In Fort Lauderdale, the “Yachting Capital of the World”, there is such an overwhelming display of boats of all shapes and sizes that few ever get more than a passing glance. But when I tested the Concept 36, heads turned. People came by for a closer look, asked questions. The boat’s crisp, sleek lines are distinctive, as are the custom hull graphics keyed into the center console and radar arch. The triple, black 250 OptiMax engines certainly attracted attention. But the reason this boat drew so much interest from such a disinterested crowd was not her 70 plus mile-per-hour offshore capability nor her sizzling graphics. Her admirers appreciated her versatility.
Concept Boats are built for family: for fishing, diving, and enjoying the water. The company’s founder, Luis Avila, loves fast boats and the attention his boats bring, but he builds boats with the realization that most boaters spend much more time anchored with their kids than cruising at 70 miles-per-hour; that having a distinctive look is important, but only part of the boating experience.
The look of the Concept 36 is striking. The bow sits relatively high in the water. The stern, weighted by three 250 horsepower Mercury outboards, sits low, giving anticipation that the boat is about to spring forward in a burst of speed. The sheer line dips slightly toward the bow just enough to give the boat a speedy look yet not so low as to appear unseaworthy. The forward-curved radar arch, powder-coated white for subtlety, accentuates her lines. Custom paint and detailing really set this boat apart. Multi-shaded blue and black water globules contrasted with vivid yellow-orange and red give the impression of speed, yet the design is somehow quiescent. It is reminiscent of sunrise on the ocean; the dark sea contrasted by the dawn sky, but at 60 miles-per-hour. This paint scheme is mirrored on the center console, but with a little more white and brighter blue; I’d call it 7 a.m. The design is air-brushed on the back of clear Plexiglas, with gauges and switches mounted through.
The steering wheel, zero-effort throttles and bimini top are all a similar blue. The colors work well with the OptiMax and the water theme is carried into the metalwork of the radar arch, creating a unified color/design theme. Each boat is hand-painted with no two identical, and Concept will work with buyers to personalize their boats.
With such a bold look, other details are intentionally toned down. By no means simple or plain, just clean and unobtrusive. All the upholstery is pure white, disappearing into the white gelcoat except for its shadow lines. Seat bottoms are sculpted for a refined look. Cockpit bolsters are divided into sections with their ends not quite meeting, rather than the typical long padded panels. This accentuates the bolsters as a design element, imparting visual appeal rather than utilitarian necessity. All hatches and handrails are either bright white acrylic or powder coated white, with occasional contrasting stainless steel cleats and hardware. Nothing about the aesthetics of this boat was left unscrutinized.
To some, appearance is everything, but with Concept it is only part of the story. The boat features a practical arrangement. Two seats forward on either side of the cabin door contain insulated coolers. Cockpit bolster cushions form back and side rests. The seat in the front of the console is also a cooler, and features contoured cushions and powder coated handrails. The racing style dual-bucket helm seat incorporates shifts and throttles at the driver’s fingertips. Individual seat bottoms hinge down and lock, forming snug wrap-around leaning posts.
The aft bench seat with arm rests and drink holders stretches the width of the stern. Alternately, this seat can be left open at one side to form a walk-through transom. For fishermen, the seat can be left out entirely, and a livewell installed into a more typical driver’s leaning post. Unfortunately there was nothing to hold on to on the back of the leaning post. Typically a handrail is installed, but had been overlooked in the push to have this boat ready for the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.
On our test boat, gauges for three engines and a storage compartment took up most of the console, but could easily be condensed to provide more room for electronics. The tilt wheel is made from a hard but somewhat flexible plastic, facilitating a firm grip. Controls for the trim tabs, individual engine trim, and spotlights run down the center of the console, accessible from either seat. The port throttle lever includes a thumb switch to control the trim of all three outboards simultaneously. A compass is mounted atop the console, at eye level. (In fact, it may be a bit too high.) The helmsman and passenger are protected from wind and spray by a clear acrylic windshield.
The electrical rigging beneath the console and throughout the boat is well executed. Everything is neat, clean, accessible for service, and held firmly in place by closely placed cable ties. Even the bilge pumps are mounted and plumbed in a way that shows attention to detail. I was concerned, however, that the battery terminals were not adequately protected. If a duffle bag with a metal zipper is casually thrown into the console, it could create a short. I was told this also occurred because of the last-minute rush to prep the boat for the show.
The bimini top is an exceptionally inventive design. The Sunbrella top stores against the radar arch and locks firmly open in seconds, stretching the canvas tight. We had no problem running at high speed with the top deployed. Securing loose gear is also important on a boat that routinely creates hurricane force winds across its deck. At full throttle, anything not put away will likely go away. Storage on the Concept is plentiful, with six large lockers beneath the deck, three additional compartments behind the aft bench seat, and fishing rod storage built into the gunnels on either side of the console.
While there is little headroom, the cabin is surprisingly comfortable. The V-berth is adequate for a couple, for a night or two. The boat is fitted with a real, electric marine toilet. No porta-potti cleaning on this boat! The hatch covering the toilet could be improved slightly, as it would not lay flat with the V-berth cushions in place.
The test boat was equipped with an interesting air conditioner. Manufactured by Innova Tech in Mobile Alabama, the system uses a 12-volt pump to circulate ice water from the port drink cooler across a cooling coil. A 12-volt fan then blows air across the cooling coil and into the cabin. The system operates much the same way as a “chilled water” system on large yachts. I did not have an opportunity to try the air conditioner, but it certainly seems workable. While I suspect most Concept 36 owners would prefer a hotel room, there is something uniquely satisfying about spending the night aboard in a secluded anchorage.
With a winter cold front approaching, our test day was rough. I ran the Concept 36 twice; once for the helicopter in four-foot seas offshore of Fort Lauderdale, and later the same day with twenty-five knot winds in protected waters off Key Biscayne. The boat handled the seas offshore quite well, but was understandably too bouncy for accurate speed measurement.
In Biscayne Bay, we averaged just under 69 miles-per-hour in protected waters. The triple 250 horsepower Mercury OptiMax outboards were limited by their computer to 5500 RPM during the break-in period. The outboards are designed to turn 5800 RPM, which should push the boat into the low seventy mile-per-hour range. In the open bay, the long, narrow bow and sharp “V” entry parted the short chop like a knife. Dual hydraulic ram steering and 24 degree hull deadrise provided excellent control, even at full throttle.
Concept combines time-tested design principles with meticulous execution. The company is dedicated to building top quality, high performance boats that are as practical as they are distinctive. Attention to details, even minor details, is what sets the Concept 36 apart from the crowd.
Top speed for the Concept 36 is 68.9 mph (110.9 kph), burning 59.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 226.72 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Concept 36 is 44.8 mph (72.1 kph), and the boat gets 1.95 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.83 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 395 miles (635.69 kilometers).
Tested power is 3 x 250-hp Mercury Optimax (Bravo I).
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Concept 36 Standard and Optional Equipment
Washdown: Fresh Water
Washdown: Raw Water
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Concept 36 Warranty
Concept 36 Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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