Center console boats are akin to the SUV’s of boats. You sit up high, they’re sturdy, utilitarian, and a blast to drive. The primary advantages of a center console boat are ease of operation, superior view from the center helm, clear access to all sides of the boat, and the simplicity to maintain.
What is a Center Console Boat?
Center console boats have a helm station mounted near the boat’s center. The captain sits up high and can easily stand while at the helm. The center position gives the captain a clear 360-degree view and gives the boat balance.
The bow and stern of a center console boat are generally open, and a person can walk the perimeter of the entire boat without obstacles. Center console boats tend to have more all-around deck space than other boats.
Center console boats are almost always powered by outboard motors. With multiple outboards and relatively low weight, these boats can be fast and efficient.
Virtually all center console boats over 21 feet have a head tucked inside the console. It is always a popular feature.
Why Fishermen Love Center Console Boats?
With the helm in the center, several people can fish from each side of the boat, from the bow, and from the aft. Everyone has clear access to the water, which makes getting lines tangled less likely.
When fighting a fish, a person can walk the entire perimeter of the boat without obstacles to trip on or narrow passageways to navigate.
The boats are generally set up for fishing with live wells, sink, cooler spaces, rod holders, and plenty of storage.
The practical nature of center console boats with no carpet, and little upholstery means the boat is easy to scrub clean and holds up well in the direct elements.
Offshore Center Console vs. Bay Boat
Center console boats can be divided into two major categories. The offshore center console boat has a deep-V hull with extreme deadrise. This hull style cleaves through the offshore waves, and its high gunnels are designed to take on rough seas.
Bay Boats have a hull design for the minimal draft that allows access to shallow coastal areas. Unlike the offshore models, bay boats have low gunnels and often have raised decks on the bow and aft.
The raised bow and aft platforms make underhand casts easy. They also provide large flat areas for lounging. Under these raised decks are huge storage areas.
A bay boat gives very easy access to the water for reaching down to grab a fish. The low sides also make getting into the water for swimming or diving a breeze.
A disadvantage of the bay boat style is they are poorly suited for rough seas. The low gunnels can be overwhelmed by large waves that can swamp the boat. Also, there is little to hold the passengers inside in wavy conditions since the gunnels are only knee level, and the casting platforms have no sides.
Other Advantages of Center Console Boats
Center console boats have great storage. They are specially set up for fishing and have great rod storage, rod holders, live well, cooler, sink, and cutting areas, and the open floor plan is ideal for fighting fish.
Because of the simplicity of center console boats, maintenance is easy. A scrub brush, eco-friendly soap, and freshwater are all it takes to clean the boat inside and out from bow to stern.
Disadvantages of Center Console Boats
The main disadvantage is the lack of weather protection from sun, wind, and rain. Only the helm has a roof overhead and a windshield, offering protection for two or three people max. The remaining passengers are out in the open elements.
A second disadvantage is potentially limited seating, and what seating it is may be segregated and far from luxuriant. Therefore a center console boat may have limited applications for social outings.
However, boat manufacturers want to appeal to wide markets, so there are some models of center console boats that now blur the lines and have comfortable upholstery and features that appeal to family boating as well.
Center console boats are incredibly popular. The ease of operation, the ease of maintenance, and the mechanical simplicity are all huge upsides.
Offshore center console boats are the ideal choice for boating in heavy seas. And they’re the top choice for offshore fishing.
Bay boats are wonderful for smoother waters in the bay and are the ideal choice for reaching shallow areas. The raised platforms in the bow and aft offer great lounging with the bonus of massive storage below. They are the best choice for shallow water fishing or fishing near shore.
A center console boat may be your perfect boat choice. Enjoy boating all day, hose it off, and walk away. If this sounds appealing to you, explore this option.