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Dual Console or Center Console – A Question of Two Boats



Whether you’re about to purchase your first boat, or you’re a seasoned boat owner about to buy your next “favorite” boat, you might be contemplating which model category is right for you and your family. Here’s a simple comparison of two options that might help in your decision making.

Center console boats were traditionally viewed as boats built just for offshore fishing. Grady-White has engineered their center console models to be not only rugged and fishable, but also luxuriously comfortable. Dual console boats, originally introduced by Grady-White in 1979, have taken off in popularity in recent years because of their family friendly layout.

These are a few notable differences between the two boat models:

Dual Console

  • Dual console boats have a center “aisle” with a console on each side. The helm sits on the starboard side console and the port side offers storage or a head area. Passengers get to the bow of the boat walking through that center opening in the windshield.
  • The wrap-around windshield allows passengers to get out of the elements when its center panel and the folding door below it are closed. Even more so when the front, side, and drop curtains are added to the vista or hard top.
  • Helms can seat one or two depending on the size of the boat, with companion seating across the aisle for one or two, as well. Larger boats can have seating for four or more under the hardtop.
  • The design elements of dual console models are more focused on entertaining and comfort with lounge seats in both the bow and the cockpit area.
  • The bow has cushioned seating and can have a sun pad insert added.
  • Livewells are optional on smaller models.
  • Dual consoles are still equipped with fishing features like rod holders, under gunwale rod storage, and insulated overboard-draining fish boxes.

Center Console

  • The helm sits in the center of the boat with space available to walk to the bow on both sides. The interior console area is in front of the helm and is quite spacious on larger models.
  • Passengers have slightly less protection from the elements because the helm is open on both sides. However, optional T-top wing curtains can be attached to the gunwale to provide added coverage.
  • An open deck allows anglers to quickly move throughout the boat, especially stem to stern, when fighting a fish.
  • The helm area behind the console seats a minimum of two people and up to four, depending on the size of the boat.
  • The bow is equipped with Grady’s patented foldaway forward facing backrests and can be turned into a casting platform or a sunpad with fiberglass insert and cushions. It can also double as a table in many models.
  • Livewells come standard on Grady-White center consoles 23 feet and above, and are optional in the smaller boats.


Every Grady-White is engineered for both comfort and fishability. Dual consoles are often the model of choice for people who primarily enjoy cruising, watersports, and entertaining, but also want a boat that allows them the opportunity to fish inshore and offshore. Grady-White center consoles are geared toward the avid fisherman who also wants to spend time with family cruising or enjoying water sports. Mid-size dual console models incorporate optional sinks, and galleys with refrigerators and grills in the cockpit for entertaining. These items are not typically offered on mid-size center consoles to allow more open cockpit space for fighting fish.

A good way to compare dual and center console models is by using the compare models feature found on the models page of the Grady-White’s website. There, you can also read through the standard features and available options for each model.

No matter what model suits you and your family best, you can rest assured that your Grady-White boat will combine rugged durability with the comfort and conveniences you’d expect from the world’s highest quality boat manufacturer.