Boston Whaler, the legendary builder that gained early fame with its unsinkable hulls, continues refining and expanding its popular Outrage series, adding a new 23-foot model that’s both a looker at the dock and a solid performer on the water.
The 230 Outrage boasts a deep-V hull designed to cut through the waves and incorporates full-length lifting strakes plus substantial flair at the bow to keep spray in check. Roominess on board, a concern on most 23-footers, was expanded by pushing the coaming around the bow farther outboard, a move that helped maximize not just space throughout but also seating and legroom.
This new center console balances comfort and fishability smartly, featuring amenities like an in-console head compartment and wraparound forward seating with a cooler underneath that doubles as dry storage, complemented by an optional pedestal table that stores inside the console when not in use. The forward console seat accommodates two and lifts to access ample storage for personal effects or rain gear. Meanwhile, a larger storage compartment hides in the floor, under a hatch just fore of the console.
There are recessed stainless grab rails forward, an anchor roller at the bow, stainless toe rails in the cockpit with downrigger weight holders, and hawsepipes and recessed cleats to keep the covering boards clear of snags. At the helm, a clear acrylic windshield blocks rain and excessive wind, while the dark dash reduces glare, and the intuitive control panel with SmartCraft gauges and Raymarine electronics simplify skipper command and navigation. Hydraulic tilt steering handles prop torque and eliminates direct feedback, and recessed trim tabs instantly adjust for sea conditions or unbalanced weight distribution for a more stable, efficient and enjoyable ride.
The innovative leaning post, exclusive to Whaler, and with a patent pending, gets a big thumbs-up. It starts as a bench-style seat, but the backrest contains a convenient counter that flips down to prepare baits or snacks and easily stows away to regain maximum cockpit space. The backrest also rotates 90 degrees to form an aft-facing seat from which crew members can comfortably keep an eye on the lines. A 54-gallon cooler nestles neatly at the foot of the powder-coated leaning-post frame.
Fans of live-baiting should consider upgrading to the fishing leaning post, which includes a 30-gallon livewell, adding to the standard 16-gallon one with clear lid, located on the transom. Twin in-floor fish boxes, long enough to house sizable wahoo, tuna, dolphin or kingfish, stretch into the cockpit, next to both gunwales. An optional fishing package adds a pump-out feature to the fish boxes; coaming bolsters in the cockpit; a raw-water washdown and vertical rod holders on the transom to supplement the four flush-mounted on the gunwales; racks for four additional outfits under the covering boards; and another four vertical holders at the bow, ideal for anglers up front to keep pitch-bait rods within arm’s reach.
At the stern, a bench rises to the occasion, providing rear seating when necessary and folding flat against the transom when fishing begins. A transom door affords access to the integral swim platform with a recessed telescoping swim ladder and simplifies the task of boating large pelagics.
A low-profile windlass, a fiberglass hardtop with overhead storage, a freshwater shower with 20-gallon tank, a lockable glove box with USB charging receptacle, and a portable toilet with overboard discharge are among the other desirable options.
Windy conditions got the water more than a little bumpy for our test ride, which began along the Gulf beaches of North Captiva and the Cayo Costa islands, where we clocked at 11 seconds the time it takes the Whaler to go from zero to 30 mph, and quickly moved to Pine Island Sound, where we put the 23-footer through its paces in a still-significant chop, but without needing dental work afterward.
At 4,000 rpm with a following sea, the Outrage cruised smoothly from wave peak to wave peak, as if connecting the dots. Turning to face the wind, it took only 500 rpm more to repeat the feat without pounding or excessive spray. Shortly after, we got some serious air when a rogue wave launched the Outrage well clear of the surface. I’m happy to report the landing was considerably softer than I had anticipated. I braced for a big blow that never happened.
The boat’s turning radius also proved impressive, making it a cinch to execute tight turns at a range of speeds. With a 300 Verado on the transom, the 230 made good on its promise of quick acceleration — especially above cruising speed, where the boat becomes most agile — and reached 50 mph (Mercury reported it exceeded 52 mph wide open during performance tests) despite the severely rumpled waters in the sound.
Boston Whaler’s cathedral hulls of yesteryear had their moment, yet I rode plenty, and testing the latest Outrage reiterated how much better today’s models are in both construction and design. But don’t just take my word for it. If you are in the market for a seaworthy center console under 25 feet that’s comfortable, fun to ride, ready to fish, and bound to retain great resale value, don’t overlook the new 230.