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A dual console boat is exactly what it sounds like – a boat with two consoles. They are arguably the most popular vessels on the water today. Before we go any further, it’s important to define what the word “console” means in the boating context.
More often than not, when someone mentions a console, you immediately think of a panel with a set of controls. These are usually for mechanical or electronic equipment. What most people aren’t aware of is that the term “console”, in a broader sense, can also mean a projection jutting up from the floor to support a tabletop.
In the boating world, that’s precisely what a console is – a corbel supporting a dashboard or any flat surface. So, when you think of a dual console (DC) boat, think of it as a boat with two structures projecting on either side of the vessel: One with a dashboard and the other without.
The next question then becomes – Why buy a dual console boat anyway, and why are they so popular?
Well, it has everything to do with space. They fit more people onboard and offer lots more storage compared to any other personal watercraft. With that out of the way, we searched high and low to bring you the best dual console boat that’s hot on the market right now, as well as some top contenders for the number one spot.
Our top pick for the best dual console boat is the Grady-White Freedom 375. Everything about it is well-thought-out and functional, with plenty of space to host a large group of guests. It has wraparound bow seating with two tables and several other plush seating alternatives.
It ensures that everyone is comfortable for the duration they’re on the boat. Standard features include air conditioning inside the console area and at the helm, a sunroof to shield you on sunny days, fish boxes, and a livewell.
● Spacious seating for several guests
● Lots of comfort and convenience amenities available
● Comes with fishing features
The Edgewater 280CX Crossover is the ultimate premium dual console boat. It is meticulously designed to cater to the diverse needs of every kind of outdoor enthusiast there is.
Everything from the massive cockpit to the V-berth has been built with incredible attention to detail to handle anything you throw at it. The 280CX has an unsinkable deep-V hull created using its proprietary Single Piece Infusion (SPI) process and is powered by two Yamaha engines with a maximum rating of 600hp.
● Has overnighting capability
● Plenty of convenience amenities available
● It is a heavier boat and, therefore, not as fast on the water
The Scout 175 Sport Dorado is the best dual console boat for the budget-conscious boater. But, don’t let its small size fool you. It is chock-full of fantastic features that are guaranteed to give you a memorable time on the water.
Whether you’re looking to spend some quality time with your significant other, go tubing with the kids, or get a bit of quiet time while fishing at your favorite spot, this DC is built to do it all. It has several seating options, a swim platform with a ladder, plenty of fishing rod holders, an aerated livewell, and a stereo to jam to your favorite tunes.
● Offers great value for money
● Has several convenience features
The Everglades 340DC is the ultimate multi-purpose dual-console vessel we’ve come across. It is designed for sport fishability and to deliver the maximum comfort for not just you but also your entire family. It is ultra-sleek and super spacious with a starboard helm seat and a port companion seat.
Unlike other DCs, the port seat in this particular vessel can be folded down and converted into a chaise lounge for extra comfort. The interior has yacht-like amenities, including an air-conditioned cabin, bathroom amenities, refrigerator, and many more.
● Spacious and comfortable
● Comes with lots of yacht-style comfort and convenience amenities
If you’re in the market for a boat that can do it all, you might like what the Cobia 330 Dual Console brings to the table. You can tell that it was designed with avid anglers in mind, given the sheer volume of customizable fishing features it has.
These include insulated fish boxes, a 28-gallon livewell, four aft gunnel rod holders, under-gunnel rod storage, Garmin transducer, radar, a radio with antenna, and lots more. If you’re crazy about fishing, this is the dual console boat you need to do it.
● Comes with several fishing amenities
● Ideal for entertaining and overnighting
If there’s a boat designed to take on the rough treacherous waters of the open seas, it’s the Boston Whaler 320 Vantage.
Aside from its spacious open bow, multiple portside seating configurations, cozy below-deck fully-enclosed seating, and all the cutting-edge features it comes with, this DC boat is remarkably stable on the water. It has a unique hull design that can take on whatever the ocean throws at it. So, you’ll enjoy a smooth ride even in choppy ocean waters.
● Provides a soft and safe ride
● It has lots of seating options
● The walkway between the consoles is relatively narrow
If you’re looking for a dual console boat that delivers the consistent performance required for water sports, the Pursuit DC 235 is built to do just that. Whether you’re into water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, or sport fishing, this dual console boat can do it all.
It relies on a Yamaha F300 engine to give it the power and speed you crave. It offers plenty of comfortable seating options, a host of fishing features, and is fully customizable.
● Ideal for a wide range of water sports
● It has lots of comfort and convenience amenities
● Can be used inshore and offshore
● No overnighting capability
How to Choose the Best Dual Console Boat – Buyer’s Guide
With so many different DC models on the market right now, picking the right one can be quite the herculean task. After all, where do you even begin when you’re unsure what to look for when buying the best dual console boat? We’ve put together a few tips to help you narrow down your choices.
Establish What You Intend to Use the Boat For
Dual consoles are generally quite spacious. However, it’s always a good idea to make sure it has enough room to stow all your fishing accessories and gear if angling will be your primary activity.
If you want to get a DC purely for entertaining and day cruising, ensure that it has adequate seating to accommodate the number of passengers you plan to have onboard and in a configuration that appeals to you.
Figure Out Your Must-Haves
We are all creatures of comfort, and not all DCs are created equal. So, you need to identify those features that you can’t compromise on. For instance, if you plan to use your DC for fishing, check that it has the right number of gunwales, rod holders, and livewells to support your hobby.
If you plan to entertain, you might want to have a stereo system and LED mood lighting onboard. If you intend to overnight from time to time, you might want to get a DC with convenience features such as a shower and head.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
While it is certainly fun to “window-shop” and look at luxury boats that are way out of your price range, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Introspect and figure out what you can realistically afford to spend on a DC.
Ensure that you also factor in the recurring costs associated with its maintenance. These include boat insurance, marina fees if you’re docking it at a slip, repairs and maintenance, storage, etc.
Then, based on your projections, consider if it makes sense to buy a shiny new boat that’s fresh-off-the-factory or go with a used dual console that’s in great shape.
Consider Where You Intend to Use Your DC
Finally, think about the marine environment you’ll be boating in. If you plan to use your boat for offshore excursions, pick a model with a deep-V hull for added stability when navigating the rough, choppy waters of the ocean. If, on the other hand, you plan to use it on lakes for shallow fishing, you can get away with a shallower hull.
Pick the Right Boat for Your Lifestyle
DC boats that measure the same size as center consoles can carry a lot more passengers and have tons more storage space. Use the tips outlined in this guide to help you pick the best dual console boat for your needs. Any of the 7 options we’ve reviewed would be a great starting point.
In the meantime, if you’re in the market for the best houseboats, check out our review of the best options.