Best Small Center Console Boats in 2024

Center console boats may be the most versatile boats on the water. The following boats are the best center console boats, for a variety of purposes, under 25 feet in length.

Center console boats may be the most versatile boats on the water. Models today range between 16- and 60 feet long. While some may be optimized for dayboating, others for high-performance, and still others offer sleeping/ cruising amenities. Here, we present a variety of center console boats, none larger than 25 feet, that we believe are the best center console boats under 25 feet for 2024.

Article at a glance:

9 Recommended Center Consoles Under 25ft

In this collection of center console boats, we will present center console boats suitable for day boating, high-performance boating, and fishing and even some that can serve as overnighters (or more). All of the boats here are no more than 25 feet long. 

Review recommended center consoles:

Best Fishing Center Consoles Under 25 Feet

Regulator 24 XO

A crossover that fishes offshore and inshore.

Regulator 24XO running offshore
With Yamaha’s well-proven F300 on the jack plate, the 24XO tops out close to 50 mph. Courtesy Regulator Marine

This 24’4 x 8’5” boat is a “ crossover” model designed to provide anglers with the option to fish the far horizon (on the right day) yet still fish the bays and estuaries with aplomb. Regulator’s construction is well known as top-notch; it’s finished like a jewel and rigged with exceptional precision; its price reflects all of the former. Exemplifying the best of both worlds, this 24 XO offers casting platforms fore and aft. In between is a secure, but not-too-deep, cockpit. The combination is at the crux of this boat’s versatility. Add on the optional trolling motor and jackplate for maximized angling utility.

What We Like:

  • Impeccable finish
  • Can fish inshore with fore and aft platforms
  • Ride, build and center cockpit allow offshore forays

What Could Be Better?

  • A narrow choice of engines

Taking a boating safety course [Boating Safety Courses ] 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

Cobia 240 CC

A wide-beamed traditional center console with single or twin power.

Cobia 240 CC Boat Test
A wide beam maximizes fish-fighting space. Courtesy Cobia Boats

This 23’7” x 8’10” inch traditional center console offers an extra wide beam along with a host of fishing features and a choice of single or twin outboards. We like that the single-level cockpit sole runs all the way to the bow, so you can cast or work a fish ”hip deep” in the boat, even in rough water. Plus there’s no steps to trip up anglers. Standards like deep fish boxes and tackle storage are plentiful, and options allow you to personalize the 240 CC. Choose a single engine for economy or order twins for more security, more speed and superior maneuverability.

What We Like:

  • Extra-wide beam offers more room aboard
  • Choice of single or twin outboards

What Could Be Better?

  • The wider beam may require a permit for trailering

Sailfish 242 CC

Thoughtfully full-featured is this traditional center console.

This 24’0” x 9’0” wide beam traditional center console model will take you securely offshore, or across nasty chop. We like the standard toe rails and standard stainless transom rod holders. Sailfish’s hull is known for delivering an offshore ride and the 242 is no exception. We like that it can be ordered as a single engine boat, which is economical to buy and efficient to run, or as a twin engine boat, with the redundant security, extra maneuverability and increased speed that a dual setup affords. We give it extra points for offering a variety of outboard engine makes.

What We Like:

  • Choose your own outboard brand
  • Choose single or twin power
  • So much room thanks to so much beam

What Could Be Better?

  • Wide beam may require a permit for trailering

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

Small Center Console Boats for Families/Everyday Boating

“Family boat” is a term fraught with peril, since different families have different expectations. Also, options and customizations allow boat buyers to make boats more closely match their boating goals. For our purposes, a small family center console measures 25 feet long or less and retains the fishing capability that the genre was founded upon. But, a family center console must prioritize seating and other comfort features as a matter of design, and as offered by the boatbuilder.

Scout: 260 LXF

Standard side boarding door, killer forward lounge and standard SeaKeeper stabilizer.

At 26’0” by 8’11, this boat is the longest on our list. But it is so well laid out and equipped as a family center console that we had to include it. The side boarding door provides easy egress for boarding and entertaining dockside. (And it’s perfect for swimming, since it incorporates a ladder. ( There’s also a transom door and ladder.) The 260 LXF’s forward lounge is sized and appointed like that found aboard larger boats. Family and friends can recline in comfort there or in the forward seating with removable backrests. The standard SeaKeeper stabilizer keeps the boat from rocking, that’s especially important for new boaters or guests you may have aboard for the day. The head compartment is spacious and comfortable and comes with a porcelain commode. The T-top looks great, provides great sun protection, and plenty of canvas options are available to keep the weather out.

What We Like:

  • Offers a side boarding door and transom door
  • T-top with solid glass enclosure
  • Standard SeaKeeper gyro stabilizer

What Could Be Better?

