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2017 BOAT BUYER'S GUIDE

It's a good time to be a boater and a prospective boat-buyer with steady and reasonable fuel prices, a plentiful domestic supply of oil and the fall's political hysteria behind us.
By Capt. John N. Raguso

Pursuit
The new DC 235 is packed full of comfortable seating and storage with classic Pursuit styling throughout. Notable standards include plush cushions, a porcelain marine head with holding tank, cockpit bolsters and a neat assortment of fishing features when family or friends want to catch a fresh dinner. The DC 235 offers good value and affordability, delivering on this promise through a fully appointed boat that is ready to provide sport utility functionality right from the get-go, with enough popular options to allow each owner to tailor the boat for their special needs. A single dependable Yamaha F250 delivers consistent performance for a variety of water activities from board sports to cruising and fishing. If more performance is required, an upgrade to Yamaha's F300 should satisfy your expectations. A roomy head and handy shelf storage in the port side console make a full day out on the water a pleasure for all. Convenient integrated transom platform extensions set outboard of the powerplant make getting on and off the boat a safe and simple process, whether at the dock or beachside. For more information, visit www.pursuitboats.com.

Pro-Line
Pro-Line's new 23 DC embodies the versatile and multi-tasking spirit of the company's original 24-footer, but with a full complement of contemporary advancements and high-tech construction.

From its numerous seating configurations, convenient pass-through windshield, generous amounts of storage, a 65-square-foot cockpit and a sleek updated design, the 23 DC is sure to provide endless hours of entertainment and happy memories in a fun bow-riding style for families and friends. Whether skiing, diving, sightseeing, camping, or just a simple play day at the beach, this boat does it all. And when it's time to wet a line, the 23 DC continues Pro-Line's heritage of angling excellence that started more than four decades ago with its rugged predecessor. A quartet of flush mount rodholders in the gunwales, horizontal rod racks that stow an additional six-pack of outfits, a lighted 18-gallon recirculating baitwell and a pair of roomy insulated fish boxes ensure that she can fish as hard as she plays. The 118-gallon fuel tank will take you a long way between fill-ups and you can power up with either single or twin outboards up to 300 horsepower from Mercury, Honda or Suzuki. A 10-year structural warranty gives owners peace of mind for the long haul. For more information, visit www.prolineboats.com.

Cobia
The 261 CC is the latest Cobia to take style, fishing performance and family comfort to the next level. She's perfectly proportioned with every square inch of usable cockpit and storage space leveraged to the max. There's plenty of foot space behind the deluxe tackle station with premium helm seating or in front of the forward entry console with huge step down head area. The split bench seating in the bow with optional forward facing backrests allows for complete forward access. Additional convenience features on the 261 CC include easy access to the batteries situated under the helm seats and a huge bilge entry door that lifts electronically with the touch of a button. The convertible rear bench seat makes the transition from a fishing machine to a beach water taxi a snap. Like all Cobias, the 261 CC provides excellent value for your boating dollars. The 161-gallon fuel tank will provide bluewater range for those long distance forays and the 21.5-degree aft deadrise running bottom smoothes the bumps when in transit. For more information, visit www.cobiaboats.com.

Mako
Mako's new 334 CC is built on a 24-degree aft deadrise hull with a unique notched transom for excellent performance and improved efficiency. Powered with twins or triples up to 1,050 horsepower, the 334 CC slices through the heaviest chop, rides dry and smooth and has the range to handle any offshore quest with its 306-gallon fuel capacity.

This big shark is available in three different editions to match your lifestyle needs. The Standard Edition includes a full-featured Garmin electronics package, two 34-gallon baitwells, a leaning post with freshwater sink, cooler with a massive storage capacity, two 290-quart in-deck coolers, a walk-in head and an inward-opening tuna/dive door. The Bluewater Family Edition is loaded with creature comforts and includes luxurious bow seating with gel-coated storage beneath. A removable, cushioned bow filler converts to a raised table and there's an auto-retractable 5-foot long sun shade that can be controlled from the helm or from a mobile device using the Garmin app. The Sportfish Edition was developed with the cooperation of some of Florida's leading guides. It features a huge open bow, with a 292-quart coffin box that lifts on hydraulics to reveal storage beneath. The T-top is crowned with an upper helm station with Mercury VesselView and it's flanked with premium outriggers. For more information, visit www.mako-boats.com.

