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September 21, 2007

Mako 313 Express

A huge fishing platform with room to spare.

Big. That's the first impression you have when you step aboard the new Mako 313. It measures just a tad over 31 feet, and is built for extended offshore fishing excursions.

Navigating the crowded Anchors Aweigh Marina in Jensen Beach, Florida, in our test boat, we immediately appreciated the positioning of the helm. For an express boat, it provides an exceptionally unobstructed view all around, and its comfortable height allowed us to see exactly where we were going as we threaded our way through the maze of boats. Once clear of the marina, we noted that the helm also provides a great view into the cockpit to oversee the fishing action.

The helm itself is spacious and well appointed, with all switches conveniently lined up beneath the wheel. The Morse electronic controls are sure and steady, once you get the feel of how they respond. A roomy, L-shaped lounge is opposite the helm station.

The cockpit is large and open, thanks in part to the transom bait-well layout. The 50-gallon live well has been placed on the rear platform, aft of the transom bulkhead, where it's easy to reach. Fully plumbed for raw water, as you'd expect, it features a gas-ram lift on the lid, and a latch to hold it securely closed.

The transom setup also forces the outboards farther apart than we are accustomed to seeing, which seems to make no difference whatsoever, except when it comes to maneuvering. Due to the wide spacing of the motors, this boat spins like a twin-screw inboard. For close-in fish fights, it's one nimble machine.

Our test boat was set up with twin Mercury 250 EFIs, which pushed the hull easily and had power to spare. The hull requires 30-inch shafts, and our engines were swinging four-bladed props that bit well and pushed the boat along nicely.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 31'3"
Beam: 10' 6"
Draft: 23"
Transom deadrise: 21 ¿
Fuel: 300 gals.
Water: 30 gals.
Max. hp: 500
Base price: $146,970

Hatches in the transom bulkhead and on the floor provide access to pumps, plumbing and batteries. To starboard, a tuna door leads out onto the engine platform, where you'll find the oil and water filler caps. Forward of the battery hatch in the cockpit sole is a generous fishbox, and forward of that, abutting the helm step-up, is another hatch that provides access to the generator and TABS battery-management system. This isolates circuitry when it's not in use and monitors the battery bank to maintain a balanced charge.

At the rear of the cockpit, behind the helm, the bait-prep area includes an icebox, and a sink with fresh and raw-water bibbs. Ample tackle storage is available under the prep station and in drawers on the opposite side of the cockpit.

The optional half-tower on our test boat boasted a complete command station sheltered under a buggy top, with easy access to the outriggers. Nine additional rod holders lined the ladders and the rear rail.

Back on the bridgedeck, a companionway with four-step ladder to port of the helm leads down to the open and airy cabin. Two large, oval portholes let in light from the cockpit, making the space seem larger than it is. The forward vee-berth is comfortable, and offers substantial storage beneath the cushions. There's a head and stand-up shower to port of the companionway ladder, and a tidy galley area to starboard. Aft of the galley are two hanging lockers and two bunks.

Once below, the extra distance between the deck and the cabin floor makes sense, as it really opens up the interior space, making it seem less confining. Like the rest of this boat, it feels, well, big.

Mako Marine, Miami, FL; (305) 685-6591; www.mako-boats.com.