2016 Boat Buyer’s Guide

Discovering the Best Boat for You.

The idea that there is any boat out there that is better than all the rest is simply a myth. Likewise, there is no such thing as the best fishing boat, best family boat, best center console, or best bay boat.

• Check out the latest 2017 Models: OTW 2017 Boat Buyer’s Guide

What does exist, however, is a “best boat” for you – for your fishing needs, your cruising needs, your comfort, and your budget. In fact, somewhere among the 60-plus boat manufacturers featured in our 2016 Boat Buyer’s Guide, you’ll probably find more than one “best boat” that can provide many seasons of enjoyment on the water.


Albemarle 25 Express

In 2015, Albemarle merged with Carolina Classic to form “Albemarle Boats, The Carolina Classic.” The company plans to take full advantage of the combined 60-plus years of boatbuilding experience and history to form a new company with a fresh product offering based on the most successful and best-performing models. The focus of the new venture is to build the highest quality Express sportfishing boats on the market, ranging in size from 25 feet to 41 feet. The 25, 27, and a brand-new 29 Express will be offered with twin Yamaha outboards. The 32, 36, and 41 will be powered by inboard diesels and will combine superior fishability with the amenities of home. The entire line 25 Express Discover what’s available for a new year and a new season of boating and fishing. will provide a soft, dry ride and superior protection from the elements.

The entry level 25 Albemarle Express is lean, fast, and agile, but remains an offshore thoroughbred. A distinctive flared bow, unitized construction, Yamaha power, and deep-V bottom let her handle just about any condition a fisherman will face in the Northeast. Forward is a full-sized cuddy cabin with V-berth, secure rod storage, a stowable electric head and a storage locker. You can also opt for an optional galley with refrigerator, microwave and table. A standard, large livewell and fish box right in the transom completes the fishing package.

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Allied 17 Explorer

Allied Boat Works designs and builds high-quality stock and semi-custom Downeast-style boats with an emphasis on safety, efficiency, and affordability while maintaining elegant, classic lines. Every hull and fiberglass component is hand-laid using quality materials. All Allied boats maximize the use of high-density, closed-cell, USCG-certified foam floatation. Finally, each model is thoroughly tested to guarantee that they meet rigid criteria for safety, durability, and efficiency.

Allied’s lineup includes the 15′, 17′, 20′, 21′ and 24′ sizes in four models; the fully customizable Sportsman (roll Alumacraft is an industry leader in well-crafted aluminum fishing boats. Their 2XB hulls, heavy-duty keels, and oversized spray rails provide a dry, smooth ride. Full-length double plating means twice the strength and gunwale) and Unlimited (full deck cap), and the fully finished Explorer and Venture Series, which offer full liner, molded non-skid, large forward storage areas, integral fuel tanks and dual bilge pumps. In addition, the 21′ and 24′ Venture series will include 3/4 cabins and cuddy cabins.

The 17 Explorer is the newest complete addition to the Allied lineup. Standard features include: a fully finished molded liner and deck cap, a 40-gallon integral fuel tank, dual bilge pumps, full leaning post storage, full forward seating with abundant storage, and a full cushion set.

Alumacraft 205 LE Sport

Alumacraft is an industry leader in well-crafted aluminum fishing boats. Their 2XB hulls, heavy-duty keels, and oversized spray rails provide a dry, smooth ride. Full-length double plating means twice the strength and protection all the way to the transom— without compromising agility.

New for 2016, the Competitor 205 LE Sport is the largest offering in the line of deep-V hull platforms. A sport windshield layout makes it ideal for the boater who wants to fish hard all morning and play hard all afternoon. Big and beamy with plenty of casting room and tons of storage, it includes a bow locker for rods up to 8 feet long and dual aerated livewells with timers. The popular AlumaTrac system makes it easy to mount rod holders and adjust the configuration to your personal preferences.

Boston Whaler 320 Vantage

Boston Whaler, the “Unsinkable Legend,” started in 1958 with a 13-footer and today offers five lines–the Super Sport, Montauk, Dauntless, Outrage and Conquest. Sizes range from the 110 Tender to the 420 Outrage, a seriously capable fishing boat that is also a luxurious platform for pleasure cruising.

