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December 12, 2008

Boston Whaler 250 Outrage

Boston Whaler's 250 Outrage is loaded with innovation and blue-water performance.

I respect a company that has staying power like Boston Whaler. Fifty years is a significant milestone, and during that time the company has produced some true classics.
But even the classics can use a new look after awhile. That's why Whaler's recent makeover of its line of center consoles is so refreshing. In redesigning the 250 Outrage, not only did the engineering department think outside the box, they added some interesting curves and angles. The result is a functional, well-crafted fishing machine.

I had a chance to climb aboard and run the 250 during her unveiling last summer in St. Petersburg, Florida. From the dock, the most striking feature was the distinctive fiberglass hardtop, an option that's sure to be popular, especially with anglers along the mid-Atlantic and West Coast. The D-shaped frame is recessed into the console to provide more fishing room. A tempered-glass windshield bonded to the frame replaces the typical enclosure, and fasteners are hidden. The result is a clean, contemporary look that offers excellent protection from the elements. The top also has an electronics box, life-jacket storage and factory-mounted stereo speakers. An electric windshield vent and wiper will help ensure visibility.

The console itself is large, with an emphasis on ergonomic comfort. The operator can easily scan the electronics panel, which is large enough to flush-mount twin 12-inch displays along with an autopilot and radio. The Verado engines come with Mercury's SmartCraft DTS digital controls and a Vessel View monitoring system. Beneath the console, the head compartment includes a porcelain head, shower, storage and easy access to the electrical system.

Angling highlights start with the deluxe leaning post that has dual bucket seats with flip-up bolsters for standing operation. A pressurized 40-gallon livewell comes with a blue gelcoat interior and a prep sink; tool/rig rack and storage drawers keep business close at hand. I especially liked the built-in trash bin - having a dedicated receptacle for discarded line, bags and cans is handy. The post also has dual rod holders for quick rigging.

The hardtop option adds a five-rod rocket launcher, plus there is room for six more rods under the gunwales and three across the transom. The aft gunwale bungees on our test boat might cause hang-ups with rod butts, but Whaler's engineers promised to look into moving them aft. Otherwise, they should be useful for stowing dock lines, towels and other necessary items.