Boat Review: Parker 21 SE Center Console

Parker 21 SE

As the classic saying goes, “There’s no perfect boat,” but for the time being, I’ve settled on mine. As a light-tackle and fly charter captain hailing from the central New Jersey coast, I work the waters of Barnegat Bay, Barnegat Inlet, Long Beach Island, and Island Beach State Park. Every day, different conditions prevail.

With an overall length of 23 feet, my Parker 21 SE “Special Edition” is a modified V-hull (14-degree deadrise) with a Carolina flare. From bow to stern, the transition provides a smooth and efficient ride. Common conditions call for trimming up a touch, tabbing down, and lightly backing off the throttle. These adjustments show the boat’s sweet spot utilizing the more aggressive midship and bow entry. From fishing and running the 21SE before purchasing, I was familiar with its ride. As with all big decisions, I had to think long and hard. I didn’t need a run-and-gun race boat, but did I need a hull with more deadrise and a deeper V?

The deciding factors boiled down to distinguishing qualities I found in the Parker 21SE. I loved it for its quality, simplicity, versatility, fishability and affordability – so it was the perfect boat for what I do.

Quality

Parker is well known for building top-quality, sea-worthy boats. Their tradition of toughness, efficiency, simplicity and clean rigging is hard to beat. When investing, depreciation is a top concern, but Parker’s legacy holds strong and commands exceptionally high resale value.

Parker 21 SE Center Console

Simplicity

A no-nonsense boat that can be fish hard, cleaned up fast, and easily maintained is what I consider simple. I do not need the add-ons that many boats are outfitted with these days. Every added creature comfort is another system that has to be maintained.

Parker 21 SE
LENGTH: 21′
LOA: 23’0
BEAM: 8’6″
HULL DRAFT: 10″
DEADRISE: 14
DRY WEIGHT: 3,200
MAX FUEL CAP: 84

Versatility

One of the most capable nearshore shallow-draft hulls, the Parker 21SE excels in many different situations. With a draft of 10 inches, I can explore the shallows of Barnegat Bay, even at the bottom of the tide. My missions are unrestricted and rarely constrained by draft. The ability of the 21SE to fish the shallows stands out, yet it still has the ability to venture outside.

On any given day, I can fish the backwaters of Barnegat Bay and then navigate a rough inlet and run up the beach while chasing migrating schools of stripers. On the right days, I’ll fish the inshore reefs and wrecks. I even get out to the midshore grounds when the summer’s “Lake Atlantic” conditions prevail. The high gunnels (freeboard) and bow flare offer security and safety in rough water like a watercraft much larger in size. The boat’s phenomenal stability on drift and on hook are another benefit of the modified V that I prefer. The 21SE’s size is big enough for most everything inshore, yet it’s small enough to get into the skinny—and it’s easy to trailer.

Fishability

The boat’s fishability is outstanding in anything from calm shallow flats, open bay chop, rough inlets, and nearshore/inshore ocean swells. My clients and I enjoy the large open fishing platform with 360 degrees of fishability. From bow to stern, the 21SE’s deck is clean and clear from snags. However, like most center consoles in its size, there there’s little to no protection from wind and spray. On windy, rough days, it is not a dry boat, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I predominately fish the bow, so sport cabins aren’t an option.

Parker 21 SE Center Console

Affordability

Affordability and efficiency were key factors in my decision to purchase the 21SE. Speed is not my concern, but fuel consumption is. Rigged with Yamaha’s best-selling outboard, the F150 4-stroke, it’s powered just right for performance and fuel economy. The inline four is reliable, lightweight, clean burning, and quiet. The combination of motor and the modified V hull makes for a highly fuel-efficient vessel. Since it holds 80+ gallons of fuel, range is never an issue.

Parker 21 SE Center Console

The world of boats today is an overwhelming market of options. The Parker 21 Special Edition stands out as one of the most versatile, low-maintenance center consoles for light-tackle fishing. The central Jersey coast (among many other areas on the East Coast) offers a plenitude of fishing opportunities, and the Parker 21 SE allows me to take advantage of all my local waters have to offer.

Captain Gegory Cudnik
Fish Head Charters
Long Beach Island, NJ.
Phone: (609) 389-9963

6 on “Boat Review: Parker 21 SE Center Console

  1. Tripp Hill

    I agree ! 40 years of boating has taught me the more stuff a boat has , the more stuff that can break .

  2. Robert Opperman

    Have a 2014 and I have fished the waters around Long Beach Island from the skinny water in the back bay to the artificial reefs in the ocean on the right days! Love the boat!

  3. Dominic

    Captain,
    My 23’ Deep Vee Parker Center Console w/ 300 HP Yamaha shares many of the positive characteristics of your 21’SE. For those interested in a similar yet more expensive Parker here are the important differences: draws 18” of water, 31 MPH @ 4200 RPM @ 12.3 GPH, dry ride in nearly all conditions. Otherwise the 2300CC and 21’SE are very similar. Thanks for your informative review and in my opinion readers should be confident in both your objective and subjective comments.

  4. Jerry

    End of June my 150 Yamaha blew a piston ring on my 2005 Parker 21SE. Went to my local dealer and was about to purchase a new 2019 SE. However, at the last moment before signing, I decided not to purchase this boat. Unfortunately, they redesigned the stern area and made the jump seats too large. It made it nearly impossible to walk from port to starboard behind the leaning post without leaning to the stern. Since I fish 75% of the time in the stern, this was a deal breaker for me. Note: they did not make the same design on the 23 CC!
    I decided to purchase a new boat from another manufacturer.

  5. mark Sea Monkey

    Have they addressed this leaning issue referred to in Jerry’s comments about fishing from behind the leaning posts? I want to buy the 21 but fish from the stern quite a bit .. what did the 23 do to eliminate the leaning issues? Trying to figure out how it leaned if he didn’t buy one….sea trial…??

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