2018 Boat Buyer’s Guide - The Fisherman

2018 Boat Buyer’s Guide

These are happy times if you are a boat-owner or on the cusp of taking the plunge. Consumer confidence is up, the stock market is at record high levels, and the price of fuel is fairly stable in the lower end of its five-year range. Combine that with a new wave of high-tech next-gen outboards and marine electronics to complement whatever boat strikes your fancy and indeed, life is good. There has been a significant paradigm shift in the boating industry to offer consumers what they want more than ever before. This has been manifested in a number of different ad-hoc designs, including but not limited to family fishing center consoles, family oriented dual consoles and super hard-core 40- to 50-foot quad outboard, go-fast, long range center consoles. After having no boats for a 10-year stretch and now having recently purchased two used center consoles for my growing family, I couldn’t possibly be any happier as a boat owner; boating and fishing translates to quality family fun time! So sit back while I bring you up to speed on the latest that the outboard fishing boating industry has to offer so you can find some of that happiness too.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Contender 39 FA Preview

The latest Contender to hit the bluewater is their 39 FA, which is a center cabin “fish-around” design. Capable of handling up to 1,600 sea ponies on the transom, she is optimized for speed and comfort without sacrificing fishability. The 39 FA has impressive creature comforts and plenty of room for the crew to shelter down below on those long canyon overnighters with a microwave, refrigerator, freshwater sink, TV and spacious vee-berths. It also offers sufficient accommodations and storage to take a weekend off at your favorite beachside hideaway. Powered by triple Yamaha 350-horsepower engines, the Contender 39 FA is an open water speed demon, topping out at over 70 mph. With a standard 500-gallon fuel tank capacity, your boundaries won’t be limited by range, with distant canyons now on your realistic radar screen. You can get there fast, get there dry, get there in comfort and be one of the first to get in the game. The 39 FA is constructed using high-tech, hand-laid fiberglass throughout employing multi-directional fabrics, a foam-cored composite stringer system, foam floatation, an integral dive platform attached to a full transom, with a transom door to allow you to bring the big ones aboard. Unlike some production boat builders, Contender gives each owner the chance to team with their craftsmen in a “hands-on” boat building process. Owners choose each component of the vessel from the power options, to the electronics package, livewell rigging, down to the type of upholstery stitching and more.

Allied Boat Works


2018 1 Buyers Guide Allied Boats Preview

Allied Boat Works has upgraded its 24 Explorer for the 2018 model year to include a large center console with a generous head area and storage space, a port light, large aluminum framed access door, canvas T-top with LED spreader lights and four built-in rodholders, a molded deck anchor access and bulkhead access hatch to the anchor locker and storage area, forward U-berth seating with a bow bolster and cushion set, four S/S cup holders, plus a trio of storage areas with 30 cubic feet of space complemented by gas-assist access hatches. The 24 Explorer also includes a fiberglass leaning post with 40-gallon livewell, a cushioned bolster seat and backrest, six vertical rodholders, two S/S cupholders and a small under-seat storage area for your necessities. Additional console upgrades include open storage, a lockable glove box with twin USB ports and a 12-volt receptacle, plus two S/S cupholders. As a semi-custom manufacturer, Allied Boat’s options list is extensive, but includes a custom outboard motor bracket with full swim platform, power-assist hydraulic steering, premium sound system, fully plumbed ceramic head, multiple bow and stern seating configurations and more.

World Cat


2018 1 Buyers Guide World Cat 280CC X 1 Preview

I had a chance to jump aboard World Cat’s latest sportfisher, the 280CC-X at the recent Ft. Lauderdale Boat show and found that this cat was meant to prowl offshore waters with feline prowess. This center console is the first World Cat craft to carry the “X” designation. The all-new 280CC-X provides the smooth-riding advantage of catamaran style twin-sponson hulls and marries it to bold and aggressive styling, the latest technology, unequaled deck and cockpit space, with new levels of comfort and first-class luxury. World Cat designers and engineers used an all-CAD approach to create an exceptionally stable platform with an all-new hull that provides a smoother, drier, more responsive ride in all types of sea conditions. Styling innovations include a sleek, graceful sheer line leading to a tumblehome aft, a swept-back glass-dash console topped by a surfboard-edge hardtop, plus an aggressive, unique bow with integrated docking lights and through-hull anchor.

CZone’s digital switching system, traditionally available only on larger craft, enables full-boat control with touch-screen convenience from one location. There’s no more balky panel switches and fuses or cantankerous circuit breakers. A spacious head offers 50 inches of sitting headroom and is accessible through a wide side-hinged door. Two large compartments in the aft deck allow easy access to the ship’s mechanical systems and were designed with both customer and dealer input to get it right. When it’s time to fish, a total of eight flush mount gunwale rodholders and a 30-gallon recirculating livewell get the job done. Twin 110-gallon fuel tanks support canyon range.



2018 1 Buyers Guide NorthCoast 240cc Running Preview

Jose C. DaPonte, the President and Owner of C&C Marine, has built his life around building quality boats since the early 1970s, specializing in composite boat building and tool making. His production facility is located in Bristol, Rhode Island, only a short ride to the fishing and testing grounds of Rhode Island Sound. NorthCoast Boats is a division of C&C Marine and C&C Fiberglass, Inc. C&C Marine is a premier regional boat builder producing high quality fishing and recreational boats. In 2000, Joe purchased NorthCoast Boats, and a new era in Rhode Island boatbuilding was born. The NorthCoast lineup currently includes a six-pack of center consoles in the following lengths: 18, 19, 20, 23, 24 and 26 and a quartet of cabin boats (21 hard top, 23 hard top, 23 express and 27 hard top). Some are built for cruising, while others are designed for rough water fishing, sporting different running bottoms to fulfill their mission objective. The latest NorthCoast to hit the marinas is the 24 Center Console. Its hull design features a sharp entry forward that tapers back to 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom. Measuring 24-1/2 feet in length with a slightly overwide 9-foot, 1-inch beam amidships, this sturdily built fishing platform tips the scales at a hefty 4,500 pounds dry, so the boat feels solid underfoot when banging into a tight chop. NorthCoast builds their boats tough, with a hand-laid single skin fiberglass hull, foam-cored topsides, foam-cored grid system and no wood anywhere, backed by a 12-year structural hull warranty.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Invincible 40 Cat 5 Preview

The Invincible crew continues to “wow” the sportfishing community with their latest design, the new 40 Catamaran. The twin sponson hull forms bear a familiar resemblance to the Michael Peters-designed monohulls in their inventory, but the comparisons stop there. The distinguished multi-hull naval architects at Morelli & Melvin were tasked to take their America’s Cup championship racing knowledge and apply it to the new 40 Catamaran running bottom design. The primary focus of the 40 Catamaran project was on sea-keeping ability. So the M&M crew created a boat that would tear through seas coming from any direction, while still being able to maneuver turns at high speeds without the need to drastically slow down, which is a flaw of many other contemporary catamarans. This cat is built to go the distance with a standard fuel capacity of 640 gallons to fuel her quartet of outboards. With a transom rating of 1,600 horsepower, the power combinations are endless as we get into the next generation of high horsepower outboards. The fuel capacity can be increased up to a total of 800 gallons, which will make for some very interesting high-speed travel possibilities for the northeast canyon crowd. She is rated for a top speed of 75 mph at max power, with a cruising speed in the 40- to 50-mph range. I saw this girl up close and personal at the recent Ft. Lauderdale boat show and she is an absolute beast!



