sleekest pontoon designs on the market, with raillike gunwales that feature eye-popping color schemes.
Another feature that sets the ML4 apart from its pontoon cohorts is the tempered-glass windshields mounted atop both consoles with beefy stainless-steel supports. Only a few other boats offer such protection from the elements in the pontoon class. Combine that with the forward-raked arch with a soft top that provides shade for passengers in the aft cockpit.
It’s also rare to see an aft swim platform with swim steps that sit at water level. The portside step features an electrically actuated drop step that lowers into the water for easy reboarding. The tow bar on the platform keeps the tow rope above the outboard cowling, preventing chafing and allowing skiers and boarders room for the cuts needed to perform tricks. The adjustable backrest on the transom seat lets the crew face the water while they prep their wakeboards or skis, or just get ready to take a dip in the water while at anchor — another point in favor of this boat’s versatility.
Comparable Model: Harris Crowne SL 250