The resurgence of outboard motors — they’re more powerful, economical and cleaner than ever before — continues to spread ripples throughout the recreational boating industry. Case in point: The M-65 from Monterey joins a new generation of runabouts that benefit from quieter, stronger performance as well as increased deck space that once belonged to an inboard engine room.

At the stern, a patio-sized swim platform features an aft-facing bench with stainless-steel cup holder and grab rails, plus a transom shower, telescoping ladder and storage locker all hidden but within easy reach. The level of convenience is amazing, especially when you think back just five years ago, when the only thing close was on a waterjet-powered boat. You can boost the premium ambiance even more with an available stereo remote, underwater lights and swim platform SeaDek inlay.

The cockpit of the M-65 has its own hidden secrets, most notably the aft section of the L-shaped lounge, which folds away to nearly double the deck space here. Have a dance party or drop a fishing line over the side of the boat. The starboard jump seat slides out on rails to expose a drink cooler; alternatively, you can swap this seat for a wet bar with sink, faucet and storage. Across the way is another under-seat cooler as well as a fold-down armrest with two drink holders. Forward, at the port console, the passenger seat can be equipped with a backrest that pivots to face the bow or stern.

That same console offers entry into a changing room — or head compartment should you elect the optional toilet. Opposite, the helm comes equipped with compass, depth sounder, 12-volt outlet, MP3 adapter, lighted switches and black wheel with tilt steering. Mercury offers Active Trim on board, whereby the system automatically sets the ideal running attitude. No more tweaking the trim switch! You can also upgrade the stereo and add a GPS/chart plotter/sonar combo unit.

Plush seats in the bow incorporate fold-down armrests as well as nearby grab rails and recessed drink holders. A forward bench here leads to the anchor locker and bow swim platform. You can, of course, access storage beneath the seats and transform the entire area into a sun pad with optional filler cushions.

Serious deck space, ample storage and powerful, efficient propulsion make the M-65 a very attractive new runabout. Factor in the boat’s sleek and luxurious looks, and it’s hard not to be impressed by this smooth outboard operator.


Specifications
Length Overall: 26’7”
Beam: 8’6”
Draft: 2’9”
Dry Weight: 5,200 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 80 gals.
Base Price: $66,731
montereyboats.com

Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of HeartLand Boating magazine