2018 1 Buyers Guide GW Fisherman 216 Preview

There are a trio of new sea stallions in the Grady-White fleet for 2018, specifically the Freedom 215 DC, the Freedom 325 DC and the Fisherman 216 CC. I was able to jump aboard all three of these new Gradys in Ft. Lauderdale, and they are true to the corporate standards of building some of the highest quality, top form and function boats in the industry. Looking at the Fisherman 216 CC, this boat’s new “swing-away” port and starboard jump seat backrests in the transom corners pivot out of the way for easy entry and exit via the extended combo swim/dockside boarding platforms. This is one of the first mid-sized center consoles in the industry to offer this unique feature and is typical Grady functionality. A neat comfort feature on this 21-footer is the oversized enclosed head compartment, complete with standard portable head, indirect LED lighting and plenty of extra lockable storage for rods, tackle, beach gear—you typically don’t find this on 21 center consoles. She can fish like a pro with a quartet of flush-mount gunwale rodholders, horizontal racks under the covering boards, and a pair of insulated 81-quart insulated fishboxes with overboard drains under the twin forward bench seats. The helm seating also enhances fishing functionality. Standard is a lean bar with backrest, flip-up bolster, footrest, tackle trays, lockable storage and a four-rod vertical rocket launcher. The optional deluxe lean bar adds a 25-gallon livewell. The helm offers easy access to systems and controls, with a generous dash panel that can house a 12-inch multi-function display. The two new Freedom dual consoles expand Grady’s entries in this lineup to a total of 10 boats ranging from 19 to 37 feet, leading this category among the industry’s top builders. There is also a rumor of a larger 40-something Grady in the planning stages, with no specific timetable for its introduction, so stay tuned.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Sailfish 245 DC Preview

For 2018, last season’s 236CC is now re-designated as the 241CC and is set up for a single outboard motor application. The 240CC has also undergone a similar moniker change to the 242CC and features a wider 9-foot beam, with either single or twin power options. The latest Sailfish to hit the marinas is their 245DC, which made a mid-year splash in 2017. The 245DC is sized “just right” for most Fisherman readers and represents the best combination of seaworthiness, usable cockpit space, functionality and affordability. You can trailer it, keep it at a marina, stow it in your driveway or back yard for the winter and run it all day long without breaking the bank. The 245DC offers an impressive list of standard comfort, sport and fishing features. One of her most interesting attributes is that she is rated to carry up to 12 passengers, and there is a dedicated spot to sit every one of them! The port console features a roomy finished fiberglass head area down below complete with a sink and faucet. Owners can choose from an optional porta-pottie or electric marine head with holding tank and pump-out. The starboard console offers additional dry storage with access to the electronics wiring and accessory panel, plus the helm’s dash accommodates a 12-inch multifunction display. A flush hatch on the centerline of the cockpit sole positioned between the dual consoles opens up to create a deep storage area for all of your watersports toys like skis, wakeboards, tow lines and fishing rods. Other notable standards include a Bimini top, transom gate with folding boarding ladder, cockpit bolster cushions, 15 S/S recessed cup holders, LED interior and navigation lighting, a 25-gallon baitwell in the port transom corner, four flush-mount stainless steel rodholders and more.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Cobia 301cc Preview (1)

This Florida boat builder has launched a pair of ocean-running center consoles for 2018, the 301 CC and the 320 CC. I was able to jump aboard both of these debutants at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, and both of these big Cobias have a lot to offer at a reasonable price. The new Cobia 301 CC has all of the great features that made its predecessor the 296 CC one of the top-selling 30-footers in its class, but has added a few nuances that take it to the next level. Upgraded features on this new sportfisher include an inward opening swiveling fiberglass door amidships in the cockpit on the starboard side for hauling the big ones aboard or for easy egress back at dockside. There’s additional foot space in the cockpit, plus a tackle station and bait prep rigging area that now includes a freshwater sink. The new center console command station puts all of the critical operational controls in the most ergonomic spots to maximize form and function. As an interesting aside, the dash panel can be color-matched to the hull for all those anglers (or spouses) who are slaves to making a fashion statement. Combine these with popular features like an electric bow table and this running bottom’s silky smooth ride, and you can see that the Cobia engineers have made a good thing even better. Also new for 2018 is the 301’s big sister, the 320 CC. This newbie shares her smaller sibling’s 21.5-degree aft deadrise running bottom, albeit on a larger, wider and beefier hull to better handle unpredictable offshore seas. Powered by a pair of Yamaha F300s, this Florida girl travels a long way with her 275-gallon fuel capacity in your pursuit of bluewater adventures.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Scout 235xsf Preview

Scout recently unveiled the 355 LXF. Scout’s LXF Collection is comprised of luxury sportfish models that showcase a unique blend of high-performance fish boats with high-end cruisers. The cross between these two popular layouts allows one to enjoy amenities with this LXF lineup normally only found on much larger sportfishers. The 355 LXF is the seventh model in this category to date, joining the 255, 275, 300, 320, 380 and 420 LXF models and coming soon, the 530 LXF.

Also new for 2018 is the 235 XSF center console. The 235 replaces the 225 XSF model from last season’s lineup and stays true to Scout’s form with innovations and high performance married with stylish looks and appointments. One notable feature is that Scout did away with the splash well at the transom of the new 235 XSF by extending the outboard shaft allowing for a level platform across the entire swim platform. The 235 XSF offers a standard powder-coated T-top with LED spreader lights fore and aft and a fully integrated windshield. Other notable features include removable forward seating backrests, bow bolsters, a full bow cushion set, a forward console lounge seat with cushions and a lounge box underneath with overboard pump out, plus five handy USB outlets at the helm. There’s a 15-gallon full-height recirculating livewell tucked into in the port corner, with a wave gate to starboard, which allows easy egress to the full-width transom platform. The standard leaning bar includes a four-rod rocket launcher and a trio of handy cup holders. Upgrading to the deluxe version adds a tackle station, a removable insulated Igloo cooler down under (with a 65-quart Yeti upgrade) plus twin flip up seat bolsters that allow for totally comfortable transit whether sitting or leaning into the backrest when underway. The roomy console dash mounts a standard Garmin 942XS multi-function display directly in front of the operator, equipped with a B60 transducer for GPS and fish-finding duties.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Pro Line 26 Super Sport

