PDB Shootout: South Bay 523 UL 3.0

Published in the January 2021 Issue April 2022 Boat Test Monday

First Impression

If you’re going to refer to something as “ultimate,” it better be impressive, and in this case the swingback lounger that is the focus of this model delivers with a truly multi-purpose design. However, this South Bay has way more to offer than just comfortable seating.


As impressive as the Smoke interior is with the different tones of gray plus a blue accent color, it’s the way the True Touch vinyl feels that you’ll appreciate most. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was actual genuine leather being used for the furniture since it really is that soft. That same vinyl is found on the captain and co-captain helm chairs from Wieland Designs, but what makes them unique is the cable tension mechanism that gives you more reclining options than most chairs. Plus we love the sporty look.

For the captain is an upgraded 7-inch Simrad touchscreen that centers the dash with gauges on each side. We also like the lockable glove box to the right that is waterproof and perfect for storing those loose items such as your keys and wallet.

Left of the Gussi Italian steering wheel is a row of well-labeled toggle switches plus access to the Wet Sounds audio system. Then on the other side you’ll find a 12-volt outlet and a Scanstrut wireless charger with a designated spot to store your phone.

UL in the model name stands for ultimate lounger and the multi-purpose seating area behind the dual helm chairs lives up to its name. With the swingback you can face forward as a bench seat or use it at a rear-facing stern lounger. You can even choose to lay it completely flat then ratchet up the back seats to create a forward-facing lounger. Now you understand where the ultimate model name came from.

There are dual stern gates that are part of the stainless railing and as an added safety measure a net between the ski/tow bar comes standard to help keep you away from the engine. The upgraded gray ski/tow bar ties in perfectly with the theme of the boat while the stainless five-step boarding ladder flows perfectly with the stern railing. Speaking of having a nice flow, the Infinity vinyl flooring combined with the recessed table mounts, complete the look the manufacturer is going for.

Closer Look

With the 3.0 Performance package you gain a full center pontoon, aluminum underskin, large lifting strakes on the center tube and on the inside of the outer tubes, SeaStar hydraulic steering and a 37-gallon fuel tank. Plus the Z42 chassis includes zero wood, zero rot, zero seams and zero expansion/contraction, while being 40 percent lighter and two times stronger than marine-grade plywood.

Throttle Down

Suzuki is a great pairing on this 24-footer as we went from 0-to-20 mph is just over 4 seconds while easily reaching the mid 40 mph mark at full throttle. A lot can be credited to the performance package, but of course it doesn’t hurt to have 200 horses on the back either. The sporty and quick pontoon is extremely easy to turn with the hydraulic steering and overall is a lot of fun to drive.

Why Buy

There are a lot of features and highlights that will catch your attention, such as the attractive color scheme, seating options or even the sporty helm console. But in the end, it’s the total package together as tested that consumers are going to love and appreciate, not to mention the performance that backs it all up.

Middlebury, Ind.

Number of Occupants: 13
Price As Tested With Power: $78.7K
Maximum Speed: 44.0 mph                   
Wild Ponies: 200 hp
No. of Gates: 3
0-20 MPH: 4.5 seconds   
Ladder Measurement: 3’ 9” deep

Why we love this boat… The ultimate lounger is impressive, but that’s only the beginning since the cable tension reclining helm chairs might just be the two most popular seats on board.

Just being picky… While the wireless charger for the captain is extremely useful, it would be nice if the bow seating had USB ports for the passengers, or if they were built into the lounger.


10-Foot Bimini Top w/Stainless Quick Release & Trailering Struts, 28-Gallon Fuel Tank w/Fuel & Water Separator, Bow Reinforcement Bumper, Cable Tension Infinite Reclining High Back Helm Chair, Deutsch Waterproof Electrical Wiring Harness, Docking Lights, Exterior D-Rail Design on Rails, Oval-Shaped Wood Grain Table w/Matte Finish, Radius Deck w/Integrated Deck Trim and Vinyl Rub Rail, Raised Chrome Logos, Reinforced Splash Fins, Scanstrut Wireless Phone Charging & Mount, SS Cleats, SS Cup Holders, SS Ski/Tow Bar, SS Steel Corners, Surlast Playpen Cover, Transducer Bracket on Starboard Tube, Vinyl Wrapped Furniture Bases, Wet Sounds MC2 Source Unit and 120-Watt Wet Sounds Speakers & Transom Remote.


Pop Up Bow & Stern Cleats, Drop-Down Privacy Curtain, Saltwater Edition Package, Sport Ski/Tow Bar, Teak Floor Upgrade, USB Ports w/Lighted Panel, Wood Grain Steering Wheel, Power Assist Steering Pump and 3.0 Performance Package.


LOA: 24’ 5”             
Beam: 8’ 6”
Hull Design: Triple Pontoon
Dry Weight: 2,450 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 37 gallons


Engine: Suzuki DF200ATX3
Cylinder Type: Inline 4
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower: 124.7ci/200hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio: 2.50:1
Propeller: 16 X 21.5

RPM     vs.      SPEED     vs.  DB-A

600                  2.2                   68.5
1000                3.5                   71
1500                5.7                   80.5
2000                8.0                   80.5
2500                12.7                 83
3000                15.9                 88.5
3500                20.3                 90.5
4000                24.6                 94
4500                28.7                 94
5000                33.0                 96.5
5500                37.2                 98                   
6000                44.0                 100.5


Price As Tested                       $78,700
(Boat and Motor)

Base Price                               $69,900
(Boat and Motor)

This article originally appeared in our 2021 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing more boat tests like this, click HERE to subscribe.

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