Ramcap unsinkable construction, factory-built hardtops, hydraulically lifted windshields, and some of the best wiring and plumbing systems we’ve seen mark Everglades‘ latest edition to its crossover inshore/offshore center consoles, the 253 CC.
What is the big deal about this 25-foot inshore/offshore category that makes these boats the most sizzling, hottest vessels at the dock? Well, with the 253 CC, it’s the destroyer-class durability and rigidity of the Ramcap hull with an incredibly solid connection to the hardtop and superstructure that give the 253 the ability to cut through the ferryboat and tug wakes we encountered near Key Biscayne. It’s also the 20-degree deadrise that cuts yet allows for a drive-up draft of just 16 inches, which means that snook, redfish, trout and tarpon are within your grasp. And on those incredible days when the seas lie down, the 253 CC has everything you need to slip along the beach and bang some cobia. After our check ride, we wouldn’t be a bit reluctant to head farther offshore to hook some mahi, kings or sails.
The active ingredients for successful fishing are all in place. An oval leaning-post livewell with side drain and gasketed lid keeps bait circulating, lively and fresh to attract your prey. We were surprised at the ample cockpit space behind the leaning post, which means crew can fight fish while the gaffer moves around easily to bring the catch aboard.
The 253’s aft deck comprises a single platform of optimum height to step on and get to the transom to guide a stubborn fish around the motor. Undergunwale rod storage features SeaDek pads to protect reels. Ample rod holders in the gunwale and four more standard to the hardtop kept sticks at the ready. All gunwale rod holders are plumbed and drained, keeping water where it belongs — out of the boat.
Fish lockers are forward and large enough to hold a good-size wahoo and certainly all the kings and mahi you might gaff. The compartments are insulated and drain overboard without needing pumps. You can’t beat gravity for reliability. Tackle compartments on either side of the livewell help keep you organized. Lockers that swing from under the gunwales hold lines, utility tackle boxes and other gear.
You can opt for outriggers at any time thanks to the built-in sockets molded into every Everglades hardtop. Adding the sockets later will make them factory-sturdy and is easy to accomplish.
Everglades specially designed its leaning post to fit two 30-quart Yeti Hoppers, and they’ll ensure the crew can bring adequate refreshments. There is additional cooler space ahead of the console.
As lifelong anglers, we can’t help but focus on fishing, but we’re also family men, luring kids and neighbors to the coast for fun and fellowship. As a comfort machine, Everglades goes beyond superior seakeeping capabilities with luxurious amenities.
The forward casting decks have stowable seat cushions with forward-facing backrests fit to rod holders. A thickly padded bolster with military-quality corners and double stitching makes the forward deck a perfect area for sunning, reclining or dinner-cruising conversation.
You’d have to look at Scout‘s 251 XS ($89,199 with hardtop) to get that kind of luxury, but the Scout is definitively more inshoreish in style. Lower, sleek gunwales reduce windage needed to keep on track with a trolling motor, and the 18-degree deadrise allows a shallower 13-inch draft. But the offshore amenities such as a livewell, rod holders and durable construction are all there. Everglades takes top nod, though, on its optional windlass because it’s concealed below deck, clearing the space for snag-free bait netting.
Back on the aft deck, it’s no surprise that two seats flip up out of the casting platform, but it’s a treat to see the cooler between them. It has a nonskid lid for secure footing, should swimmers be entering or leaving via the portside swim platform, and a stainless-steel boarding ladder. With these amenities, the Everglades 253 CC is well suited for entertaining a crowd, and will be the most popular vessel at the sandbar gathering.
It will be even more so with its Fusion audio system with five-channel amplifier, 8-inch JL speakers for syrupy sound clarity, and a subwoofer to add a deeper thump.
Everglades leaves navigation gear selection to the boater and the dealer, but it maximizes every space by carefully positioning switches ergonomically up front while tucking lesser-used switches, like the battery switch, below the helm. The arrangement creates an enormous playing field for adding digital instrumentation and multifunction displays — up to 20 inches. Everglades installs SeaStar power steering, standard on the 253 CC, and you won’t find a smoother helm underway.
* Integrated Rigid Industries LED spreader, side and forward lights illuminate the whole boat when needed without overdraining batteries.
* Side-draining livewell is more reliable and convenient than standpipe livewells.
* Forward seating is comfortable, practical and easily stowable for fishing.
* Additional utility box compartments would be desirable.
* We’d like to see the optional center deck platform as a standard feature.
Price: $138,462 (with test power)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engines: Yamaha F300
Drive/Prop: SWS II 15.5″ x 17″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 80 gal.
Water On Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Edgewater, Florida; 386-409-2202; evergladesboats.com