The newest center console in the Pro-Line stables is the 26 Super Sport. Measuring 26 feet, 4 inches LOA with an 8-1/2-foot beam and a 22-degree aft deadrise running bottom, tipping the scales at 4,400 pounds dry, this Pro-Line gets you out to the fishing grounds fast, especially if you outfit her with the max rating of 450 sea ponies. If you aren’t consumed by living life in the nautical fast lane, a pair of 150s will do just fine and will probably tweak max fuel economy from her 138-gallon fuel tank and provide bluewater range. A lighted 20-gallon recirculating baitwell is integrated into the transom to ensure plenty of room to fight the fish in the 92-square foot cockpit. A pair of large 74-gallon insulated fishboxes with macerator pump-outs are set under the rear cockpit sole to chill out your catch of the day. Rod storage is conveniently located under the covering boards, courtesy of a pair of four-rod horizontal racks. When it’s time to fish, a pair of flush-mount rodholders are installed in each of the gunwales and the 27-inch cockpit depth gives max leg support to captain and crew when angling the big ones to boatside. There’s a large forward casting deck with two storage lockers down under, plus raised bench seating with a pair of insulated fishboxes with overboard drains. The console features a companionway on the port side to step down into the enclosed head area, which is equipped with a standard porta-pottie. When it comes time for relaxing back at the dock, the 26 SS has a molded bench seat with backrest forward of the console, and the aft deck features Pro-Line’s foldaway transom bench seat with backrest. Other notable standards include cockpit bolsters, a T-top with LED spreader lights, hydraulic steering, electric trim tabs with LED indicators, dive platform with integrated ladder, plus seven pull-up S/S cleats. Wood-free composite construction and a 10-year structural hull warranty offer peace of mind.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Pursuit 365DC Preview

Pursuit’s stylish dual console lineup has evolved to new heights with the introduction of their DC 365. This flagship model has been engineered with more comfort, innovation and standard features that take your sport utility experience on the water to the next level. Forward bow and port side lounge seating, a swivel seat at the helm and patent-pending, fold-away bench seating at the transom and under the gunwale give your crew a comfortable place to enjoy whatever type of water activities that are on the menu. Notable standard features include a large tempered glass windshield with walkthrough, wide pathways from bow to stern and plenty of large storage compartments. Instrumentation and controls at the helm are ergonomically engineered and an optional Garmin electronics suite makes the DC 365 a joy to operate. The cabin is easily accessible with a fiberglass door and features solid wood accents with modern finishes, a full berth forward and a comfortable aft berth. A small family or couple may overnight for the weekend with essential amenities, such as an A/C, microwave and audio visual entertainment. Hull side windows reveal generous amounts of natural light below. Foldaway seating quickly transforms a social venue to a wide-open, fish-ready cockpit with hull side door, livewell, gunwale-mounted rodholders and an insulated fishbox and storage box in the floor. The DC 365 can do it all with room to spare and style that is pure Pursuit. Standard power on this newbie is courtesy of triple Yamaha F300s.

Regulator Marine


2018 1 Buyers Guide Regulator 23 Center Console Boats

Although there is nothing new for the 2018 model year, the latest Regulators to hit the docks were last season’s 31CC and 25CC. The Regulator 31 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. Taking a cue from Regulator’s popular 41, the 31 also features a starboard dive door, integrated forward seat backrests and other lifestyle amenities designed to maximize comfort offshore.

The newly-enhanced Regulator 25 delivers big boat features including a new walk-through tuna door, T-top with surfboard edge and SeaStar Optimus electronic power steering with tilt helm to go above and beyond what you would expect from a mid-size boat. 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 SeaStar Solutions’ electronic power steering (available on all models except the 41) and T-top with surfboard edge for the 23 and 25, plus custom-painted Yamaha engines, new Garmin electronics packages, updated seating/tackle/livewell options and more.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Pioneer Sportfish222

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. Reliable rumor has it that they are working on a 26 Offshore for possible introduction in the spring of 2018. 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 takes 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.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Albemarle 29 Express Preview

The latest iteration of Albemarle, which acquired Carolina Classic, is sticking with a singular purpose of producing seaworthy cuddy cabin sportfishers. Breaking from historical profiles, the three smallest boats in the fleet, the 25, 27 and the new 29, are all outboard powered express layouts. The four larger Albemarles, the 32 Express, 36 Express, 41 Express and the 41 Convertible are all inboard diesels.

The new 29 Express offers the ultimate in hardcore fishing amenities in a relatively compact and very nimble twin-outboard power package. I had the chance to jump aboard this Carolina girl at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show and can say this is one super solid and roomy sportfisher. Serious anglers will appreciate its offshore ability, exceptional handling in rough seas and fuel economy. Featuring a modern helm area with forward-facing seating for three, mezzanine style seating aft, large fishboxes, baitwell, dual tackle centers and a standard transom door, this express will comfortably sleep a complement of four. The deep-vee hull is designed to slice through head seas, land softly in the troughs and keep the windshield dry. She is available with either twin F300 or F350 Yamaha four-strokes and the 320-gallon fuel tank provides canyon range.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Nautic Star 265xts Preview

Inshore or offshore the new, NauticStar 265 XTS is a beast of a bay boat and the largest in the Extreme Tournament Series family of boats that includes 21-, 22- and 24-foot models.
It is the culmination of years of innovation and advanced engineering, with a collection of all the latest bells and whistles. It evolved from customer feedback for the ultimate inshore and coastal fishing vessel.

With its large forward and aft decks, ample rod storage, 43-gallon bow fishbox, trio of livewells/baitwells, a 35-quart Yeti cooler and plenty of tackle storage, the 265 XTS is a do-it-all fishing platform.

There was a focus by the NauticStar engineering team to make every feature ergonomically correct.

The newly designed leaning post features seating with flip-up bolsters and armrests, a 21-gallon baitwell with transparent lid, lighted push button switch panel, and conveniently located freshwater washdown.

Back bay or near coastal, inlets or off the beach, the NauticStar 265XTS gets you to the fish fast and lets you angle like a pro when you find them. With an overall length of 26 feet 2 inches supported by an overwide 9-foot beam, there is plenty of cockpit space for you and the crew to do your thing.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Wellcraft 202 Fisherman CC Preview

Wellcraft is celebrating its 60th year of operation with the introduction of the 202 Fisherman center console. This trailerable sportfisher joins a Fisherman family that includes 18-, 22-, 24-, 26- and 30-foot models that are all built from the keel-up to perform at their best when bending a rod either in the bay, inlets or in near-coastal environments. This newbie offers plenty of foot space onboard with a wide 8-1/2-foot beam. Her overall length is 20 feet 4 inches, and the 19-degree aft deadrise running bottom complements a 2,650-pound dry weight (without power) that provides max comfort to captain and crew when carving a path on your escapades, as her forward entry cuts smoothly through a tight afternoon chop. The max horsepower rating is 200 sea ponies, but she should be right at home with a 150-horsepower outboard, which will tweak the most miles from the standard 56-gallon fuel capacity. The 202 Fisherman CC features a forward anchor locker, bow storage, gunwale-mount combo rodholders/cupholders, stainless steel thru-hull fittings, plus a fiberglass stringer grid and foam flotation. Other notable standards include an aquarium style livewell tucked under the forward casting deck, a leaning post at the helm, plus twin folding jump seats in the aft corners. An opening hatch in the front of the console reveals a head area down below, which can be outfitted with an optional porta-pottie. The 202 Fisherman is available with 10 gelcoat color options, so you can totally personalize your ride. Optional packages can outfit the 202 Fisherman with mats, bow seating cushions, plus the offshore Scarab fishing scheme. She is available with either Mercury or Yamaha four-stroke outboard power packages.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Striper 270cc Preview

Striper has complemented their 200CC and 220CC models by adding their biggest center console to date, the 270CC. With an overall length of 27 feet, 7 inches and supported by a 9-foot beam, the 20-degree aft deadrise running bottom tames the majority of sea conditions that you are likely to encounter on your long distance travels. The 190-gallon fuel capacity provides bluewater range for most coastal anglers with a 5,500-pound displacement that will soften the journey along the way. She is rated to carry up to 500 sea ponies on the transom, but a pair of 200s should do nicely and help you milk maximum range on your offshore trips.

