When a client asked Life Proof Boats if they would build a three-person hot tub into a tender the answer was simple: “We don’t say no,” says CEO Micah Bowers.
The client was in the market for a new tender to serve a classic wooden vessel based in Washington that would occasionally run up to Alaska. As the boat couldn’t structurally support a hot tub on board, the tender became the perfect solution. “Because we are an aluminium boat builder, the ability to tailor the boats to the client's needs is easy for us to do,” says Bowers. Although, integrating a hot tub was certainly one of the more unconventional requests Life Proof Boats had received in its seven years of boatbuilding.
The custom hot tub was built into the bow of its popular 31 GT Coupe, a half-cabin runabout constructed from aluminium. Initially, the model was designed to rival the Protector Targa. But, unlike the Targa’s traditional rigid inflatable hull, Life Proof Boats opted for a foam-filled D-collar across its entire fleet, which makes the hull virtually indestructible and maximises the deck space available. “It doesn't matter what happens to it,” says Bowers. “If you stabbed it with a knife or you put a chainsaw through it, the boat doesn't care. The collar stays fully inflated and fully intact.” He means it too – Life Proof Boats offers a lifetime warranty on its hulls.
Because of the additional internal space granted by the shape of the collar, there was enough room to customise the bow area to the owner's unusual request. Although, integrating a three-person hot tub into a nine-metre (31ft) tender has its challenges. As one of the smaller options in the Pleasure Craft fleet, the 31 GT Coupe didn’t have a holding tank big enough for the 120-140 gallons of fresh water required to fill the space, so the solution was to fill it directly from the mothership. "You make the space work; we'll take care of filling it", were the instructions of the client. Despite the extra weight in the bow, the boat's interaction with the water remains undisturbed.
Heating the water was a simple solution that required the installation of two diesel boilers that circulate the water through a heat exchanger, no different than your standard sundeck spa pool. “We were able to get this water to hold a constant temperature of 39.5°C (103 F) with the ambient air temperature being about 6°C (44 F) outside,” says Bowers, which was perfect for the owner’s Alaskan adventures. “The client even sent us pictures of them hanging out in the hot tub with the Aurora Borealis.”
For owners in the market for a nippy all-rounder, the 31 GT Coupe is a versatile solution with custom options to suit every need, be it fishing, day-tripping or carrying guests from ship to shore (and for those looking to size up, there’s a 10.6 metre option too). Other highlights include a berth for overnight trips, an optional galley and a drop-down bow door for loading and unloading cargo when the boat is beached. Two suspension seats – with an optional third – make light work of chop and ensure guest comfort underway, while twin 300HP outboard engines offer an impressive top speed of 46 knots.
As for the hot tub, “we don't just option it in like a tick box," says Bowers, "but we would do it again for the right client.”