Understanding Dual Console Boats: Is The Crossover Right For You?

Posted Date: 03/27/2019

Dual console boats aren’t new options for boaters, but they have seen a rise in popularity in recent years for a number of reasons. Dual console models have benefited by both the increased popularity of outboard motors and the shrinking small cuddy cabin boat market. Additionally, buyers more clearly understand the benefits of the dual console in a variety of use cases, where previously, more buyers perhaps simply defaulted to the popular center console.

The crossover category, as EdgeWater states on their website, is “designed to marry the best features of both bowrider boats and center console fishing boats.” To describe the crossover dual console boat simply, it’s a boat that offers the seating of a bowrider while offering offshore capabilities and outboard motors. It can also be helpful to consider comparing the crossover boating category with the SUV/crossover category of automobiles in which the rugged is matched with the family-friendly and practical.

Families or boaters that are used to cruising the intracoastal waters in a bowrider but seek to get more offshore or perhaps ride to the keys or Bahamas are a natural fit for a dual console boat. Dual console boats are capable of handling nastier conditions compared to a typical bowrider or runabout. But it’s the versatility of the dual console boat that draws most buyers. Dual consoles are ideal for families or boaters that like to bring guests on the water and participate in a number of activities. If your interests on the water are more than fishing (but still want to fish on occasion), the dual console category is worth a look.

Center Console Boats vs. Dual Console Boats

Especially in Florida, center console boats have been and remain quite popular. For decades in Florida, center console boats with their deep-V hulls powered by outboard engines have been ideal for getting anglers out into the open water quickly and smoothly.

Center console boats remain a logical choice for the hardcore fisherman. If 80% of your planned activity on the boat will be fishing, then a center console is likely the best choice. With the center console, the angler has 360 degree walkaround space and access to all sides of the vessel for easy casting from any part of the boat. This can also be useful when hooking a larger fish and being able to move with the fish from front to back with little obstruction along the boat.

It’s true that some people just prefer the center console boat even if they aren’t getting out there to fish whenever possible. Some people prefer the ability to have two people next to each other at the helm, plus some simple bow seating. Others just prefer the look of the center console.

But some center console owners love to entertain and cruise in addition to hooking a trophy catch and are intrigued by the dual console option. Boat builders have taken many of the attractive qualities of the center console such as the deep-V hulls and the outboard engines and given boaters a dual console option to consider that can be more handy for boaters looking to do a wide range of water activities. Determining whether or not the center console or the dual console is the best fit can often come down to the percentage of time the boat will be used for fishing.

For the family looking for the best boat to suit a variety of activities and getting the entire family out on the water, the dual console boat is tough to beat.

Let’s consider some specific points of comparison between the center console and the dual console.

Hull & Ride

Like the center console, dual console boats are marked by its V-shape hull that enables cruising offshore and dealing with nastier conditions. It’s this capability - and the desire to go further without sacrificing comforts and seating - that often encourages bowrider owners to upgrade to a larger dual console boat.

Many buyers are thrilled to hear that some models - for example, the EdgeWater crossover line of boats - uses the same hull as its center console brethren. Not every builder uses the same hull as the center console version, but most dual console boats are built to handle rougher seas similar to center consoles.

Forward Seating

The dual console boat typically offers more comfortable forward seating often with more lounging capability. Some center console models have responded to the dual console category popularity by increasing the creature comforts including better forward seating and other features such as a removable table. However, by and large, the dual console offers more comfortable and spacious seating at the bow. The trade-off, of course, is the dual console has limited walkaround ability related to fishing.

Image 1546: dual console boats bow seating 

Weather Protection & Helm

With the larger hardtop, the dual console offers better weather protection which is undoubtedly a benefit for boaters looking to bring the family out on the water.

The helm is typically larger on the center console as there’s more space on the single console. This is conducive for more displays, controls and entertainment options.

Fishability

If the boater has a singular focus of fishing, the center console still reigns supreme. But just as center console boaters have sought to increase the creature comforts of the center console, dual console boats aim to maintain a great deal of fishability for boaters whom fishing remains a priority. Dual console boats often come with live well, fish box and mounted rod holders. While tournament fishing might be better suited in a center console, the dual console is well suited for casual fishing with the kids or fishing with friends before hitting the sandbar.

Cockpit space

The larger cockpit space on the dual console makes it shine for other water activities such as diving or spearfishing. The EdgeWater 248CX for instance offers a tremendous 64 square feet of real estate in its spacious cockpit. Additionally, the Everglades 340DC offers 96 square feet of cockpit space. Upon first glance, many boaters marvel at the spaciousness and versatility of the dual console cockpit space.

Image 1544: cockpit space

Dual Console Models To Consider

Tom George Yacht Group sells a number of new center console and dual console boats. Here are some dual console boats offered by Tom George Yacht Group to consider for you and your family:

EdgeWater Crossovers

EdgeWater boats have a reputation for being rugged vessels, sometimes referred to as “unsinkable boats.” This is due to EdgeWater’s single-piece infusion process. This process uses an infusion process making the separate parts of the hull and interior grid system chemically bond together resulting in the entire structure behaving like a single piece. EdgeWaters won’t rattle or flex in rougher seas, and you and your guests will enjoy a super comfortable ride.

