I’ve been in Ft. Lauderdale a lot lately, to check out new introductions at the boat show – one of the biggest in the country. And this year’s show was no disappointment. There were new models galore, in everything from fishing boats to cruisers to runabouts. Here are some of the top picks:
Edgewater introduced a new 280 CX, a big DC which is meant for family anglers. The cockpit is made for slime and scales, with fold-away seats, a transom livewell, fishboxes, and rodholders. But when you open the hatch on the console, you’ll discover a shockingly large cabin which runs under the deck and utilizes the full beam of the boat. On the port side there’s a head, and the starboard side has a double-wide berth and a flat-screen TV. You can check out a short video I did on this boat at the show, to get a first-hand look.
Scout rolled out their 320 LXF, a big center console which has ALL the bells and whistles. The coolest feature on this boat is a pair of modules up in the bow, just aft of the bow seats. One side has a small wet bar with stowage; the other houses a built-in electric grill. Most center consoles with integrated grills locate them behind the leaning post, which cuts into your tackle station – that’s not a trade-off you have to make, with this boat. Locating the grill forward leaves gobs of room for a livewell, tackle drawers, a rigging station, knife/pliers/rig holders, and bulk stowage.
Sea Ray also introduced some new models at the show, and although it isn’t very fishy, the 370 Venture is one that’s quite unique: it’s an express cruiser which runs with outboard power. Flip up the aft sunpads, and instead of finding stern-drives or V-drive inboards, you’ll see a pair of 300-hp Verados humming quietly along. They’ll bring the 370 Venture up to over 40-mph and cruise it at over 30, while getting about 1.3 miles to the gallon. Compare that to 1.0 miles to the gallon for stern drives, or 0.8 for inboards. And, since there are outboards instead of inboards, gobs of cabin space is opened up – the 370 has the largest mid-cabin I’ve ever seen on a boat of this size.
There were a lot of other nifty new boats at Lauderdale, along with plenty of cool electronics, boating accessories, and gadgets for the marine world. Next up: the Miami show, where even more new hulls will be revealed… stay tuned!
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