Best Center Console Boats to Consider in 2024

One of the broadest boat categories offers models for every boater and budget.

In this article, we will describe a variety of center console boats. In so doing we will show that the center console suits a wide variety of boaters. There are large center consoles and small center consoles. Some center consoles are more expensive and some are less expensive. Originally developed for recreational fishing, center consoles now can be had for luxury, watersports, or fishing (or all three!). Center console boats may also feature a variety of power options. Read along as we provide examples in an attempt to show the breadth and depth of the center console boat type.

Article at a glance:

Recommended Center Consoles by Size

A handy way to make the information about center console boats easier to digest is to break the category down by length. Know that for any length group, there will be center consoles of greater or lesser relative cost. 

Review recommended center consoles:

Best Small Center Consoles (Under 25ft)

Here are some great examples of center consoles under 25 feet long. It is not meant to be a definitive list, but rather to show the range in this size category. Note that we also offer a more complete list of Best Small Center Console Boats (Under 25ft).

Scout 177 Sport

A small, but exceptionally-well finished and equipped fishing center console.

The Scout 177 Sport represents the high-end of the small center console market, both in price and in construction and features. Its Carolina-flared hull sheds spray. While it’s clutter-free decks, ideal for fishing, may seem barren, this boat comes with many standard features that may be optional aboard other boats. Evidence of its top construction can be seen and even felt.Check the clean design inside and out, all the way to the completely-finished bilges and underside of all doors, lids and hatches. This small center console is a high-bred fishing machine.

Pricing and Specs

Draft (approx.):10″
Dry Weight w/o Engine (approx.):1,000 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity:4/545 lb.
Fuel Capacity:20 gal.

What we like:

  • Flawless finish
  • Single-minded: designed and built to fish.
  • Rugged,comfortably, good looking upholstery.

What could be better:

  • Does not offer the extra (anglers might say ”excess”) seating of other models.
  • Low freeboard is great for fishing, but less so for families or recreating.

Taking a boating safety course won’t just make you a better skipper. It could also help you save big on insurance.

Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Yamaha 255 FSH Sport H

A family fun center console powered by twin waterjets. 

Yamaha’s 24’5” long 255 FSH Sport H offers boat buyers a versatile center console with jet power. Twin supercharged Yamaha Vortex High Output engines driving waterjets propel this center console to a top speed of 54 mph. These also offer outstanding maneuverability around the dock and at the launch ramp. On the water, you’ll find the 255 FSH Sport H ready to pull a tube, catch a fish, hit the sandbar or just chase big smiles. It comes with a standard single axle, painted, trailer. 

Pricing and Specs

Draft (max):1’10”
Dry Weight:4,835 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity:12/2,700 lb.
Fuel Capacity:111 gal.

What we like:

  • Helm Master joystick takes stress out of docking.
  • Twin engines and a lower price than many outboard-powered center consoles this size.
  • Eva decking throughout looks good, provides secure footing and makes maintenance easier.

What could be better:

  • The high RPM of the engines makes a whine some might find annoying.
  • Unlike most other CC’s this size, there is no fully-enclosed head compartment.

Starcraft SVX 231 OB CC

A 23-foot center console that emphasizes family fun. 

With its deep freeboard and broad bow, the Starcraft SVX 231 OB CC lends itself to a variety of activities, with friends and family on the lake, bay or river. It offers a big space inside the console for a “porta potty,“ the gunwales feature a unique shelf, complete with drink    holders, which will prove useful during entertaining. Sure, its fiberglass cockpit sole, livewell and rod holders allow it to fish. But large platforms, fore and aft, plus the generous, deep,  U-shaped seating in the bow place this center console firmly at the family fun end of the spectrum. 

Pricing and Specs

MSRP:$83,291 (with Yamaha F300)
Draft (max):NA
Dry Weight:3,263 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity:14/1,900 lb.
Fuel Capacity:60 gal.

What we like:

  • Deep, safe cockpit with lots of seating.
  • Large platforms fore and aft for beaching or swimming or dockside entertaining.
  • Cool shelves with drink holders built into gunwales.