Jupiter
Jupiter's new 25 Bay features all of the amenities of a traditional bay boat while adding more flexible functionality with higher gunnels, flush decks, voluminous tournament livewells and storage that you might expect to find on much larger offshore center console fishing boats. The 25 Bay offers multi-mission versatility with its shallow 14-inch draft delivering both backwater and offshore performance with equal efficiency. A choice of factory-installed towers and the ergonomically designed center console provides for large twin screen multi-function displays for all of your electronics needs. The standard built-in center console seat incorporates a 130-quart insulated cooler under the cushion to put every square inch of available space to work. Outfitted with a Yamaha F300 V6 four-stroke, the Jupiter 25 Bay cruises efficiently between 30 to 40 mph and is capable of attaining speeds of 55 mph at wide open throttle. For more information, visit www.jupitermarine.com.

Pioneer
The current Pioneer lineup includes a total of 11 outboard-powered center consoles, bay boats and dual console designs ranging from 17 to 22 feet. Currently, the 222 Sportfish is the queen of their young fleet and is a trailerable center console equipped with a 32-gallon recirculating livewell built into the leaning post that also features a cushioned backrest and four rod rocket launcher. Other fishing features include a tackle storage center, flush-mount and under gunwale rod storage, a 94-quart Igloo removable forward console cushioned cooler seat and twin forward fishboxes set under raised bench seats. Rated to carry Yamaha outboards from 150 to 300 horsepower on the transom, the 96-gallon fuel tank will take her a long way between fill-ups, especially if you opt for the Yamaha F200 four-stroke. All Pioneer boats are backed by a transferable 7-year/lifetime structural hull warranty. For more information, visit them on at www.pioneerboats.com.

Carolina Skiff/Sea Chaser
Carolina Skiff and Sea Chaser do not have any new models for 2017, but they continue to tweak their lineup and have incorporated a number of feature changes to their hull designs. One of the most noteworthy upgrades is the incorporation of LED Nav lights that are now built into the rubrail port and starboard on the 19, 21 and 23 Ultra series boats. Yet another change is the patented molded-in fiberglass splash guards on both the DLX and JVX series boats. Last season Sea Chaser introduced four new models that included the 21LX and 23 LX Bay Runner CCs and the 22 Offshore and 24 Offshore center consoles. Looking closer at the 23 LX Bay Runner, she features 100 percent composite construction, an 8-foot 7-inch beam and carries 16 degrees of deadrise at the transom to help tame an afternoon wind chop in the bay. Standard fuel capacity is 52 gallons and the transom is rated to carry outboards up to 250 horsepower. Standard features include insulated front and rear baitwells and gunwale mounted rod storage with coaming pads. For more information, visit www.carolinaskiff.com.

Wellcraft
Wellcraft introduced a trio of newbies in its "Fisherman" family of boats for the upcoming season: the 221, the 241 and the 262 Fisherman. The 221 Fisherman measures 22 feet 4 inches in length with an 8-1/2-foot beam. With a 14-inch draft, she can sneak into skinny water and provide a stable platform when casting to cruising gamefish in the shallows. She is equipped with the usual accoutrements like front and rear casting platforms, tackle storage, rodholders everywhere you turn and a step down into the console for a small porta-pottie MSD. Her bigger sister 241 Fisherman is a larger, roomier and heavier version of essentially the same shallow water chariot, albeit with a larger 87-gallon tank and a max horsepower rating of 300 sea ponies. The 262 Fisherman sports an overall length of 26 feet 4 inches supported by a 9-foot beam. Her 21-degree aft deadrise deep-vee hull cuts through ocean swells and afternoon bay chop alike with equal efficiency. The 158-gallon fuel capacity will provide bluewater range powered by a pair of 150s, and her transom is rated to carry up to 500 horsepower. For more information, visit www.wellcraft.com.