  • Wider beam means a permit may be needed for trailering

Grady-White 251 CE

Standard head, standard bow and transom seats and a patented hull design.

Grady-White 251 Coastal Explorer
The 251 can more than hold its own in sloppy offshore conditions yet is still capable of sneaking into skinny flats and backwaters. Courtesy Grady-White

The 24’7” by 8’6” 251 Coastal Explorer offers the lower freeboard of an inshore boat, making access to the water easier, as well as granting the feeling of being open and part of the environment. Certainly, with locking rod storage, a big livewell and more, it fishes like a pro. And, its unique SeaV² hull can handle choppy open waters. But, it offers numerous features beyond these that make it a good multi-purpose boat. Included are a head area inside the console, bow and transom boarding ladders, a freshwater shower, bow seating with folding backrests, an aft bench, eight drink holders and more. Order the optional bow table, bow shade and ski arch to make the 251 CE a top tier angling-watersports-entertainer. It’s beam width is trailerable without need of a permit.

What We Like:

  • Bow boarding ladder makes beaching easy
  • Freeboard offers easy fish landing but also lend a sporty feel when aboard

What Could Be Better?

  • Low freeboard may give parents of small children pause

Blackfin 252CC

Gets you there in style and with opulent fishability.

The 24’6” by 8’10 Blackfin 252 CC offers a full-on rigging station, fiberglass T-top and plenty of rod storage and other accouterments that make it a fantastic fishing boat. In addition, it offers bow seating with removable backrests, a flip-down transom bench, console seat and lean post. All seating is upholstered in plush, quilted, multi-tone vinyl that is comfortable and looks great, but also provides excellent durability. Inside the console, families will find a head compartment housing a porta pottie with deck pumpout fitting. A transom door provides access to the swim platform with ladder. A freshwater shower, bow and transom sun shades and a cockpit table can all be added optionally to max-out the 252 CC’s family versatility.

What We Like:

  • Beautiful, durable diamond-stitcb upholstery
  • Bow seating with backrests and transom seat
  • Head with pumpout

What Could Be Better?

  • Wide beam may require a permit to trailer

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

Best Affordable Center Console Boats

Though hardly any boat can be considered inexpensive these days there are boats on offer that deliver solid construction, a utilitarian standard features set and come in at a price less than many of the other boats in their size and type class. Often, such boats offer items such as a T-top. Here is a group of nominally 24-foot-long center consoles priced at $125,00 or less.

Parker 2400CC

Strong and seaworthy.

The 24’0” by 8’6” Parker 2400CC offers a deep-V hull and rugged construction to soften the chop and make long days—and including long runs—comfortably doable. It comes with four rod holders, a large mounting flat for electronics at the helm as wheel as standard hydraulic steering. Bow cushions are standard  but you need to order the backrests if you want to create forward-facing seating. You’ll need to order an optional T-top or Bimini, if you would like the shade provided by either. And, Parker offers a full suite of optional fishing gear from which you can pick and choose. Its offered with single Yamaha engines. The 250 keeps the base boat under our $125,000 affordability limit, as of the time of writing. (Order the 300 and its just a hair more, though).

Carolina Skiff E24 DLX CC

The most boat length for the money.

Carolina Skiff E24 DLX CC
The E24 DLX CC offers a stable ride through the skinniest of water. Courtesy Carolina Skiff

Make no mistake: the 24’1 x 7’9” Carolina Skiff E24 DLX CC rides a flat-bottom hull that will not deliver a smooth ride in choppy waters. That said, it can navigate in super shallow water due to the minimal draft that hull affords, plus it’s a super stable boat. Standards include a console with stainless steel steering wheel and quick disconnect windshield. It comes with a swim platform, a swingback stainless steel seat and a 12-gallon portable fuel tank and LED bow and stern lights. Options include a bow seat, a T-top or  a Bimini top and more. Power rating is for a single outboard up to 150-hp. You’ll have to visit a dealer for a price, but we are confident you can purchase this boat for well below the others on the list.

Release 240R

Overbuilt and underpriced.

Release 240R running
The 240R offers a solid build. Courtesy Release Boats

The Release 240R measures 24’0” x 8’9” and can be powered by twin 150 outboards and still be priced under our target $125,000 affordability level for a 24-foot center console. Order it with a single 250- or 300-hp engine and it easily fills the affordability bill.  You will have to pay optionally for such things as hull color, a transom shower, and a bow filler and cushion. However, it offers a long list of standards, including hardtop T-top, a Simrad electronics package, livewell and raw water washdown and a head with porta-pottie. It Is wider than many boats this length, and so may require a permit to trailer it. A slighly more expensive “RX” model comes with forward seating.

Bayliner Trophy T24 CC

A deep-V that doesn’t require deep pockets.

