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Center Consoles Can Do Double Duty


Grady White 281 CE with Woman On Sport Deck


You’ve been dreaming of owning a center console fishing boat all your life, but with a growing family, you’re not sure that’s the best model for you – at least not right now. Think again!


Let’s take a quick walkthrough to better understand why it might be the perfect choice. Grady-White’s roots are steeped in more than 60 years of building battle-tough, reliable fishing boats, filled with all the details a fisherman needs and wants. That’s our heritage. However, through the years we realized people wanted their boats to do double duty and our team rose to the occasion adding luxury and comfort to every model. That’s why all our center console models have loads of amenities above and beyond our many rod holders, tackle storage areas, large livewells, and big overboard draining fish boxes. We’ve also included features that make them great for cruising and family fun, and we bet you’ll be glad to have many of them when you’re out at the fishing grounds as well.


Let’s start with plush seating in the helm and the console area. If you’re heading offshore, you want a comfortable seat with flip-up bolsters and footrests. You’ll also want a casting deck on the bow. But what about later in the day when you’re heading to the sandbar with the family? You can easily convert the bow into a sun pad by putting down the cushions and placing the backrests in the forward position for a lounge area. When you’re ready for lunch or cocktails, pop up the bow table.


The new 281 Coastal Explorer takes that same concept to the transom of the boat where the seating can convert three ways. Face the backrests forward to make room for three or four passengers, flip the bolsters to the side and have a lounge area, or remove the cushions and flip the backrests back and you’ve got a fishing platform.


Most models come with transom doors that lead to swim platforms and ladders, and larger models have side doors that make it easy to haul in your offshore catch while doubling as a watersport door or platform. 


A freshwater shower, a standard feature on our larger center consoles and available as an option on smaller models, is another amenity equally suited for fishing and family fun. When fishing, it makes it simple to clean rods and reels and spray down the deck after the big catch, and it’s also a family pleaser when the crowd returns to the boat from a walk on the beach and needs to wash sand off their feet. It’s also very handy for washing off your Grady Buddy after a swim!


Other welcomed features of our center console lineup that may surprise you include ski pylons that easily deploy when you’re ready to get the tube out, hardtops with a retractable sunshade on our larger models, and lockable stand up head areas with indirect lighting and bulk storage for tubes, towels, and plenty of snacks – all of which add comfort for everyone no matter where you’re headed.


At Grady-White, we continually strive to anticipate everything you and your family could want in a center console boat, and we engineer these features directly into our designs. With many of these amenities included as standard, any Grady-White center console model could be the right one for you! In fact, we’ve made them so suitable for fishing and fun, you might be surprised to find your family suddenly wanting to fish with you more than ever before!


Still not sure which model is best for you and your family? We apply the same concepts to our dual console models as well. They, too, are very versatile boats, packed with fishability, comfort, and luxury. For a comparison, read Is a Dual Console Really a Fishing Boat?