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Center Console Boats for Sale: Your Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Vessel

Center console boats are a popular choice for those looking to purchase a versatile and adaptable watercraft. These boats are characterized by the positioning of the helm or wheelhouse in the center of the vessel, providing a 360-degree view and easy access to all parts of the boat. Center console boats are designed to meet various needs, from fishing and watersports to cruising and entertainment, making them a desirable investment for individuals and families with diverse interests.

There is a wide range of types and sizes of center console boats available for sale, as well as numerous brands and manufacturers to choose from. When considering purchasing a center console boat, it's essential to evaluate the key features aligning with your intended use, be it for fishing, leisure, or high-performance activities. Additionally, buyers must weigh the options between new and used boats to determine the best fit for their budget, purpose, and desired features.

Key Takeaways

  • Center console boats offer versatility with the helm positioned in the middle, enabling diverse activities.
  • A wide variety of types, sizes, and brands cater to different preferences and intended uses.
  • When purchasing, considering key features and weighing new vs. used options ensures the best investment.

Understanding Center Console Boats

Center console boats are a popular choice for both recreational and professional use. This type of boat typically features a console located in the center of the vessel, hence its name. The console houses the steering wheel, controls, and often a seat for the captain. The open deck space around the console allows for easy movement and provides anglers with ample space for casting and reeling in fish.

The design of center console boats allows for versatility in usage. They can be used for various water-based activities such as fishing, water sports, diving, and cruising. The size of these boats can vary, ranging from smaller vessels around 15 feet in length to larger models that can exceed 40 feet. This means that there is a center console boat to suit different needs and budgets.

Center console boats usually offer a shallower draft than other types of boats, making them perfect for navigating shallow waters and entering less accessible areas. This feature enables users to reach fishing spots that might be difficult to access in deeper draft vessels, increasing the chances of a fruitful fishing trip.

There are various engine configurations available for center console boats, including outboard, inboard, and in some cases, even multiple engines for increased power and performance. The choice of engine will depend on factors such as the desired speed, fuel efficiency, and overall performance required by the user.

When looking into purchasing a center console boat, it is essential to consider the key features that best suit the intended use. For example, if fishing is the primary purpose, buyers should prioritize onboard storage for tackle and equipment, rod holders, and live wells. On the other hand, if the boat will be used more for leisure cruising or water sports, comfortable seating and a suitable sound system may be more important.

In summary, center console boats are versatile vessels that cater to various activities on the water. Their open deck design, central console placement, and shallow draft make them a popular choice for both recreational boaters and professional anglers. When considering the purchase of a center console boat, it is crucial to understand the key features of these vessels and choose the right boat to match the intended usage.

Types of Center Console Boats

Center console boats are versatile and popular options for boating enthusiasts. They come in various sizes and styles, offering different features and capabilities to cater to a wide range of activities, from leisurely cruising to angling or exploring shallow waters. In this section, we will discuss a few main types of center console boats, including express boats, cabin cruisers, shallow draft boats, and those with double-stepped hulls.

Express boats are designed for speedy trips with a focus on performance. These boats typically have a sleek and aerodynamic design, making them perfect for efficiently reaching offshore fishing spots or cruising at high speeds. The streamlined form often includes a hardtop or T-top to provide shelter from the sun and elements, while the center console allows for unobstructed 360-degree movement around the boat.

Cabin cruisers offer the luxury of on-water living with their comfortable and well-appointed interiors. These center console boats include cabins for overnight stays, making them ideal for extended trips or family vacations. In addition to sleeping quarters, cabin cruisers may feature amenities such as a galley, restroom, and dining area. They still maintain the practical center console design, providing ample space for fishing and other activities, while offering added comfort and convenience.

Shallow draft boats are built for navigating shallow waters that are typically inaccessible to larger boats. These boats have shallow drafts, allowing them to move through shallow waterways and easily get close to shorelines and sandbars. This feature is especially advantageous for anglers who want to explore remote fishing spots or for those who need easy access to the shallows.

Double-stepped hulls provide enhanced performance and efficiency. These boats incorporate notched hull designs, which create pockets of air beneath the hull, reducing drag and providing a smoother, faster ride. Double-stepped hull center console boats are popular among performance boating enthusiasts who are interested in speed and fuel economy.