Standard essential fishing features on this neophyte include raw water washdown, an aerated recirculating livewell, recessed rod racks under the gunwales, flush mount rodholders in each covering board and more. Niceties include a locking head area to take care of business when nature calls; twin cushioned bench seats forward with storage bins down under; plug-in back supports when it’s time to show a softer side and catch some rays; plus platform extensions port and starboard that make it a breeze to get back onboard or to transit to and from the vessel at dockside.

Steiger Craft


2018 1 Buyers Guide Steiger Craft 255 DV Miami Preview

This popular Long Island boat builder recently launched their 255 DV Chesapeake model and this one really rocks. I had a chance to do an extended sea trial on it and was very impressed with its layout, speed, ride and functionality. Last season Steiger literally “broke the mold” and introduced the 21 DV Miami model that set new standards for other family members to ultimately follow. The 255 DV series is the next wave of boats in the Steiger lineup to follow this evolutionary path, incorporating many of the improvements introduced by their little sister last year. These upgrades include an enhanced heavy duty rubrail, a redesigned bow pulpit with a better fit into the deck mold recess, a raised cabin area with 77 inches of standing headroom, an additional four inches of cockpit depth for more security when bringing the big ones onboard, an upgraded livewell hatch in the transom cap to minimize backsplash, a new up/down captain’s bolster seat, a doublewide bench for the crew in the pilot house, an expanded electronics dash panel that accommodates a 12-inch multi-function display, a higher profile rocket launcher that added a sixth rod, twin Blue Sea waterproof breaker panels,plus the Chesapeake version gets a locking Pompanette cabin door, and a three-rod rocket launcher to port, two storage shelves and a knife rack.

The large windows in the 255DV’s pilot house offer an unobstructed 360-degree panoramic view of the horizon for excellent situational awareness of the waters around. These windows also protect you from cold winds and spray when heading out to the fishing grounds, but the sliding and/or pop-out features allow welcome ventilation on those sweltering hot summer days. The 255DV features a large insulated fishbox in the cabin area between the bench and helm seat. The icy gurry is evacuated overboard via a heavy duty diaphragm pump when it’s time to clean up. The cabin setup also offers a marine toilet with holding tank, a 7-foot long bunk with 2-1/2-inch thick upholstered cushions, a Bomar hatch overhead complemented by twin portholes for added natural light and ventilation, plus plenty of dry stowage for your gear.

Carolina Skiff


2018 1 Buyers Guide Carolina Skiff 24 Ultra Elite Preview

For 2018, the 24 Ultra Elite lives up to its name with an impressive list of standard features that separates this Carolina Skiff from those that have preceded her. An elevated full-width casting deck across the stern is ideal for sight casting to schools of gamefish and an aerated 20-gallon lighted well in the port corner keeps your baits lively all day. When underway, the aft deck area quickly transforms to a trio of independent cushioned jump seats that lift up on compression hinges. Standard accommodations at the helm are a leaning post/rocket launcher with thick cushions on the seat bottom and backrest for the captain and mate. A four-rod rocket launcher aft of the backrest stows your sticks out of the way until they are needed. There’s a removable 100-quart insulated cooler down under, plus a flip down footrest for added comfort when underway, in addition to a molded fiberglass footrest built into the console. A six-pack of horizontal racks are set under each gunwale for added rod storage, augmented by four flush-mount rodholders installed in the covering boards. The console’s dash panel flush-mounts a 10-inch multi-function display for your marine electronics needs.

A spacious full-width casing deck in the bow converts into cushioned lounge seating for the crew when it’s time to hit the beach, supported by removable backrests on either side and low profile stainless steel bow rails. A pair of dry storage lockers are set under the seating, with a removable deck table, a front deck swivel seat that pulls out when not needed, plus an insulated storage box with LED light and overboard drain set under the cockpit sole. A hinged hatch in the forward section of the console swings up to reveal a private head area with standard porta-pottie, complete with a privacy curtain. Other notable standards include hydraulic steering, 24-volt trolling motor plug/panel, a removable rear deck swivel seat, a quartet of stainless steel pop-up cleats, swim platform and more.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Parker 25DC Idle Preview

Last year Parker Boats splashed the fully-loaded 2540 Dual Console. Then Parker Marine President Linwood Parker said, “For the past 18 months, Parker Marine has worked diligently to deliver a blend of our classic styling with the latest technologies to bring new levels of enjoyment to your boating experience. This design for multi-purpose family and fishing can be personalized to fit your lifestyle needs.”

The 2540 DC hull has an overall length of 30 feet, 2 inches and boasts a 9 -1/2-foot beam. Parker’s proven 21-degree deep-vee hull design paired with twin Yamaha F200 outboards provides a top-end speed of 50 mph while cruising comfortably and economically in the 25- to 35-mph range with its generous 163-gallon fuel tank.

With the 2540DC, an attractive, rugged hardtop, spacious helm and cockpit with convertible seating arrangements, along with an enclosed head are all configured with the family’s comfort in mind. High-end upholstered lounge and sundeck seating offers the best of style, comfort and long-term durability and she can also work efficiently at bending the rods when it’s time to fish.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Everglades 335cc Running Preview

Everglades introduced their new 335CC at the recent Ft. Lauderdale boat show. Mimicking the best features of the already-proven 325CC, the 335CC was designed with luxurious comfort in mind. Integrating fishable function with elegant extras, this 33-footer is one the whole family can get behind. The 335CC’s refined layout allows for improved seating throughout. Anglers and their families will find enhanced luxurious bow seating, including removable forward-facing bow backrests. The new model also features larger, more lavish fold-down transom seating, providing a comfortable ride from virtually any seat. In addition to its abundant amenities, the 335CC continues the Everglades commitment to fishability. The larger console and hardtop provide added storage and weather protection, while the bigger built-in coolers and fishbox storage allow for fishermen to chill out even more of their catch for the ride home. The 325CC’s bait prep area and tackle storage were reconfigured to provide a more intuitive experience on the new 335CC.

Everglades’ latest model also includes more standard features than its predecessor, including a dive utility door and premier stereo system with JL Audio speakers and a Fusion head unit. The 335CC’s RAMCAP unsinkable hull continues to set the standard for some of the safest, smoothest-riding boats on the market today.

Buddy Davis Boats


2018 1 Buyers Guide Buddy Davis 42CC Preview

Buddy Davis Boats is a division of Davis Yachts and has been building outboard-powered center consoles in the Davis mold that give these Carolina girls a unique and singular look. Known for its legendary ride, the Buddy Davis hull is designed to cut through monster head seas, run on rails in following seas and lie still while drifting in deep troughs waiting for a strike. A Buddy Davis hull rarely pounds and slices effortlessly through waves. With a substantial keel and skeg, it doesn’t wander and it tracks true. Davis’ forward flair and sheer deliver a dry ride and contribute to buoyancy. When that white water is fast approaching, you can power through with a sense of security, knowing your bow will rise to the occasion. A Davis center console gets you there quickly, safely and comfortably, with an advanced hull design, built in the North Carolina Outer Banks tradition. This, as well as advanced construction methods, quality materials and well-engineered layouts, set Buddy Davis out as one of the top center console boats for offshore fishing. Beyond the superior ride and handling, Buddy Davis boats are designed to accommodate the hardcore fisherman with built-in fishing amenities from bow to stern. The current Buddy Davis stables include a trio of center consoles, the 28, the 34 and the 42. For 2018, they will introduce the 39 CC which is sure to be popular with bluewater anglers.



