Builders rolled out new center-console models at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Center console manufacturers can be forgiven for not introducing a lot of new models at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in recent years as builders have struggled to keep with up the unprecedented demand.
Builders found the time in 2022 to launch new models that had been sitting on the drawing boards. Formula Boats launched its long-awaited center-console (see review), while venerable brands Boston Whaler, Pursuit, Blackfin, Regulator and World Cat had new models.
New builders entered the center-console market at the Fort Lauderdale show including Sportman Boats’ luxury brand and Miami-based Dynamic Boats. Sitting on the transom were lots of shiny outboards from Mercury Marine, Suzuki Marine and Yamaha Marine.
The 63rd edition of the show, owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and produced by Informa Markets, attracted more than 100,000 visitors. The show took place at seven locations with the Broward County Convention Center and in-water show at Bahia Mar Marina the main spots.
Here’s a roundup of new models for 2023:
When the wait can be up to three years for some center-console models, Miami-based Dynamic Boats could deliver a boat the following week. That’s because company owner John Bellemare decided to build five D-305V boats before going public at Newport International Boat Show in September.
“I got into this business knowing the supply chain issues we were looking at,” Bellemare said. “But I wasn’t going to launch a business and take orders on boats that I can’t deliver, so that’s why I built five boats on spec.”
Dynamic had its D-305V (an ode to the Miami area code) on display with an oversized rubrail and a second model with a traditional stainless-steel rubrail to showcase its range of work.
The D-305V (30’ 5” LOA, 9’ beam) features a plumb bow with a traditional cockpit layout. Owners can walk around the entire boat and appreciate the deep 33-inch gunwales.
Dynamic provided facing lounges in the bow and facing seating with a table just in front of the console. Additional seating included a full bench on the transom and twin captain chairs under the hardtop. A refrigerated cooler from Dometic pulls out from under the leaning post.
Dynamic is offering the center console with either a single or twin outboards with either Suzuki, Mercury or Yamaha power.
Sportsman Boats Manufacturing has become a large builder of production center console boats since its founding a decade ago and the South Carolina builder recognizes its limits when it comes to customization.
To fill the void, the Sportman Boats created Phenom Yachts, a new boat company that can offer the customization buyers have been seeking. Phenom debuted the Phenom 34 and Phenom 37.
“We want to go to something that was factory-direct, customer concierge experience that would allow some to really customize their boat,” said Victor Gonzalez, Phenom Yacht’s director of marketing.
Gonzalez said they focused on family, luxury, performance and fishing as inspiration for the two center-console models. The boat is rugged enough for offshore fishing yet offers creature features such as abundant seating for the whole family.
Phenom will offer the center consoles with either twin Mercury Verado V12 600-hp outboards or triple Mercury Verado 400-hp outboards. The stepped hull with triple outboards has a top speed of 75 mph, Gonzalez said.
Customization options include upgraded electronics from Garmin and FLIR as well as fishing packages including GEMLUX Bluewater outriggers with carbon-fiber poles, various seating packages and faux teak options for the toe rail, helm pod and transom.
When production is fully ramped up, Gonzalez said they hope to build about 200 boats a year. Pricing starts at just under $900,000 for the Phenom 37.
Fountain Powerboats launched an extreme version of its sport console the 38 SCX for the poker run and sandbar crowd.
The new model has a new deck yet utilizes the venerable stepped-bottom running surface the North Carolina builder has built its reputation on.
“We just wanted to have more amenities in the console for what we call the poker run/sandbar guys with a cool stereo and a nice paint job,” said Jeff Harris, Fountain Powerboats’ chief operating officer.
Harris said the 38 SCX (38’ 4” LOA, 10’ 6” beam) comes loaded down below with a full-size bed, fold-up couch and a head locker with a shower and ceramic toilet.
Fountain redesigned the arch-style hardtop to provide shade to the gunwales and updated the glass windshield. Seating includes two rows of individual stand-up bolsters with drop-down bottoms and bow seating. Fountain included a full rear bench seat on the 38 SCX, which is a first for the builder. A starboard dive door or steps over the transom allows for easy access to the cockpit.
Fountain will offer the 38 SCX with Mercury Marine power from triple 300-hp outboards to quad Mercury Racing 450R outboards. With 900-hp on the transom, the 38-footer will run in the 70-mph range.