In conclusion, center console boats offer various styles and features to suit different needs and preferences. Whether you're looking for a high-speed express boat or the comforts of a cabin cruiser, there's a center console boat that can meet your requirements. Remember to consider factors like the depth of your intended waters and performance expectations when making your choice.

Popular Center Console Boat Brands


Grady-White is a renowned and popular brand known for their high-quality center console boats. They have been in the industry for decades and offer a wide range of models suitable for various purposes, such as fishing or cruising. Grady-White boats are built with advanced features and durable materials, ensuring they can withstand harsh marine conditions.


Robalo is another popular brand when it comes to center console boats, offering a wide variety of models for different needs. Known for their sleek design and excellent performance, Robalo boats are built with top-notch materials and modern technology to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience on the water.

Sea Hunt

Sea Hunt is known for their affordable and customizable center console boats, making them a popular choice among boating enthusiasts. They offer an extensive lineup of models, ranging from smaller boats for inshore fishing to larger ones designed for offshore angling adventures.

Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler is a renowned brand in the boating industry, known for their sturdy and unsinkable center console boats. The brand offers a diverse range of models designed for different purposes, including fishing, cruising, and water sports. Boston Whaler boats are built with high-quality materials and innovative technology, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.


Contender is a popular choice among serious anglers, offering high-performance center console boats designed for offshore fishing. Known for their speed, stability, and durability, Contender boats are built with cutting-edge technology and premium materials to ensure a smooth ride and remarkable fishing capabilities.

Stingray 216 CC

The Stingray 216 CC is a popular and versatile center console boat that offers a comfortable layout for fishing and leisure activities. It features a spacious cockpit, ample storage, and user-friendly design, making it a great option for families and anglers alike.

Cobia 350 Center Console

The Cobia 350 Center Console is a well-rounded boat designed for both fishing and cruising. It offers a spacious and comfortable layout, advanced technology, and powerful performance, making it an excellent choice for those seeking versatility and quality in a center console boat.

Midnight Express 37 Open

The Midnight Express 37 Open is a luxury center console boat known for its speed and impressive performance. With a sleek design, spacious layout, and top-of-the-line technology, this boat offers a luxurious and thrilling experience for those who prioritize high-end features and unparalleled performance.

Everglades 395 Center Console

The Everglades 395 Center Console is a premium center console boat that exemplifies the Everglades heritage. It boasts an innovative design, advanced fishing features, and exceptional performance, making it a popular choice among experienced anglers and boaters seeking a high-quality center console boat.

Features of Center Console Boats


The helm of a center console boat is designed for optimal visibility and easy access to controls. It usually features a well-organized console with a comfortable steering wheel, gauges, and essential controls within reach. Electronics, such as fish finders, GPS units, and communication radios, may also be integrated into the helm for seamless operation and navigation.

Seating and Galley

Seating arrangements on center console boats can vary, but they are generally designed for comfort and convenience during long hours on the water. Seats may be cushioned and include options like removable backrests for added support. The galley area, if present, typically offers compact storage space and basic amenities, such as a sink, stovetop, and refrigerator.

Head Compartment

To accommodate boaters' needs during extended trips, many center console boats include a head compartment. This private space houses a marine toilet, often with a holding tank for waste. Some models may also feature a sink and shower, providing essential amenities for overnight stays and longer excursions.

Fishing and Cruising Utilities

Center console boats are highly versatile for both fishing and cruising purposes. Key fishing features may include multiple rod holders, live wells, and integrated storage compartments for tackle and gear. Additional utilities for cruising often include a self-bailing cockpit, raw water wash-down systems, and canvas options to protect passengers from sun and rain.

Electronic Systems and Options

Modern center console boats come equipped with various electronic systems and options to enhance the boating experience. These may range from high-quality audio systems to advanced navigation tools, such as GPS and chart plotters. Cutting-edge electronic options also extend to mobile applications that can be connected to the boat for better control and monitoring of onboard systems.

By offering a multitude of features, center console boats cater to various boating activities, providing an enjoyable experience for both fishing enthusiasts and recreational cruisers.

Buying Guide: New Vs Used

New Vessels

When considering purchasing a center console boat, one option is to buy a new vessel. New boats come with the latest design features, technology, and often include a manufacturer's warranty. Purchasing from a professional dealer ensures that the boat is in pristine condition and offers a higher level of customer service. Additionally, new boats typically have better financing options and greater availability of customization. However, new boats can be more expensive upfront and may depreciate more quickly, which is important to consider when weighing the pros and cons.

