The Chaparral 246 SSi: Big Bowrider with Premium Features
Chaparral designed the 246 SSi to be a big open bow boat that is large enough to handle rough conditions, but not too big to tow around to various bodies of water. This boat is loaded with premium standard features, and it can be decked out with a number of high-end options as well. The seating layout is wide open and it’s room will rival that of a big deckboat. The best part is that the Chaparral 246 SSi can be purchased for a very aggressive selling price without taking the big price jump that typically comes with boats of 25′ and larger.
Exterior Styling & Size
Let’s make one thing clear – The Chaparral 246 SSi is a BIG BOAT. This boat can be sitting next to a 25′-27′ boat and might prove to have an even deeper freeboard than these longer boats. That is one of the things that makes the 246 SSi such a great selling model. You can clearly see that this boat is meant to handle rough water with ease.
At the same time, this boat measures 24’6″ in length and the beam is 8’6″, so it is easily trailerable as well. The combination of rough water capability and trailerability makes this boat appealing to many different boaters.
Regarding gelcoat options, the Chaparral 246 SSi is available in several different combinations. The boat is available in all white with a graphic, wide band colored hullsides, full color sides & bottom, and vapor graphics as well. The vapor graphics include a gelcoat stripe above the rubrail, matching underside, and a matching side graphic.
The Chaparral 246 SSi comes standard with a large bimini top which provides shade to most of the entire cockpit seating area. You can also upgrade to the Raptor-Coated Folding Arch Tower. This is a tower that is used primarily for wakeboarding & skiing. To be honest, even if you don’t need the tower for watersports, its just plain looks great on the boat as well. If you go with the tower option, it also comes standard with a bimini top canvas. The tower can be easily lowered for storage in low clearance areas.
The swim platform and sunpad on the Chaparral 246 SSi are loaded with great features that make the transom a great hangout spot while anchored out.
The swim platform is an extended swim platform that is integrated into the hull and deck. This means it is not a bolt-on piece as you see on quite a few other boats, but it is built right into the boat’s mold. This makes the platform much sturdier. It is completely finished off underneath. And best of all, it flows really nice with the lines of the boat.
This platform is huge, and extends far enough to cover the entire outdrive when in use. This is a great safety feature as it eliminates the risk of jumping off the boat and landing on the outdrive. The platform is available with an optional mat for comfort. It comes standard with dual fuel fills, which means that when you pull up to the gas station, there is always a fill on the same side as your tow vehicle. We also recommend the transom stereo control option so you don’t have to get back into the boat to adjust the tunes while anchoring out. The fresh water shower is also a nice option. You can use this shower when you have dirty feet to hose off on the back platform before stepping back into the boat.
The sunpad is a full width pad made up of 3 separate cushions that all have a different job to do. On the starboard side, the cushion flips over for entry. The prevents anyone from walking on your vinyl when entering and exiting the boat. Underneath this cushion is a storage door. This is a huge storage compartment and it’s great for throwing wet items that you don’t want to drag into the boat.
The center cushion on the sunpad hinges open towards the front of the boat. When open, you will find a large finished off storage compartment. This is great for ropes, fenders or life jackets. There is also a built-in drain so wet items will dry out.
The port side cushion has 2 functions. It opens and locks into a lounge position at around 45 degrees for laying up in a reclined position. If you pull up on this cushion and open it further, you will reveal a removable cooler that can be accessed from both the platform and inside the cockpit.
Chaparral 246 SSI Interior
Although the Chaparral 246 SSi is considered a traditional bowrider, the interior room and seating on this boat are huge. Many people think it is a deck boat when they step inside just due to the overall open space. The exterior styling, however, clearly has the sporty look of a traditional bowrider.
The 246 SSi has lots of great features in both the cockpit and bow, so we are going to break them down seperately.
Chaparral 246 SSi Cockpit
The cockpit on the 246 has wraparound seating with room for quite a few passengers. Regarding the passenger capacity, the boat is rated for 14 passengers. The cockpit features a U-Shape seating layout with dual captain’s chairs. The boat is nice and wide, so there is plenty of legroom even if you fill all the seats. There is also a table available which mounts off the side and angles up to the middle of the boat.
The U-Shape layout is the most practical layout for holding lots of people. Some boats have a sink or counter on the side. This is great if you have a need for that, but most people opt for the additional seating when available. You will find very deep storage compartments under the side seats with room for tons of gear.
Under the floor in the center of the boat is also a big storage area called the ski locker. This locker has a gas assist to keep it open for access. It is very long and deep as well, so it’s a great spot for skis, boards, tubes and other large items.
