A trio of seals laze atop a yellow buoy, absorbing the warmth of the afternoon sun. They poke their heads up with more than mild curiosity as we scream past at 44 knots in an aluminum rib. At Trawlerfest Seattle (a boat show put on by our sister publication Passagemaker) the Life Proof 31 stood out in a marina filled with ship-like, long-range cruisers.
Life Proof CEO Micah Bower explained that Trawlerfest events are perfect for his Bremerton, Washington-based company. For one the show is right in his backyard, and second, he finds that many trawler and superyacht owners look to his boats as a second boat or tender. He commonly refers to his line of craft as “a different kind of passagemaker.”
“We’ve had some people come by to see the boats that realize our boats are perfect for the Inside Passage. We have a low fuel burn and can cruise at 50 mph. You can blast along and find a place ashore to stay for the night and then continue on in the morning.”
In today’s world—one where there never seems to be enough time—it’s a tempting proposition. Long range cruising doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go slow.
At the conclusion of Trawlerfest Seattle we were able to break the 31 GT Coupe from its boat show chains and blast across Puget Sound for a proper ring out and photo shoot. I took the wheel early, and with Managing Editor Simon Murray’s help, recorded two-way test numbers—we saw 44.8 knots at the top end. Not too shabby. I then spun the boat around to record numbers going the other way (thus eliminating any unforeseen boost from current) and saw the Seattle skyline come into focus. The Space Needle punctuated a bluebird sky. It was an incredible sight.
We continued on to Blake Island, the home of Tillicum Village and the birthplace of Chief Seattle. Bower nosed the 31 onto the beach. That’s when we got to use one of my favorite features aboard: a fold-down bow that transforms into a boarding platform. Maybe it’s because I was away from home for a while, but I couldn’t help but imagine how the family dog, Salty, would love the ability to run straight off the boat onto the beach without actually having to touch the water.
Marine Group photographer Jonathan Cooper fired off shot after shot of the 31. I got the chance to take a step back and admire the look of the boat from down on the beach. In some ways it’s commercial looking thanks to the welded aluminum superstructure. It also looks militaristic, especially when cutting sharp turns at high speeds. But here on the beach I could see what it really is: an exceptionally fun family cruiser that will help you—to steal Corona’s tagline—find your beach. —Daniel Harding Jr.
Displ.: 10,000 lbs.
Fuel: 200 gal.
Water: 40 gal.
Standard Power: 2/250-hp outboards
Optional Power: 2/450-hp outboards
Cruise Speed: 32 knots
Top Speed: 45 knots