Best Walkaround Boats – Top 5 Picks for 2021
Updated on July 25, 2021.
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Here’s a little ice-breaker you can use at parties: What do you call a cross between a small cuddy boat and a center console? A walkaround boat! Okay, it may not work as well as we thought it would, but hey – It’s a great way to kick off this review.
Walkaround boats, or walkaround cuddies as they are sometimes called, are essentially fishing boats that have a small cozy cabin and offer full 360-degree fishing access that you don’t get with many other types of boats. This is thanks to the unobstructed deck passageway around the boat from the bow to the stern.
You can think of them as a “pimped-up” version of center console boats. So, you could stay overnight if you wanted to, or use the small cabin to escape the scorching heat of the sun when you’re day cruising. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to an actual cruiser yacht without having to spend “cruiser-yacht-money.”
We’ve reviewed 5 of the best walkaround boats and compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you choose the right one.
Best Overall Choice
1. Scout 420 LXF
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The Scout 420 LXF is top on our list for a reason. This walkaround boat oozes comfort, style, luxury, and all the things you would wish for in recreational watercraft. But, perhaps its most endearing quality is just how unbelievably versatile it is. It has all the creature comforts you would want in a home away from home.
It is meticulously crafted from Carbon Epoxy and built with Dual Scott Stepped Hull Technology that’s simply one-of-a-kind. Some of the standard features in this beauty you might like to include articulating rocket launchers with electronically-controlled SureShade, a 5-N-1 high-performance leaning post, and a portside hydraulic beach platform.
It also has an 80-gallon baitwell, a spacious cabin below-deck with additional rod storage, and an optional coffee maker for the caffeine-lovers in the house. That, ladies and gentlemen, is just the tip of the iceberg.
● Has loads of comfort and convenience amenities
● The ultra-spacious cabin below deck
● Ample seating in the cockpit and bow lounge
Best Premium Choice
2. Boston Whaler 405 Conquest
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They say money can’t buy you happiness. But, whoever said that had never encountered the Boston Whaler 405 Conquest.
Everything about this walkaround boat has been designed with impeccable attention to detail. From the private master stateroom to the two guest sleeping quarters – it exudes an air of class, elegance, and luxury living. Every time you’re on board, you can almost hear it whisper, “You deserve the best.”
It is powered by four 300hp Mercury Verado engines that come with an optional Joystick Piloting feature to give you even more power and control. Standard features of the 405 Conquest include a portside companion lounge, teak wood cabinets with a satin finish, a 19-gallon livewell, several rod holders, and many other fantastic features.
If you’re all about luxury, this is the walkaround boat you need in your life.
● Spacious cabin with lots of privacy
● Exquisite wood finishes in the below-deck cabin
● It has lots of fishing features suited to anglers
● It is not trailerable
Best Budget Choice
3. Grady-White Seafarer 228
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You don’t need to break the bank to become a walkaround boat owner. The Grady-White Seafarer 228 is the perfect entry-level vessel for the budget-conscious boater.
This 22 ft. family-friendly boat packs a punch for fishability, comfort, and convenience. The cabin has a forward-V berth with a lockable door, a low-profile forward hatch, a sink, a storage cabinet, and three under-berth storage compartments. It even has a portable head.
So, you have everything you need to spend a night or two surrounded by nothing but water. For avid anglers, don’t worry – the Seafarer 228 has got you covered. It comes with several rod storage holders and racks, fish boxes, and an optional 20-gallon livewell. The value you get compared to the price of this walkaround boat is simply unmatched.
● Delivers excellent value for money
● Has plenty of storage
● Comes with several comfort and convenience features and amenities
● It is much slower than other boats in its class
4. Maine Coaster 42’ Charter
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The overnighting capability of a walkaround boat means nothing to an avid angler if it doesn’t have the right fishing accessories to help them reel in some big catches. The folks over at Henriques Yachts Inc. understand this fact all too well, which is why they launched the Maine Coaster 42’ Charter.
This particular boat has a massive wood trim cabin with ample seating and storage areas for all the fishermen on board. It has two staterooms, an enclosed shower, an enclosed head, as well as a microwave and refrigerator.
It also has several fish boxes, rod holders and racks, and a livewell in the walkthrough transom. All in all, if fishing is important to you, this is the vessel you need to do it.
● It has ample storage
● Ideal for use in rough water marine environments
● It has loads of fishing-friendly features
● The overall design of the boat looks a little dated
5. Intrepid 345 Valor
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If you’re looking for a small to mid-sized walkaround boat, you might like the Intrepid 345 Valor. At just 34 ft. 6 in., this beauty is the perfect embodiment of luxury and high-performance. It has a swanky wraparound bridge lounge that comes with a hidden cooler and retractable lounger.
You’ll also enjoy the spacious two-berth cabin below-deck that’s bathed in natural light through large skylights and hull side windows. There’s a built-in shower, a fully-enclosed head, and a well-appointed galley with custom European cabinetry.
For fishability, the Valor has multiple bait wells and a foldable rear bench seat that you can move out of the way when it’s time to cast your line.
● Luxury upgrades available
● Excellent fuel economy
● Large passenger capacity
● It is slightly pricey
1. What Do You Intend to Use It For
The first question you need to ask yourself is – Why do you want to buy a walkabout boat? The answer to this question will advise the size of the boat you should get. Here’s why this is important.
Not all walkabout boats are created equal. Some are much much bigger than others, which is perfect if you plan to entertain a lot. You want your guests to feel comfortable onboard and not hurdled together as though they’re at a live baseball event.
It needs to have ample seating and even allow people to stretch out if they need to. If, on the other hand, it’s just for you, your spouse, and 2.5 kids, then a smaller boat would suffice.
Size also plays a major role in stowage. You may need to dock a larger boat at a marina. But keep in mind that this option has its own set of associated costs.
On the other hand, if you intend to tow it using your car, ensure that (1) your vehicle is fully capable of doing this, and (2) the boat in question is small enough to fit in a standard garage.
2. What Kind of Features Does It Have
You also need to think about the kind of activities you want to use it for. If you’re into water sports like water skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding, or you’re more of a sport fishing kind of boater, then you need to consider the must-haves on your boats critically. These are the features that you are not willing to compromise on.
So, if you intend to use it for angling, you need to buy a walkabout that has ample storage for all your fishing gear. It should also have provisions for fishing rod holders, a livewell or two, and a couple of gunwales to attach your fishing accessories.
The same logic applies when choosing a watercraft for your watersports adventures. If you’re an avid water skier or tuber, you want to get a boat that comes with a ski/wakeboard tower.
3. Where Will You Be Using It
The final thing you need to consider is the location and water environment you intend to boat in. Here’s why that’s important. If you’re getting a walkabout boat for cruising in the open ocean, you need to get one that has a V-hull design. It should be capable of keeping the boat stable even in the roughest of water conditions.
Seawater is salty. So, the boat in question also needs to withstand the corrosive properties of saltwater bodies. On the other hand, if you plan to use it in calm inshore lakes or rivers, and speed matters a great deal to you, consider getting a boat with a shallower hull that’s built to skim over the water with ease.
Make Lifetime Memories
That’s everything you need to know about getting the best walkaround boats to suit your individual needs. Any of the 5 options we’ve reviewed would be an excellent choice. Get in touch with any of the dealers listed on the manufacturers’ website and schedule a demo to get a true feel for it. Happy boating!
Are you in the market for the best dual console boat? Check out our comprehensive review of the top options.