Seaway’s 18 Sportsman is an overachiever. How else to describe a small but roomy open utility boat that can take nearshore coastal seas safely in stride but still sneak into shallow tidal creeks, run well with an economical 50-90-hp modern outboard, and ride on a simple, single-axle trailer behind a compact SUV? This one is also lovely, with a sweeping sheer and classic teak trim. Her proud bow cleaves seas while her hard chines and low transom deadrise provide good performance with that modest power. She’s a lot of boat for not much money, either to purchase, use, or maintain.
So what about use? What can she do? Because of her combination of seaworthiness and shallow draft, she’s great at exploring bays and rivers. The ease of trailering her opens up broad geographic opportunities for adventurous day trips on a modest fuel budget. With the stability inherent in her 8’ beam, she adapts easily to multiple fishing techniques. A 70-hp engine can push her to a top speed around 30 mph, but because she planes as low as 10 mph, she can adapt easily to a wide range of sea conditions, and she has enough power for simple towing water sports.
The Sportsman model includes a fiberglass inner liner and multiple options that include several hull colors, bow seating with cushions, a folding dodger to shelter that area, a console windshield with handrail, and a fiberglass leaning post with door and cushion instead of a helm seat/storage box with a reversible back. The Sport model is simpler, with no inner liner or options available. A handy owner, however, can easily add custom capabilities with aftermarket equipment like rod holders. Both models have self-bailing cockpits and level foam flotation for safety.