Yellowfin
Although Yellowfin is known more for its bluewater fishing boats that range from 29 to 42 feet, they also make a few that are meant to be just as fishy, but closer to shore. The latest additions to Yellowfin's inshore collection are the 24 Bay and the 24 Bay CE (Carbon Edition). Each of the 24 Bays is based on an identical hull and running bottom that features a 24-foot 10-inch length, supported by an 8-1/2-foot beam. The big difference between the standard 24 Bay and the Carbon Fiber Edition is the weight of the package. The displacement of the 24 Bay is 3,050 pounds, whereas the Carbon Edition is able to cut that speed-robbing heft back by an astounding 650 pounds, or 21.3 percent. The real magic is that their engineering team can do this trim job with no sacrifice in overall strength. No matter which model you prefer, there are some specs that they both share in common, like a 72-gallon fuel capacity, 14-inch draft and an astounding 400-horsepower max power rating. Standard features are few, since Yellowfin is a semi-custom builder that allows each operator to impart his/her personality into the final product. For more information, visit www.yellowfin.com.

Striper
The new 230 Walkaround measures 22 feet 8 inches in length supported by an 8-1/2-foot beam and is able to carry outboards up to 300 sea ponies on the transom. The 20-degree aft deadrise combined with a sharp forward entry angle and her hefty weight should allow her to romp at will in both inshore and offshore waters, even if the wind kicks up a bit. The 230 Walkaround features a v-berth, porta-pottie, freshwater sink, storage and a nice place to duck out of the weather or to stay overnight during those warm summer months at your favorite beachside retreat. Other features include in-floor insulated fishboxes, gunwale mount rodholders, a recirculating livewell and aft seating for the crew. For more information, visit www.striperboats.com.

Sea Fox
Sea Fox boats are all about giving consumers the maximum bang for the buck and the 328 Commander is no exception. She is roomy and a capable angling platform, with rodholders positioned just about everywhere you turn in her spacious cockpit. Standard fishing features include a 35-gallon livewell with aquarium window to port; a 55-gallon pressurized livewell with glass top on the centerline; a 65-quart premium electric slide-out cooler to store your fresh bait; 1100-gph aerator pumps for the twin livewells; plus a total of seven insulated fishboxes located under the twin forward bench seats, with four in the cockpit sole and a large coffin box forward of the center console command station. But she can show a softer side too, with her deluxe console featuring an electric toilet, freshwater sink with shower, a marine head, Corian countertop, net storage and rod storage under the cushioned sleeping quarters. The fiberglass helm pod is equipped with a trio of deluxe fiberglass-backed bucket seats for total comfort and support on those long runs offshore. For more information, visit www.seafoxboats.com.

Robalo
The 200ES combines the best of everything into one 20-foot hull. The bow area of the 200ES comes standard with wrap-around bolsters, a full cushion package and removable back rests. All Robalos feature water resistant circuit breakers designed with longevity in mind and are located where they can be easily reached while on the water. No more fumbling with fuses, simply reset the breaker and you are back in business. The aft cockpit of the 200ES features a molded-in bench with upholstered backrest. The bottom cushions are easily removed to access a concealed livewell, dedicated 5-gallon bucket storage and a deep storage well. Even though she's relatively petite, this 20-footer is fully equipped, with features that you would expect to find on much larger craft. At the top of this list is a roomy head area with marine porta-pottie that is accessed via a swing out door at the front of the console. Insulated coolers with overboard drains are positioned under each of the split bench seats, complete with overboard drains. For more information, visit www.robalo.com.

