Maxum 3500 SCR

A well-built eye-catcher that's big on creature comfort.

Maxum has carved its niche in the marketplace by building innovative boats that are stylish, comfortable and capable. The 3500 SCR follows tradition, with a full-bodied form and modern look that will satisfy performance-minded enthusiasts and deliver the living space necessary for weekend cruises with friends.

The 3500's design is dedicated to creature comfort with unique zeal. Her side decks are almost nonexistent, leaving the space they would require available for additional interior room. (A molded-in step near the helm and a folding section in the windscreen allow easy access to the foredeck.) Through an acrylic, sliding companionway door are an L-shape galley with refrigerator/freezer, a microwave, a two-burner electric stove and a stainless-steel sink. An enclosed head compartment has a molded head/shower area and sink. A U-shape seating area serves as a lounge or dining spot and can be converted to a berth best suited for kids. A raised berth is immediately forward with a curtain that can be drawn for privacy. (I prefer the 3500's aft stateroom, which has a door, a standing area with a seat and two berths tucked beneath the bridge area.)

The dedication to creating a fine living space is also evident in the 3500's interior fit, which includes maple cabinetry, Corian countertops and a wood sole in the galley. These are excellent amenities for a boat in her class.

Abovedecks, the 3500 is an eye-catcher. The cockpit and raised helm area are an amalgam of curved surfaces and seating. Aft are a U-shape seating area that converts into a sun lounge and a bar with molded-in sink and lift-out cutting board. There's a spot to store a cooler beneath the seating, and our test boat had an optional ice maker. A transom door leads to the integral platform, where a swim ladder is fitted. A compartment in the transom accommodates shorepower service receptacles and a freshwater shower. There is also space to stow lines and fenders.

The 3500's raised helm area has adjustable bench seating with an optional hydraulic actuator that I found more cute than necessary. Guests can sit or recline on the adjacent companion seating. Instrument and electronics space is plentiful, and the molded-in dash is finished with simulated wood trim. Our test boat had Maxum's premium navigation package, including a 48-mile radar, a GPS plotter, a digital depth sounder, an autopilot and a VHF radio.

Machinery space is accessible through a hatch in the cockpit area. I highly recommend the optional hydraulic hatch lift for carefree engineroom access. The machinery compartment extends from the aft accommodation bulkhead to the transom. Access to the engines and auxiliary equipment is good, and the optional generator is positioned aft. Fuel is carried in aluminum tanks outboard of the engines. Bronze raw-water strainers and sea valves are standard, and system components bear quality nameplates. Wiring is color-coded and reasonably neat. Our test boat was equipped with an optional automatic fire suppression system, which in my opinion is a must on any boat.

The overall look of the 3500 is much like that of her siblings, which are well represented on the water. "Customers are attracted to Maxum's design," said Jon Burkard, executive vice president of The Allied Marine Group, whose Stuart, Florida, facility handles Maxum and other lines. "The product's competitive pricing is simply added value.

Our test boat, with air conditioning, generator and options including the electric windlass, was priced at $222,000. If you go with the 7.4 L MPI MerCruisers, the $180,000 base price is attractive in today's market-especially when you consider the solidity of the product and the builder. Maxum is a division of the Brunswick Corporation, the largest manufacturer of recreational boats in the world. In addition to the obvious buying power this affords with suppliers, Maxum boats benefit from the company's willingness to invest in engineering and technology. The 3500 was designed with a state-of-the-art computer-aided design system. A five-axis, computer-driven gantry router cuts the plugs for her hull, superstructure and the other tooling during construction. Numerically controlled routers cut structural bulkheads, non-structural interior partitions and joinery.

Fiberglass lamination and assembly are done by hand. Woven and stitched fiberglass reinforcements are used, and closed-cell foam coring stiffens the hull sides, decks and superstructure. A vinylester skin coat reduces the chance of blistering. Stringers are fiberglass-encapsulated wood, and plywood bulkheads are resin coated. Maxum backs its work with a "7-5-1 Limited Warranty," which includes seven-year protection against structural failure, five-year protection from gelcoat blisters and one-year coverage on materials and workmanship.

What all this adds up to in the Maxum 3500 is a roomy, attractive, solidly built boat from a company dedicated to consistency in fit and finish. Not only is her price attractive, you know you'll get what you pay for.

Contact: Maxum Marine, (360) 435-6534; fax (360) 403-4240;