What could be better:

  • Deckboat hull form not suited for choppy ocean waters or running inlets.
  • High freeboard makes the crew feel safer but impedes fishing and adds windage.
  • Does not self-bail.

The weather changes all the time. Always check the forecast and prepare for the worst case.

Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Best Center Consoles Boats (26-40ft)

Center consoles between 26- and 40 feet in length are large enough to truly offer the best of several boating worlds. Especially in the larger examples, one may find high-performance and fishability in equal measure, for instance. And, many boats in this range not only offer an enclosed head–there is often a Spartan berth, as well. Check out these center console boats as examples of what you can expect to find in this size range. 

Regulator 30 XO

This is finely-crafted center console is an excellent example of the “crossover” sub-category of center consoles.

With its 30-foot-7-inch length and 10-foot-2-inch beam, the Regulator 30 XO offers a large working platform for casting, trolling, jigging—you name it. The forward and aft raised-deck fishing platforms on the 30XO work perfectly for plugging for stripers, hitting the inshore wrecks or working the edges of flats. The 30XO also proves a home run for family fun at the sandbar. The standard features list is greater than the options list, and that says a lot about the forethought that went into this boat. It is one of the best finished boats you will encounter.

Regulator 30XO cruising offshore
Regulator’s 30XO runs on a nonstepped deep-V hull, delivering excellent ride and handling. Courtesy Regulator Marine

Pricing and Specs

Price:$370,995 (starting)
Draft:1’9″ (engines up); 2’11” (engines down)
Displacement:9,525 lb.
Transom Deadrise:15 degrees
Bridge Clearance:10’1″
Max Cabin Headroom:5’5″
Fuel Capacity:222 gal.
Water Capacity:38 gal.
Max Horsepower:600
Available Power:Twin Yamaha outboards to 600 hp

What we like:

  • Equally adroit at fishing inshore and offshore; a caster’s dream boat.
  • Super fit and finish
  • 10-rod rocket launcher at helm

What could be better:

  • Awkward access to the optional upper station.
  • As a crossover, it’s wider, and offers less freeboard, than dedicated “ offshore” center consoles.
  • Buyers need to really know their use profile.

Solara S-310 CW

The offset console allows for a bigger cabin aboard this unique multi-tasker,

Solara’s S-310 CW offers a unique layout that it calls a center walkaround. The idea is you get bow-to-stern fishability–down one side of the boat. The helm extends to the other side, providing two things. One, more protection from wind and weather for the aft cockpit. And, two, with the port side closed off, there is more room for a bigger cabin. This boat is highly-versatile and with its stepped hull, will run efficiency with twin 300-hp outboards.

Solara S-310 CW riding easy
The S-310 CW efficiently cruises through most conditions. Courtesy Solara Boats

Pricing and Specs

Price:$373,937 (base with twin Yamaha F300)
Displacement:10,500 lb. (dry)
Transom Deadrise:24 degrees
Bridge Clearance:8’4″ (9’2″ with radar)
Max Cabin Headroom:6’1″
Fuel Capacity:200 gal.
Water Capacity:41 gal.
Max Horsepower:600

What we like:

  • Unique layout offers a center console’s advantages combined with those of a cabin boat’s. 
  • Laminar flow interrupters incorporated into hull enhance speed and efficiency.

What could be better:

  • Lacks the full 360-degree fishability of most center console boats.

Cobia 350 CC

Fishing and comfort features for a moderate price.

The Cobia 350 CC is a purebred “offshore” center console, with its deep-V hull moderate beam-to-length ratio and high freeboard. It can be powered by up to triple 300-hp outboards, which provides 50-plus mph speed, but also the ability to carry a load of anglers, gear and ice through rough seas for a long distance. Fishing features abound, but you will also find plenty of comfort aboard the Cobia 350 CC.

Pricing and Specs

Price:$417,463 (with twin Yamaha 450s)
Draft:2’0″ (motor up)
Dry Weight:10,560 lb. (approx. with engines)
Seat/Weight Capacity:Yacht Certified
Fuel Capacity:320 gal.
Available Power:Yamaha outboards to 900 hp

What we like:

  • Deep V hull and high freeboard allow for confident operation on the ocean and running inlets.
  • Electrically-rising bow table
  • Side cockpit door is as good for boating a trophy fish as it is for easy dockside boarding.