Regulator Marine
There's a lot going on for this Edenton, NC based boat builder for 2017 and the all-new Regulator 31 and newly-enhanced Regulator 25 lead the model year launch. The Regulator 31CC is equipped with standard twin Yamaha F300 four-strokes, a massive cockpit, oversized tackle center and insulated fishbox, plus every feature needed for a day of serious sportfishing. The all-new 31 will also feature a starboard dive door, integrated forward seat backrests and other lifestyle amenities designed to maximize comfort offshore. The newly-enhanced Regulator 25 features a new walk-through tuna door, T-top with Surfboard Edge and SeaStar Optimus electronic power steering with tilt helm. She still offers great speed, excellent fuel economy and a well-balanced ride, so you can fish the canyons in comfort or bring the family aboard for weekend fun. New options throughout the 2017 fleet include custom-painted Yamaha engines, new Garmin electronics packages, updated seating/tackle/livewell options and more. For additional information, visit www.regulatormarine.com.

Century
Celebrating 90 years in the boat building business, the new 24 Resorter Dual Console delivers multi-mission versatility, with the requisite amenities, features and performance needed for hardcore fishing trips, day cruising excursions and high-octane family watersports. The dual console design features a large bow seating area with a removal table, beach-boarding ladder and foldable armrests that create comfortable loungers. Large side consoles feature a roomy head area to port and dry storage to starboard, with excellent access to electronics and helm wiring. The 24 Resorter's ergonomic dash panel has enough space to mount a large-screen MFD, plus a convenient covered recess area to throw items like keys, cell phones and other items out of the way and weather. This hybrid does it all, handling inshore or offshore fishing, comfortable day cruising and family-friendly watersports activities with equal aplomb. With the Raymarine eSeries HybridTouch multifunctional display for complete digital switching, you'll take full control of everything from the advanced chartplotter to onboard LED lighting. For more information, visit www.centuryboats.

Sea Hunt
Sea Hunt's largest bay boat to date, the BX25BR offers enough vee and mass with her 3,400-pound dry weight to let this Carolina girl knife through an afternoon wind chop on large open waterways with ease. A 68-gallon fuel tank combined with a 300-horsepower max transom rating allow each owner the flexibility to tailor the powerplant to suit their needs. Notable standard features on the Sea Hunt BX25BR include a huge 250-quart insulated storage box under the bow casting platform, an 18-gallon console livewell, 28-gallon recirculating livewell in the aluminum leaning post with 4-rod rocket launcher, plenty of rod storage and dry spots for your gear set under flush hatches in the fore and aft decks, plus a pair of convenient flip-up cushioned jump seats in the transom corners. The console has enough room for a portable MSD and she is equipped with SeaStar hydraulic steering with a tilt helm. Recessed trim tabs are standard, as are LED underwater lighting. For more information, visit www.seahuntboats.com.

Sea Hunter Boats
SeaHunter's hull design delivers an extremely fast and smooth riding boat that will make day trips to the canyons not only possible but comfortable. Known for their great ride, they achieve this through a full, padded v-bottom with a stepped transom. Their hulls are about 10% to 15% faster than regular v-bottom or abbreviated hull designs (also know as stepped hulls). The sharp entry (60 degrees) and deep-vee at the transom (24.5), combined with oversized chines allow a smooth, dry ride at any speed. The hull design is perfectly designed for optimal depth finder performance at all speeds. With a line up ranging from a behemoth 45', to the 41', 39', 37'and 35' Sea Hunter's standard features are vast and are highly customizable. Their performance stats are well worth researching further. For more information visit www.Seahunterboats.com.

Sportsman
The Open 282 center console measures 28 feet 2 inches in length with a 9-foot 3-inch beam. You can run either twin Yamaha F200s or F300s on this Carolina girl, depending on your budget and need for speed. She'll go plenty fast with the twin in-line four cylinder F200s, hitting a top speed of almost 50 mph at wide open throttle and 2.5-mpg+ fuel economy at 3,500 rpm, where she will hit 26.3 mph on the GPS, while drinking only 10.4 gph, for a net of 2.53 mpg. Not bad for a big, deep-vee 28-footer. The Yamaha F300s will reach almost 60 mph on the top end and will loaf along at half throttle, getting 28 mph and 2.21 mpg at only 3-grand. Her 195-gallon fuel tank will take her a long way, no matter which power source you select. Notable standard features on the Open 282 include a 12-inch Simrad GPS with thru-hull transducer, twin macerated in-deck insulated fishboxes, fiberglass hardtop with LED lighting, leaning post/rocket launcher with built-in tackle center and a trio of batteries with switching system. For more information, visit www.sportsmanboatsmfg.com.