After making its debut at several European boat shows this summer, the new Wellcraft 355 had its North American unveiling at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October.
The Michael Peters-designed Wellcraft 355 features a plumb bow, a European trend that is showing up on more V-bottom boats. The running surface is based off Wellcraft’s 353 center console.
“The plumb bow does basically two things—you maximize space, but you also maximize your running surface,” said Nick Harvey, brand director. “That gives you a boat that planes faster, gets out of the hole faster and basically gives you a much more stable ride.
“We like that it gives it this sort of contemporary look and design, and we know people are looking for something fresh in the market today.”
The Wellcraft 355 (35’10” LOA, 10’10” beam) features an enclosed pilot house with sweeping 360-degree views. The wheelhouse seats five people and comes with a full galley and an L-shape bench seat for meals and lounging. To connect with the outdoors, owners can open the top-hinged window and entrance door. Clear panels in the hardtop allow in lots of natural light.
Electronics at the helm includes a single or twin Garmin GPSMAP 8416 XSV screens and Wellcraft offers an upgraded audio package with top-shelf products from JL Audio and Fusion Apollo. Other options include a diesel generator, air conditioning and a Seakeeper gyro.
Wellcraft tapped designers Pawel Denert and Camillo Garroni for the 355 model and the pair’s work shined in the forward cabin. Down below the spacious cabin sleeps four people and accommodations include a full-size bed and ensuite bathroom with a separate shower.
Axopar co-founder Jan-Erik Vitala helped create a market for adventure boats that can be used for everything from deep-sea diving to mountain climbing excursions on far-flung islands.
The Finnish boatbuilder’s newest flagship model, the Axopar 45, made its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October. The Axopar 45 (45’ 7” LOA, 13’ 6”) beam will be available in five deck layout options including Spyder (Open), T-Top, Sun-Top, Cross-Top, and Cross Cabin.
The model features the company’s signature plumb bow that not only provides more bow space, it offers better handling, Vitala said.
“When we make the bow longer, we’re also lengthening the keel so when you’re driving slow in harbors, combined with our low (profile) of the boat makes that the wind doesn’t catch the boat nearly as much,” Vitala said.
Standard power comes from triple 300-hp Mercury V8 Verado outboards that provide a cruising speed of 34.5 mph and a top speed over 50 mph.
“The drivability of the boat is number one for us,” Vitala said. “It doesn’t feel like a 45-footer. It’s very nimble, very sporty and fun to drive.”
To offer the various deck layouts, Axopar uses a modular construction. “We’re trying to move more and more into an automotive-industry approach when we (build) our models,” he said.
Production has started on the Axopar 45 with delivery to U.S. customers starting in January 2023.
To prove the seaworthiness of Everglades Boats’ new 285cc, the builder ran the first hull from the factory in Edgewater, Fla., to the company’s rendezvous in the Bahamas before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The journey continues to prove the company’s Rapid Molded Core Assembly Process (RAMCAP), which makes the model nearly unsinkable. The 285cc (28’4” LOA, 8’6” beam) will appeal to families and avid fishermen.
An integrated fiberglass hardtop and windshield protects the helm. Electronic goodies include a Garmin digital switching system with touchscreen control. An optional Seakeeper 1 can be added for additional stability.
For anglers, Everglades includes a 35-gallon fish box on the transom, a livewell with a clear acrylic lid and an in-deck fish box that can hold 60 gallons. First introduced on the 235cc, the 285cc features an exclusive rotating helm/mezzanine seat. A spacious bow with upholstered lounges converts into a casting deck or a spacious sun pad.
Equipped with twin 300-hp Yamaha F300 outboards, the 285cc center console has a top speed of 55.4 mph. Cruising at 30 mph provides a range of 336 miles on a 200-gallon tank.
When a boat is built for fishability and recreational boating, there are sacrifices to be made. That’s not the case for the Blackfin 302DC. Michael Peters designed the boat’s two-step hull and Blackfin packed a lot into the boat.
A fiberglass hardtop protects the navigation and fish-finding equipment. Fishing goodies include in-floor fish boxes with pump-outs, an insulated baitwell and rod holders on the gunwale and transom.