 2018 1 Buyers Guide Yellowfin 21 Bay Preview

I spoke with Yellowfin Sales Manager Marty Bistrong at the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat show, and he mentioned that they will be introducing an updated 34 CC at the upcoming Miami Boat Show, so stay tuned for more. Also new for the upcoming season is their 21 Bay Hybrid. With incredible acceleration, impressive fuel economy and a blistering top end, this bay rocket will push you past the competition across big windy bays. The 21 Bay Hybrid combines the ride and performance of Yellowfin’s 24 Bay combined with a traditional flats boat layout that will really strut its stuff come tournament time. Constructed like its big brother with hi-tech composites that maximize strength while reducing overall weight, she may be one of the smallest boats in the fleet, but she’s still a Yellowfin. You will be hard pressed to find another boat in its class with as many standard features and storage as you will find on the 21 Bay Hybrid. Some of these include twin quartets of vertical rodholders that flank either side of the center console command station; room to flush mount a 12-inch multi-function display at the dash panel; an under-console storage area; a cushioned seat with backrest set forward of the console; four storage bins and fishboxes set under the raised forward casting deck; plus a trio of wells and storage bins under the rear deck.

Sea Born


2018 1 Buyers Guide Sea Born LX 24 Center Console Preview

Sea Born Boats currently offers a trio of center consoles (21, 22 and 24), five bay boats (19, 21, 22, 24 and 25) and a pair of beefy offshore center consoles (23 and 28). The all-new 2018 Sea Born SX281 Offshore is their largest, most luxurious model to date. With a 27-foot 9-inch LOA, and a 9-foot, 11-inch beam, the 281 is ready for your offshore call of duty with plenty of freeboard, a twin-step deep-vee running bottom and numerous standard fishing features. Some of these include a 12-inch Simrad EVO multi-function display with SS60 thru-hull transducer; a swing-in gate on the port side; nine flush-mount rodholders in the gunwales and transom cap; a leaning post with livewell; fiberglass T-top with overhead rocket launcher; a pair of large insulated fishboxes under the cockpit sole with Gulper pumps; a rear baitwell with LED lighting; under-gunwale horizontal rod racks, a bait rigging and tackle center and more. When it’s time to relax, there’s a large lounge area in the bow with removable cushions and seat backs with insulated storage down below for your gear. A Lewmar windlass makes anchoring a breeze with push-button simplicity. A removable dinette table turns the forward lounge into a dockside gathering place or sun deck. A large head under the spacious center console is equipped with a sink and Corian counter top. At the helm, plush, two-stage captain’s chairs can be used either as a leaning post or as a traditional seat. Since 1994, Sea Born boats have been manufactured by Composite Research, Inc. in Blackshear, GA.



2018 1 Buyers Guide EdgeWater 262CX Preview

For 2018, this Florida boat builder introduced a new crossover to its lineup, the 262CX. Joining her siblings the 205CX, the 248CX and the 280CX in EdgeWater’s dual console fleet, the 262CX fits a nice niche that can handle a group of eight to 10 beach-goers without missing a beat, offering an efficient platform that seats them all in comfort to play all day in the bay, on an extended cruise or just having some quiet time at the beach. But far from being a one-trick party platform, this crossover can also fish with the fleet, sporting a 28-gallon recirculating livewell in the port transom corner, quad flush-mount rodholders in the transom cap, a pair of flush-mount rodholders in each gunwale, horizontal rod racks under each covering board, raw water and freshwater washdown systems, 27 inches of cockpit depth, coaming bolsters and stainless steel toe rails; plus a trio of insulated coolers in the bow with overboard drains. Looking at the standard comfort accommodations, the 262CX is equipped with a white powder-coated fiberglass hardtop with twin LED spreader lights and an electronics box; under-sole storage for your skis, tow lines and other water toys; a port console storage compartment; a starboard walk-in console with a head compartment that includes a freshwater sink with pull-out shower and Corian countertop, electric freshwater head with 19-gallon reservoir, overboard discharge and pump-out, with wood laminate storage cabinets; custom tempered frameless glass windshield; deluxe stainless steel steering wheel with power knob; plus hydraulic SeaStar steering with tilt helm. Other notable standards on this crossover are a stainless steel anchor roller in the bow with a stainless steel anchor winch and 200 feet of rode with a plow anchor, LED lighting throughout and top-shelf single piece infusion (SPI) composite construction, backed by a limited lifetime structural hull warranty.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Jupiter 43 SF 1 Preview

Jupiter is getting ready to launch its new 43SF center console at the upcoming 2018 Miami boat show. The preliminary info on this boat is totally “out of this world,” and the 43SF is destined to be one dynamite fishing machine when she gets splashed. The LOA is 43 feet, 1 inch, with a 12-1/2-foot beam (3.44:1 ratio of length to beam), with a 24-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom and a dry weight of 18,175 pounds. Standard power is provided by a trio of Yamaha electronic F350 V-8 four-strokes with digital fly-by-wire controls. Engine upgrades include quad Yamaha digital F300s or a quartet of the big F350s. With a fuel capacity of 602 gallons, the Jupiter 43SF provides faraway range for wherever you need to travel to find the fish and do it in the fast lane. Everything on this sportfish is oversized, including an 80-gallon livewell capacity, 680 quarts of dry storage space in the bow, 105-gallon port and starboard transom fishboxes, 75 gallons of freshwater and a separate 49-gallon fuel tank for a standard Kohler diesel generator. Raw water washdown and three freshwater washdown spigots are standard, as are a dozen stainless steel rodholders, fiberglass T-top with a six-rod overhead rocket launcher, GEM outrigger bases with 22-foot carbon poles and recessed stern bench seating. The cabin area features a 10,000 BTU A/C unit, galley with microwave and sink, stand-up head and shower, electric porcelain head with 16-gallon tank and macerator, plus a 5-gallon hot water heater.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Robalo R317 DC Preview

The Robalo R242 EX is new for 2018 and is the largest member of their family-friendly Explorer center console series, which also includes 20- and 22-foot models. Notable standard features on this debutant include a limited lifetime hull warranty, premium vinyl accent color options with BeautyGard coating, U-shaped bow seating with forward facing backrests and bow cushions, insulated bow fishboxes/storage with integrated hull-side drains, a lockable console head compartment with a standard porta-pottie and storage, transom bilge access with a designated 5-gallon bucket holder, premium leaning post with backrest and a removable 72-quart cooler down under, raw water washdown, freshwater cockpit shower, a 5-year premier level limited component warranty, L-shaped aft bench seating with 16-gallon livewell and storage under the seat, plus removable bow seating backrests port and starboard. Standard power on this newbie is a Yamaha F250 four-stroke.