The single-piece infusion process applies to both the EdgeWater center consoles and dual consoles. So, if you want a crossover that can handle nasty conditions easily while providing all the amenities and benefits of a dual console, give the EdgeWater crossover line a hard look. The options to consider are the 230CX, the 248CX, the 262CX and the 280CX.

EdgeWater 230CX

Image 1541: edgewater crossover 230cx

Incorporating the same deep-v hull as the 230CC, the EdgeWater 230CX maintains a 15” hull draft while offering great offshore performance. If fishing is a priority, you’ll find mounted rod holders at the transom, a built-in fish box and a 28-gallon insulated live well. The live well can be used as a cooler on days where you aren’t fishing. Transom seating provides a great deal of versatility between extra seating and extra cockpit space. Cushions can be removed to enable a large casting platform, or they can snap back into place when you have extra guests. Click here to read more about the EdgeWater 230CX.

EdgeWater 248CX

Image 1545: edgewater crossover 248cx

The 248CX is a very social boat with its class leading 64 square feet of cockpit space. The bow area offers comfortable and cushioned seating, plenty of storage and a bow table that drops down to a full lounge. The portside console offers a head compartment useable by full sized adults. A large ski locker is found in the cockpit. Behind the helm seat, you’ll find a standard prep station with freshwater sink and 50 quarter slide out cooler. 28-gallon live well and mounted rod holders complete the package for the angler. The boat’s Yamaha 300 HP four stroke outboard will deliver durability, reliability and performance. The proprietary hull construction method means the 248CX is stronger and lighter than the competition. Click here to read more about the EdgeWater 248CX.

EdgeWater 262CX

Image 1542: edgewater crossover 262cx

The 262CX is one of the more popular EdgeWater crossovers. At the bow, you’ll find seating for the entire family. Walking through the dual consoles, you’ll find 61 square feet of cockpit space. The built-in dive door enables easy boarding as well as a range of water activities such as diving and spearfishing. At the starboard console, under the helm, you’ll find a spacious head compartment. Moving to the port console, you’ll find spacious storage for fishing gear, dive tanks and more. Prep station with underneath cooler, live well and mounted rod holders enable a pleasant fishing experience. Twin Yamaha 200HP outboards come standard and enable a speeds up to 50MPH. Click here to read more about the EdgeWater 262CX.

EdgeWater 280CX

Image 1543: edgewater crossover 280cx

The 280CX is a family-friendly boat that gives you the feeling of an express cruiser while giving you and your family the ability to enjoy a wide range of water activities. The 65+ square feet of cockpit space enables room for anglers to maneuver or enough versatile seating for group conversations while cruising. Both port and starboard consoles offer double-wide seats with bolsters and armrests enabling comfortable sitting or standing. Forward bow seating comes with circular seating with room for several grown adults. Through a port console door, guests can step down to a galley area with head, sink and microwave. An adjacent lounge area offers additional space for guests seeking rest or a break from the sun. Like the other EdgeWater crossovers, the 280CX offers tremendous fishability with its 28-gallon livewell, eight rod holders mounted on the hard top and both sides and 500-quart insulated fish box.

Everglades 340DC

Image 1547: everglades 340dc

While not the first dual console boat from Everglades, the 340DC is the flagship of Everglades’ latest dual console line. The goal of the 340DC was to match typical Everglades luxury, comfort and ride quality with family friendly features while maintaining excellent fishability.

When stepping aboard, guests marvel at the 96 square feet of cockpit space. When wide open, the space enables anglers to fight the trophy catch, or when configured with fold out seats, relaxing with family and friends is quite natural.

At the push of a button, the helm area goes from a full glass enclosure to an open space - a feature unique to Everglades. Bow seating offers full length lounges with a removable table. An air-conditioned cabin is accessible via the portside console for staying overnight or getting out of the sun.Click here to read more about the Everglades 340DC.

Should you buy a dual console boat?

At Tom George Yacht Group, we often show buyers a number of center console and dual console boats in stock. Our advice typically centers on the idea that you should be buying a boat that matches features with 80% of your planned activities. All boat purchases involve compromising some features for others, but emphasizing the primary usage of the present and near future will typically result in the right purchase.

We’ve had a number of customers arrive with the intent of buying a center console boat because friends told them that is what they need, but after talking through intended uses and exploring the specific features of both center console boats and dual console boats, they end up purchasing the dual console (and being thrilled with their purchase years later). Of course, should the buyer’s usage patterns point in the direction of the center console boat, we’re happy to assist there as well.

For now, we’re thrilled with the attention that the crossover / dual console category has received in recent years in the industry. We’re even more excited about the happy customers purchasing dual console boats from Tom George Yacht Group and later reporting back about all the successful boating their families are enjoying on the water. If you have questions regarding dual console boats, please contact us today.