For recreational boating, the 302DC (32’ 8” LOA, 10’ beam) feels purpose built. The wet bar includes a faucet, 45-quart YETI Tundra cooler and a drawer refrigeration.
Seating accommodations include helm seats with flip-up bolsters and armrests, bow seating, a transom foldaway bench seat and a starboard side flip seat.
The sound system features two JL Audio speaker with two subwoofers.
The new 302DC is available with twin Mercury Verado outboards from 300 to 400 horsepower. Maximum horsepower on the transom is 800.
The new 280 Dauntless is the flagship of Boston Whaler’s Dauntless lineup, which includes 22- and 25-foot models. A center console bay boat, the 280 Dauntless (27’9” LOA, 9’ beam) includes fishing-friendly features such as a large cast platform, a 19-gallon livewell, a large fish box with pump-out and more stowage to store fishing gear.
Seating is abundant with port and starboard seating with pull-up backrests near the bow, a spacious lounge seat in front of the console and a flip-up bench seat in the stern.
The helm bench seat with a flip-up cushion is protected by a rugged fiberglass hardtop. The dash has room for a 16” screen from Simrad or two smaller 12” screens. Boston Whaler offers optional radar, VHF radio and 1st Mate Safety & Security Systems.
The 280 Dauntless is available with Mercury power in single or twin setup. A single 350-hp Mercury Verado up to twin 300-hp Verados are available.
The newest center console in the Robalo lineup is the R250 (25’3” LOA, 8’6” beam) targeted at families and anglers. The versatility includes a side-entry door and starboard walk-through to the dive platform providing easy access in and out of the water.
Anglers will love the large aft cockpit, custom leaning post with a tackle center, and 30-gallon livewell with an acrylic lid. Family friendly features include an oversized hardtop with an integrated three-piece glass windshield. Robalo offers 9” and 12” screens from Simrad in single or twin configurations.
A large head compartment is under the console, and bow seating with forward-facing backrests. Rod stowage is abundant, and the R250 comes with two 35-gallon fish boxes.
Base power is twin Yamaha 150-hp outboards and buyers can upgrade to 200-hp Yamaha models.
The 260CC-X from World Cat turned heads at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show nearly five months after its public debut. The power catamaran is the sixth model in the center console lineup and the fifth ‘X’ series introduced by World Cat.
The 260CC-X (25’ 6” LOA, 9’ beam) comes with a standard wrap around U-lounge bow seating area with a self-storing bow filler and casting deck; side console vertical rod storage; an integrated powder coated aluminum frame and windshield system with manual forward vent and a fiberglass T-top featuring two LED spreader lights.
The new 260CC-X also boasts an approximate draft of 14”, allowing customers the ability to fish inshore as well as having the performance and safety offshore.
Engine package include Yamaha F150s or F200s, or Mercury 200XLs with their related controls as well as Garmin electronics.
The OS 445 is the largest boat ever built by Pursuit Boats, blending fishing and cruising worlds into the new model. Anglers will appreciate the three fish boxes, rod holders, tackle storage in the bilge and the 600-gallon fuel tank that offers a 350-mile range with the triple Yamaha 425-hp outboards. With the power plants, the Pursuit nearly topped 50 mph.
Cruisers will appreciate unimpeded movement from the cockpit to foredeck, which includes cabana space. The bridge deck features a galley-up design that puts the chef in the center. Galley amenities include a glass cooktop, refrigerator/freezer and a microwave oven.The OS 445 (46’6” LOA, 13’10” beam) has dual staterooms below deck with the main cabin including a queen-sized berth and private access to a head compartment, which includes a separate shower compartment.
Based on the running surface of the popular Contender Boats’ 25BAY, the 26BAY (26’ LOA, 8’ 6” beam) has an integrated transom bustle to allow anglers to go deeper into bays and backcountry waters.
Design improvements on the 26BAY include additional stowage, improved bilge access, wider jump seats, better rod stowage access, and an improved layout.
Contender designed an integrated helm pod that can accommodate dual 16-inch screens or a single 22-inch screen. Anglers will appreciate the 70-gallon insulated in-floor fish box, a 70-quart cooler under the console front seat, and a 40-gallon livewell.
Buyers will likely add an optional soft or hard T-tops. Contender offers custom seating and leaning posts as well as a casting platform.