For dedicated day-cruisers – who want the kind of luxury and space offered by big pontoon boats, but with more convenience and better performance – deckboats are a great alternative. The Crownline E4, part of the Illinois company’s Eclipse lineup, has many of the attributes needed for deckboat success.
At 24 feet six inches long, with an eight-feet six-inch beam, the E4 has size on its side. It uses it well, with three distinct gathering zones: the bow compartment, main cockpit and aft swim deck. There are boarding ladders at the bow and stern. While both can be used for access to the water, the bow ladder is especially helpful when the boat is pulled up to a beach or sandbar.
Both the small, forward swim deck and the larger one aft are covered with soft-touch rubberized mat material for barefoot comfort.
The E4’s capacity is listed as 13 persons, but six or seven could best take advantage of the space and luxury the boat has to offer.
The broad bow compartment, any deckboat’s main selling feature, includes two curvy body-fitting full-length lounges on the E4. They come complete with armrests. There’s plenty of room for more than two to sit in less than total comfort and there’s also plenty of space for picnic supplies or water toys in the lockers below.
The swiveling helm and companion seats are comfortable and can be turned to face the J-shaped lounge aft and to port. Its aft section can be converted to seats that face back over the swim deck, or folded down to create a full sun lounge. There’s a small jump seat to starboard. A spacious enclosed head, in the companion console, is a convenience appreciated by committed day-cruisers.
With all that comfort on board, the E4 is also a capable performer, powered by a MerCruiser 350 MAG twin-prop Bravo III sterndrive. The 300hp engine combines well with the ventilated FastTab hull for relatively speedy acceleration, a top speed approaching 50 miles per hour and easy cruising speeds in the 30- to 35-mph zone.
Under way or at rest, comfort comes first on the Crownline E4.
Test Boat Engine
MerCruiser 350 MAG, 300hp, 5.7L (350 ci), gasoline V-8, multi-point EFI, pushing twin propellers through a Bravo III drive
0-20 / 5.4; 0-30 / 7.2
TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)
5,500 / 48.9
CRUISING SPEED (rpm/mph)
3,000 / 23; 3,500 / 30.4; 4,000 / 36.3