The recently introduced 320 Vantage represents further evolution of the popular dual-console crossover that can adapt to the fishing and boating style of any family. The portside companion area features two spacious benches with multiple configurations, one of which is to combine them to form a huge sun lounge. The cockpit utility center with electric grill, fridge, and sink can feed a crowd, and can be optioned as a complete fish prep station. A new cockpit sunshade deploys electronically from the hardtop to extend protection all the way to the convertible aft bench. A convertible berth and a well-equipped head up the comfort level, and of course it all rides on the legendary, capable, and safe Whaler hull.

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Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra

Originally a barebones, affordably priced work skiff, the Carolina Skiff company has incorporated styling and a quality fit and finish while still providing durable, versatile, and stable boats at low prices.

The Ultra Elite Series offers tremendous value, and includes the 23 Ultra Elite along with a 19 and a 21. A new modified V-hull incorporates Carolina Skiff and Sea Chaser designs to cut through chop and track with ease while still providing a shallow draft. Check out the lengthy standard feature list to understand why boaters are excited about the outstanding versatility and comfort of today’s Carolina Skiff.

Century 30 Express

Since 1926, Century Boats has a history of building high quality, classic boats for both anglers and families who demand innovation, luxury, and reliability. Century offers a full line of saltwater boats from 22 to 32 feet. The new Century ownership places a strong emphasis on designing boats that an angler can use for tournaments or pleasure fishing—but still feel comfortable taking the family out for a day on the water.

Century’s 30 Express is designed with all the features needed for serious offshore tuna fishing–along with the luxury amenities that make it ideal for casual entertaining and overnight trips. A diesel generator provides up to 24 hours of run time while also providing a safer (no gas fumes) environment for your family. Seating and storage abound with wrap-around helm seating, massive floor storage, a tackle center, and rear seating.

Cobia 277 CC

In 2005, Maverick Boat Company purchased the Cobia brand and incorporated years of boat-building knowledge into the Cobia lineup, making it a true fishing boat. Currently, Cobia offers seven center consoles along with a capable bay boat and a family-friendly dual console. Check out a Cobia and expect to find high performance, luxury, and fishing smarts all wrapped in a stunning package and delivered at a tremendous value.

New for 2016, the 277 Center Console is built for those who feel 30 feet is a bit too much and 25 is just not enough. The 27-footer provides bigwater performance and features in a manageable package. Serious anglers will appreciate the stem-to-stern singlelevel cockpit, the dual oversized fish boxes with macerators, and the deluxe tackle station worthy of a sport fisher. Though tournament ready, the 277 CC doesn’t forget the creature comforts. It boat comes standard with a hideaway, electrically lifted bow table, forward entry step-down console with china head, deluxe bolstered helm seats and fold-down rear bench seating. Easy access for maintenance of the plumbing, batteries and electrical systems finishes out the smart layout. With the new Cobia 277 CC, you can still have it all while staying in your comfort zone.

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Contender 22 Sport

One of the most exciting center consoles on the market today, the Contender’s clean lines and aggressive entry make it a good-looking boat and a comfortable-riding one, too. Contender offers boats ranging from the 22 Sport to the 40 Express. The Contender line has been evolving rapidly—seven entirely new Contender models have been introduced since 2011, while numerous improvements have been incorporated throughout the company’s model line.

Contender’s newest introduction, the 22 Sport, keeps with their 30-year heritage of building tournament-grade fishing machines. The 22 Sport comes equipped with a wide array of fishing features including a 26-gallon elevated transom livewell, four stainless steel flush-mounted rod holders, cockpit storage racks for six fishing rods, a 94-gallon in-floor fish box forward, and twin 30-gallon fish boxes in the aft cockpit. Like the 24 Sport introduced earlier in the year, the 22 has been designed for family-friendly crossover appeal. To that end, it boasts a custom sport console that can be equipped with a head. Port and starboard bench seating in the bow conceals twin 59-gallon storage compartments, and the forward cockpit quickly converts to a large “U” seating area.

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Davis Yachts 28 CC

Known throughout the world for its legendary ride, the 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. The difference is the bottom, with its deep, narrow entry. A Davis hull slices through waves, and with a substantial keel, it never wanders. The beautiful flare of the hull delivers a dry ride and contributes to buoyancy. Whether you’re cruising to the striper grounds or crossing open ocean to reach the canyons, you can rely on Davis to get you there quickly, safely, and comfortably.

The Davis 28 CC is a gateway to the Davis Yachts experience, designed and engineered with fishing in mind, and constructed with exceptional fit and finish. The smart design of the hull and bow flare attacks the waters and cruises comfortably through open seas. Once you’ve reached your fishing destination, you’ll appreciate the wrap around coaming, rod holders, tackle storage, livewell, fishbox and plenty of deck space.