  • Latest design features and technology
  • Manufacturer's warranty
  • Purchasing from professional dealers offers better customer service
  • Better financing options and customization availability
  • Higher upfront cost and potential depreciation

Used Boats

Alternatively, buyers can opt for a used center console boat. Used boats are typically more affordable and may come with added equipment or upgrades installed by the previous owner. Purchasing from a private seller or boat trader allows for negotiation on price and may result in a lower overall cost. However, used boats may come with potential maintenance issues or outdated technology. Additionally, buying used can limit the available warranty options and require more thorough inspections before committing to a purchase.

  • More affordable option with potential added equipment and upgrades
  • Price negotiation when buying from a private seller or boat trader
  • Possibility of maintenance issues or outdated technology
  • Limited warranty options with thorough inspections required

When deciding between a new or used center console boat, factors like budget, desired features, and individual preferences come into play. Considering the benefits and drawbacks of each option in the context of the buyer's needs can help guide the right decision regarding new vs. used boats.

Powering Center Console Boats

Center console boats can be powered by various types of engines, including outboard, inboard, inboard/outboard (also known as sterndrive), and electric. Each type of engine offers its own set of advantages, and the choice of engine depends on the intended use and personal preferences of the boat owner.


Outboard engines are the most common type of power source for center console boats. These engines are mounted on the transom and typically range from 60 horsepower to 1,800 horsepower. Outboard engines can be further divided into two categories based on their fuel type: outboard-2s (two-stroke) and outboard-4s (four-stroke).

  • Outboard-2s are lighter and offer better acceleration, but they tend to be louder and less fuel-efficient than outboard-4s engines.
  • Outboard-4s engines are quieter and more fuel-efficient, but they tend to be heavier and cost more upfront.


Inboard engines are installed within the boat's hull and transmit power through a propeller shaft. These engines can run on either gas or diesel fuel. Inboard-powered center console boats generally offer a smoother ride and better maneuverability at low speeds. However, they require more maintenance and take up valuable storage space within the boat.

Inboard/Outboard (Sterndrive)

Inboard/outboard (I/O) or sterndrive engines are a combination of inboard and outboard systems. The engine is located within the boat's hull, while the drive unit is mounted on the transom. Like inboard engines, sterndrive systems can run on either gas or diesel fuel. Inboard/outboard engines provide the advantages of both inboard and outboard systems, offering maneuverability and a smooth ride while still maintaining external propulsion.


Electric-powered center console boats are becoming increasingly popular due to their eco-friendly nature and quiet operation. These boats use battery packs and electric motors to propel them through the water. Although electric center console boats may not offer the same range or power as their gas or diesel counterparts, they can be an excellent choice for those looking for a more environmentally friendly option. The development of electric day boat concepts shows the growing potential of electric-powered boating.

Remember, choosing the right engine for your center console boat ultimately depends on your intended usage and personal preferences. Each type of engine offers its own benefits and drawbacks, so make sure to consider your needs before making a decision.

Finding the Right Center Console Boat for You

When searching for the ideal center console boat, several factors should be considered. One of the main aspects to think about is the intended use of the boat. Will it be utilized primarily for family outings, day cruising, freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, or sandbar-hopping? Identifying the primary purpose of the boat will help narrow down the options that are best suited to your needs.

Additionally, it's essential to consider the level of luxury and comfort you desire in your center console boat. Different manufacturers offer various amenities and features, such as IPS (Integrated Propulsion System) technology, which provides smooth maneuverability and increased fuel efficiency. Keep in mind that such advancements might come at a premium price, so it's crucial to determine your budget and find a boat that aligns with your financial expectations.

Fuel efficiency is another significant factor when choosing a center console boat, as it affects your overall operating costs. Boats equipped with modern outboard engines often deliver better fuel efficiency, helping you save on fuel expenses in the long run.

Considering the size of the boat should also play a major role in your decision. Center console boats vary in size, and the ideal dimensions will depend on the intended use and the capacity needs for your passengers and equipment. A larger boat, for example, might be more comfortable for families planning to spend a full day on the water, while a smaller boat could be more suited for avid anglers pursuing their catches.

