Contender 30ST: 2018 Boat Buyers Guide

Contender’s 30ST is a hardcore fishing boat.
Contender 30ST
LOA: 29’8″ | Beam: 9’6″ | Fuel Capacity: 265 gal. | Dry Weight: 5,450 lb. plus power | Max Horsepower: 600 | Certifications: NMMA Courtesy of Contender

Contender Boats’ tournament-focused goal across its 30 years is simple: to produce the world’s best fishing boat. Those with Contender experience say it hits the mark dead-on.

A Contender hull features the company’s deep-V 24.5-degree-deadrise design, with reverse radius chine for a dry ride in the surliest seas. Structural PVC core sandwich construction imparts lightness and superior strength. Good looks? Thank vinylester resins and specially formulated gelcoats.

The single-level Contender deck is clean and unobstructed, while within it are plenty of storage compartments. Polyurethane foam injected in cavities produces maximum flotation and minimal drumming in seas.


Standard features include transom livewells, an anchor locker and a walk-through transom. Options (which survey respondents also called generous) include custom leaning posts, ­offshore fishing towers, teak, power-actuated hatches and coolers, and several seating packages.

In our survey’s four main categories — Fishability, Performance, Design/Construction and Value — Contender was consistently among leaders, and its four scores are within a two-point span on a 50-point scale.

Specifically, respondents placed it in the top half-dozen brands in cockpit space, speed and range, adding strong marks for the on-water values of safety, construction and ride, plus customer service and resale — that last likely, it seems, for another Contender.



Contender’s 30ST (Stepped Tournament) is a hardcore fishing boat: all-business console, abundant but unobtrusive storage, reliable livewells, cavernous fish boxes and generous fishing acreage. It’s ready for a scrap.

Order your 30ST rigged with custom outriggers, downriggers, rod holders, electric-reel outlets — whatever you need for the kind of fishing you want to do. Each Contender is a custom build.

The 30ST’s stepped hull is designed to get you to far-off fishing spots swiftly and ­economically, powered by twin four-stroke Yamahas, 250 or 300 hp. Recessed K-Plane trim tabs fine-tune the ride.


The stage is set for successful fishing: wide gunwales for a moving battle, pull-up cleats and navigation lights out of the way until needed and a recessed handrail forward.

Awaiting the catch is an in-deck, fully lined 130-gallon fish box forward. Between it and the console is another insulated 70-gallon fish box you can have livewell-plumbed. Planning on bigger catches yet? Add an insulated coffin box.

Raise the seat forward of the console for walk-in access to the lined and finished head compartment. The console features lockable storage, vertical rod holders and an oversize, recessed and plex-shielded electronics panel.