Bayliner Trophy T24CC running inshore
The T24CC offers a comfortable ride and numerous fishing features. Courtesy Bayliner Boats

The 24’ 0” by 8’6” T24 CC combines rugged fishability, loads of storage and cruising comfort. It rides on a 23-degree deep V that really cuts through the chop. Standards include a canvas T-top (optional hardtop available), bow seat cushions with removable backrests, a folding transom bench and hydraulic steering. Fishing standards include a livewell, a bait well and two large fishboxes, plus plenty of rod storage. An optional  9-inch Simrad multifunction display, wired for Vessel View mobile, provides engine monitoring. Other options include a porta-pottie for the head compartment and your choice of nine hull colors. It is rated for engines up to 300-hp and the base engine of this readily trailerable boat is a 225-hp Mercury. At time of writing, the T24CC starts at about $68,000 with a 225. 

What We Like:

  • Broad bow offers lots of fishing and seating space
  • Great riding hull.
  • Well-executed fishing features.

What Could Be Better?

  • We’d like to see a rail or frame around the windshield.

Pros & Cons of Small Center Console Boats

As with any boat purchase, there will be pros and cons to buying a center console of the size discussed here. We’ve tried to list these for your consideration since different boaters will have different use cases, rather than hard and fast rules. 


  • Boats this size are trailerable. Even for those wider than the 8’6” “ norm” for trailerability, a pickup truck or large SUV can tow these boats. That opens up more possibilities for cruising and fishing. Trailerability is also a hedge against marina and boatyard rates. 
  • Boats in this size range can deliver excellent performance (in many cases) with just  single engine. That makes them cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, and cheaper and easier to maintain compared to multi-engine boats. 
  • Like the baby bears’s porridge, boats this size are, “ just right” for many boaters. Big enough to tale the whole family aboard or to venture offshore, boats this size can be easily operated in  water less than three-feet deep, , which is handy for beaching or bay fishing. 


  • Center console boats this size are not large enough to incorporate sleeping facilities. You’d need to select a CC longer than 30-feet LOA –maybe even 35-feet–to get an overnight cabin in the console 
  • While boats this size are surprisingly able at sea, and can take you safely offshore, they are not large boats. Even more special attention must be paid to weather, maintenance, preparation, your own experience, and the experience of the crew you have with you before you venture over the horizon. 
  • Sometimes a smaller boat is just better, depending upon your situation. Perhaps you are the only family member who will go boating? Or, maybe, you must have a boat that fits stored in a garage. Or, maybe, you only venture on small bodies of water where small size, and shallow draft can be advantages. Or…well, you get the picture. 

Other FAQs about Small Center Consoles

Small center console boats those under 25-feet, are very popular with boat buyers. Such boats have much to offer. The following FAQs paint a picture of why that might be. 

Are smaller center console boats more affordable?

Yes, smaller center consoles are more affordable. Besides the smaller size, many, if not most, require only a single engine for good performance.

How many passengers can a 25ft center console boat hold?

The person’s capacity of a 25-foot center console will vary by a formula that includes the boat’s dimensions and horsepower. In general, a 25-foot center console may be rated for up to 10 or maybe 12 people. Know that maximum ratings are for slow speeds on calm waters. Besides, there is no room for comfort or fishing aboard a 25-foot boat if 10 people are aboard

What are the best center console brands and manufacturers?

“Best” is tough to define, as the needs of boaters vary. There is a best boat for every boater but no overall best boat. Some popular brand names include Bayliner, Blackfin, Boston Whaler, Carolina Skiff, Cobia, Grady-White, Regulator, and Scout Boats. 

Can you run a small center console boat on a lake?

Of course, you can run a small center console on a lake. Though perceived as coastal boats, where more of them are in use, more and more inland boaters now use center console boats.

What kind of engines power a 25ft center console boat?

A 25-foot center console will invariably feature outboard power. This can be in either a single or twin engine format. A 150-hp motor might be adequate for a light flat-bottomed model whereas twin 300-hp engines may be appropriate for heavier, deep-v boats. 

How many engines can a 25-foot center console boat have?

A 25-foot center console may have as many as two engines. However, many center consoles run great with a single engine. 

How fast can most small center console boats go?

On the trailer or on the water? Just kidding. The speed of a 25-foot center console will depend upon the power chosen, whether there is a T-top or not and how many people are being carried aboard. That being said 40-mph is probably an expected average top speed, with some models capable of speeds in the low 50-mph range.

Are small center console boats safe for offshore fishing?

Yes. A center console boat under 25-feet can be safe for offshore fishing. Maintenance and construction and hull design all play a part. Twin engines are preferred for offshore use.Most of all, for going offshore in a small center console, the skipper must be experienced–and that includes the experience to know when not to go. The ocean does not reward bravado.