Lastly, don't forget to research the prices of various center console boats, as they can range widely depending on brand, features, and size. Comparing different options will give you a better understanding of what is available in the market within your budget.

By considering these factors and assessing your priorities, you'll be better prepared to find the perfect center console boat that aligns with your lifestyle and satisfies your boating ambitions.

Center Console Boats in Different Countries

United States

Center console boats are popular in the United States, especially among recreational boaters and anglers. They offer a versatile and functional design with a central steering console, providing 360-degree access to the surrounding water. This allows passengers to make the most of the fishing or leisure experience.

In the US, center console boats come in various sizes and configurations, ensuring there is a suitable option for every boater's needs. Some popular US manufacturers of center console boats are Malibu Boats and Boston Whaler. The demand for these types of boats has been growing in recent years, showing the increasing popularity of recreational boating in the country. It is essential to note that the US market has a wide range of center console boats from different manufacturers, allowing potential buyers to find the boat that best suits their needs and budget1.

United Kingdom

Similar to the US, the United Kingdom also enjoys a lively recreational boating scene where center console boats are a popular choice. The UK's boating culture is heavily influenced by the diverse coastline and numerous inland waterways, prompting a strong demand for versatile watercraft such as center console boats.

Some prominent UK builders of center console boats include Ribcraft and Axopar Boats, which cater to the unique requirements of the UK boating community. British boaters tend to prioritize ease of use, durability, and adaptability when choosing a center console boat. In this market, various sizes, styles, and materials are available, allowing prospective buyers to find the right boat for their needs2.

Conclusion: It is evident that center console boats have a strong presence in both the United States and the United Kingdom, with each country offering unique options from their respective manufacturers. This versatility and adaptability allow boaters from these countries to enjoy the diverse waterways and boating activities available in each region.





Center console boats are a popular choice among boating enthusiasts due to their versatility and convenience. Equipped with a central helm station, these boats offer excellent visibility and maneuverability, making them ideal for various water-based activities, such as fishing, diving, and cruising.

In terms of design, center console boats come in a range of sizes and configurations, giving potential buyers plenty of options to choose from. While selecting the ideal boat, buyers should consider factors such as engine type, onboard amenities, and the degree of customization they desire in their vessel. For those looking for high customizability, the "Just in Time" product design can offer a good starting point.

It is important for prospective buyers to prioritize safety when selecting a center console boat. Features such as nonslip surfaces, sturdy handrails, and proper flotation devices can enhance onboard security. Additionally, researching local regulations and guidelines is crucial to ensure that the boat meets the necessary safety and operational standards.

Overall, center console boats provide a unique blend of functionality, comfort, and adaptability. By considering key aspects such as design and safety, buyers can make an informed decision and ultimately invest in a vessel that meets their needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best center console boat brands?

Some of the top center console boat brands include Boston Whaler, Grady-White, Everglades, and Cobia. These brands are known for their quality, performance, and reliability in various boating conditions.

What are the different types of center console boats available?

Center console boats come in various sizes and designs, including bay boats, offshore boats, and sports boats. Bay boats are suitable for fishing in shallow waters, while offshore boats are designed for deep-sea fishing and cruising. Sports boats offer versatility for a range of water activities such as wakesurfing, water skiing, and leisure cruising.

Where can I find used center console boats for sale by owner?

There are several online platforms like BoatTrader and YachtWorld where you can find used center console boats for sale by owner, also Craigslist and local boating forums.

What is the average price range for a used center console boat?

The price range for a used center console boat varies depending on factors such as size, make, year, and condition. Smaller boats may range from $10,000 to $60,000, while larger, high-end boats can go over $200,000.

Are center console boats suitable for fishing?

Center console boats are well-suited for fishing due to their spacious layouts, providing 360-degree access to the water and plenty of storage for fishing gear. Additionally, many models are equipped with rod holders, bait wells, and fish-finding electronics, further enhancing their fishing capabilities.

What size of center console boats should I look for?

The appropriate size for a center console boat will depend on your intended usage, budget, and the number of passengers you plan to accommodate. Smaller boats (18-25 feet) are suitable for inshore and bay fishing, while mid-sized boats (25-35 feet) are versatile for offshore fishing and cruising. Larger boats (35 feet and up) offer greater space, comfort, and amenities for extended trips and a greater number of passengers.

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