Center Console Boat Pros and Cons
There’s an endless sea of boat classes, hull types, sizes, etc. to choose from. Fishing boats, pontoon boats, sail boats, yachts, cruisers … you get the point.
And when you’re shopping for a boat, you should come to the marketplace with a pretty clear idea of what you want and what you’ll use it for. The choice can be daunting, especially if you’re dealing with a salesperson who’ll sell you on all the upsides and none of the downsides. In this article we’re focusing on the pros and cons of one boat type: the center console.
What is a Center Console Boat?
A center console boat is exactly what it sounds like: a vessel with the controls in a console located in the center of the boat instead of the right side. Center console boats are typically thought of as 18- to 28-foot boats with a bunch of fishing rods on either side, but they can include small poling skiffs, bay boats and any other boat with the console in the middle.
Advantages of Center Console Boats
The center console design is a favorite of offshore fishermen. Having the controls in the center leaves the entire perimeter of the boat open for fishing equipment. The center console floorplan is known for being easy to clean, with anti-skid floors and lots of padding around the boat.
For the driver, the center console layout places the controls right over the centerline of the boat, which gives a very positive feel when piloting the vessel. The center location also gives the driver a vast 360-degree field of vision. A deep V-hull design helps the boat handle rough conditions, and these vessels can be easy to tow.
Center console boats can have an incredible lifespan. Their durable, no-frills design have few failure points, and almost all of them are powered by outboards. This makes maintenance a little easier and allows for straightforward replacement of the power plant.
Disadvantages of Center Console Boats
Some of the features that make center console boats great for fishing make them not-so-great for other activities. An open floorplan leaves little refuge from the elements like UV rays and rain, which can be punishing out on open water.
The seats are designed with a more utilitarian use in mind and can be uncomfortable. They’re concentrated in the bow and stern to preserve the open floorplan, making it hard to socialize. Some boaters might also be turned off by the lack of storage. There aren’t many places to store things besides fishing rods. The head can be used for storage, but many of these boats aren’t equipped with one.
A center console boat may also be priced a little higher than some boats of similar size, despite lacking many of the amenities. If you like to fish, the center console is a great choice, but the design characteristics create diminishing returns when using the boat for anything other than tossing out a line.