Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
South Bay’s 200 series of “feature-rich, value-minded” pontoon boats is comprised of eighteen floorplans from seventeen to twenty-four feet of which the twenty-four foot 224 SB2 model is a part. South Bay offers a total of three series comprising a total of sixty-seven floorplans from seventeen to twenty-seven feet. All South Bay models utilize a one-piece seamless three-quarter inch V-Lite composite decking in place of the usual treated plywood decking.
The “SB2” in the model name is the key to the uniqueness of this boat’s floorplan. It denotes “Swing Back” with “2” backrests. The rear portside third of the boat is devoted to a double or even triple-wide lounge with a pivoting backrest that permits both forward-facing seating on the long side of an L-shaped lounge or rear-facing stretch-out lounging.
A second full-width backrest flips up out of the aft portion of this lounge to provide rear-facing seating for two or three while at the same time two or three others can sit facing forward at the L-shaped lounge using the pivoting backrest in its aft position. May sound complicated but it’s really not. It is unique and most practical and useful.
This portside L-shaped lounge is positioned just slightly aft of the starboard side captain’s LCI steel spring framed low back pedestal swivel helm chair with armrests and slider. This lounge comes with a standard oval-shaped, matte finish woodgrain table floor-mounted close enough to also serve the captain when that chair is swivelled around. This makes for a great conversation cum snack or meal area when the boat is at rest.
Just ahead of this L-shaped lounge is a portside entry gate and ahead of that, port and starboard side comfortable two or even three-person facing lounges separated by a centre bow entry gate. Storage is provided beneath all seat cushions. A starboard side stern entry gate within the safety stern rail leads to a stern platform to which is supplied an aluminum boarding ladder.
The fibreglass molded helm of the 224 SB2 with low profile removable windscreen and eyebrow is modern and straightforward. Standard instrumentation includes tachometer, trim, volt, and fuel gauges plus a 12-volt receptacle. A Kicker® KMC 1 AM/FM Bluetooth compatible stereo with MP3 and iPod ports and four speakers is standard. A Surlast 10-foot colour-matched bimini top is standard as is a playpen cover.
Choosing from the available single and packaged options is where the fun begins. You should first choose from the available Performance Packages which takes you from a pair of standard 23-inch tubes, to a pair of 25-inch tubes, to the addition of a centre 25-inch sport tube, and finally to the addition of a 25-inch full length centre tube. With these, your maximum allowable horsepower climbs from 90 to 150, to 200, and finally to 250. Mercury outboard power is recommended.
The first Performance Package, called 2.0, only adds an aluminum underdeck Performance skin. Next, the 2.75 adds to that the centre Sport Tube, Seastar® hydraulic steering, plus lifting strakes on the inside of the outer tubes. Finally, 3.0 adds all of the above plus a 37-gallon fuel tank and additional lifting strakes on the full length centre tube.
A Deluxe Option Package provides some neat furniture vinyl covering upgrades, a stereo upgrade to a Kicker® KMC 10 with lighted speakers, tilt steering, fence panel upgrades, plus a pair of 25-inch tubes. A Blackout Trim Package does just that to rails, bimini top frame, rail spacers, pinch guards, door stops, rail plugs, snap screws, and a logo.
Choosing colours will keep you busy with eight canopy colour choices, six base vinyl colours, fourteen accent vinyl colours, thirteen top panel colours, thirteen sweep colours, nine optional stripe colours, thirteen optional stern colours, plus nine flooring covering choices.
And there are a multitude of single options. Most notable are a captain’s high back chair upgrade with or without reclining, the Kicker® KMC 10 stereo upgrade, a Simrad or Humminbird colour GPS/fishfinder, upgrade to a pair of 25 or 27-inch pontoons from the base 23-inch, woodgrain steering wheel, tilt steering, LED docking lights, stainless steel ski tow bar, and a stand-alone privacy room and enclosure.
You may also want an in-floor storage compartment, double bimini top, a removable bow gate bench seat, a pair of portable cupholders, several two-tone vinyl flooring choices, full rail panels, individual performance package items, or a Saltwater Edition Package among other choices.
The South Bay 224 SB2 can obviously be equipped to be and to look any way you so choose to satisfy your individual desires of boating enjoyment.
|Dry weight:||2,015-2,750 lbs||914-1,247 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||27-37 US gals||102-140 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury Outboard|