The driver’s helm on the Chaparral 246 SSi is a full fiberglass helm with a vinyl wrap on the top and front. It comes standard with 4 gauges, 2 of which also have a digital readout for precise information from the engine. If you do any boating on unfamiliar or large bodies of water, we recommend the Garmin GPS touchscreen upgrade. This will give you tons of great information on inland lakes or coastal waterways. It will show you channels, channel markers, gas stops, speed, depth and more.
On the side next to the throttle you can get a set of stereo controls for the driver as well as a USB/Aux input for your phone below. You will also find a speaker, armrest & built-in cupholder for the driver.
The Chaparral 246 SSi comes standard with a changing room that offers some head upgrades as well. If you are looking for a boat with an enclosed head, we recommend stepping down into the head to test the roominess and access. Quite a few manufacturers put a head in their boats, mostly just to say they have one. In reality, it can be very difficult to enter this room, much less move around once you get inside. It might be fine for children, but adults using it might be a different story.
Chaparral has designed the head door on the 246 to open from the front, top, and side all at once, This makes entry and exit very comfortable even for adults. This is a very deep boat, so there is more headroom than you will find on most competitor’s boats.
The Chaparral 246 SSi comes standard with a porta pottie. If you dont plan to use the head, we recommend just removing this unit and you will have a great storage compartment & changing room. The head is a dry storage area as well.
If the head is a feature you do plan to use, you will have 3 choices. The standard setup includes a porta-pottie. This can then be upgraded to a pump-out setup. The most functional head is the vacuflush or electric head. This is a fixed head similar to a camper, and it includes a holding tank as well.
Chaparral 246 SSi Bow
The bow on the 246 SSi maintains the roomy feel of the rest of the boat. The seating area is very wide and features a full wraparound backrest with stainless steel grab handle. The full wraparound backrest means that any seat in the bow is comfortable, no matter which direction you are facing. The boat rides nice and high out of the water, so it gives you a great sense of security.
If you want another lounge area on the boat, go with the bow filler cushion option. This converts the bow of the 246 to a large sunpad which several people can lay out on, even while the boat is underway.
You will find storage under all 3 bow cushions. The two side cushions are now hinged and give you a good amount of storage. The front-center cushion is insulated with a drain, so it can be used for a cooler as well.
The front deck of the Chaparral 246 SSi features a large non-skid platform which is great for boarding from the front of the boat. To go with the boarding platform is a fold down ladder which hides away in the anchor locker. This is handy if you pull up to a beach and don’t want to swim around from the back of the boat.
A few more nice options in the bow area include the docking lights and bow scuff plate. The docking lights are stainless steel and they help give you some light when docking at nighttime. Keep in mind that these are not meant for use while running across the water, but just for docking or loading purposes. The bow scuff plate protects the fiberglass on the nose of the boat from any scuffs while loading.
Chaparral 246 SSi Performance
Although the Chaparral 246 SSi is a big, deep boat, it is very agile and handles like a much smaller boat. The 246 is available for 2018 with engine options ranging from 280hp-350hp between Mercury and Volvo Penta. Most of these engine packages come standard with a dual prop drive. Mercury calls theirs the Bravo 3, and Volvo Penta refers to this as the DuoProp.
The most popular engine package from Mercury is the 6.2L 300hp with Bravo 3 drive. This boat will see top speeds in the upper 40s to low 50s. The holeshot is impressive with the Bravo 3 so skiing or wakeboarding is not a problem. The Bravo 3 drive will also give the boater much better responsiveness around the docks and help the boat track straighter at low speeds.
Hull design can be just as important as power in a boat. Chaparral holds the patent on the most award winning hull design in the boating industry. Naturally, this design has been incorporated into the 246 SSi as well. Chaparral calls this patented design the Extended V-Plane Hull. This design takes the point where the outdrive mounts on the transom and extends the hull further back on each side. This makes for a flat takeoff, keeps the boat on plane at lower speeds, improves fuel economy, and provides a smoother ride in the chop.
Chaparral 246 SSi Summary
As you can see, the Chaparral 246 SSi is a premium bowrider with plenty of high end features. The boat comes in at a very aggressive price point considering it’s level of quality and features. The 246 does great in the rough stuff, but can be trailered and used on smaller lakes as well. It should come at no surprise that the 246 SSi is one of Chaparral’s top selling models. If you want a big bowrider that can hold a big group and handle a variety of conditions, the Chaparral 246 SSi might be the perfect boat for you.
For more information on the 246 SSi, check it out on Chaparral’s website at chaparralboats.com.