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Bowrider vs Dual Console
In this comparison, the classic family boat goes head-to-head with the upstart crossover. Find out which one is right for you.
In the world of boats there used to be a clear separation of power: The family boater picked the bowrider for its open bow, sterndrive power and ability to tow skiers and tubers. The angler opted for the hard-core fishing boat, creature comforts be damned. But something happened along the way: With the rise in crossover cars, boaters began to change their views on boats too. The modern outboard-powered dual console arose, and it presents a serious challenge to bowriders’ family-fun supremacy. Which is best for you? We put the Sea Ray 230 SLX and the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage to the test. Both are owned by Brunswick, obviating favoritism. Here are the facts; it’s up to you to decide.
The Bowrider: Sea Ray 230 SLX
For many, the bowrider is the quintessential day boat. The Sea Ray 230 SLX is no exception, with a typical bowrider floor plan enhanced by intriguing innovations. The obvious place to start in comparing the two models is the power package: The 230 Vantage offers outboard power and the 230 SLX is propelled by a sterndrive. That means the engine is hidden underneath the sun pad.
The sun pad is a key component of the 230 SLX, an amenity that the 230 Vantage lacks. If you’re a fisherman, this is a good thing, because you’ll appreciate the open cockpit space. But if you’re a family boater, your crew will crave a place to kick back and catch rays.
The 230 SLX has a transom deadrise of 21 degrees — giving it a slightly sharper hull than the Vantage by one degree. The Bravo Three drive features dual counter-rotating propellers, which give the 230 SLX excellent bite in turns, allowing for graceful carving maneuvers at speeds in excess of 30 mph. This translates at low speeds as well, as the dual propeller system allows for better handling in close quarters, such as while docking or loading on a trailer.