Also new for Robalo for 2018 is the new queen of the fleet, the R317DC. For the fishing family, the R317 goes above and beyond for comfort. A large head compartment is located under the helm station complete with storage, a sink and a toilet. The head compartment is accessed from the starboard bow behind a concealed door. The cabin is accessible from behind the portside helm and features a full fiberglass liner, opening port light, secure rod storage, and a sleeping area perfect for the young ones to escape from the sun or take a nap. When it’s time to fish, the R317 is equipped with a huge 50-gallon fishbox under the aft seats, rodholders, a 36-quart removable cooler, and a 25-gallon cooler/livewell with LED lighting and clear Plexiglas lid. Comfort features abound on this new dual console.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Sportsman 241 Heritage CC Aft Preview

This South Carolina boat builder has introduced two new fishing boats for 2018. The first of these is the Heritage 241 CC, which joins a family lineup that includes 21-, 23- and 25-foot models. The Heritage 241 CC measures 23 feet, 8 inches LOA, with an 8-1/2-foot beam, sporting 18 degrees of aft deadrise on her vee-bottom and tipping the scales at 3,400 pounds (dry, without power). She is rated to carry up to 300 horsepower on the transom, fueled by a 111-gallon tank. The bow of this boat is designed for entertainment and versatility, with wrap around seating, removable backrests, drink holders and stereo speakers. Two large storage boxes under the seating provide a convenient spot to stow away your gear. They are both insulated and can be used as fishboxes or coolers, plus there’s an additional large in-floor storage under the cockpit sole. The lockable enclosed head area under the console is a great place for changing out of wet clothes and for storage, plus it can also be equipped with a convenient porta-pottie. This standard oversized hardtop is equipped with four speakers, LED anchor light, map reading light, spreader light, misters, vertical rocket launcher, kingfish rodholders and Taco outrigger plates. The deluxe leaning post can accommodate two adults comfortably, with individually adjustable flip-up bolsters and a flip-down footrest. There’s a space for a cooler under the leaning post, with a strap to secure it when underway. The aft layout of this boat offers a four-wide bench seat with removable cushions for easy storage and cleaning, with a pair of 8-gallon livewells set in each corner, plus convenient bilge access. The other new boat for 2018 is the 247 Bay Boat.

Maritime Boats


2018 1 Buyers Guide Maritime 25 Patriot 1

This Maine-based boat builder’s coastal fishing boat lineup includes five styles of layouts from 14 to 25 feet. Maritime’s 14-, 18- and 20-foot rolled edge Skiffs are simple, basic, uncomplicated boats with maximum interior space, self-bailing cockpits and hulls that are fuel efficient and easily propelled with low to moderate horsepower. They are built strong and “unsinkable,” are dry-running with a seaworthy ride. The distinctive feature of the Defiant center console series is the wraparound non-skid deck that facilitates easy boarding, installation of flush mount rodholders, pop-up cleats and self-bailing cockpits. Models 21 feet and larger have a large step down area under the console that provides room for storage and an optional porta-pottie or marine head. The Patriot and Voyager Center Cabin models combine all the benefits of a center console with the convenience of a full cabin. You can walk and fish around the side decks of the cabin without tripping over elevated steps. Additional weather protection is provided by each of these models giving you the opportunity to cruise, play or fish longer in comfort and security. The 21, 23 and 25 Express models feature a composite laminated glass windshield for strength and good looks. These boats have large versatile cockpits ideal for cruising and comfortably accommodating friends and family. Maritime’s 23 and 25 Challenger cabin models feature excellent visibility from the well-designed pilot house, a large comfortable V-berth that easily accommodates two adults and has a variety of seating, galley and cockpit configurations to meet your needs.

Sea Pro


2018 1 Buyers Guide Sea Pro 259CC Preview

Sea Pro is back in business after one of the original principals bought the name back from Brunswick, so they returned to South Carolina to do what they do best, manufacturing quality and affordable fishing boats. Sea Pro founder Jimmy Hancock joined forces with former Tidewater Boats founder Preston Wrenn, to bring about the resurrection of a very popular brand of saltwater fishing boat. Sea Pros are built at a newly renovated 200,000-square-foot facility.

Sea Pro’s line-up currently offers four bay boats from 17 to 24 feet and a trio of deep-vee center consoles (21, 23 and 25). The newest of these is the 259 center console, and I was able to jump aboard and take a closer look down at the Ft Lauderdale boat show. My first impression of this sportfisher was that she was a large and solid hull, with a 22-1/2-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom and an abundance of standard fishing and comfort features. Her specs support what my feet and eyes told me when I jumped on the cockpit sole: at 4,850 pounds dry and without power, she has a bulk that is meant to support her mission of blasting through uncooperative coastal seas. With a 25-foot, 9-inch LOA, supported by an overwide 9-foot, 4-inch beam, there’s plenty of cockpit space onboard for a quartet of anglers to do their thing, either inshore or offshore.

This boat offers an abundance of comfortable seating for the crew to settle in when underway, including a pair of up/down cushioned bolsters in the standard leaning post/rocket launcher and a triple-wide collapsible cushioned bench in the transom bulkhead. A standup head is standard, as is the T-top/hardtop setup. Sea Pro will launch the 319 deep-vee center console in the spring of 2018, so stay tuned for more.

Key West


2018 1 Buyers Guide Key West 263 FS Running

The 263FS represents the latest and largest of Key West’s growing fleet of Family Sportsman boats, which include the 189, 203, 219, 239 and 244 models. This 263FS is packed full of the latest innovations in design and performance to provide the active outdoors family with all they could ask for out on the water. Standard features include an under-deck windlass, fiberglass hardtop, side-entry door with hidden ladder, power-assist steering, a folding bolster leaning post, dual livewells, and much more. When it’s time to go fishing, the 263FS is equipped with a staggering 22 rodholders, not including the horizontal storage racks under the gunnels that can hold your longest saltwater rods. That’s more than most dedicated fishing boats in this class. When it’s time to relax and spend a quiet day in the bay or at the beach, 16 cup holders and a carry-aboard 75-quart portable cooler keep a cold drink in everyone’s hand. There’s easy access to the fiberglass-lined bilge area to maintain all of the plumbing components. Owners can opt for twin outboards up to 500 horsepower, but it will run in the mid 40-mph range with a single 300 for economical and relaxing days in the bay or out on the briny. Key West Boats all feature positive upright flotation for added peace of mind. Other notable standards include a recessed bow roller, windlass, plow anchor and S/S through-stem anchor chute; cushioned bench seating in the bow, forward of the console and aft; and cockpit bolsters.

Boston Whaler


2018 1 Buyers Guide Boston Whaler 170 Montauk Running

This industry leader is celebrating its 60th year in the business with the introduction of a trio of new boats to commemorate this milestone. The new 150 and 170 Montauk each feature a precision-engineered hull to deliver a remarkably soft, safe, dry ride. Rugged “hose-and-go” utility and effortless operation make these the perfect craft for fishing, exploring and pleasure boating with family members of all ages. Anglers can choose from numerous options to customize the 150 or 170 Montauk to precisely fit their needs. The optional fishing package adds a compass, a 36- or 72-quart cooler seat with cushion and backrest, console-mounted rodholders and tackle drawers. Raymarine electronics packages are also available to enhance fish-finding and navigation capabilities. The 170 Montauk also features an integrated 25-gallon fuel tank under the helm bench seat and a forward fish box with overboard drain. The 150 and 170 Montauk are also available with a retro classic teak package that includes teak boarding steps and swim ladder flooring, lending stylish “vintage” flair that coordinates beautifully with the boats’ clean, timeless lines. The 2018 version of the 170 Montauk is also longer, wider, deeper and beefier than its predecessor, giving it an added dose of seaworthiness. And to support the go-anywhere theme of the Montauk family, the new 150 and 170 each include a standard galvanized trailer with swing tongue, disc brakes and LED lights for safe and reliable transport. Stowing the 150 or 170 Montauk in a garage or driveway is now easier than ever before. The 190 and 210 Montauk models have also been upgraded for the 60th anniversary year. Boston Whaler is taking boaters beyond familiar territory and into an exciting future with the all-new 350 Realm. Combining the open cockpit of a center console with the convenience and comfort of a cabin boat, the 350 Realm is designed to empower boaters seeking to share new experiences with family and friends. Part center console and part cabin cruiser, the 350 Realm is the first of a new family lineup with additional members soon to come, so stay tuned.

