Life Proof Yachtline 33
This newcomer from the Pacific Northwest marries military hardware with luxe touches.
The term “head-turner” is overused in boat reviews, but few boats grab as much attention at 60 mph as the new Yachtline 33 from Life Proof. I hopped aboard one of the first 33s with the Bremerton, Washington-based company’s CEO Micah Bowers in Port Orchard.
The sunny fall day graced us with 5 to 10 knots of wind, little to no chop and 2 or 3 knots of tide. Paradise.
“When we first designed the Yachtline series, we needed the highest level of finish quality to appeal to the superyacht base,” says Bowers as he welcomes me aboard. The vision for the Yachtline series was straightforward: Make the coolest production tender possible. Bowers continues, “the three big focuses of the Yachtline series are look, finish and performance.”
Life Proof Yachtline 33
Even with the upscale yacht-like presentation of the 33, the slick, almost paramilitary foundation of a Life Proof remains. When talking about this builder, it’s important to remember that the company also builds boats for commercial and government use.
“We do contract work with government agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard,” explains Bowers. “We’re a Leatherman in the industry just like our boats. Working on the government and commercial side as well as the recreation side gives us a ton of knowledge as boatbuilders.” Take the forward-angled windshield for example. West Coast commercial boats utilize this angle to reduce glare from the water on sunny days and from the helm when running at night.
Another double-purpose feature on the 33 is the memory-foam collar system. “It’s not an inflatable collar like a traditional RIB,” explains Bowers. “You can stab the collar with a knife and it’ll just sit there.” The collar sits about an inch under the waterline and provides added stability so there is little heel as passengers move about. The collar, combined with interior decks positioned on the side sheet, means the boat is self-bailing.
The Yachtline 33’s finish is what elevates it to the position of superyacht tender. A swath of custom options includes different kinds of PermaTeak and color schemes.
It’s not all fit and finish on the 33 though; this is also a highly functional tender. “We love the layout where the driver can access the cleats without much effort. We want him to be able to reach out his window, tie off the cleat and put a fender out regardless of whether he is single-handed on a 17-foot or 49-foot boat,” says Bowers.
After inspecting every inch of this newcomer, we cast off the dock lines and hit the water. Performance wise, the twin Shockwave S3 seats are a must. These suspension seats are the same ones used by the military, but in true Yachtline fashion, they’re upholstered by Corbin Motorcycle of California. Perfect for the operator who likes to transition between sitting and standing, these seats keep your eyes level for ease of driving.
Three standard engine setups are offered: triple 350-hp Mercury Verados, twin 425-hp Yamahas or twin 300-hp diesel outboards. Bowers reports similar performance between the triple 350s and twin 425s with top speeds around 52 knots and fuel economy around 1.5 mpg at a cruising speed of around 32 knots. Going with the twins opens up a bit of the transom for a swim step and ladder.
Bowers took me to high-speed-driving school as I took the helm, unaccustomed to turning hard at 52 knots. Amazingly, the Yachtline 33’s design, float collar and suspension seating combine so that carving donuts at that speed is strikingly smooth.
At the end of the day, the Yachtline 33 successfully combines its three main ingredients to become one of the most stylish and capable yacht tenders on the market. It’s built by true Pacific Northwest maritime experts who make boats that safely deliver our servicemen and women through North Pacific storms. If you’re in the market for a boat that can serve as a luxury tender, fishing machine or weekend warrior, give the Yachtline 33 a look.
Yachtline 33 Specifications:
Displ.: 9,500 lbs.
Water: 20 gal.
Standard power: 3/350-hp Mercury outboards
Cruise speed: 32 knots
Top speed: 52 knots
Base price: $441,000