Defiance Boats
The Defiance Admiral 270 EX Pilot is one of four models in the Defiance Admiral Pilot series which also includes 22, 25 and 30-foot models. This West Coast girl was designed to handle the sea going challenges delivered by places like the Outer Banks of Cape Hatteras and the Aleutian Islands, and there is no mistaking her pedigree as a serious fishing platform. She comes standard with three insulated in-deck fish boxes, a spacious cabin to provide a comfortable ride during long runs to the fishing grounds, and a large V-berth for overnight stays. A 9-foot, 10-inch beam provides a stable platform and plenty of open cockpit space to settle the score with pelagics like tuna, sharks and billfish. Standard power is a bracket mounted Yamaha F150 HP four cylinder, with an option to up the power to a Yamaha F200 HPV6 Four Stroke. A 180-gallon fuel tank provides plenty of range to chase down a hot bite. For more info on the complete lineup of Defiance Boats, go to www.defianceboats.com.

Allied Boat Works
Allied Boat Works designs and builds high quality stock and semi-custom Downeast style boats. Every Allied hull and fiberglass component is hand laid using quality materials and built with precision craftsmanship and pride. All Allied boats maximize the use of high density, closed cell USCG certified foam flotation. Allied's lineup includes 15, 17, 20, 21 and 24 footers available in four models - the Sportsman with a roll edge gunwale and Unlimited with a full deck cap (both are fully customizable); the Explorer and Venture series which are fully finished including full liner with non-skid. The Venture series includes a 3/4 cabin and full cuddy with sleeping quarters, head and galley. New for 2017 is a 24-foot center console model. For more information go to www.alliedboatworks.com.

Clearwater Boats
H2O is a group of Veteran Salty Boat Building Experts that joined together in 2015 to share a common goal. That goal is to deliver constant quality and unrivaled customer service to the market place. Many of their staff have been building boats for over three decades.

With a model line up consisting of a 19', 20', 22', 23' and 25' center consoles Clearwaters has their focus set on features and performance for the saltwater angler. The Fisherman had an opportunity to experience the 2508 CC and was impressed with its layout, finish and ride. Starting at the transom bracket, the 25 feels more like a 28' boat. Its 9'6" beam adds to perception of space, but with twin 250hp Hondas the boat jumps up on plane in a snap and feels well balanced. The 20 degree dead rise will tame most seas and with 100% construction and full foam filled floatation it runs quietly and has a ridged feel. Clearwater offers a 10 year warranty on their hull so you can purchase with confidence. Check out the full line of Clearwater Boats. For more information go to www.clearwater-boats.com.

SeaPro Boats
One of the original owners of Sea Pro Boats and former founder of Tidewater Boats have teamed up to resurrect the mid-tier, high quality, saltwater fishing center console boat that Sea Pro Boats have long been known for. "The Next Wave" is an all new incarnation of the brand that officially launched in the spring of 2015. After introducing a total of 4 new models for the 2016 model year, SEA PRO has already added two more with plans for a total of 8 new models for the 2017 season. The new line is built with South Carolina pride in a newly renovated 200,000 sq. ft. facility in Whitmire, SC. We're especially impressed with the 239 Deep VCC for Fisherman readers. This boat is just packed with features and construction techniques that are found in much more expensive boats.

From its hand laid fiberglass hull, to 10 Year transferable hull warranty, lifetime hardware warranty and 5 Year bow to stern warranty (excluding electronics), they give buyers the confidence that their purchase is protected. We also like the standard features of the 239 such as a deluxe fiberglass T-top, with powder coating, tilt hydraulic steering, composite transom, engineered custom fiberglass stringer system, all stainless steel forged thru hull fittings, cleats, rail rubs and steering wheel. It's a very nice package. For more information see the full line up and learn more at www.SeaPromfg.com.


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