What could be better:

  • Snap-edge molding, rather than hand-finished edges, gracing the bottom of consoles, cabinets and cutouts is one reason this boat costs $100,000-plus less than more expensive examples of the type.

Grady-White Canyon 386

The Canyon 386 is packed with luxury and fishability.

The Canyon 386 slides through seas with ease and keeps the crew comfortable in aggressive turns or blistering speeds on its proven SeaV2 hull. The triple Yamaha 450 XTO engines are controlled from a wide helm. Finished in black, the helm keeps down glare and enhances visibility. Grady’s trademarked AirView2 (AV2) hardtop protects four captain’s chairs, and features an electric ­sunroof and a vented integrated full-height windshield. The throttle and wheel are centered, with the Yamaha Helm Master Full Maneuverability joystick alongside. The system makes docking easier, and allows the boat to maintain position and heading while bottomfishing. It can also maintain heading while allowing the boat to drift a rip or bottom contour.

Grady-White Canyon 386 at sunset
Seakeeper stabilization tames rolling seas. Courtesy Grady-White Boats

Pricing and Specs

Draft:2’4″ (motors up)
Dry Weight:14,950 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity:Yacht Certified
Fuel Capacity:410 gal.
Available Power:Yamaha outboards

What we like:

  • Patented SeaV2 hull handles seas efficiently.
  • Wide 13’2” beam provides room to seat four abreast at the helm, plus other things.
  • Standard SeaKeeper gyro stabilizer smoothes out rolling seas.

What could be better:

  • Yamaha makes fine outboards, but we would like to see other choices offered as well, as different buyers have access to different dealers and have different engine brand loyalty.

Best Large Center Consoles (Over 40ft)

Large center consoles burst on the boating scene in the last 10 or 12 years. These boats allow their affluent owners to have it all: the size of the boats makes for very little compromise in combining fishing features with comforts. As an example, most center console boats in this size class offer luxurious weekend accommodations, in addition to acres of 360-degree fishing and entertaining space topside. Some models are full on fishing machines, though, while others are built for nothing but luxury. Suffice to say, center consoles over 40 feet LOA often cost more than one million dollars. 

Invincible 46 Center Console

A cat-hulled center console to get you to the fish–and back–fast. 

Seeking a huge cockpit, aboard a vessel that can travel at high speed to the far offshore grounds where pelagic gamesters live? Look at the Invincible 46 Center Console. The fishing cockpit has four livewells. Our tester, Randy Vance, wryly observed: ”There are so many rod holders on the gunwales and transom, you could just about close your eyes and slip a rod butt in one.“ Its two cat hulls, powered by four big outboards, provide speed and smooth going even in rough seas.

Pricing and Specs

Price: $1,100,000 (with test power)
LOA: 45′11″
Beam: 12′0″
Draft (max): 2′0″
Displacement (approx.): 20,000 lb. (dry with engines)
Deadrise: Variable
Bridge Clearance: 10′0″
Fuel Capacity: 1,000 gal.
Max Horsepower: 1,800
Available Power: Mercury and Yamaha outboards

What we like:

  • Incredible amount of fishability due to wide beam
  • Yes…cats can run super-fast in big seas.
  • Beautiful build and finish.

What could be better:

  • Those seeking weekend accommodations in their CC probably won’t like this dedicated fish boat.

Intrepid 51 Panacea

A sport yacht with a center console layout. 

With outboard power, the Intrepid 51 Panacea is a 71-plus mph luxury dayboat in a center console format. While one can fish from it, the true reason for this boat’s existence is performance combined with luxury. Steering from a center console helm delivers a feeling of being connected to a boat like no other, since you stand on the center of the boat, and at (or near) the center of gravity. Aboard the 51 Panacea, you’ll feel this boat-as-extension-of-yourself effect to the max. And when the fishing-diving-entertaining is done topside, you can retire to the swanky cabin below. 