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DuraNautic Utility V

Born in the Hudson River and bred to handle the choppy waters of the Northeast coast, the distinctive seafoam green DuraNautic has earned a reputation for strength, stability, and durability. From the Deluxe and Utility models to the new Jon boats, all the DuraNautics are super-stable, tough, commercial-quality boats. Fishermen and duck hunters love the DuraNautic’s unobstructed ribless interior and its stability in rough water—thanks to its deeper, extra-stiff, two-piece hull, welded seams, and extruded keels.

The 12- to 16-foot Utility V line features a strong, corrosion-resistant stainless steel bow eye, stainless steel fasteners, foam-filled seats for level flotation, and structural bulkheads built under seats to provide strengthened rigidity. Optional console and floorboard kits allow you to customize the Utility V14 and 16 to suit your needs.

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Eastern 35

The Eastern is a rugged, classic Downeast-style boat available in lengths from 18 to 35 feet and built by hand in Milton, New Hampshire. Bob Bourdeau purchased the company in 1993, bringing 35 years of boating experience and, with his son Jake and his daughter Ashlee on board, making Eastern a family boat-building business with tremendous pride in craftsmanship. Eastern Boats builds Tournament, Explorer and Center Consoles that allow boaters to fish, work and play in comfort. Each boat offers rugged and fuel-efficient all-composite construction.

If you are looking for a boat with loads of room, the Eastern 35 is your choice. Each Eastern is custom built to meet the owner’s exact needs and taste, so you can choose either single or twin engines and whether you want it finished as a state of-the-art sportfishing rig or as a lobster yacht with all the teak trim.

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Edgewater 368 CC

Edgewater fishing boats are used by serious sportsmen who demand practical features, reliability and durability. With their proprietary Single Piece Infusion (SPI) construction process, they achieve an incredible strength-to-weight ratio that, when combined with the sea-keeping ability of their variable deadrise deep-V hulls, produces handling, performance, fuel efficiency and range better than many other production boats of the same size, length and power.

The 368 CC is an incredibly rugged twin- or triple-engine boat that defines modern offshore performance and luxury. Tuned to unleash the power of Yamaha four-strokes, it features a twin step hull design and SPI construction to deliver a boat that is remarkably fast and efficient—giving Northeast anglers range and fuel economy to reach the offshore canyons. Digital integration throughout the engines, navigation, steering and switching are managed through the NMEA 2000 and C-Zone switching systems. Features include an integrated carbon fiber hardtop design and a walk-in console cabin. There’s comfortable seating for guests throughout, and the standard port-side dive door and walk-through transom provide added convenience.

Everglades 435 CC

Bob Daugherty’s boat-building prowess is legendary. Take a ride to your local dealer or one of the winter boat shows and check out the attention to detail, not only in fishability but also everyday functionality and finish. With 16 models—ranging from a 21-foot Center Console to a 35-foot Express—Everglades has every boating lifestyle covered.

The recently introduced 435cc is the largest Everglades yet, and it’s a serious offshore fishing machine. This big boat has an aggressive bow with a steep entry that promises a safe, dry ride in almost anything the Atlantic can throw at you. There’s storage for up to 40 rods, and a twin 18-foot outrigger package is standard. At the bow is a massive 225-gallon fish locker, while the transom holds two 60-gallon livewells and a 45-gallon bait freezer for offshore baits. A gorgeous rigging station behind the second set of console seats is equipped with ten tackle drawers, built-in knife and tool organizers, and a large sink with fresh and raw water spigots. The center console and hardtop are oversized, allowing for an upper helm station on the hardtop and a cabin underneath the console with a queen-size berth.

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  1. Elmore Frank Brown Jr

    Is the sea Ray a good boat and can it ‘ve use for fishing as well?

    Reply
    • Jay Robostopalis

      I have a SeaRay 260 Sundancer. When I remove the cockpit awning, and put the stern bench down, it turns into a really nice little fishing boat… complete with a cabin, two double berths, an enclosed head/shower, etc. We fish on the Chesapeake Bay in all kinds of weather, too. Great boat.

      Reply
  2. Shelly

    I am trying to recall a bowrider I saw that had the console off to one side for easy access to the bow cushion pit. It was an expensive boat and I think I found it when searching on the Hunt Yachts site but I do not see it now. Any idea who makes such a boat ?

    Reply

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