Cape Codder


2018 1 Buyers Guide Cape Codder 19 Preview

The Cape Codder 19 was born in 1968 when founder Sandy Urquhart wanted to design a boat that incorporated all the elements of the most seaworthy boats at the time. With an 18-degree aft deadrise, lifting strakes and a hard chine, the Cape Codder performed beyond expectations, and Sandy knew the boat would draw demand from those who wanted a stable platform for inshore commercial work and fishing. Urquhart then designed the Cape Codder 24, and it garnered attention from those who needed a larger platform for fishing deeper, rougher waters. Since the late ‘60s Cape Codders have been regarded as quality built, rugged boats suited for the rigors of everyday commercial fishing. They are also held in high regard by many coastal sportfishing anglers. Cape Codder continues to make the 19 with the same quality of the original, also offering the 24 and two skiffs (10 and 14) to round out the Cape Codder line-up. Their focus remains on producing quality, “over built” boats.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Century 3200cc Preview

Century’s flagship, the 3200 CC, is loaded with performance fishing features designed for both tournament anglers and their fishing families, with plenty of luxury and safety amenities for entertaining. Fishing accessories include an oversized livewell, lockable rod storage and large fishboxes forward and aft. For your guests, the 3200 CC offers an enclosed head, forward-facing bow seating and a standard bow entertainment table that creates a true social center. Notable fishing features include an oversized 62-gallon baitwell, lockable rod storage, tilt-out tackle trays and a pair of 277-quart insulated fishboxes. The wide open fishing deck is surrounded with ample storage, four forward fishboxes and a huge 62-gallon, two-pump baitwell system. The list of amenities continues with six gunwale rodholders, an enclosed electric head, standard entertainment table and Yamaha four-stroke outboard power. For 2018, the 3200 CC has been updated with a side door for easy entrance/exit at dockside, or for bringing those huge gamefish aboard; a new leaning post with more standard features; a diving platform; power bolsters; a standard 65-quart Frigid Rigid fiberglass ice chest under the leaning post, with easy one-finger pull-out; a Raymarine Axiom Pro 12-inch multi-function display and digital controls; plus a key-fob battery switch for convenience.

Tidewater Boats


2018 1 Buyers Guide Tidewater

Tidewater’s lineup has expanded since their start 10 years ago and for 2018, they offer six styles of coastal sportfishing and family fun craft. Their flagship Adventure series of center consoles features nine boats from 17 to 32 feet. The LXF series of family friendly, luxury-appointed center consoles have four models from 20 to 25 feet. The Bay Max series offers a total of four models from 18 to 24 feet. The hybrid Carolina Bay lineup features a trio of center consoles from 20 to 25 feet. The 196 Explorer dual console is one-of-a-kind for the moment, while the SUV series of single side console craft consists of four boats from 21 to 25 feet. All Tidewater boats are manufactured from 100 percent composite materials and are totally wood-free, backed by a transferrable 10-year structural hull warranty.

Bluewater 2550 CC


2018 1 Buyers Guide Bluewater 2550

With a large cockpit area and a well-balanced hull design, the 2550 fishes and runs like a larger boat while offering the easier trailering of a 25’ boat. Bluewater gave the new 2550 a host of special features – such as gunwale boards with toe space below, increased storage, a modular electric system with waterproof quick connectors and a list of other features you need to see to appreciate. Fishing features include transom mounted 35 gallon livewell, four large insulated fish boxes (two aft and two forward) plus a huge center box forward that also stores up to 9 rods at the end of the day. The console can be configured for two 12’ displays and any other electronic equipment you may need. The walk-through transom makes diving and swimming easy and is perfect for getting the “big one” onboard. Like all Bluewaters, her multi-plex stringer system, bonded to the hull while in the mold, gives this boat exceptional hull strength and rigidity. With a 178 gallon fuel capacity and a flat, smooth, dry ride even when the sea gets lumpy, you can take the 2550 100 miles offshore to the tuna grounds with complete confidence.

Southport Boats


2018 1 Buyers Guide Southport 33 DC Preview

Southport Boats has introduced a new model on their popular 33-foot platform, the Southport 33 LX. The totally new LX deck plan offers all of the comforts and conveniences of a day cruising powerboat or fine yacht tender, coupled with the proven Southport ride. The most noticeable feature of the new 33 LX is a forward 270-degree wraparound pit seating area on the port side, which creates a comfortable and spacious lounge area in the bow. It is Southport’s answer to the sociability of a dual console, while still maintaining the center command station operation, visibility, functionality and fishability of a center console. As a result of this new layout, the boat features more tender-like amenities, including extra refrigeration, a microwave, coffee-maker, plus food and beverage storage and food-preparation areas, all wrapped up in a summer galley. Additionally, the aft cockpit, a place once reserved exclusively for fishing, now becomes a far more inviting place to entertain and relax, but she can still perform when it’s time to catch your dinner. With the  addition of an L-shaped wrap-around lounge in the aft port corner and wet-bar with refrigerator and bottle and glass storage in the leaning post, the aft cockpit rivals the bow area for comfort and social amenities. The 33 LX was the next evolutionary step for Southport, who saw their 33 platform take off in the first two years of production. For hardcore sport fishing enthusiasts, the Southport 33 FE, 33 TE or 33 ST are the logical choices. CZone’s digital switching system, traditionally available only on larger craft, enables full-boat control with touch-screen convenience from one location. There’s no more balky panel switches and fuses or cantankerous circuit breakers. A spacious head offers 50 inches of sitting headroom and is accessible through a wide side-hinged door. Two large compartments in the aft deck allow easy access to the ship’s mechanical systems and were designed with both customer and dealer input to get it right. When it’s time to fish, a total of eight flush mount gunwale rodholders and a 30-gallon recirculating livewell get the job done. Twin 110-gallon fuel tanks support canyon range.