Pricing and Specs

Draft:3’11” (motor down)
Dry Weight:30,500 lb. (with engines)
Seat/Weight Capacity:Yacht Certified
Fuel Capacity:900 gal.

What we like:

  • Intrepid’s stepped hull is one of the most refined and running this boat will prove that.
  • As at home fishing, as diving…or pulling up to luxury docks from Miami to Monte Carlo.
  • Opulent cabin with spacious V-berth, roomy head with shower, vanity and sink, and a fully appointed galley.

What could be better:

  • The large cabin and expansive seating take away fishing room, so hardcore anglers should make another choice.

Remember to leave extra stopping room when trailering your boat. At the ramp, be considerate of others but take the time you need to launch and recover your boat safely. Always check tie-downs, safety chains, lights – and the drain plug.

Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Things to Consider When Buying a Center Console Boat

When buying a center console,whether large or small, there are things to consider. Here is a list of considerations I feel is important for the center console buyer. 

  • Consideration #1: What do I want to do? Fish? Dive? Entertain? Center consoles are arranged and fitted out across this spectrum of use profiles. The better you know your boating habits, the easier it is to make a selection.
  • Consideration #2: On what type of water will I boat? Certainly boat size can play into this to a degree, but more important considerations are the amount of V in the hull, how much freeboard the hull offers and what kind of power is offered. 
  • Consideration #3: Do you want to trailer the boat? Of course shorter boats trail easier. But, then again, many people tow 35-footers regularly. 
  • Consideration #4: Do you want single or twin engines? A single is less expensive to run. Twins ( or more) offer more security–though the high reliability of new engines negates fears of breakdown compared to older engines. 
  • Consideration #5: How many people will you boat with? While this is related to size, it is also related to your use. For fishing, you want more clear cockpit space per person. For entertaining, tubing, going to the sandbar,etc., you may want a seat for every crewmember.
  • Consideration #6: Cat or monohull? Cats are smooth riding with bigger cockpits and smaller cabins for the same length. Monohull boats can ride really well also, if they are Deep Vee, and offer smaller cockpits,but larger cabins, then a catamaran. Sea trial both before making a decision.
  • Consideration #7: Safety Gear Stowage. When shopping,  subtract the space needed to store required safety gear from what’s available and make sure it still fulfills your requirements for stowing other gear. (Tackle, bait, food, ice, etc.)

Other FAQs about Center Consoles

  • What are the best center console brands and manufacturers? Well-known builders of center console boats include Bayliner,Boston Whaler, Carolina Skiff, Cobia, Contender,Fountain, Grady-White, Intrepid, Invincible, Mystic, Pursuit, Scarab, Starcraft and Yamaha.
  • What is the most affordable brand of center console boats? Carolina Skiff probably offers the least expensive center console you can buy.
  • How long do center console boats normally last? Center console boats can last many years, even decades, though the motor or engine wil likely need to be replaced in that time period.
  • What kind of engines can you have on a center console boat? Center console boats are primarily powered by outboards, but my also be powered by waterjets, sterndrives or inboards.
  • How many engines can a center console boat have? A center console may have as many as six engines.
  • How fast can most center console boats go? The top-speed of center console boats ranges from 25- or 30-mph for small, single engine models, to over 100-mph, for larger, multi engine performance models.
  • Can center console boats hold a lot of passengers? Center console boats offer lots of deck space or an active crew.
  • Do center console boats have cabins or a head? Many center consoles offer an enclosed “head” (toilet) and larger versions offer cabins with sleeping and cooking capability.
  • What is the best hull design and construction for a center console boat? There is no best hull design for a center console, or any type of boat. Different hull types thrive in different water conditions and when used for different purposes with different owner expectations.
  • What is the best kind of center console for offshore fishing? A center console optimized for offshore fishing will offer either a Deep-V monohull or a catamaran hull. It will have two or more engines to provide security should one break down. It must have a self-bailing cockpit, one that drains water overboard by gravity, without the need for pumps. An offshore boat will have a deep cockpit and high freeboard.