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What are Center Console Boats?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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A boat with the operational controls in or near the center of the vessel is called a center console boat. Many types of fishing boats have the controls on the right side of the boat, which limits an angler's access to the water. The center console boat, however, frees the angler to move around all sides of the boat as needed in order to give a large fish freedom of movement.

Center console boats may use either an outboard or inboard motor. The most popular configuration by far is the outboard motor. This motor has hydraulic and electrical lines running alongside the bottom of the boat, either on the inside or outside the hull, so that the motor or motors can be controlled by the console.

In most cases, center console boats will be lighter than other types of boats, especially those with cabins. Therefore, they are able to achieve a plane above the water easier, saving fuel and increasing speed. This can be a big advantage for those who use their boats often, or who use them to travel significant distances.

Another advantage of center console boats is that many come with some sort of shade structure. These boats often spend a great deal of time getting to a location and then staying there, so they often include something to block the sun, especially around the console. These shade structures are usually made of a sturdy fiberglass material that is permanently affixed to the boat. In other cases, the shade may be made of cloth and be removable.

Fishermen who operate center console boats will usually have better visibility because these boats keep the controls above the hull of the boat. This is especially useful for those who need better visibility in rougher seas with higher waves. It can also help angler's spot prime fishing locations, especially in clearer water. The visibility factor is somewhat offset but the comfort factor, however.

The seat and console in a center console boat are up high, so the ride can be rough. This is mitigated to some extent by the fact that the controls are not as close to the front of the boat as those with consoles on the side. Still, being elevated in rough water can make for an uncomfortable ride.

Another thing to consider is that, in many cases, the seats in center console boats do not have backs. These boats are not built for comfort, however, but for visibility and ease of movement around the console. New seats can be added with backs, if desired, but anyone who is considering buying a center console boat may want to keep this factor in mind.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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