Release Boats


2018 1 Buyers Guide Release 238 RX Preview

Gerritt Walsh ran Angler Boats for the better part of three decades. When that operation finally shut its doors, Gerritt started up Release Boats, which is located nearby the old place in Opa-Locka, FL. Release Boats manufacture a 180RX (center console), 196RX, 208RX, the new 238RX, a 301RX and a 301RXS (with split bench forward seating). The 230DC dual console is also a new addition to the fleet for 2018. The 230DC offers excellent bang for the buck, which has been the hallmark of all of Gerritt Walsh’s boats throughout the years. With a 23-foot LOA and an 8-1/2-foot beam, the 230DC’s 20-degree aft deadrise running bottom is rated for a max of 300 sea ponies, but can be equipped with a 200-horsepower inline four cylinder Yamaha F200. If this were my rig, I would probably go with one of their larger big block 4.2L engines (F225, F250 and F300) to dial in maximum performance on this family fishing platform. She’s got a ton of range with her standard 140-gallon fuel tank, so if the dual console were tasked to perform fishing, beach taxi and family fun activities in the bays or coastal areas, you could probably go for a week without the need to refuel it. Notable standard features on the 230DC include cockpit bolsters, deluxe helm and companion seats, a port side aft-facing seat, bow seating with cushions and backrests, a molded fiberglass head compartment with porta-pottie, in-floor ski storage locker, SeaStar hydraulic steering with tilt helm and a swim platform with boarding ladder.

Sea Hunt


2018 1 Buyers Guide Sea Hunt

Sea Hunt has a pair of new models for the 2018 model year. The first of these is the Ultra 255 SE. With an overall length of 24 feet, 11 inches and sporting an overwide 8-foot, 9-inch beam, the Ultra 255 SE is the flagship of the “Ultra family comfort center console” series from Sea Hunt, which also includes five other members ranging from 19 to 23 feet in length. Although the Ultra 255 SE can bend the rods with the fleet when that moment suites you, her forte is to seize the moments in between fishing frenzies when it’s time to kick back and enjoy the seaside experience. With a quad aft bench seat positioned across the width of the transom, complemented by a doublewide aft-facing bench at the back of the fiberglass mezzanine leaning post, plus a pair of up/down cushioned bolster seats at the helm, captain and a crew of seven can enjoy the sunset while sipping a frosty beverage. But that’s not all—there’s a bench seat set forward of the console, with a pair of raised bench seats port and starboard in the bow that feature plug-in seat back cushion supports and an optional filler cushion to create a full-width sun deck or table-top for entertaining. Insulated 148-quart coolers are set under each of the bench seats for chilling the day’s catch and/or stowing your safety gear and other requisite comfort items for a day at your favorite beachside hideaway. An additional 188-quart dry stowage area is available under the cockpit sole in the bow, accessed via a flush hatch. When it’s time to anchor-up for the day, the flush deck hatch in the forepeak opens to reveal an anchor cradle and enough space to hold your rode out of the way, but ready for immediate deployment. Other standards include LED underwater lights, a stern anchor locker, china bowl head, freshwater system, cockpit bolsters, a six-pack of pull-up S/S cleats and more. The other Sea Hunt newbie for 2018 is the BX25FS, which is the largest of three hull sizes in the BX Bay Boat lineup. The main difference between the BX25FS and her three BX25/22/20BR sisters is the added seating capacity both forward and aft, hence the “FS” designation.

Mako Marine


2018 1 Buyers Guide Mako 414 CC Starboard View Preview

The Mako 414 CC is the largest, most powerful and most comfortable boat in their 50-year boat building history. With top-shelf fit and finish, premium fishing features and state-of-the-art technology, the 414 CC is ready to safely take you and your crew to the horizon and back for an unparalleled adventure to the 100-fathom line and beyond, with the potential to create the fishing trip of a lifetime. This super-sized center console is available in a Standard, Bluewater Family and Sportfish Edition, with each package determining the standard features list and accommodations. The Mako 414 CC is the ultimate offshore fishing and family recreational boat, depending on how you decide to deck her out, and it’s backed by Mako Assurance, one of the best factory warranties in the business. In a nutshell, Mako Assurance is a combination of a limited lifetime structural hull warranty, a 5-year “stem-to-stern” coverage warranty, a 3-year gelcoat coverage warranty, plus provisions for transferring these coverages to a second owner. Some notable standard features on this big Mako include an upper helm station-ready hardtop; huge 80-gallon leaning post baitwell; GEM carbon fiber outriggers; a Rupp flush-mount rodholder package with 20 gunwale rodholders; head and cockpit air conditioning, with a chiller package for onboard freezers; Iris NightRunner infrared camera on the forward hardtop with a helm control pad; Shadow-Caster underwater light package with eight SCM-10 Blue LED lights; Fusion UD750 stereo with eight speakers, 1,600W-amp and subwoofer; and an electric head with overboard discharge. Powered by quad Mercury 350 Verado four-strokes, and sporting a 24-degree aft deadrise deep-vee running bottom, this platform takes you far and fast, fueled by a large 566-gallon tank.

Sea Fox


2018 1 Buyers Guide Seafox 92A5033

This South Carolina boat builder’s bread-and-butter Commander center console lineup has been expanding over the years and currently, with the introduction of the new for 2018 248 Commander, has grown to a total of seven models between 18 and 32 feet in length. The latest addition, the 248 Commander, is exactly in the middle of the lineup card and offers the open water capabilities of the larger boats with the go-anywhere nature, single engine simplicity of the smaller siblings. Built around a deep-vee forefoot that tapers back to a mild 18-degree aft deadrise at the transom, here 8-1/2-foot beam and 3,400-pound dry weight make her relatively easy to power with outboards in the 225- to 250-horsepower range. Outfitted with her max of 300 sea ponies on the transom, this Carolina girl flies to the fishing grounds, hitting a top speed of almost 49 mph and a fuel-efficient 4000- to 4500-rpm cruising range of 33- to 37-mph, getting 2.9- to 2.6-mpg. Her 115-gallon tank lets you fish and frolic all weekend long without the need to refuel. Notable standard features include a T-top with canvas overhead and LED spreader lights, a 30-gallon aquarium style pressurized livewell, a six-pack of stainless steel flush-mount rodholders, LED navigation and courtesy lighting, insulated fish storage in the bow, under the raised forward bench seating, coaming pads and faux teak decking, recessed electric trim tabs, plus a leaning post with removable 72-quart cooler down under.



2018 1 Buyers Guide Blackfin 272CC Running Preview

For 2018, the legend of Blackfin sportfishing boats is resurrected under the watchful eye of parent company Monterrey, with the introduction of a quartet of center consoles, the 212CC, the 242CC, the 272CC and the soon-to-be-introduced 332CC. Three of these center consoles were in the water at the recent Ft Lauderdale boat show, and I had the chance to get up close and personal with each one of them. The fit and finish that I could observe both topsides and down below were totally first class and worthy of the rep that the former company founder and owner Carl Herndon had spent three decades meticulously crafting with his splendid offshore fishing machines. Of the three next-gen Blackfins that I inspected down in south Florida, the one that immediately caught my eye was the middle child of the group, the 242CC, which is right up my alley as far as a preference for a trailerable, seaworthy and affordable offshore boat. This one measures 24-1/2-foot LOA, supported by a slightly overwide 8-foot, 10-inch beam, sporting a deep-vee 22-degree aft deadrise running bottom. This boat tips the scales at an impressive 5,400 pounds dry, without power, so if this were going to be my ride, I’d opt for a minimum of twin 150s to give me some two-engine, offshore peace of mind and enough push at the throttle to get her up and running, even with a heavy load. She can handle single or twin outboards up to 400 horsepower, so you have some options, depending on your preferences and budget. The pending arrival of the 332CC should be interesting, given that this big sister is designed around a twin-stepped deep-vee running bottom. These new Blackfins look like the real deal and certainly warrant some additional attention.