Pursuit S 288 Sport Boat Test

A seamless blend of form, function and performance in a midsize center-console.

Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
LOA: 30'0" | Beam: 9'8" | Draft: 2'0" | Displacement: 8,220 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 24 degrees | Fuel Capacity: 230 gal. | Water Capacity: 26 gal. | Max Horsepower: 600 | Available Power: Twin Yamaha outboard engines to 600 hp | More Information: pursuitboats.comCourtesy Pursuit Boats

Going bigger has been the recent trend among fishing-boat builders, but with a 40-footer as the flagship of its popular Sport series already, Pursuit opted instead to introduce a 30-foot model, the S 288 Sport, as the latest member of its luxury center-console family.

The layout takes full advantage of the boat’s length and beam, and incorporates several seating arrangements fore and aft, generous stowage, and a sizable console with step-down head ­­without creating tight funnel areas that hinder the crew’s movements.

Boat owners who place a premium on refinement will appreciate the elegant accents and upholstery, and the entire family will love the conveniences, which start up front with the dedicated anchor locker equipped with raw-water washdown and windlass — with control at the helm and by remote — to effortlessly deploy and retrieve the through-hull-stem anchor with the touch of a button.

Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
The dedicated anchor locker is equipped with raw-water washdown and windlass.Jim Hendricks
Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
Above-deck compartments to port and starboard provide substantial dry storage and serve as seats.Courtesy Pursuit Boats
Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
The head comes well-­appointed with sink and freshwater faucet, Corian countertop, vanity mirror, and vacuum-flush toilet.Courtesy Pursuit Boats

At the bow, above-deck compartments to port and starboard provide substantial dry storage and serve as seats, with comfy cushions on the respective hatches and coaming bolsters for backrests. In addition, individual pivoting backrests turn the seats into lounges, and both flip out of the way when not in use.

A large, in-floor compartment just forward of the console stows away fenders or other oversize gear, and the console’s double forward seat includes flip-down armrests and a cooler underneath. The larger section of the console’s split forward facade swings open to allow entry to the head compartment inside. It comes well-­appointed with sink and freshwater faucet, Corian countertop, vanity mirror, and vacuum-flush toilet with macerator discharge pump.

Passage between the console and gunwales is wide and unobstructed, which bodes well for crewmembers following hooked fish around the boat. The integrated hardtop provides more than sun protection. It consists of a molded fiberglass top, full-height forward beams with grab rails, tempered glass windshield with wiper, powder-coated aluminum aft supports, tri-color LED overhead lighting, fore and aft spreader lights, integrated stereo speakers, acrylic hatch for ventilation or access to an optional second helm station, and dedicated mounting locations for outriggers, radar, radio antenna and spotlight.

Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
There's an aft-facing bench identical to another facing forward on the transom.Courtesy Pursuit Boats

The business side of the console benefits from a clever aft-tilting helm with instrumentation visor, which helps minimize glare and improve the viewing angle on the expansive electronics-mounting surface accommodating two 16-inch multifunction displays, Yamaha Command Link Plus display, waterproof stereo, Lenco trim-tab switches with indicator, a panel of 20 illuminated rocker switches, and more.

An adjustable helm bench seat with teak accents, fold-down bolsters and fixed armrests affords comfortable seating or leaning at the helm. The seat is nestled in a fiberglass module that incorporates storage drawers and tackle trays, along with a 12-volt main distribution panel, pair of drink holders, and aft-facing bench identical to another facing forward on the transom.

Both benches fold up and out of the way for fishing. Meanwhile, coaming pads on both sides of the cockpit protect hips in choppy seas and provide support for anglers battling fish. Standard rod storage includes four flush-mounted holders on the covering boards and another four on the transom, plus gunwale racks for three extra rods to port and starboard. A 24-gallon livewell with acrylic lid makes it easy to keep tabs on the bait, and twin 45-gallon in-floor fish boxes (with diaphragm pumps) are more than sufficient to ice down the day’s catch.

Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
A 24-gallon livewell with acrylic lid makes it easy to keep tabs on the bait.Jim Hendricks
Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
A portside door comes in handy.Courtesy Pursuit Boats

A portside door comes in handy when bringing aboard a gaffed pelagic of trophy size, and simplifies boarding and loading at the dock. A transom hatch to starboard allows easy access to the integrated swim platform with retractable boarding ladder, an aft raw-water washdown helps keep the cockpit clean, and a freshwater pullout shower lets the crew cool off.

The ride of the Pursuit didn’t disappoint. Larger than its moniker suggests, the S 288’s hull sports twin integrated platform extensions astern that take the length to 30 feet exactly, and its sharp entry handily dispatched the 2- to 3-foot swells outside Florida’s Fort Pierce Inlet and sliced through the wakes of large passing vessels comfortably at above-cruising speed. The S 288 also gets good marks on maneuverability, becuase it responded quickly to the slightest turn of the steering wheel, tracked well, and handled tight curves and S-turns with precision and the desired aplomb, never leaning or listing excessively.

Propelled by twin Yamaha F300s, the Pursuit displayed plenty of pep during our test. It jumped on plane promptly with no significant bow rise, averaged 7.9 seconds to go from zero to 30 mph, and flirted with 55 mph at wide-open throttle. Anyone more interested in cruising range than maximum speed will be glad to know the S 288 will trek nearly 350 miles (on a full tank) at 30 mph while turning 3,500 rpm.

The sharp looks, solid performance, and the long list of comforts and fishing amenities are bound to make this middleweight contender a champ among discerning ­anglers and their families.

Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
The S 288 offers a long list of comforts and fishing amenities.Courtesy Pursuit Boats

High Points

  • Ample seating, fore and aft, enables crew to cruise in comfort, or gather to interact while at anchor or at the dock.
  • Cockpit seating folds out of the way for fishing.
  • Transom and portside doors simplify boarding and loading, and help boat larger fish.
  • Large hatch on the hardtop provides added ventilation and access to an optional second helm.

Low Points

  • The 24-gallon livewell considerably limits the size and amount of bait the boat can carry, and a larger well is not listed as optional equipment. Avid offshore anglers may require an after-market add-on.
  • Pulling open the fore- and aft-facing bench seats in the cockpit proved a little awkward.

Price: $230,400 (with twin Yamaha F300s)

Available Power: Outboard

Pursuit S288 Sport Boat Test
Pursuit S288 Sport Certified Test ResultsBoating Magazine

How We Tested
Engines: Twin Yamaha F300s
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Saltwater Series II 15.25" x 19"
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 160 gal.
Water Load: 6 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Pursuit Boats - Fort Pierce, Florida; 772-465-6006; pursuitboats.com