Boston Whaler recently introduced the newest evolution of one of its most iconic models: the 17-foot Montauk, arguably the first center-console skiff ever produced. Since the original 1961 introduction, 17-foot Boston Whalers have spread around the globe, on missions from boat-ride picnics, water skiing and fishing to life-or-death search and rescue to law enforcement, in everything from inland lakes to coastal bays to the edges of blue water. But if earlier versions proved so successful, why has Whaler bothered to tinker with its design? Can this latest iteration of this successful boat improve on a classic? What could possibly be gained?
The 170 Montauk 2018 reimagines a classic. It features the same overachieving versatility, safety, easy maintenance and dollar value but with improved performance. New features include more space, more stowage, a permanently installed fuel tank, self-bailing cockpit, tow arch (optional) and a 115 hp engine (optional). And there’s space for a second battery, wiring for an optional bow-mounted trolling motor, livewell (optional), transom seating and an anchor locker.
The new 170’s hull has a 16-degree deadrise at the transom tapering to a 30-degree entry, narrowed chines, a sharper keel, and a little keel rocker so it runs at 3 degrees fore-and-aft, presenting that sharp entry to seas. It’s longer, wider a more stable at rest. Weight increases to 1,700 pounds without engine and draft from 9 inches to 12 inches, but the boat still fits onto a single-axle trailer and tows easily behind a midsize SUV.
How does it run? We’ve had opportunity to sea-trial a basic version powered by a Mercury 90 Command Thrust and also a high-end model with teak trim, a blue hull and a 115 Command Thrust. In one word, this new Montauk proved sweet. It has inherent good balance with either of these two 363-pound engines, planing at 10 to 12 mph, cruising at 18 to 25, and topping out around 40 mph with the 90 and 45 mph with the 115. The ride is smooth and dry, even in nasty, confused seas. No boat is idiot-proof, but this hull is able and easy to learn. The simpler version represents an outstanding value in today’s market.
- New hull balances both Mercury outboard options well.
- Design is still seaworthy and even more versatile.
- Self-bailing cockpit improves safety underway and maintenance when on a mooring.
- There’s space and flotation for seven passengers.
- Larger built-in fuel tank adds range without taking up cockpit space.
- For anglers, bow-mount electric motor with second battery and livewell are optional.
Price: $32,064 (base)
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 90 hp FourStroke
Drive/Prop: Outboard/14.5″ x 18″ Enertia 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 2:38:1
Fuel Load: 25 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Boston Whaler – Edgewater, Florida; 386-428-0057; bostonwhaler.com